Forget Ken Burns latest 12-hour epic about the history of bocce ball. The winner for best documentary of 2016 is without question Top Knot Detective; a shocking expose detailing the rise and fall of Tokyo bad-boy Takashi Takamoto, a corporate shill for Japanese manufacturing giant Sutaffu, turned writer, director, editor, and star of the short-lived 90's samurai detective series Ronin Suirai Tantei ( aka. Deductive Reasoning Ronin), or as it became known in Australia, Top Knot Detective.
Although only lasting a single season followed by a brief two-part crossover with another obscure Japanese import, TimeStryker (a cheap Super Sentai rip-off about a time-traveling baseball player abducted by aliens who wields a bat infused with the soul of his favorite dead girlfriend) the show nevertheless remains a cult classic in certain parts of Australia, despite only being aired once and all master tapes erased following the scandalous implication of its star in the brutal murder of Sutaffu CEO, Kioke Moritaro.
Despite its untimely cancellation, the pirate VHS market kept the series alive in the hearts of fans, and now a whole new generation are falling in love with the strange adventures of Sheimasu Tentai and his never ending battle against the fiendish Kurosaki, the seductive assassin Saku, armies of robot ninjas, lots of blood and gratuitous nudity, and the occasional penis monster.
If you don’t remember Top Knot Detective, don’t worry, this documentary will teach you everything you need to know. Much like British horror auteur Garth Marenghi, Takamoto’s vision was often hampered by the series’ limited budget, and frequent interference from studio executives who primarily saw it as a vehicle for selling cheap Sutaffu merchandise. Later episodes became increasingly disjointed and surreal, as internal tensions between the cast and production crew mounted and Takamoto’s own rampant alchoholism and drug use quickly spiraled out of control, culminating in Takamoto fleeing the country dressed as a woman.
If you live in Australia, you can watch the full movie on SBS On Demand here: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/765103683821/top-knot-detective
Everyone else will either have to find it through less legal methods or wait until it eventually comes out on Netflix, but it’s well worth tracking down.