By Travis Johnson

Remember Top Knot Detective, aka Ronin Suirui Tantai? The one-season wonder mid ’90s Japanese detective show that saw a disgraced ronin battling ninjas, time travelers, giant robots and tentacle monsters while hawking the wars of giant business conglomerate, Sutaffu?

No? That’s probably because it never existed, but that didn’t stop Perth filmmakers Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce from making a documentary about the series, its devoted fanbase, and its controversial star, Takashi Takamoto. Airing tonight on SBS 2, Top Knot Detective is a mockumentary in the style of Peter Jackson’s Forgotten Silver, one that takes a fictional premise at absolute face value and dives deep into the rabbit hole, creating out of whole cloth not only a television series so weird you find yourself devoutly wishing it were real, but a fascinating backstory that exposes the depths of Takamoto’s megalomania and lack of talent, as well as the dark scandals that brought the show down.

Shoring up the film’s “truthiness”, the creators have roped in a host of real life commentators to speak about TKD: SBS veteran Des Mangan serves as narrator, Danger 5 creator Dario Russo crops up, as does national treasure Lee Lin Chin, Japanese punk legends Guitar Wolf, and more.*

Originally envisioned as a television series, Top Knot Detective was edited into a feature at the behest of SBS, making it the first feature film created under the SBS Comedy banner. It airs at 8.30pm, and will be available on SBS On Demand a day later.


*Including, funnily enough, me.



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