This is the second episode in a two-part mystery with three murders in the first part.

Murder 2Murder 3

Thankfully, there are still plenty of suspects, not the least of which is the one that the police have actually arrested – Tomomi (Okamoto Rei):

Tomomi

She has deliberately tried to get friendly with Katayama Yoshitaro (Aiba Masaki), our hapless detective, but he has valiantly kept her at arm’s length, even when she pleaded for him to believe in her as she was being hauled away:

Getting a Bit Too FriendlyIgnoring Her Pleas

We have not yet heard his famous line – that he believes she’s not the culprit – but it’s bound to come, right? Through eight episodes, he’s shown no sign of growth, so is he really going to suddenly become a cynical realist now? Well, since he’s facing a transfer, maybe he’s taking things a bit more seriously.

Cue the interrogation scene, where Katayama is keeping his mouth shut (presumably to avoid saying that line).

Interrogation Scene

But then the senior officer leaves them alone. Can Tomomi break Yoshitaro down? That’s not even a surprise at this point – of course she can. His character would be inconsistent otherwise. He was just trying to avoid saying so in front of his senior.

He believes her (dammit).

*Sigh* His family’s not so lucky, though – he admits his feeling to them at their normal mystery briefing.

The Regular Familiy Meeting

In a weird twist, upon seeing the presumed murder weapon, Yoshitaro’s elder brother actually supports his claim. Yoshitaro presents the information to the other detectives:

Brother Hiro has an ideaYoshitaro Presents the Findings

This is the second time in this mystery that he’s gotten office credit for insights from his elder brother. Is his elder brother taking the place of Holmes here? Well, his elder brother has been consistently active in interpreting clues, and it might be interesting to see if he has more insights in this series than any other character. I think that might be possible.

Yoshitaro's Too Slow For Him

So, Tomomi is released, and the scene returns to the university where we meet again with some of the other suspects:

Tomomi's FlockKawaguchi

And Yoshitaro has a pleasant little walk with Tomomi (they really shouldn’t – dead bodies tend to fall out the sky when they’re together):

Just a Peaceful Walk

In this case, it’s just another suspect snooping on them through the bushes:

Shouldn't he be wearing green to blend in?Surely a Suspect

Call me paranoid, but I think he’s up to something. Katayama chases him, but fails to keep up, after which he and Ishizu (Okura Tadayoshi) immediately start talking about another suspect – Kawaguchi (remember her suspicious look earlier?):

Kawaguchi 2

I think the whole university is having a covert civil war and all of them are guilty of at least one murder – who’s with me? No good, huh? Oh well, leave it to the professionals, I guess.

Yoshitaro and Ishizu find a blood-stained mask . . .

You Can Leave Stuff Like That Lying Around

. . . and meanwhile, there’s another death:

You Don't Suppose It's the Plague

But also some pills, and we know there have been drug issues on campus already. Kawaguchi is quick to make sure she’s the first person near the body. Can you guess what she does?

Crowd Control or Cover-Up?She's Hiding Something

Suspicious Glance

Yeah, forget civil war, how about a drug war? If there was a murder for every peculiar glance that we got in these two episodes, the university would be a graveyard. They’re going to need a bigger board:

Board's Getting Crowded

And that takes us twelve minutes in, and past this point, the plot really begins to thicken, so I’ll leave that for your enjoyment. This episode is noticeably faster-paced than the previous episode, cramming in not only a lot of evidence, but also some serious action. There were some surprises this time, and if you think we’ve gotten through all the deaths, remember that we’ve got a whole university of potential victims to work with.

That was actually part of the problem. There comes a point where there are really too many deaths, and it makes the detectives seem helpless. How many people have to die before they figure it out? Evidently, quite a few this time. After the deaths mentioned, I was already wondering whether we really would see the deaths of all the characters we have been introduced to, leaving only the culprit standing.

I liked the way the crime was laid out in episode 8, and the action in this episode, but some of my hopes for the mystery were dashed halfway into this week’s offering. Given a lot of murders, there were a number of motives, and they all seemed weak to me. I mean really weak. Now, to be fair, there are plenty of real murders with remarkably weak motives, too, but in a mystery you’re hoping for a bit more than just base cruelty or misunderstanding, right?

The two episode sequence started out iffy, got better as it went along, but then disappointed me in the end. Is that too harsh? On the bright side, the acting held up. On reflection, Aiba-kun was certainly perfect for this role – I’d hate to see anyone else do it. He’s so naturally hapless and innocent-seeming that he fits the character like a glove. The actors playing his siblings – Fujiki Naohito-san and Oomasa Aya-san – have also grown on me over the course of the series. Matsuko Deluxe is a given.

Speaking of Matsuko Deluxe/Holmes, the show ends with a bit of hope for the future in the Katayama-without-Holmes department. At the same time, it seems like we’ll be learning more about Holmes. We’ll see.

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