Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri (三毛猫ホームズの推理) is a detective drama featuring Aiba Masaki as a cop who’s afraid of blood, heights, and women. In other words, he’s hopeless as a homicide detective – at least, he is until he meets a cat named Holmes. I’m sure you knew all that, since we’re almost at the end of the series, but it’s amazing how little this series has deviated from its premise. It’s true that Aiba-kun’s character, Katayama Yoshitaro, has gained some confidence over the course of the series, and looks like he wants to remain a detective, but has he really earned the right to be confident?

Mikeneko Holmes Opening

Well, let’s take a fresh look at that question with this episode. Let’s ask ourselves, is Yoshitaro a detective, or is he entirely reliant on the abilities of others?

We begin with a prison break:

Prison Break

Then we jump to the Katayama household, where Yoshitaro is trying hard to get over the absence of Holmes, and is nearly brought to tears at the sight of a cat on TV.

Watching TVCat on TVKatayama's Lips Tremble

After he gets himself together, they return to the TV, where we find out that the person who broke out of prison is Kaneda Kouzou, played by the brilliant Jinnai Takanori-san (陣内孝則).

Kaneda Played by Jinnai

Jinnai-san seems to like mysteries, with roles in Detective Conan and Tantei Gakuen Q as notable credits. But why does Yoshitaro’s elder brother Hiroshi (Fujiki Naohito) seem breathless at the news of the breakout?

Hiroshi Caught by Surprise

Well, maybe it’s partly because Kaneda is a very, very scary guy:

Kaneda 1Kaneda 2

But we get the feeling that there’s something in particular about his relationship to the Katayama family. This is a very good sign, because so far the murderers have been, with only one exception if I recall correctly, female. It’s almost misogyny, but more to the point, women always seem to give Katayama trouble. He has a bad habit of trusting them.

Anyway, on to the stakeout, where the guy running away from Kaneda suddenly smashes his face into the car:

StakeoutFace on Window

Things are moving fast, so why is Katayama standing around instead of picking up the gun when the rest of his team has already got theirs and left?

Katayama and the Gun 1Katayama and the Gun 2

Cue the chief for a pep-talk, though one that basically said Katayama’s father was the same way, so Katayama ends up not carrying a gun to the lair of a vicious criminal.

At the Lion's Den

Worse, he’s paired with the chief, who has leg problems.

Katayama Paired With the Chief

The episode is already getting pretty intense, and I don’t want to spoil anything (more) for you, so I’m going to avoid summarizing further.

You might notice that we don’t really have a mystery, yet. I mean, Kaneda hardly makes a mystery out of the people he kills, so for it to be a murder, the culprit probably can’t be him. Which means . . . it’s probably a woman, right? I mean, that’s how things have been going in the series.

Well, the mystery occurs because of how messy things got during the confrontation with Kaneda. You see, the cops need to figure out exactly what happened when they entered Kaneda’s hideout (call it a paperwork thing), and the version what the ballistics experts come up with doesn’t match what Katayama experienced. Of course, everybody just ignores Katayama.

Ballistics

But what significance could there be in this? This is a real puzzle for Katayama, and a real test of whether he’s a detective. A real detective will believe what he saw and try to figure out what it means – having the self-confidence to ignore the assurances of experts and superiors.

Investigating

Meanwhile, Yoshitaro’s sister Harumi (Oomasa Aya) notices how Hiroshi behaved in response to the news about Kaneda, and did some snooping of her own.

Brother and SisterAbout Their Father

So, this is a personal thing for the Katayama family, but Yoshitaro doesn’t know it.

In the end, I was far happier with Yoshitaro’s approach to detective work in this episode than I have been in the series so far. Part of it was down to the fact that he was the only one who thought there was any mystery to be solved. The other factor was, of course, the (sort of) absence of Holmes. He still had help from his family, but there’s no rule against a detective getting help as long as he or she has the key intuitions that lead to the solutions.

And by no means did Yoshitaro have an easy time of it:

Yoshitaro Sulking (Again)

However, he avoided fainting (barely) and didn’t cry (too much). Altogether, I have never been happier with him. The case itself was not what I expected, in both a good and a bad way, so we’ll call it a wash. At least the motive was solid.

The next episode promises to be extremely interesting, and with Yoshitaro getting his act together, I’m looking forward to it. At the same time, it looks like it’ll be even more action-oriented and even less a mystery than this one. As usual, you can’t have everything, and I’ll settle for good entertainment.

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