Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan (浪花少年探偵団 – Naniwa Juvenile Detective Team) is a mystery series with a humorous bent based on a novel by Higashino Keigo. It centers on mystery-obsessed elementary school teacher Takeuchi Shinobu (Tabe Mikako) and her cohort of similarly curious students.

Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan Title

As in the last episode, we begin with school and personal affairs, continuing to develop the main characters. I love that they’re still giving depth to the characters, and that Takeuchi is led to the crime through her private affairs. Last time, it was her need to get a driver’s license. This time, she faces a marriage meeting.

But that’s getting ahead of things. First, we meet our heroine in a public bath with her mother:

Conversing In Comfort

The topic of conversation is potential future marriage partners, though enthusiasm is entirely one-sided. The voice of the younger Harada brother (Maeda Oshiro) breaks in with his normal humorous narration, reflecting on his own parents’ marriage.

MaedaMaeda

Then we zoom to morning, with Takeuchi preparing her class for an athletic meet. In the process, we learn of some young love blooming between Nana and Tanaka Teppei (Hamada Tatsuomi).

Athletics 1Athletics 2Nana Looks To Her Preferred

We start getting into the humor proper when Takeuchi announces to her class that the winner will get a kiss from her . . .

A Kiss For the Victor

. . . and the Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan members have a unflattering reaction.

DisgustPunishment 1Punishment 2

Later, the Vice Principal pulls Takeuchi aside to propose a marriage meeting with an extremely eligible bachelor (the Vice Principal has known Takeuchi since she was a kid, so this isn’t as inappropriate as it would normally be in a professional context). Takeuchi resists at first, but then gets a look at the picture of the bachelor in question, and reconsiders.

No Way . . .Then Again . . .

The Naniwa Shounens follow Takeuchi everywhere, and though they pretend not to overhear, they know exactly what to do with the information.

Pretending InnocenceThey Have a Plan

In the middle of an arrest, officer Shindou Shuuhei (Koike Teppei) gets a call . . .

Nabbing a CriminalCall From the Boys

. . . and the Naniwa Shounens exchange the information they gathered for a treat.

The Exchange 1The Exchange 2

Shindou’s reaction after he finds out the guy at the other end of Takeuchi’s marriage meeting is 180cm tall is priceless.

He's a director already?180cm!?

And at the marriage meeting . . .

Marriage Meeting 1

. . . the boys are right there with Shindou, spying in on how things go between Takeuchi and the guy, Honma Yoshihiko (Yamamoto Koji).

Marriage Meeting 2Marriage Meeting 3

Just when things are getting awkward, Honma gets a call on his cell phone and has to excuse himself. So does Shindou and, as you might guess, it’s about the same thing. The President in Honma’s company has been murdered.

Marriage Meeting 4Marriage Meeting 5

While that’s important, Shindou is way too eager to break up the marriage interview.

Takeuchi uses Honma as an excuse to involve herself in the case, and it all proceeds from there.

Using Honma as an Excuse

Past this point, it’s all clue gathering. The Naniwa Shounens also immediately get to work:

Naniwa Shounens Launch

Honma himself is, of course, a leading suspect (what fun would it be otherwise?), but there’s also a bunch of others. Trouble is, everyone seems to have an alibi.

Takeuchi Listens In

As in the past two episodes, the police, and especially Urushizaki, are highly competent in their investigative work. More than in any of the previous episodes, though, Takeuchi and the Naniwa Boy Detectives are organized and actively trying to pry apart the case.

Organized

The mystery this time is solid and poignant since the main suspect is sort of close to Takeuchi. The abundance of suspects and clues made it extremely satisfying, as did Takeuchi’s thought process throughout her unraveling of it. The actual resolution, though, felt rushed. It came a bit too easily. The motive was also weak – at least, it could have been sold a bit better. As for the final test – whether the viewer could have figured it out with the clues available – the answer’s definitely a no.

So, on the mystery scale, the episode was a disappointment. Fortunately, it more than makes up for it (entertainment-wise) through comedy and characterization. As long as it puts a smile on my face, I’m happy, right?

So far, this series has been brilliant story-telling even if the mysteries fall short. If only they get some really good mysteries in, I’d have nothing to complain about.

Thanks to yuuki (subs.vtsuki.net) for the subtitles.

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