Monsters is a comedic mystery drama starring Katori Shingo-san and Yamashita Tomohisa-kun as police detectives. Young detective Saionji Kousuke (Yamashita) has to keep tabs on the more eccentric Hiratsuka Heihachi (Katori), who exhibits questionable morality and lots of reason for suspicion. Saionji has to find evidence of Hiratsuka’s wrongdoing.

This episode begins with Hiratsuka watching a television report about a prominent mystery writer, Yazaki Kengo.

Saionji is watching the same report as it turns to that writer’s rival, Shinoda Kyoushiro. Shinoda had previously worked with another writer, Shimamura Tsutomu, on a famous series that Saionji is clearly a fan of. Unfortunately, Shinoda says that a reunion with Shimamura is out of the question.

We zoom to another man watching the broadcast, presumably Shimamura, who looks angry.

While Saionji’s bummed out, his boss, Kaneda (Endo Kenichi), who reminds Saionji of his primary task – to discover evidence Hiratsuka’s illegal activities (which the higher-ups assume exist), threatening to send him back to his old job.

Saionji heads down to Hiratsuka’s office immediately, and Hiratsuka greets him with a word-for-word repeat of Kaneda’s threat, imitating Kaneda’s voice.

It really looks like Saionji is in a no-win situation, doesn’t it?

Hiratsuka pretends that he was just reading a line from Yazaki Kengo’s book.

Meanwhile, Shimamura looks like he’s going to do something drastic.

Time zooms from night to noon, and we get the requisite dead body – that of Shimamura. As you might expect from a mystery writer, he left a sign – an arrow – scrawled in his own blood.

The kitchen knife next to body is the apparent murder weapon.

Seeing the arrow, Kaneda points out that he should have just written the murderer’s name – his best moment in the series so far, I think.

Saionji decided to come to the crime scene because he’s a fan of Shimamura’s. He didn’t tell Hiratsuka . . .

. . . and after they looks around, expecting to see Hiratsuka lurking right behind them, they realize that he really isn’t there, and get back down to the mystery at hand.

Saionji tries to open the door the arrow is pointing to, but it actually opens horizontally, so he initially has trouble with it. When he finally gets it open, guess who’s waiting there for him:

In another solid moment of humor, Saionji shuts the door immediately and tries to block the way. Kaneda forces his way past Saionji, opens the door, sees Hiratsuka, and also shuts it again. As far as the humor in this series has gone, this is pretty good. Granted, it’s a set gag, but it worked.

Hiratsuka immediately starts making important points related to the case, and I’ll leave the deductions out so you can enjoy the mystery for yourself.

Just to give you a taste, though, there’s a tapestry:

There’s the fact that Shinoda’s first name has the kanji for 4 in it:

But there’s also Yazaki, who says he can solve the case, with the much more suggestive kanji for arrow in his name:

The door the arrow of blood was pointing to was locked when the corpse was found.

And there are many other clues.

There is once again a scene between Saionji and his girlfriend, Emi (Yanagihara Kanako), but they spent the entire time talking about the case, so it wasn’t a problem.

Altogether, Hiratsuka going up against mystery writers was a good premise, and they handled it smoothly. Having two mystery writers available, they made the characters of Yazaki and Shinoda distinct, with each reacting to the case differently.

The humor in this episode was present and mostly well-executed. They continue to manage that aspect of the show better than they did in the first episode. There weren’t any silly laughs at all this time, and the humor was incidental rather than obtrusive.

As for the mystery itself, it was a real puzzler. Around halfway through, you’ll probably have decided who did it, but with only two suspects, the real trick is how he did it. The motive for the case was sound, and the evidence for the method of murder was solid. I’m a little disappointed that a mystery writer couldn’t come up with something even more devious, but it was certainly tricky enough.

So, it looks like this was the first episode with a fair take on humor combined with a good mystery. I’ll take it. It looks like Yamashita-kun and Endo-san are actually doing the bulk of the comedy, and Katori-san is actually the straight man (weird, isn’t it?).

Thanks to LuffyNoTomo for the English subtitles.

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