Priceless (プライスレス) stars Kimura Takuya-san (木村拓哉) as Kindaichi Fumio, a salary man who suddenly finds himself with everything taken from him. In the last episode, his spineless boss Moai (Nakai Kiichi) decided to take a promotion rather than try to support Kindaichi – somewhat understandable, since he’d be instantly fired if he opened his mouth about it, anyway.

When we last left Kindaichi, his two little buddies, and coworker Nikaido Saya (Karina), who was dismissed from the company for pursuing Kindaichi’s case, they were all at a ramen shop. There, the cook/owner, Nobu (Kimura Yuichi), turned out to be a collector of Warring States figurines, like Nikaido. He offers a free meal in exchange for the all-important one the boys were trying to use to bribe Nikaido.

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Suddenly, Kindaichi sees a help-wanted poster, and decided to hold the figurine hostage, offering it to Nobu in exchange for a part-time job.

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To Nikaido’s dismay, Nobu agrees. I’m amazed she wasn’t even more upset with Kindaichi than she ended up being, considering how eager she was to complete her collection.

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Back at Grandma Marioka (Natsuki Mari)’s place, there really isn’t an extra room available, so Nikaido has to stay in Kindaichi’s room.

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Needless to say, there has to be some sort of partition:

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But as the boys start taking about what they’d do with 10000 yen, she barges through, pointing out that Kindaichi should be more interested in fighting back against his wrongful dismissal.

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As expected, Nikaido is much more fiery, and can’t stand the injustice. Kindaichi seems to have already moved on.

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When Kindaichi shows up for work the next day, Nobu gets him cleaning and sends him to buy the groceries, There isn’t any sign of activity at the place.

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At the store, Kindaichi encounters that insane phenomenon: the time sale. Do they do this because women are in dire need of excitement, or what? I have to admit, though, it’d make grocery shopping a lot more interesting – though perhaps also a bit more dangerous. Can you charge someone for assault if they maul you when you’re in the middle of that, or is it all fair game?

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Back at the office, Enomoto (Fujigaya Taisuke) discovers that Director Zaizen has Moai on a tight leash. The people in charge want to make sure that Moai is with them, and not supporting Kindaichi any more.

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Meanwhile, Kindaichi discovers that Nobu’s cooking is not really up to par . . .

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. . . and just down the street, he sees people queuing up at another place, and asks why they don’t just come to Nobu’s shop. Apparently, Nobu used to be good, but they say he’s given up trying.

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Nikaido pursues her own goals – approaching Moai about the situation and his willingness to take a promotion instead of helping Kindaichi.

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She doesn’t really succeed in winning Moai over, but certainly rekindled his guilty conscience.

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On returning to Grandma’s place, Nikaido discovers street idol Tomizawa Moe (played by Kojima Haruna) – a delusional girl who pretends she’s performing at Tokyo Dome.

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Moe notices Nikaido . . .

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. . . and when the boys get back, they find Nikaido all dressed up:

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Turns out that Moe at least knows how to turn a profit – she sells photographs, and says the batch she made of Nikaido could fetch 10000 yen.

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That night, Kindaichi decided to begin a promotional campaign to revive Nobu’s shop. He tries to recruit Nikaido – in idol guise – to draw in customers.

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Unknown to Kindaichi, though, is that Nobu has a good reason for giving up on his dream – he’s got a condition:

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Not having any clue of that, Kindaichi goes out to promote the place, and bumps into Moai.

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But evil Toichiro – the man who brought about Kindaichi’s downfall – is watching to see how Moai reacts to Kindaichi. Once Kindaichi leaves, Toichiro sweeps in to make sure Moai knows who’s boss. He takes Moai to a tense meeting with a supplier.

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That pretty much gives you the whole setup for the episode. The only remaining point worth noting is that Nikaido ends up meeting Kindaichi’s girlfriend Yoko (Renbutsu Misako), who was snooping around Grandma’s place. Nikaido tells Yoko not only that Kindaichi is living there, but also that she’s sharing a room with him.

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Naturally, this news leaves Yoko quite distraught:

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So, will Kindaichi’s attempts to bring customers to Nobu’s place succeed? What about Nobu’s heart condition? How long will it take Moai to come back to the good side? And about Yoko – what part will she play going forward?

Oh, and here’s a little teaser for the outfit Nikaido eventually has to wear when she goes out to do her part for the promotion efforts:

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The episode was solid, and gave us a better idea of the trajectory of the show. It looks like Kindaichi is going to carve out his own road to success, seeing that the best way to get even with Toichiro and the rest is to do well in spite of their efforts to destroy him. The way Nikaido’s approach contrasts with this is helpful to the story.

Kojima-san performed the role of Moe in the way only Kojima-san could have – as a self-parody. She’s already quite experienced at self-parody, and was thoroughly amusing here, too.

Acting and pace continue to go well. I have to say that they might have jumped back and forth between scenes a bit too often this time, but it wasn’t a bit deal.

Let’s see how Kindaichi continues to build his new life, demonstrating why the former president saw him as a better successor than Toichiro.