In the last episode of Priceless (プライスレス), Moai (Nakai Kiichi) decided that he had finally had enough of the policies of the new management of Miracle Thermos, and was fired after criticizing the company president Toichiro (Fujiki Naohito).

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As a result, he was kicked out of his home by his wife, and had to take up residence with the other two who were fired from Miracle Thermos – Kindaichi (Kimura Takuya) and Nikaido (Karina).

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There isn’t much space in Grandma Marioka’s home, though, and they have trouble figuring out how the accommodations should work. Nikaido wants the two men to share the male half of the room, but Moai wants to split the room into three. Either way, it looks uncomfortable.

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Moai is having trouble adjusting, and having been ignored for most of his time at Miracle Thermos, it seems like he’s not used to interacting with people.

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First, the kids are disrespectful to him, then he meets this guy:

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And how about the resident street idol (Kojima Haruna), who is completely dismissive of him in contrast to the way she normally greets people?

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Moai is left in such distress that he now doubts whether he should have left the company. He asks Nikaido to say bad things about the company to make him feel better about his choice.

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Really, this way of starting the episode is just perfect, and entirely hilarious. It highlights the contrast between the three characters and adds a touch of reality into what is essentially an unreasonable comic situation.

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But Kindaichi has a plan . . . .

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As expected, he’s going to put that food cart to use, and decides that they’re going to sell hot dogs. I have to applaud this, because they’ve been setting it up through the entire series. In the first episode, they already had Kindaichi going to his favorite eatery and getting a hot dog that made him shout “umai!” That sort of foreshadowing is certainly the mark of good writing.

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Moai is not enthusiastic about the plan, of course, and nor is Nikaido. They both have trouble with the idea because its lacking in detail – for Nikaido in terms of cost-benefit analysis and accounting, and for Moai in terms of worst-case scenario management. Of course, those more sophisticated ideas about how to run a business are helpful only if there is a business to be run. Kindaichi seems to be the only one willing to take the risks to get things moving. Luckily, he has the charisma to drag them along with him.

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But he can’t convince Nikaido to share the room three ways, so she moves in with the street idol instead.

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Unfortunately, she makes the mistake of saying she’s willing to hear the idol’s life story:

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The atmosphere in the guys’ room might be more conducive to sleep, but it’s hardly more uplifting.

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And so a difficult night drags on . . . .

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Breakfast the next morning is still punctuated by bickering, but there’s a family feel to it.

 

 

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Kindaichi leads him to the source of his favorite hot dogs for a little bit of research:

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And then it’s off to the best place to score sales – the street in front of their old company.

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You see, when Moai asked Nikaido to complain about the company to make him feel better, one of the criticisms she came up with was that the cafeteria food was horrible.

 

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So, they knew that there would be a crowd ready to swarm any source of decent food:

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The problem is that those are all their former co-workers who have a dim view of them. Kindaichi’s young apprentice Enomoto (Fujigaya Taisuke) senses yet another chance to help out his friend, and becomes their first customer. That leads the rest of the crowd to rush in to get a good lunch in.

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With strong profits for the day, the trio decide to celebrate with a well-earned round of beers:

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But their alliance doesn’t look like it will hold for long, as Moai gets a call for an interview and will naturally quit working with Kindaichi and Nikaido on the food cart if he can get a proper position.

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Back at Miracle Thermos, company president Toichiro wants to stop making thermoses since the margins are too thin, and the company has better results with other products.

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That’s a shame, since the company contracted to design and produce the thermoses for them had just come up with a new prototype:

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After facing the anger of that factory manager, Toichiro notices Kindaichi’s hot dog cart and, for now, decides not to cause any trouble for it.

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The thermos factory manager decides to get some food to settle his churning stomach, though, and Kindaichi decides to haul the cart over to his factory.

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Moai’s interview seems to go well . . .

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. . . so does that mean he’s going to take the easy path again?

Will Toichiro really leave Kindaichi alone, letting him make profits at Miracle Thermos’ doorstep?

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And why does Kindaichi’s girlfriend Yoko (Renbutsu Misako) invite Nikaido to lunch?

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While this episode started slowly with the three main characters sniping at each other, that early phase was necessary, and the pace picked up well afterward.

More importantly, everything that I could have hoped they would do in this episode, they did. They put the food cart to use, had a confrontation between Kindaichi and Toichiro, and the show ended promising a further development along a line that everyone watching should have thought of as soon as they heard that Miracle Thermos was going to stop making thermoses. In general, the story arc is progressing in the most satisfying way imaginable.

We also got a curious side development as we are further introduced to Yoko’s father, who is played by prominent actor Kusakari Masao-san. With him in that role, there must be a substantial part there, though we have no idea what it might be. Hopefully, he’s not going to make it too easy for Kindaichi. I like the idea that this story is about how Kindaichi was able to work his way back up from nothing to challenge Toichiro, and would prefer it if he does so without relying too much on someone else’s resources.

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