The heroes of Priceless (プライスレス) find themselves crowded out by thermoses of their own making:

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With their precious living space, so ardently fought for (and over), now occupied by inanimate objects of no clear practical value, Nikaido (Karina) argues that the thermoses should be sold to a secondhand shop for whatever cash they can fetch.

Meanwhile, the one thermos that they actually managed to sell has inspired a very influential writer for a consumer goods column.

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His article hits the stands . . .

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. . . just as they’re getting the thermoses hauled away.

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Finally, one of the kids picks up the phone, with someone wanting to order a lot of thermoses at the other end.

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Kindaichi gets to the phone just as the truck is pulling away from the house . . .

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. . . so they have to chase after it.

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The phone is ringing off the hook with orders, but every call is for hundreds. How are they going to fill all these orders when they don’t even have a factory to make anything, and only 199 thermoses available?

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The result is that they have to assemble all of the factory managers they know from their old company in a very makeshift boardroom.

Priceless Ep 07 016Priceless Ep 07 018   Basically, Kindaichi (Kimura Takuya) has to convince them that the venture is legit, and it’s not going to be an overnight thing. After all, it takes a lot to get manufacturing up and running, and even with the orders, they don’t want to start work on a new product that doesn’t have legs.

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They decide to go with it. After all, even if Miracle Thermos (that is, Miracle Electronics) wants to still do business with them, it’s already proven to be a bad actor willing to break contracts.

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News of Kindaichi’s attempt reaches the boardroom of Miracle, but Toichiro (Fujiki Naohito) decides to leave Kindaichi alone on the grounds that even with a successful product, Kindaichi won’t be able to run a company for the long-term.

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But the last time he decided to leave Kindaichi alone, Director Zaizen decided to use Enomoto (Fujigaya Taisuke) to cause trouble for Kindaichi anyway. Will this time be any different?

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While Nikaido is checking on something . . .

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. . . the man responsible for the thermos’ success is looking for its creators and heard they came to his restaurant:

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He wants to see about their expansion – what their next product is going to be.

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Of course, they don’t have one yet, and say so.

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But, if they do come up with one, they’ve basically scored an offer for free promotion.

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It turns out Nikaido was working on a management plan all that time, and they decide to rely on her for that side of things.

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Kindaichi, of course, does the salesmanship:

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But he’s not the only one at work:

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Enomoto tries to hide that he’s working under orders from the director, but Kindaichi sees through that.

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So far, everything seems to be going swimmingly for the Kindaichi team.

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Not wanting them to rest on their laurels, Nikaido proposes a new plan – make the thermos cheaper through mass production.

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Considering it’s only a 10% drop in an already luxury price, and such price cuts soon after the introduction of an item leaves a bad taste in the mouth of first-adopters (who a company really has to gain the loyalty of to ensure the success of the next product), this strikes me as a phenomenally bad idea. But, once they hear that she’s already squared it with factories, making sure they’re ready to increase production, Kindaichi names her MVP.

Once factory, though, can’t go any faster:

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Nikaido is not happy with this – it’s not going according to her plan.

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Moai (Nakai Kiichi) apologizes to the factory manager for Nikaido’s tone, but the manager feels that his factory is simply not up to par. They need to retool to keep up with the other suppliers. Nevertheless, Moai promises that Kindaichi will not cut them out.

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Nikaido wants to cut the factory out, but as Moai predicted, Kindaichi won’t allow it.

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Back at Miracle HQ, Toichiro is not feeling as sanguine as he once did. Will he make a move against Kindaichi after all?

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Kindaichi’s girlfriend Yoko (Renbutsu Misako), though, is thrilled by the success (which her father helped to set up).

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But Yoko is still a bit worried about the relationship between Kindaichi and Nikaido, hovering nearby as the two talk over hot dogs.

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When she finally approaches them, Nikaido quickly excuses herself. Unfortunately, so does Kindaichi, leaving Yoko with a bad impression. There’s no avoiding the fact that she’s getting left out of the picture.

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Yoko says it straight out to Nikaido when Kindaichi leaves – it doesn’t seem like Kindaichi likes her anymore, and seems to prefer Nikaido. Nikaido denies it, of course, but there’s no way it can be convincing, coming from her.

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Still, though, everything seems to be working out fine for the new company. So . . . what’s going to go wrong?

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It sure looks like Nikaido is getting herself worked up and frustrated . . .

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. . . and since it’s all down to her relationship with Kindaichi, the way he gets under the blanket with her to check out what she’s doing doesn’t help.

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Well, I think I’ll leave what specifically goes wrong as a surprise, since it comes pretty late in the episode, and we’ve already gotten plenty of hints. It falls somewhere between the manager of the obsolete factory and Nikaido.

It is serious enough to warrant an executive meeting . . .

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. . . resulting in a very unhappy Kindaichi, who has to bring out the thermos he rescued from Miracle to illustrate his point:

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It’s all about Kindaichi’s vision versus Toichiro’s, but perhaps this time, Kindaichi is being a bit too naive and optimistic?

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This was a slow-developing episode – much slower in pace than any of the previous episodes. It was necessary, though, to turn Kindaichi’s venture into a real company, and I really can’t see any way it could have been sped up easily. There had so be the stretch in the first half of the episode where things were finally going right for them to set up what happens later.

I felt that while the conflict in this episode was a reasonable one, the resolution was a bit too quick and easy. Kindaichi’s lack of awareness about Nikaido seems somewhat off, too. He seems so socially adept, it’s weird that he has such a glaring blind spot. At the same time, I’m not too sure Nikaido’s actions are sufficiently justified, either.

So, I have to call this one a soft episode. It might be good to spark a discussion in a class on business case studies, but it was too dry in the tension and emotional intensity department.

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