As the antagonist of Priceless (プライスレス), Oyashiki Toichiro (Fujiki Naohito) becomes steadily less comfortable in his position as president of Miracle Electronics . . .
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. . . the three protagonists decide to get better threads . . .
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. . . and to move Happiness Thermoses to more impressive premises.

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They look like they’re on their way up just as much as Toichiro looks like he’s on his way down, but we all know that Toichiro is not going to give up without a fight.

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Before we get to Toichiro’s scheme, though, there’s a little meeting between Kindaichi (Kimura Takuya) and his principal benefactor Hirose Ryoichi (Kusakari Masao). Hirose finds out that Kindaichi only met his father once, at a baseball game, and something seems to click.

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Visiting his father’s grave, Toichiro remembers how, even though his father was technically present in his life, they never spent time together.

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Even though his ruthless business tactics have brought his company success, he still has a grudge against Toichiro, and wants to see his younger half-brother fail. He orders his minion to crush Happiness Thermoses.

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And while trying to enjoy a peaceful breakfast (still at the Marioka home because Kindaichi feels comfortable there) . . .

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. . . the three leaders of Happiness Thermoses get a visit from Miracle Electronics’ lawyer, with a claim of patent infringement. I was wondering why Miracle didn’t press the patent issue earlier, but this is definitely much nastier – waiting until the thermos is already successful.

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By law, Kindaichi’s company is forced to stop production, and at this rate, it looks like their stay in the new digs will be a short one.

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They get the additional news that Miracle is trying to buy out all of Happiness’ suppliers.

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The guy Miracle sent on this unenviable mission was, of course, Enomoto (Fujigaya Taisuke). They always seem to make him do the sleaziest stuff.

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Hirose is understandably worried about this strife between two of his business partners, especially since it means that he would lost his investment in Happiness. We get the sense, though, that his interest in this situation goes further than just business.

Hirose decides to call in both Kindaichi and Toichiro without telling either one that the other would be there. The start of this meeting does not go well, as Toichiro takes a hard line against Kindaichi.

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Hirose proceeds to offer a profit-sharing deal, which is a normal settlement to these sorts of cases. When Toichiro turns down the deal – not even attempting to adjust the terms (asking for a bigger cut) – it becomes pretty clear that this is personal. We, the audience, already knew that, but Hirose and Kindaichi didn’t.

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After Toichiro storms out, Hirose and Kindaichi confer.

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As Hirose remembers the old president of Miracle Thermoses – the father of Toichiro and Kindaichi – we, the viewers, are pretty sure he understands that Kindaichi is actually Toichiro’s younger brother, even though Kindaichi doesn’t know that.

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The Happiness team can’t quite agree about what to do. They’ll lose the patent case, and they don’t have another product.

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When Kindaichi and Nikaido (Karina) want to go down fighting, Moai (Nakai Kiichi) gives them a reality check by showing them what’s going on at the factories – nothing.

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You see, businesses don’t want to work with factories that have ties to a patent investigation – makes them worried that their own patents might be in jeopardy. So the factories tied to Happiness aren’t getting any other work, either.

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Meanwhile, we find out that Moai has some health issues. Nothing major, though – just overexertion (apparently).

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With Moai’s take in mind, Kindaichi decides on a plan of action.

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He decides to visit Toichiro directly:

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So, what is Kindaichi’s solution? Will Toichiro really go along with it? At what point does Hirose tell Kindaichi that Toichiro is his brother?

Oh, and what will Enomoto do?

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Well, there’s no question that this drama is revving up to one heck of a finale. All the important questions now have to be answered, and it really couldn’t have been orchestrated any better.

I do have to criticize the ending of this episode, though, on the grounds that it could have been set up better. That’s not to say that it wasn’t set up at all – it was – but I could easily imagine how they could have inserted a minute here and a minute there in earlier episodes to foreshadow it. I think they wanted it to come as a surprise – and it sure came that way – but it was hard to suspend disbelief this time.

Other than that, everything was smooth, the pacing was great, and I noticed no flaws at all in the acting. On to the finale!