This episode of Kodomo Keishi (コドモ警視) is a bit different. It starts off with one of the teachers encountering something supernatural – or at least something that seems supernatural – while wandering in the school at night.

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I’m not sure what he called it when he shouted – either fireball or will-o’-the-wisp. I had a copy with subtitles in Chinese, and they had the kanji for will-o’-the-wisp (鬼火 – onibi) even though I thought I heard “hidama” (火玉 – fireball). I’ll go with will-o’-the-wisp from here on.

Anyway, as he flees, we see a girl’s smile:

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Is this just a prank, or something more sinister?

The next day, police superintendent Hazama Seishiro (Marius Yo) – a 36 year-old police investigator who was turned into a child by a gas unleashed by terrorists – is once again approached by Kitabayashi Yumi (Minamino Saki), who clearly has a thing for him.

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But there’s another girl in the picture this time – one who delivers the news of what the teacher saw last night in dramatic fashion.

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While Yumi covers her eyes, scared, Hazama puts some distance between himself and the other two. Was he trying to escape Yumi, or did he bolt out of fright from what the other girl said? This is the first in a number of truly cute scenes in this episode.

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After reassuring then that there’s no reason to be scared (at least, I think that’s what he was saying – without at least Japanese subtitles I’m mostly at a loss), Hazama quickly gets himself out of the room.

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In the hall, Hazama sure seems scared of something, though.

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Meanwhile, the two goofball teachers talk the will-o’-the-wisp mystery over with Takamura (Shaku Yumiko).

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The usual teacher wants Hazama to solve the mystery . . .

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. . . so that he can take the credit and win Takamura’s love:

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As usual, Hazama isn’t interested, but the teacher taunts him about being frightened by the spectre (幽霊 – yuurei – another word that’s going to be used to describe this thing), and Hazama bites to prove that he’s not.

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Cue his trademark pose, the exposition, and the credits.

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The girl who told him about the spectre in the first place tries to convince Hazama that it’s real.

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Hazama also has to bear through the teacher’s plans to win over Takamura.

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He tries to think through the situation, standing in the very room where the apparition appeared.

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Before revealing his solution, he visits Takamura, who is worried, and doesn’t believe that he’s not scared (at least, that’s as much as I could gather from my limited understanding of Japanese). Somehow, every time Hazama tries to pretend he’s not scared ends up an amusing scene.

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But really, the best stuff in this episode happens at night, when they’re trying to solve the mystery as the apparition appears.

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Hazama hides, helping his teacher pretend to solve the case to impress Takamura . . .

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. . . but, as usual, Hazama’s first solution, clever though it is, isn’t right. As the lights go out again, the real spectre appears, and everyone panics.

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Hazama crosses himself and prays for divine help in this time of potential supernatural peril.

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But then the lights come on and the creepy girl walks in:

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It doesn’t take much for Hazama to conclude that she’s the culprit, but how, and why?

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Back at his actual work, he encounters one of the characters we met in Kodomo Keisatsu – “Smart”.

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Smart is accosted by someone who looks like he’s superior even to Hazama . . .

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. . . and while he listens to them talk, Hazama gets an idea.

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Back at home, we find out that Hazama has an extraordinary collection of robes, because he has a different one on in every episode (not complaining – variety is good).

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After finally putting the pieces together, it’s time for everyone to confront the truth.

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While retaining the structure of the earlier episodes, this one had a number of good features. First, by introducing something Hazama was afraid of, we got to see a better range of emotion from him, and therefore more of his personality. At the same time, Marius-kun got to show more of his budding acting skills. It also helped to increase the tension in the episode.

The introduction of someone superior to Hazama is important, as we see at the end. Will that superior pull the plug on Hazama’s school mysteries because they are distracting from his real work? Will he fire Hazama because he’s not performing according to expectations, spending so much time on the mysteries? That adds another source of tension going forward.

It’s tough for me to evaluate the mystery without subtitles, but I think the method in this case was far-fetched, as it has been in all the cases so far. I think that’s going to be a pattern in this series – outlandish explanations to the mysteries. Unfortunately, I can’t really say anything about the motive – I simply didn’t understand any dialogue about that. I don’t even know if they discussed a motive at all. So, I continue to hope that someone subs this drama. Or maybe I’ll just watch it again someday when my Japanese is much, much better.