We last left Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou (ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 – Biblia Rare Books Case Files) with quite a cliffhanger. Daisuke (AKIRA) had just accused Kasai (Tanaka Kei) of being the person who attacked Shinokawa (Gouriki Ayame) and, judging from the way Kasai immediately struck Daisuke down, it looks like the accusation was justified despite Daisuke’s flimsy evidence.

The beginning of this episode has Daisuke rushing to the hospital roof to save Shinokawa from Kasai. But why are Shinokawa and Kasai so passionate about this one book and the message the author wrote in it (aside from its monetary value)?

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Kasai’s only got scissors for a weapon, but neither of the other two look like they’re in any shape to risk taking him down.

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Kasai explains why the book is important to him, citing an interpretation of the author’s words that Shinokawa already expressed disagreement with in the previous episode. Kasai seems to have built his life around that interpretation, though, so it might not be a safe thing to try to convince him he’s wrong. Not when he’s got those scissors, anyway.

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Rather than try to argue philosophy, Shinokawa decides that the book has only caused people misery, and so decides to do the unthinkable.

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That’s right! She’s going to go Fahrenheit 451 on it!

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Kasai nearly jumped off the roof after it, but Daisuke managed to catch him. The madman goes totally hysterical afterward, though (really nice acting from Tanaka-san, by the way).

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In the next scene, we see Daisuke visiting Kasai in prison to find out what the whole story is. Turns out the book originally belonged to Kasai’s grandfather.

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But I’m not going to give away any more details about his backstory here (I’m not sure we got all of it, anyway, and I think the Kasai plot will continue).

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Daisuke returns to Shinokawa with Kasai’s accusation that Shinokawa doesn’t really love books, because otherwise she wouldn’t have burned the book. Of course, Daisuke comes to the obvious realization that the copy she burned wasn’t the real thing.

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Sure enough, Daisuke retrieves the real thing from the safe, still wrapped in purple cloth fit for the king of books.

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For once, Daisuke has some solid reasoning when he tells Shinokawa how he knew the book she burned was fake. The weird choice of fleeing to the roof (which I found odd when reviewing the last episode) comes into play and gets explained.

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Shinokawa’s method of ensnaring the culprit was mildly ingenious, but more importantly effective in a convincing way.

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Shinokawa then explains how she eventually figured out Kasai was the one who had been harassing her, but the deduction is a bit of a stretch.

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So . . . is there anything left to this mystery, or are we ready to move onto the next case? Shinokawa returns to work, but the atmosphere between her and Daisuke is awkward after she misled him about her plan and explained why she didn’t trust him with the truth.

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Jesse-kun gets his brief part of the episode playing Shinokawa’s brother as Shida (Takahashi Katsumi) talks to him about the tension in the front room.

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Shortly after that, a suspicious man arrives with a box of books to sell. Looks like our new case has started. Daisuke’s at the desk, but the man, Suzaki, is looking for Shinokawa – asking for her by description rather than name.

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He seems surprised when she appears and says she’s the manager of the store. What was he expecting?

Anyway, he says he’s really there to sell a very rare book called Utopia (an early manga from Fujiko Fujio, the artist duo that brought us Kaibutsu-kun among other manga) which is worth around a million yen (around $10,000), and while staring into space asks whether the store has a parking lot. Weird fellow.

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Considering how erratic Suzaki seemed, it was hardly a surprise that he did not return with Utopia. But he left all his other books without taking the money for them, so the decision not to return was one that cost him some money.

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Shinokawa suggests that Suzaki had some ulterior motive – something to do with her specifically.

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She decides to go return the books he left behind – he wrote down enough of his address on the slip for her to figure out where he lives – the neighborhood, though not which building. Along the way, she explains the history behind Utopia in depth.

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As they get out to walk, we notice that Shinokawa is still walking with a limp and a crutch. That’s a nice touch, and I think it actually gives her character a bit more definition (the character has been rather nondescript so far). There are people who would have sent Daisuke out alone on this errand because of their injury and people who would insist on going there themselves. The fact that Shinokawa is the latter type is interesting, and I wish we had seen more of this kind of persistence from her earlier in the series, when she seemed far too airy and aloof.

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She picks out the building she is sure Suzaki lives in, but doesn’t explain why she thinks it’s the right place. It is, though.

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In a way, what this guy wants is sort of a mystery of its own, and the desire to find out is something to keep people watching, so I’ll keep the details out as spoilers.

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Of course, the first thing that happens is that Suzaki asks how Shinokawa knew this was the house, so she explains. The clues were totally not apparent to the viewer, but it was still a good explanation.

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There’s no way I can say anything more about what happens, except that it does involve Shinokawa personally.

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This was a very interesting episode from start to finish, mainly because it kept us wondering about something at practically every moment. As soon as the Kasai situation seemed wrapped up, the Suzaki thing started up, leaving us with no downtime. We also didn’t get a long unwind once Shinokawa got down to the heart of the facts (probably because they needed to conclude the Kasai situation first – if the Suzaki plot had gotten an episode of its own, it would have had the same sort of slow conclusion as some previous episodes.

Most importantly, we learned a lot more about Shinokawa and her mother. I often complain when drama writers create a main character, then don’t take the time to fill out their background and the corners of their personality. It doesn’t look like that’ll be a problem here.

I’m not too sure about gluing the bookstore’s receipt inside a book of that kind of value – is that normally done? Seems like they would want to keep the copy as pristine as possible, but I’m not a book collector. That was the only thing about the episode that struck me as a bit wrong.

Thanks to ersby for the subtitles.

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