This episode of Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou (ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 – Biblia Rare Books Case Files) is about the books we read as kids that, if we were to read again, would bring long-unaccessed memories to mind.

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While Shinokawa (Gouriki Ayame) and Daisuke (AKIRA) are out visiting a shop that sells photobooks and has a gallery . . .

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. . . Jesse-kun gets his most substantial scene of the series so far, as it seems like there’s something between his character Fumiya and Kosuga Nao (played by Mizuno Erina). It’s still a throw-away scene, though, unless they actually plan to do something with this relationship in a later episode (which I doubt).

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At the gallery-shop, Daisuke bumps into someone he didn’t expect to see – former girlfriend Akiho.

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When Akiho discovers that Shinokawa owns a bookstore, she asks Shinokawa for help in finding a particular book she barely remembers from her childhood – one with a raccoon.

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Back at Biblia, Shinokawa and Daisuke listen to the best description she can give of the story. She even draws the main character and gives a pretty good synopsis.

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Shinokawa asks for time to figure it out. She and Daisuke head to the cafe where they get the usual unsolicited advice that doesn’t help at all.

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Meeting Akiho again, they find out details that she had failed to mention the first time – a rhinoceros and boy who got bad grades in school.

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None of it rings a bell with Shinokawa. Daisuke asked what precipitated her sudden interest in the book.

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Through the conversation, they discover that Akiho has trouble facing her mother, who may know something about the book, and so they go with her as backup.

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After that, we begin getting details about the case – and yes, it really is all about trying to find a particular children’s book.

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A lot of dialogue is spent on establishing the tension between Akiho and her mother, but when it comes time to see that tension in action, it doesn’t fully materialize. Akiho’s mother tends to pester a bit, but nothing too extraordinary. Akiho gives the cold shoulder as if a petulant teenager, but there doesn’t seem to be a reason for her to be afraid to face her mother.

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As it turns out, Akiho’s mother has some books to sell to Biblia – leftovers from her late husband. That occupies Shinokawa’s focus while they’re there.

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Outside, Akiho once again insists that she dislikes her mother, and attributes it to a ‘mother-daughter’ thing that she doesn’t understand. That’s not good enough, though. The writers seemed to deliberately try to avoid making things dramatic, but I don’t know why. It’s also notable that Akiho is not the only person in this show with mother issues – both Shinokawa and (perhaps more toward his grandmother than mother) Daisuke do, as well. So . . . what’s with the writers and their mothers?

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Daisuke is driven to do some investigating on his own. He clearly has some feelings for his old girlfriend.

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But searching bookstores for a book with a raccoon is sort of an unwieldy approach.

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Shinokawa’s brother gets a second scene, though considering she later says he gave her the key to solving the mystery, he could probably have had a much bigger part in this one than he got.

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Meanwhile, realizing the futility of searching bookstores, Daisuke goes back to Akiho’s mother, sure that she really does know something about the book.

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And things start to unravel after that. Shinokawa reveals the solution twenty-three minutes into the episode – halfway in. So, once again, we get a slow unwind to the show with almost torturous pacing.

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Granted, this drama was about a bookstore owner who solves mysteries, but the one kind of mystery I didn’t want to see was the one where she helps a person to find a book. That’s . . . so boring. I mean, the stakes are so low that it doesn’t seem worth spending an hour on. There isn’t even a way to judge it with normal mystery terms like motive or method.

Technically, the real stake in this episode was the relationship between Akiho and her mother and healing that rift, but they did such a bad job of establishing the existence of a legitimate issue between the characters that the resolution felt trite.

Altogether, this was a totally miss-able episode, and one of the least interesting of an already lackluster series. I really hope they try something special and a bit more balanced for the last two episodes, because it’s depressing to see a drama go this flat.

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