Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Neo (金田一少年の事件簿N) begins this time with what seems to be a clear suicide – we actually see the person with the rope and the suicide note. Doesn’t seem like it would be something for Kindaichi (Yamada Ryosuke) to investigate, so there’s more than meets the eye.

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The young detective is at the hospital for a stomach exam and his friend Miyuki (Kawaguchi Haruna) is there to keep him company, and is also interested in the possibility of a part-time job. There’s a flyer for a summer training camp for medical interns where the part-timers will help out and have to stay overnight.

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The whole summer camp thing sounds a bit familiar, though obviously this one has a medical spin on it and presumably most of the participants won’t get killed this time (the series has so far done a good job of keeping an adequate number of suspects).

The thought of spending a night on an island with Miyuki apparently gets Kindaichi’s interest, so he’s in.

Then, out of nowhere, police detective Kenmochi (Yamaguchi Tomomitsu) shows up, having much the same panicked reaction to medical exams that Kindaichi did, except that he seems to have  real reason to worry. It’s all played up for laughs, though.

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The doctor uses an endoscope on Kindaichi, and since he explains the instrument in detail, it seems likely that it’s going to figure in the case to come. This was pretty obvious, but for the duller audience members who need their hand held throughout the case, the director put a “How done it?” box around the scene to bring everyone’s attention to the endoscope. If only they had gotten the English grammar right and put “How was it done?” . . . I’d still hate all these attempts to dispel the mystery before we even know what the mystery is.

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At the hospital, Kindaichi also stumbles into a room where the person who attempted suicide at the beginning of the show is.

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Anyway, Saki (Arioka Daiki) somehow got into the trip, too, even though there were only supposed to be two participants. Since he mostly missed out on the previous episode, it’s nice to see they found some excuse to throw him in this time.

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Kindaichi clearly has some perverse intentions when it comes to Miyuki, but this is marginally more sophisticated than the lame comments/jokes we’ve been getting in previous episodes.

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On the ship, they not only meet the person in charge of the part-timer training program – Shintani Yuri – but also many others, including the doctor who had conducted the stomach examination on Kindaichi – Kawasaki Youzou. He’s one of the lecturers for the camp.

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There’s also a slew of medical interns – Morimura, Kato, Kawashima, Shiraishi, and Shiina. Wow, lots of suspects already. I wonder who dies?

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It’s worth noting that Shiina is played by NEWS’ Masuda Takahisa-kun. The others look familiar, but I can’t pin names to them without a more robust cast list. Unfortunately, with different actors in each episode except for the main characters, it’s a bit tough in this series to keep track of everyone.

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Yup – definitely lots of people:

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The interns are all children of doctors, and except for Shiina they all seem to have a snotty attitude. Already, I sense that the motive is going to be revenge for pushing that guy at the beginning to commit suicide.

The manager of the training institute – Tsukahara – is a creepy fellow, which probably means he’s not going to murder people.

Their accommodations here are a lot nicer than the last time they were involved in a summer camp, but there are cobwebs in the well-furnished rooms.

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Things are proceeding very slowly – much too slowly to develop the case and resolve it in this episode. We’re already ten minutes in, resolutions usually take around fifteen minutes minimum, and that leaves twenty minutes for people to die and clues to be found. I think this is going to be a two-parter. Unlike previous iterations of Kindaichi, the new writers seem to prefer things feature-length (one and a half hours plus).

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By the way, there’s a category nine typhoon approaching, and in my book, that should probably result in the evacuation of a tiny island like this. I think that’s about the equivalent of a hurricane of category three or above, though I don’t have a good source on the scale they’re using. No one seems concerned, though.

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Among the main duties of the part-timers is apparently to clean the rooms and serve dishes to the medical interns. At dinner, Tsukahara says he’s going to hold a traditional event – a test of courage of some sort. The interns are mostly unenthusiastic, but the three main characters and three others decide to join in.

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Tsukahara tells them that the place was once a medical clinic for the chronically ill, and there are angry spirits about, waiting to see revenge. Oh, good. I won’t go into Tsukahara’s story except to say that it has to do with a sealed room which the spirits haunt at midnight.

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They have to look into the room’s keyhole at midnight . . .

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. . . and when they do, they see Morimura being hung by one of the spirits.

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They enter the locked room, but Morimura isn’t in there at all. I guess we don’t get a locked room mystery just yet.

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They all assume it was just some sort of prank or illusion, so no one decides to actually check on Morimura, which is a really silly thing. I mean, with all Kindaichi has been through, shouldn’t he have verified that Morimura was alive and well?

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The next day, they notice Morimura hasn’t come down for breakfast, and when Kindaichi checks Morimura’s room, he finds no one there.

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They find Morimura’s body lying outside, with the marks of the rope used to strangle him on his neck. It appears he dropped right from the window of the haunted room.

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Shintani points out that the only people who didn’t participate in the courage test except for Morimura were Kawasaki, Kawashima, and Shiina. But the whole courage test thing and the keyhole seems specifically designed to mislead everyone about the timing of the murder, so let’s not limit our suspect list just yet. I’m now suspicious of Shintani, by the way.

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Kindaichi calls this a locked room mystery because the window has a thick layer of dust and the rest of the doors were apparently impassible, but usually locked room mysteries require the body to be found in the room. There’s every reason to suspect that the murder was not committed in this room, and in fact Morimura was never in this room at all. My bet is that the image of him was somehow projected in. The only evidence that connecting the murder to the room is Kindaichi and Kato peering through the keyhole.

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While the doctor tries to call off the camp, the typhoon is preventing them from leaving the island or calling the police. Told you it should have been evacuated.

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After that, certain characters start saying too much for no reason and dropping spoilers, so I’ll cut the summary here.

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One thing, though – there is another murder, and they all see him hanging from a high, hard-to-reach location. The weird thing is, they all start having a conversation right there. Now, I get that it might take some special effort to get him down, but there’s really only two options – focus on getting the corpse down or start your conversation outside. Just talking while a corpse is dangling like that isn’t in the realm of normal human behavior.

I can’t assess this mystery yet because, as expected, it’s a two-parter. On the whole, the flow was pretty good and the story is compelling so far even though they tend to shove the clues in your face. I’ve made a few points about how some of the assumptions made during the course of the episode weren’t necessarily true, but those were minor issues and things a lot of mystery stories do.

The acting from some of the suspects this time was a bit overdone and unrealistic, and that was really the only significant downside to the episode.

Altogether, this was pretty good compared to the first two episodes. It’ll all depend on how it turns out in episode four, though.