This episode continues the case introduced in episode three of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Neo (金田一少年の事件簿N). We last left the main characters on an island with a bunch of medical interns, and it didn’t take long for murders to start happening. First, an intern named Morimura was hung in a room that was reputedly haunted. Then, another aspiring medical student – Shiina Makio – was found hanging from a high crossbeam at a chapel.
Some of the interns feel guilty about the fate of Ebisawa Kuniaki, who attempted suicide and remains in a coma at their hospital. Meanwhile, one of them – Shiraishi – hints to Kindaichi (Yamada Ryosuke) that she knows who moved the ladder (and thus would have been able to reach the locations to commit the murders), but she’s unwilling to say who.
Kato was so distraught about the thought of Ebisawa’s revenge that he tried to swim away from the island, but Kindaichi managed to save him from a likely death. That’s some serious guilt Kato’s got, though.
After Kato apologized to everyone for his momentary lapse of sanity, Kindaichi declared that the murders were not the result of vengeful spirits, but the handiwork of a criminal who was among them.
The camp leader recalls that there were footprints leading to the chapel . . .
. . . but those had been left by the creepy caretaker, Tsukahara, and we know he’s not the murderer because that would be too obvious.
Kindaichi notes that sand precipitation caused by the typhoon would have obscured the real footprints of the murderer – Tsukahara’s prints were from after the murder at the chapel. That doesn’t really leave much time for the murder of Shiina to have occurred, though – only half an hour between the last time they saw him alive and the rain of sand. Kindaichi asks everyone for the alibis for that time.
The camp leader was talking with the three remaining interns, so they’re all out of the picture. The caretaker was on the phone – something that could potentially be verified by police. The only person without any sort of alibi was Shintani, who is in charge of the part-time staff (Kindaichi and friends). Shintani says that she was tending to the garden and Kato quickly accuses her of killing Shiina.
She doesn’t take being accused very well, and rushes off, saying that she needs to prepare dinner. I’m not sure anyone would really do that when being accused of murder – seems like it would be important to deny the notion firmly.
Kindaichi didn’t insist on more answers from Shintani since he’s perplexed by the fact that the ladder is still missing. Indeed, it was Shintani who mentioned the absent ladder in the first place.
Miyuki (Kawaguchi Haruna) and Kindaichi have a moment, talking through the keyhole in the sealed door between their rooms, but Kindaichi’s attempt to invite her over is foiled when Kato shows up.
Instead of Miyuki sleeping over, as Kindaichi intended, it was Kato who asked to sleep in the young detective’s room. Kato was afraid that he would be the killer’s next target. Kindaichi initially said no, but ended up feeling bad about it and went over to Kato’s room.
Kindaichi asks about Ebisawa, who may have been driven to suicide because he was betrayed by his best friend – Shiina. At least, that’s Kato’s account of it.
Ebisawa wanted to become a novelist and wasn’t actually that eager to become a doctor. Kato and Morimura pushed Shiina into bullying Ebisawa out of the program.
Shiina didn’t oppose Kato and Morimura because their parents were at the top of the hospital pecking order. We saw Shiina acting subservient to them at the beginning of episode three, as well.
Kindaichi wonders if the reason Shiraishi didn’t say who moved the ladder was because the person was higher in the hospital pecking order. That doesn’t seem sufficient, and in any case it doesn’t seem to narrow down the suspect list much.
Before they can pursue that line of thought any further, they both suddenly fall asleep – the effect of something being fed through the keyhole.
The next morning, Kindaichi wakes up to find that Kato has been murdered. So much for the security of having Kindaichi in the room.
Bizarrely, when one of the other interns wonders whether he committed the murder, Kindaichi also chooses not to give a straight answer but instead changes the subject. Really? Is it so much trouble to just say “no” before moving on?
Well, it looks like hospital rank really is the only reason Shiraishi didn’t divulge the information about the ladder. Kindaichi concludes by process of elimination (that is, the only other possibilities are dead) that the only other intern – Kawashima – must have been the one who moved the ladder.
Kawashima insists that he didn’t commit any of the murders, though. He claims he just wanted to scare Shinna by producing a fake onibi (angry spirit) outside Shinna’s window.
But then why did they see the onibi outside the window of the sealed room? I know this one – it has to do with something we saw right at the beginning of episode three. Kawashima says that he returned the ladder back to where he found it and I’m pretty sure I know who the culprit is already. They’ve done a pretty good job of limiting our choices in this one by giving people alibis.
The writers still want to throw us off, though, so Kindaichi gets a call from Kenmochi (Yamaguchi Tomomitsu) . . .
. . . which reveals that Shintani was Ebisawa’s aunt. That would be a serious revelation if not for the fact that there’s still more than half the episode left, and nothing about Shintani would explain the appearance of the onibi outside the wrong window. Finally, Kindaichi asks to hear Shintani’s story . . .
. . . and finally she says that she didn’t kill anyone, bowing as she asks them to believe her. Now that’s more like it.
Saki (Arioka Daiki) says he thinks that Shintani is the culprit, but that pretty much rules her out. Kindaichi explains why – she had an alibi for the first murder.
Kindaichi attempts to woo Miyuki while she’s thinking about Ebisawa.
Kindaichi dashes off, having figured out that the ladder must have been removed a second time (I have no idea why this was a revelation, as it was obvious once Kawashima said that he had put the ladder back). I’ll leave the rest of the summary out because it’s all spoilers from here. If you didn’t figure it out before Kindaichi, it might actually be helpful to make a chart with the characters, their alibis, and potential motives on this one.
Eventually, there’s another scene in the chapel, and I found that to be particularly ridiculous. I know that this is just a drama, but certain things happen to a dead body if it’s been left hanging for a day – it’s not going to look like Shinna did there, and all the doctors would have recognized that. A touch of make-up would have helped there.
Kindaichi takes an extraordinary time figuring things out, and there’s every opportunity for the viewer to put everything together before he does. On the bright side, at least the method to the murders was excellent, the motive was solid with some truly poignant touches.
There were some aspects of the case that were hard to believe – like the fact that the ladder was the only way to get Shinna down – but those were forgivable. The acting from the guests was a tad choppy, though, and that was more difficult to ignore. They didn’t get any help from the script, which often had them behave unnaturally.
This two-episode case was still good entertainment. I hope that they can pack similar quality into the single-episode cases going forward.