Tag Archive: Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 main characters seem to be having fun in the beginning of this episode of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Neo (金田一少年の事件簿N), as we first see Kindaichi Hajime (Yamada Ryosuke) and his ever-present friends Miyuki (Kawaguchi Haruna) and Ryuji (Arioka Daiki) on a rollercoaster and then in a 3-D zombie movie.

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They were also accompanied by the film club members they met in the previous episode – well, those alive and not incarcerated, anyway.

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Oddly, it’s Ryuji who explains how 3-D works to the film club members rather than the other way around. Ryuji continues to be the fountain of exposition of this series – explaining things that he probably shouldn’t be the one explaining.

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The first episode of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Neo (金田一少年の事件簿N), the newest iteration of the dramas about young detective Kindaichi Hajime, matches the length of the two specials that first introduced Yamada Ryosuke-kun in this role. Yamada-kun is following in the footsteps of his agency seniors Domoto Tsuyoshi-san, Matsumoto Jun-kun, and Kamenashi Kazuya-kun in playing this part, and I will try my very best not to compare him to any of them. That shouldn’t be a problem, since with mysteries I’m mostly interested in the structure of the mystery (the plot!) and how it compares to classic stories in this genre.

Particular to Kindaichi as a character is the way he is always introduced as a bit goofy and immature until something serious happens, at which point he snaps into detective mode. Before we get to that, there’s an intro from Miyuki (Kawaguchi Haruna), one of Kindaichi’s sidekicks, but sure enough the standard silliness soon ensures. Kindaichi’s biology teacher catches him looking at photos of girls and rating them. When I say rating them . . . well, you’ll have to see for yourself.

Miyuki gets angry with Kindaichi because she saw her photo drew a rating of “disappointing” from him, and just as she’s busy burning all of his photos (because no one trusts him to do it), she is met by a student who waxes poetic and calls her beautiful.

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We don’t know the name of that student yet, but the actor is Yamada-kun’s fellow Tantei Gakuen Q pal Kamiki Ryunosuke-kun. Kindaichi’s other sidekick Ryuji (Arioka Daiki) informs him that Kamiki-kun is playing Kurasawa Hikaru, the president of the Film Studies Club. Kurasawa . . . Film Studies Club . . . a bit too obvious, isn’t it? Actually, Ryuji tells us that Hikaru is the grandson of the great Kurasawa Akira, so they make it even more blatant. The actual famous director’s name was, of course, Kurosawa Akira, and they’re dodging a lawsuit from his estate by changing the ‘o’ to an ‘a’. Still a bit dodgy and lacking in imagination.

Anyway, Kurasawa decides that Miyuki will be the heroine in his new film.

Hmm, you know what, I think I’d better call him Hikaru instead of Kurasawa because right after that another student approaches him, angry that he’s dropped someone named Kurokawa from the lead role in the film, and on the off chance that this Kurokawa becomes important, I’m going to have a heck of a time not mangling the two names.

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Anyway, angry student (Izumiya Shigeki played by Okayama Amane, who also appeared in the first episode of Kinkyori Renai) is the screenplay writer for the film, and he wrote it with Kurokawa in mind, but director Hikaru wants to cast Miyuki. Izumiya says he quits, but what leverage does he have now that he’s written the script? Well, he whispers something in Hikaru’s ear about confessing to the police so . . . yeah, that kind of leverage.

The very next thing that happens was impossible – Kindaichi asks Ryuji who Kurokawa is, and Ryuji tells him that Kurokawa is the super-beautiful start of the Film Studies Club. Now, wait a minute – how is it that Kindaichi, who spends all his time rating the girls at school and ogling them, doesn’t know who such a beautiful girl on campus is but his kouhai (who hasn’t been at the school as long) does? Doesn’t make any sense. The writers are using Ryuji to deliver exposition in a ham-handed way.

Kindaichi intervenes to tell Hikaru that Miyuki could not possibly be an actress because she has no charm, and I’m surprised Miyuki resisted punching him – she only gave his a slap on the cheek.

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This special is the latest installment of the Case Files of Young Kindaichi (金田一少年の事件簿), a drama series based on a manga and anime with more than a decade of history and three other notable actors playing the lead role. This will be the second time Kindaichi is played by Yamada Ryosuke-kun. The first time, the 2013 special, was . . . not so good. The plot was sloppy and incredible, the method of the crime unworkable, and Kindaichi was often goofy at inappropriate times. I think, though, that all of those complaints and more were probably heard by the producers, so hopefully this time we won’t see any of those flaws.

I also look forward to seeing the three leads – Yamada-kun, Arioka Daiki-kun as Saki Ryuji, and Kawaguchi Haruna-san as Nanase Miyuki settling down into their roles. Kawaguchi-san in particular didn’t get much of a chance in the 2013 special, and last year both Yamada-kun and Arioka-kun handled an overabundance of comic relief but were underwhelming when it came to conveying the gravitas of a murder mystery.

It’s taken me a while to get to this special because subtitles have not been forthcoming and, to this point, I still haven’t found any English subtitles. I hope that’s just an internet searching fail on my part. Anyway, what I did have was the YYeTs version with the Japanese subtitles, and since I had some faith that this would be a decent show, I decided to jot down the words I didn’t know and look them up. On the bright side, this drama has introduced me to over three hundred new Japanese phrases, some of which I’ll share with you during the course of this article. The downside is that it took me about the time I usually take to review at least five drama episodes to get through it. Oh, and my Japanese is still horrible. So, was it worth the effort?

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I have to say that seeing Kindaichi pretending that his head had been severed and placed on a desk . . . actually, I didn’t take much away from that. It was the sort of silly thing that often begins a Kindaichi episode. It’s only when people start dying that I want to see a bit more seriousness.

There’s a lot of exposition up-front from Saki and Miyuki. Miyuki is telling Kindaichi’s severed head about the Prison Gate Prep School (獄門予備校 – gokumon yobikou), and Kindaichi is basically making fun of the name of the school by pretending that he’s been beheaded and his head is about to be mounted on a pike in front of the prison (打ち首獄門 – uchikubi gokumon – a standard practice in the Edo period). Miyuki is totally unperturbed and drones on, reading from a pamphlet about how the main school is based in Taiwan and how the past results are excellent. Saki joins in, saying that he attended the previous year, and that the Taiwan school and Japan school have a combined summer boarding house/training camp (合同夏合宿 – goudou natsu gasshuku). Miyuki reads from the pamphlet that the camp guarantees a boost to participant’s test scores (偏差値 – hensachi – literally standard deviation score) or your money back!

If you haven’t already gotten the picture, Miyuki and Saki are plotting to drag Kindaichi to this summer camp because his scores . . . well, they need a boost. I really like Miyuki and Saki in this scene.

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They visit the prep school, but what they find there is much more up Kindaichi’s alley than academics. Outside the building, they discover posters for the summer camp in Malaysia, but inside they hear a girl scream and discover a dead body up the stairs from her.

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