Sunday, August 10, 2014

ReturN: File 3

『金田一少年の事件簿 鬼火島殺人事件』

"My feelings for you, are yours only to know"
"The Young Kindachi Case Files The Will-o'-the-Wisp Island Murder Case"

I just noticed that this post on Conan and Kindachi Shounen was the five-hundredths post on the blog. Yay, I think? Anyway, back to business: another review of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo NEO ("The Young Kindaichi Case Files NEO"), the currently running live action drama series based on the popular comic franchise!

Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo NEO
Pre-series TV Special 2 (January 4, 2014: The Prison Gate Cram School Murder Case
Episode 1 (July 19, 2014): The Murderer of the Silver Screen 
Episode 2 (July 26, 2014): The Game Mansion Murder Case
Episode 3 & 4 (August 2 & 9, 2014): The Will-o'-the-Wisp Island Murder Case
Episode 5 & 6 (August 16 & 23, 2014): Young Kindaichi's Road to the Final Battle
Episode 7 (September 6, 2014): The Yukikage Village Murder Case
Episode 8 & 9 (September 13 & 20, 2014): The Rosenkreuz Mansion Murder Case

Hajime, grandson of famous detective Kindaichi Kousuke, childhood friend Miyuki and fellow Mystery Club member Saki have summer part-time jobs at a training camp of the Fudou General Hospital, held at Shiranui Island, also known as Will-o'-the-Wisp Island. There is a tradition of a test of courage at the lodge on the island: it is said that one can see a will-o'-the-wisp if one peeks through the keyhole of a particular door at a particular time. Hajime sees more than that though: he sees one of the trainees being hanged! But when they open the door, they find nothing in the room. Everyone thinks it was just Hajime's imagination going wild, but that changes when they find the first dead body. The first, because more hanged bodies that have a tendency to disappear, appear on the island. Can Hajime solve the mystery of The Will-o'-the-Wisp Island Murder Case?

The Will-o'-the-Wisp Island Murder Case is the first case in Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo NEO to be spread across multiple episodes, which is why I skipped last week (as I mentioned in the first review of this series, I'll only do reviews on complete stories). The Will-o'-the-Wisp Island Murder Case is also a story I already reviewed in the past: it was originally a novel and while people might know this story from the animated series, people who only read the comics might have missed this story.

As a mystery story, The Will-o'-the-Wisp Island Murder Case isn't very special, I think, as a lot of this story has been done in earlier stories. And I don't just mean the closed circle island setting, and the tragic past-thing. The idea of a hanged body being witnessed by Hajime, which then disappears from a locked room, only to reappear later again was already featured in The Seven School Mysteries Murder Case and the solution is actually quite similar, even if it doesn't appear like that at first glance. But as I mentioned in the review of the original novel; it is a story that actually benefits from a visual format, so it works quite well in the live action series. I do think that two episodes is a bit too much for this story, though I am also aware that one episode (fifty minutes) would be too short. The previous case fitted perfectly in one episode, but the unit of fifty minutes doesn't really work with this story; too long for one episode, too short to fill two episodes without feeling dragging (episode four was actually boring).

And I already mentioned in the previous review that even though I like the direction of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo NEO and the attempt to present it as a fair-play mystery by bringing special focus on hints / important scenes by showing these scenes in a special 'how done it' frame on screen, it makes absolutely no sense to tell the viewer that a certain scene contains an important hint if at that certain point of the story, the viewer can't possibly see the significance of it. Why already show and say that something is important to the solution of a mystery, before the mystery itself is shown?! Like you would first show a mirror, or the twins, tell the public that this is important, and then show the magic trick of sawing the assistant in half! I think the production team should think a bit more about which scenes they can, and can not emphasize in this format, because this kinda kills the mystery before it even has the chance to shine.

Next week's episode is going to be awesome by the way! It's an adaptation of the final story of the original run of the comic, Young Kindaichi's Road to the Final Battle, a story I've always wanted to discuss. I might go read the comic version again just to get in the mood!

Original Japanese title(s): 『金田一少年の事件簿N』 サブタイトル「鬼火島殺人事件」


  1. Never read original novel so I won't discuss about EP until I actually read/watch.

    But I'm glad to see someone like finale case of first series. I always thought this case is extremely underrated because people like to talk about first 27 volumes and ignore others.(which I think it absurd) trick is well done and characters's action are realistic. especially the cops reaction, unlike Kindaichi the murderer case which I think it seem cops reaction kinda unnatural.

    By the way, original source setted in Hong-Kong. but where is drama setting in. seem like the location still setting in Japan?

    1. AFAIK, the next episode is set in Japan. Not surprising of course; a one-cour TV series the scope of Kindaichi Shounen can't possibly have enough budget for a story set in Hong Kong (the previous two TV specials were international productions, hence all the many non-Japanese actors, the simultaneous broadcast in several countries and of course the larger budget for on-location shooting).