Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo
(The Case Files of Young Kindaichi)
Gakuen Nana Fushigi Satsujin Jiken: File 1
Copyright: © 1997 Toei Animation
Length: 23 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Original Japanese Dialogue (VHS, LD)
Warewa eien kono kyuukousha ni sundeiru!
A warning note has been sent to Fudou High School stating that plans to destroy the old section of the school must be stopped. If not, the "Houkago no Majutsushi", who is rumoured to live in the old building, will be most displeased with his home being destroyed and mayhem will result. At the same time, the school's Mystery Club has decided to investigate the seven mysteries of the school. Rumour has it that Fudou High School has many school ghosts including mysterious hanging bodies, scurrying dismembered hands, as well as a murderous sorceror who has performed many bloody rituals in the school.
Working from a similar investigation begun by the Mystery Club 10 years earlier, Sakuragi Ruiko, the current club president starts her investigation of the seven mysteries. It's said that any person who discovers all seven mysteries will be killed by the "Houkago no Majutsushi". The investigation begun 10 years ago by then Mystery Club president Aoyama Chihiro ended abruptly when Chihiro disappeared under mysterious circumstances. What did Chihiro discover 10 years ago, and what has Sakuragi Ruiko discovered prompting her to call the many members of the Mystery Club to the school at night? However, if Ruiko has discovered the secret of the seventh school mystery, will she in fact be able to reveal what she's discovered, or will the sorcerer take her life in the old school building as well?
I have to admit, that after having watched so many of the more recent Kindaichi episodes, I was rather curious about the previous episodes where the whole series started. How similar or different would it be to the more recent shows? Actually, I was most pleasantly surprised by this first anime mystery for Kindaichi. (This first episode's story is in fact based on the fourth story in the manga series.) As is typical with many anime shows, the opening and closing themes are done by popular singers and are suitably bouncy and catchy for a show aimed at teenagers. Indeed, I found the music throughout this first episode very good for a TV show let alone the first episode of an anime series.
The introduction of the various characters in this story-set was well handled and is fairly easy to keep track of, although names were more difficult than faces. This first episode sets up the story and serves as a fairly lengthy introduction to the mystery at hand. This longer approach to stories may lose the younger viewers, but this show is really aimed at mid-teenaged kids and higher. Student angst, rivalries, and relationships are more what one would expect from high school life and later. Some of the more jaded comments are more typical of the working world than school life, but is not unheard of at school either.
The story of the seven school mysteries is very common throughout Japan and I have to admit that I love the idea behind the mystery. But as with most ghost stories, I've always heard it as an elementary school story told by students to scare each other and is one of the long traditions of school life. Seeing it therefore in a high school setting is thus a bit different, but not completely implausible either. Especially given the premise that Fudou High School is the source of the stories. (Isn't this always the case with ghost stories however?)
The direction in this episode between the voice actors, the animation, and the music all worked solidly towards building a fast paced, intense introduction to the murder mystery. Indeed, the tension in the music sometimes felt a touch too intense. However, on the whole, we are left at the end of this episode wanting to know what happens next. Certain aspects of the story are a touch predictable if you're on top of things as the story unfolds, but despite the possibility of some preknowledge, the relevance of this information remains unknown and the story behind the mystery remains to be told.
- JN, 2001.02.05
café rating (original japanese):
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