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Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo
(The Case Files of Young Kindaichi)

Bourei Gakko Satsujin Jiken (File 1)

[ production info ]

Length: 23 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Japanese Language

[ plot summary ]

It's summer break, so what better place is there for high school students to go other than the sea? Kindaichi Hajime, Nanase Miyuki and Saki have decided that, as the school's "Mystery Club", a trip to the sea would make for a nice relaxing summer school trip. However the minshuku they chose for their trip is a touch more atmospheric than they had counted on or would generally care for. Behind the minshuku, there is a huge old graveyard filled with decrepit graves, and beyond that is an old elementary school which was nicknamed Bourei Gakko or Ghost School and is said to be haunted with none other than the famous ghost Hanako. Rumour has it that Hanako's ghost haunts the inner-most toilet in the girl's washroom. What better place for a "Mystery Club" to spend their summer trip indeed!

While at the minshuku, the Mystery Club members met Yamashina High School's art club which was also staying at the minshuku. Since the art club had but four members, the two groups decided to team together for a round of table tennis before dinner, and thereafter for a game of "dare". The seven teenagers, one at a time were to go to Hanako's toilet and get a ping pong ball from a canister left behind by the first "victim". For lighting? A candle of course! Not an easy dare at the best of times let alone in such an eery place as the school was located.

Still, going through with the dare, the seven students went to the cemetary beyond which was the now abandoned elementary school. All was going well with the game until the last person didn't return. What happened to Inou Kouhei and where did he disappear to? Deciding to go after the missing student, the other six went back to the school to discover... no one. Inou had disappeared. But before doing so, someone had left behind a trail of red in the toilet. Could it be that Inou decided to play a prank on the other students?

[ capsule review ]

Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo, while not as popular as Meitantei Conan, is still a reasonably popular anime series in Japan. Designed for mystery lovers, the stories tend to be about four episodes in length, with the fourth being the wrap-up to the mystery. Four episodes however can be quite long and as would be expected, the stories are quite in-depth and the plots can be quite complicated. Because of the increased difficulty in solving the mystery, this series tends to be aimed more towards a crowd in their mid-late teens and up. While there is minimal to no sex (although some sexual inuendo in the form of Hajime teasing Miyuki from time to time) and only minor cursing, the material difficulty tends to increase the age limit for the series.

Bourei Gakko Satsujin Jiken starts off with a good story and set-up. How many teenagers are there out there who haven't dared one another to go through a cemetary or to enter a supposedly haunted house (or at least heard stories of such things)? Better still is to do such things with such a famous ghost as Japanese schools' "Hanako". The plausibility of the story as told helps to pull the viewer into the plot and the decent direction and voice acting adds to the overall experience. Add to that an actual story of who Hanako was, and we get pulled into the whole ghost story/game of dare that the seven played.

As a set-up episode, the overall pros seen here help to pull the viewer into the story and keep you wanting to watch this story to the end. The plot device of using the camcorder while not unique to this episode/story can have some advantages and disadvantages. It can be used as a plot device to remind characters (and therefore viewers) of key details at a later date, but at the same time, when viewing certain aspects of the story, can be limiting with respect to field of view. Time will tell which way the camcorder will be used in this story. (NB Saki tends to always have a camcorder with him - I wonder how he plays table tennis with it though?!?)

Overall, the animation quality is a mixed bag between having good detail but only an OK scroll rate. Mind you, this series is meant for TV so the animation will not be the best. Oddly enough, despite being for TV, the music is only mediocre at best. While there is some good background and incidental music, because of the more serious nature of the program, the music tends to be more muted and less prevalent than in other series. This does not however excuse the lack of music from time to time. Of course, the opening and ending themes are from popular J-pop stars and are quite catchy.

Overall a fun start to the story. On to episode two I say!
- JN, 00.05.11

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: 4 stars N/A N/A
Direction: 4 stars N/A N/A
Acting: 4 stars N/A N/A
Animation: 3 stars N/A N/A
Music: 3 stars N/A N/A
Translation: N/A N/A N/A
Overall Rating: 4 stars N/A N/A

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