Ok, so last week I praised Ron Komonohashi for calling out weak deductions or at least particularly presumptuous ones but this week we just jumped to all sorts of conclusions. I did still like the episode. The characters jumping to conclusions is just something you have to accept when you watch a lot of mysteries and like I keep insisting despite all evidence to the contrary, I am a big fan of mysteries. But above all that, Ron Kamonohashi’s Forbidden Deductions is a goofy carefree show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t demand that you do so either. That allows me to give it some slack. Cause heck, it’s fun!
One thing that really impressed me about this episode is that it was essentially a bottle episode. We had a bit at the end that expanded the setting and a few flashbacks but when you think about it, the bulk of the episode took place in this one place, around the onsen, with all the characters present and not really moving about.
Bottle episodes can be tricky. In fact, they only tend to work when you either have very strong characters or very well-established relationships to put under pressure from this closed system. It’s a pretty gutsy move to have your fourth episode in a series be a bottle episode. I assume the author had a lot of faith in her ability to craft great characters and Ron is pretty fun. But what really works for me is the interactions between Ron and Toto (or Tototo… I wonder if he’ll ever end up as a Tototototo). I am really digging their odd couple dynamic and adding the extra layer of nonsense where Ron has to somehow coax and discreetly feed the deduction to Toto to make it seem like he’s not doing anything. What can I say, it’s the type of harmless silliness I live for.
After the last episode, there were a lot of theories floating around. A few of my readers thought that maybe there was no murder in the first place. A fine theory and certainly one I would have enjoyed seeing played out but I always had my doubts only because Amamyia was the one who declared the woman dead and stated rigor mortis had set in. Rigor mortis is hard to fake and somehow I couldn’t see Amamyia lying about murder. It just seems, unlike her character.
Spitz was one of my guesses but a bit on the nose. The show really went out of its way to make him look cartoonishly evil. This is quite the accomplishment when you consider that all the other characters are also quite literally cartoons. But heck, I was working with limited info and limited suspects.
Now the husband was an obvious choice. From the little I know of actual crimes, sadly in real life 90% of the time it would have been the husband. And it aligned up. They had an argument, he had knowledge of all her conditions and weaknesses, and all the clues were there to make him the most likely suspect. You know what they say, the simplest answer is usually the right one. But it’s not satisfying, is it? It’s almost too simple.
Well Ron had us covered there too. Because the culprit may have been easy to guess, the method was almost impossible. I mean they needed graphs to explain it and I’m still not 100% clear on how it all worked. Somehow a complex drainage system was created and then reset by the time the body was found. Because no one commented on the temperature of the water then I assume it was once again quite hot. As someone who has recently discovered a love for baths, let me tell you it takes a long time to change the temperature of such a large amount of water. But there I go again…
Point is we got the murderer and now everything can go back to normal except… There’s still the matter of the spy among us! Wasn’t it impressive how tweaking Spitz’ facial expression just a bit went from him looking like a maniacal monster to a fairly affable guy who’s most likely going to become yet another goofy sidekick for Ron to use as needed?
You know, the production of this show is not exactly without flaws. I have a screencap up there where it looks like Toto’s face is melting off. and I often see inconsistencies. But the designs are good. They are vocative and very expressive I am quite impressed by that And for my money, it makes it more fun to watch than if it were perfectly consistent but otherwise bland.
I wonder what the next case is going to be. I hope it’s something low-stakes like someone feeding the pigeons or a purple garage door. (For real, there was a city in Ontario where it was illegal to paint your garage door purple… You could paint your front door purple but not the garage door. We have too much time on our hands…)