Wow, this was a weird one. Am I the only one who thought that. I’m actually not sure what my takeaway from the episode is. As in I don’t know if I liked it or not. I certainly liked aspects of it and I like the show in general but something about this episode felt off to me and I can’t quite explain it.
First of all, and I the only one who thought Kawasemi was Ron? I thought “Oh, now that he’s gotten to know Amamiya better and that he has BLUE off his back, he’s decided to become an official collaborator or something. He even got a haircut…” It took me embarrassingly long to figure out that Kawasemi is a completely different character. That probably says way more about me than about the show mind you!
Second, that was a really gruesome murder, wasn’t it? I think I mentioned before that I have some type of mental disconnect between the art style of Ron… and the goofy tone of the series. For some reason the two clash in my brain. In a good way though. Well that dead body was a perfect example. Every time I saw it I just naturally got into the mindset that I was watching a gritty crime drama starring a depressed though as nails alcoholic detective or something and I had to actively readjust my expectations.
And it was not only the design of the body, the entire idea of the hand collector would have been right at home in a serious thriller about a serial killer. A creepy hand obsessed guy who kills his victims to chop of their hands and keep them in his fridge. It’s unusual enough to be striking and yet somehow entirely believable. If you told me it was based on a real case, I wouldn’t bat an eye!
But then you have Ron cosplaying as a children’s puppet magician? Why? There’s no need to go that slapstick to bring out the humour in this show. Just have the casual and irreverent tone of the characters do the work for you when set against the really serious backdrop. It wasn’t so bad as to annoy me but I just didn’t get it.
Also, I liked Spitz’s inclusion. They really immediately found a way to put him to work and it was useful. But it was also a blink and you’ll miss it moment. I would have enjoyed seeing him track down the apartment and figure out a way to get in and all that.
Finally, I just don’t know what to make of the resolution.
I’m going to talk about the end of the episode now so if you haven’t seen it, it’s going to get spoiled for you. You have been warned!
One the one hand we have a murder that turns out to be a suicide. Cool, I guessed that for the last case so… well nothing actually but I like that it’s an option. And I don’t in fact hate the idea that an assistant detective was under so much pressure that they would fake a murder in order to cover up a minor mess up. In fact, I really like the idea. On paper this is a fantastic device and when taking into account all the stories about how predatory and difficult work culture can be in Japan, it seems like a wry commentary.
I also really enjoyed that Kawasemi forgave him and was nothing but understanding and gentle with his assistant. It was a subversion of my expectations and made me smile. I think it’s a great lesson to take away. We always see overachieving characters be as hard on others as on themselves but having one instead appreciate and express the immense value of good help was downright refreshing. Now in the context of this actually very grave and illegal breach it might have been a bit ill advice but the direction is the right one.
The more I think of it, the more I actually really liked the ending but somehow, as I was watching it, it just didn’t seem to come together for me. I wish we would have seen the process of putting the clues together a little better. There seemed to be a few very pointed intuitive leaps. Having Ron just bring Toto to the bathroom to explain everything is a bit of an easy out. And I guess I would have liked to see more of a cat and mouse game if you’re going to introduce a gruesome serial killer.
At the end of the day, what I realized most after watching this episode is that I prefer two partners. Guessing who might have done it with you guys is tons of fun and I think they should take more time with the mysteries!