Johnny’s drama world opens with two mystery SPs at the start of the year. One of which is Ohno Satoshi’s “Kagi no Kakatta Heya” while the other is Yamada Ryosuke‘s “Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo“. Both are murder mystery cases as well as continuations from KageHeya drama and from last year’s Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Hong Kong Kowloon Treasure Murder Case. Anyway, comparisons aside, Kindaichi continues to solve mysteries around Asia, this time in the jungles of Malaysia where he does Enomoto’s specialty- Locked room murder.
Here is a quick recap of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Gokumonjuku Satsujin Jiken (The Case Files of Young Kindaichi: The Prison Gate Cram School Murder Case).
[may contain spoilers]
you’ve been warned…
A headless Kindaichi Hajime (Yamada Ryosuke) is sitting atop of a table; while he is not yet dead, he will be if he fails to improve his grades to move-up a year. Willing to help Kindaichi, his childhood friend Nanase Miyuki (Kawaguchi Haruna) reads about Gokumon Preparatory School, a cram school famous for its strict training and she’s eager to join the training with Kindaichi.
Saki Ryuji (Arioka Daiki) enters the room and testifies how good Gokumon is after having attended the school’s training camp before and goes with them.
Upon their arrival at Gokumon, Nanase and Saki drags a reluctant Kindaichi upstairs when they heard an emergency alarm followed by a woman’s screams, which makes Kindaichi bolt upstairs. They see a student’s limp body with his bloody finger pressed on the school’s emergency alarm. Saki recognizes him as Moroi Ron, a classmate of his when he attended Gokumon’s training camp.
Other students started spilling from their classes as the bell continues to ring, soon, the police was called to investigate. Moroi was killed by a poison needle attach to a stack of paper and the police deduce that it was a random act of murder that targets preparatory school student. However, Kindaichi thinks that it was planned, he says that Moroi was tricked by something called “Magician’s Selector/Choice” where he was eventually directed to the room of murder.
As Kindaichi and co. goes home, they got kidnapped (yes, kidnapped) by Detective Lee Byron/ Li Bai Long (Wu Chun), a familiar face from last year’s Kowloon Murder Case and he is in Japan to involve Kindaichi to a murder case that is presumed to be perpetuated by the same person responsible from last year’s case. I honestly don’t know how this and that are related.
Together with the Interpol, Detective Lee is investigating a series of murder done by what they call “Hell’s Puppeteer” aka Takato Yuichi; a so-called crime producer who produces crimes as much as one produces a movie. Takato is believed to have sent Detective Lee a creepy puppet with a note saying, “Japan Gokumon Preparatory School Training Camp Game of Death“. The note also has Kindaichi’s name like it’s sort of a challenge letter. Detective Lee thinks that Moroi’s murder is done by the same person because of method use (ie Magician’s Selection).
As the Detective Lee’s voice drone-on, Kindaichi saw a mysterious man with painted face standing on the opposite warehouse. He performed a short magic trick for Kindaichi and as he disappears, Kindaichi ran toward the warehouse. As they reach the abandoned warehouse, they were greeted with the same puppet sent to Detective Lee and a circle of roses in the middle. Not far from their position, they see a similar poster from Gokumon, a poster which advertizes Gokumon’s upcoming training camp in Malaysia. Thus, the trio decides to troop down at Malaysia.
As the participating students for Prison Cram School arrives in the jungles of Malaysia, the students are divided in two groups: Humanities and Science. Kindaichi and Saki are both in Humanities together with Hama Akiko (Haru), Nakayashiki Manabu (Maeda Goki), Shikibu Kyoko (Miyoshi Ayaka), Kirisawa Toru (Kurihara Louis), and Chen Zheng Long (Liu Yi Hao). Meanwhile, Nanase is in Science Group together with Mei Suyin ( Ginnie Han) and Lin Zhi Sheng (Lin Bo Hong). Too many names, phew!
Also, the Science group is mentored by Kitamura Kazuki (Ujie Takayuki) and Lee Byron undercovers as a temporary Science teacher. While the Humanities is headed by Dojima Kohei (Kasahara Hideyuki) and Akao Ichiyo (Narimiya Hiroki), a not-so mysterious man wearing a creepy mask because he is hiding the scars he sustained from a fire.
The students were also ordered to leave their cellphones behind and were only allowed to carry minimum clothing in a Gokumon-provided knapsack. Detective Lee manages to slip Kindaichi his own satellite radio so they can communicate together with Nanase.
As far as division goes, the two group are also house in different lodges; the Humanities in Sun Lodge and the Science in Moon Lodge. Kindaichi’s group arrives in their own prison camp complete with cells, locks and all. It makes me think that their parents must be desperate for their kids to get good grades to allow them to live in such situation.
They were also given class schedules and as classes starts in each group, so does the disappearances. The disappearances isn’t really met with immediate attention. After all, how can a student go out with all the gates locked? How can a murderer slipped-out when all the students are with their teachers in one room? Furthermore, given the miles apart distance between Sun Lodge and Moon Lodge, a student escapee is likely to get lost.
As one student from each group disappears, Akao-sensei decided to teach his taunting nursery rhyme…
- Who killed Cock Robin?
- I, said the Sparrow,
- with my bow and arrow,
- I killed Cock Robin.
- Who saw him die?
- I, said the Fly,
- with my little eye,
- I saw him die.
- As Kindaichi contemplates the poem’s meaning while reading it in his best Engrish; he recalls Akao-sensei’s words, “Will you just be the fly who saw him die?” As another student disappears, the name of Ma Taichi (Nichkhun) came-up. Ma is also a prep student who became a target of bullies and died mysteriously. Coincidentally, those bullies also happen to be in the same training camp.
- When the students who disappeared have re-surfaced as dead bodies and as the death toll rises to four, Saki becomes grip with guilt. After all, he was aware that Ma Taichi is being bullied but he did nothing to stop it.
- Saki went running outside where almost fell from the hanging bridge and Kindaichi arrives in time to save him. Kindaichi consoles him that it wasn’t his fault, love the bromance, and as they went back to the Sun Lodge, Kindaichi saw a broken wiring near the Sun (太阳)Lodge signage.
- Upon their arrival, they encounter the fifth murder- Nakayashiki- who is supposedly lock in his room the entire time. Furthermore, things used in the other murders, such as the red and blue duct tape, rope, and spare keys were also found inside his room.
- Afterwards, Kindaichi had a talk with Nanase to discuss their records about the time of disappearances of each students (the time they left their respective classes). Upon marking the time in his own class schedule, Kindaichi notices the difference in time interval between two groups. Kindaichi noticed that when one group is having their class, the other group usually is in their 15 mins break and vice versa. There is never a time wherein both groups are simultaneously having their classes.
- Because of the deaths, Kasahara-sensei finally decided that its best for them to leave despite Kindaichi’s protest. After all, he hasn’t solved the riddle and the murderer is still out in the open. As they pass by the cave illuminated by red lights, Kindaichi notices something different with Shikibu’s skirt. And when they were out in the open with a ray of sunlight entering the cave, Kindaichi is hit with a realization.
- Kindaichi now knows who the killer is and he’s gonna show “Hell’s Puppeteer” that he’ll win this challenge…
- Sorry! I was contemplating whether I’ll reveal the killer’s name in the recap but I decided not to spoil everything. Don’t worry, the revelation at the end is really interesting and it’s more than just being Hell’s Puppeteer’s challenge. Furthermore, I’m quite sure that just by reading the recap, most of you are aware about Hell’s Puppeteer’s identity, while it’s true that he is the real mastermind, being a puppeteer, have you guessed the identity of his puppet or puppets? It’s worth knowing and the “story” on what made that person follow the puppeteer’s orders is quite heartbreaking. It’s literally taking advantage of a person’s weakness that while killing is bad, for whatever reason, it makes you say that those who got killed deserves it in the end.
- Anyway, Kindaichi Gokumon is much more interesting than the first one where the case is MEH. It’s like they were still practicing during the first one and this time, they have gotten the knack of it. Kindaichi, Nanase, and Saki have formed a good team that I’m looking forward to their future projects. Though, it’s quite obvious that despite Nanase being Kindaichi’s childhood friend, Saki seem to have more chemistry to Kindaichi. Maybe because they were really close in real life, being in the same group (Hey!Say!JUMP) and all.
- Plot-wise, this is better than the first one though both are fueled by revenge. I like how they made use of the nursery rhyme, “Who Killed the Cock Robin?” that only adds to the plot’s mystery that matches the Puppeteer’s and the prison school’s eerie quality. Furthermore, as the “Hell’s Puppeteer” is also a magician, they also included some brain tricks like optical illusion and misdirection in the story.
- The other characters were also better in their portrayals. It’s a good thing that the writers stick with the high school setting ( since last year’s is more into the professional world) since it’s easier to relate with the characters. And the actors were also more natural with their acting.
- Yamada as Kindaichi is goofier this time, a nice touch since Kindaichi is supposed to be foolish, and it’s cute that Arioka is given his own time to shine and not constantly following Kindaichi around. Kawaguchi as Nanase is not as “flat” as last year’s and definitely better.
- It’s also worth noting that the Kindaichi production again manage to cast other Asian personalities. While not as huge as last year, it just goes to show how language is not a barrier. Though I hope that Wu Chun will just memorize his lines and not have them dubbed later on. Really, it looks ridiculous.
- Hiroki as the villain is like tailor-made for him, I could think of no one who can act that role aside from him. The Charlie’s Angel stunt he pulled at the end is just perfect, more perfect knowing that he’ll be back next year.
- While Kindaichi ends with a cliffhanger, the murder case did end with a conclusion, and while there are loopholes, it’s definitely worth watching.
- Raw : tomapiya
- Screencaps: mine
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