『聖闘士星矢 THE LOST CANVAS 冥王神話』
"Bloody Rose!! All is over once the white rose is thrown and flies straight into the heart of my enemy. When the petals of the white rose have turned crimson, your underling will die."
"Saint Seiya THE LOST CANVAS The Legend of Hades"
I already mentioned it in my review of Detective Conan 87, but ever since the start of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo R ("The Young Kindaichi Case Files R"), I had been reviewing Conan and Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo R together in short shorts because their release dates were practically always on or about the same day. A visit to the hospital of Conan artist Conan upset the schedule however, which is why I reviewed Conan 87 on its own, and today, I review two volumes of the Kindaichi Shounen manga as a standalone review, which is the first time in more than two years.
the previous volume. Hajime, Miyuki and reporter Itsuki are participating in a psychological experiment held in a building in the middle of a field of quicksand that used to be a bunker. The professor heading the experiment is doing research on fears and traumas and has the participants dressed in clothes in colors they don't like, and uses special wristbands to monitor the heartbeat of each participant. As expected from the series, other participants in the experiment are getting murdered one after another. The problem is that the murders happen in locked rooms and with no way of communicating with the outside world, it's up to Hajime to find out the identity of the murdering Antlion.
As I already noted in the previous review: The Antlion Trench Murder Case features the most ridiculously designed bulding in more twenty years of Kindaichi Shounen history. And this is a series that has featured a bunch of strangely designed buildings. To be honest, I actually found it hard to follow, as all the rooms have generic names like "West-4" or "East-6" and doors that can be locked from both sides and more. The story reminds of early Kindaichi Shounen stories with an emphasis on (possible) movements of characters in the building, but it doesn't help if all the rooms look exactly the same, with vague nomers like West-4. I wonder if this story looks better animated: it's a lot easier to visualize where everybody is when in motion. But I know I will forever remember this story as The One With The Silly Layout.
The story itself is okay. It has some interesting points, with fear and trauma playing a role in the story, but the main tricks are borrowed from earlier Kindaichi Shounen stories. In fact, now I think about it, it resembles one story in particular in more than one way, and it's almost like a remake of that story. Only not as good. Also, once the hint appears, it's amazingly easy to figure out who the murderer is.
The scale of The Blood Drinking Cherry Blossom Murder Case is relatively small: with a limited cast and mostly set inside the hotel. The murders and the problem of the locked rooms are also fairly simple and to be honest, the way Hajime solves the case is not exactly fair to the reader. In fact, in terms of Kindaichi Shounen, I'd say the clueing was a bit weak in this story. We've seen much better and conclusive ways to arrive at the murderer in this series, so that was a bit disappointing to be honest.
But still, I can't help but like this story. It features something that is not particularly rare in mystery fiction, but seldom seen in Kindaichi Shounen and it really works here. Obviously, I can't talk about it in details because it'd spoil the whole story, but I think long-time readers of Kindaichi Shounen will find this story surprisingly refreshing. Feeling-wise, it's similar to an earlier story, The Yukikage Village Murder Case, with a 'cozy' story. Also, the setting of a small pension with a past and a cast of regular guests reminds of the Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo GameBoy Color game. A classic, The Blood Drinking Cherry Blossom Murder Case certainly isn't, but I definitely find it more entertaining than the more classically-constructed The Antlion Trench Murder Case.
And that's it for now! While the series is still running, volume 8 has no formal release date as of now, so I'm not sure whether I'll be able to discuss it together with Conan 88 (which is scheduled for December). Also, because Kindaichi Shounen stories are basically always longer than one volume, I think I might actually skip volume 8 and do a double review with volume 9, because I very much doubt volume 8 will contain a complete story.
Original Japanese title(s): 天樹征丸（原）、さとうふみや（画） 『金田一少年の事件簿Ｒ』第６＆７巻