Things they don't teach at school
cheats, invisibility commands, how to do the revival spell,
all the important things of life,
I learned through games
"Last Continue" (AP Nakayama Tomoaki)
Oh, the summer is almost over. That means it's time for the annual Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo release! I guess it's better than nothing and it's become something like a habit for me too, but it'd be nice of they would do more volumes a year. Like two releases every year or something.
The previous couple of years, two volumes were released simultaneously, but this year it's just a single normal-sized volume. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo - Game no Yakata Satsujin Jiken ("The Case Files of Young Kindaichi - The Game Mansion Murder Case") starts with Kindaichi, Miyuki and some other friends having fun at an amusement park. Kindaichi and Miyuki get seperated from their friends and with cellphones not working in that area, the two decide to have fun on their own. After a great day, the two discover they don't have enough money left for the bus fare back to their inn, so they decide to walk back, only to get surprised by a huge rainfall halfway. Luckily, a bus passed by them on the road and they are allowed to get on by the driver.
The next moment however, Kindaichi and Miyuki awaken in some kind of a deserted building, together with some other people. It seems all the people here were on the bus and that they were all knocked out by sleeping gas during the bus trip. A man in a cloak tells the confused party that they are in the so-called Game Mansion and that the only way to escape is to play his games. Which include things like quizzes (oh, and if you don't get a right answer in time, you get blown up) and wire puzzles (oh, and if you don't solve your puzzle in time, you might burn to death) and other fun games. Who is the Game Master and why is he forcing the party to play through his sadistic games?
I have actually never seen Saw, but I guess that this is inspired by Saw? The sadistic games that lead to death? While there's often a certain sense of danger in the Kindaichi Shounen stories because the stories are often set in closed circles, it's seldom this intense and it certainly made for a very exciting story. But Kindaichi Shounen wouldn't be Kindaichi Shounen if this wasn't connected with an orthodox mystery plot. Which is where the story both fails and succeeds. The orthodox mystery plot is really neatly integrated into the slash-horror plot, with actual proper clueing to what the Game Master is trying to accomplish. It's actually pretty cool how the hints were hidden in the 'games'. However, the clues pointing to the murderer are few and I was actually suprised when Kindaichi said who the murderer was, as there was pretty much nothing to point to that person. Of course, Kindaichi was told something the reader didn't know late in the story, so this was just unfair clueing.
But if I was asked whether I like this volume or not, I'd still say I like this volume though: the change in pacing because of the Saw-like story does changes things up a bit and like I said, it's actually done in a way to fit into the orthodox mystery genre. Because of this change in pacing, the story feels fresh for a Kindaichi Shounen story. It's a shame though that Kindaichi and Miyuki's friends (like Souta) only appeared at the beginning of the story: I had really hoped they would stick for the rest of the story, as the stories featuring the extended Kindaichi Shounen cast, mostly seen in the short stories, are usually more fun than the more classic stories.
I just wish Amagi/Satou would be a bit more active with the Kindaichi Shounen stories. Yes, I know that Amagi is a pretty busy guy, writing many, many scenarios for manga and drama using like eight different aliases, but it's been a while since he did a regularly running detective manga, right?
Original Japanese title(s): 天樹征丸、さとうふみや 『金田一少年の事件簿 ゲームの館殺人事件』