「Good Luck, 名探偵」
"Good luck, great detective"
"The Young Kindaichi Case Files: The Black Magic Murder Case"
Another ten days until the new Gyakuten Saiban / Ace Attorney is out! Last time, I managed to clear the game and write a review on it in just two, three days, so let's see whether I can top that!
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo franchise, a new limited serialized series started last year. This series has ended now with the fifth installment, but boy, did it go out with a bang! I was quite happy when I first heard this series started, but to be honest; the stories were quite bland. While I usually post reviews of the newest Conan / Kindaichi Shounen volumes, I just couldn't find enough interesting to write about for the Kindaichi Shounen volumes, which is why I have only reviewed the first volume (which reminds me... I still have to read the 'new' Conan volume of three months ago). This last story, spread across the fourth and fifth volume, is different however.
For one, this story brings back the scale and atmosphere of the earlier stories. And I don't just mean that it follows the same basic pattern of the series (of course it does). But it also does its best to recreate the horror-like closed circle atmosphere of yore. It never gets as bloody and dark as the very first stories, but still, a man chopped in neat parts, served on the dinner table should count as dark, right? The setting of a cross-shaped mansion, complete with a rose garden (which is covered with poison) is also one of the more memorable settings of this long-running series. Which is quite a feat considering Hajime has been running around crime scenes for 20 years now.
The two locked room situations in this story are also surprisingly good! One involves a stabbed man lying on a rose petal bed in a room, with the petals placed all the way up to the (inwards opening) door, meaning the murderer couldn't have escaped from the door (and the windows were locked too). The second impossible situation is also fantastic and reminds of the large-scale tricks more often seen in the earlier Kindaichi Shounen series (though I have to admit that the Kowloon story of the 20th Anniversary series had ridiculously large-scale trick too...). What is especially interesting is that the second situation isn't really impossible. It's just that the witness who stood in front of the crime scene, is the murderer Takato and you have to choose whether to believe his testimony or not.
Lately, a lot of the Kindaichi Shounen stories have felt too gimmicky, by which I mean that stories either revolved too much around one trick, or that stories featured tricks / murders that didn't feel connected to the rest of the story. They were just there because they were, admittedly, good tricks, but not because they fitted in the setting. For a lot of the later Kindaichi Shounen stories, I actually can't remember which tricks belong to which stories, because they don't feel like they belong to each other. The two impossible situations of the Rose Cross Mansion Murder Case really fit the story setting however and feel as an organic part of the whole.
It seems like Amagi wrote this story as a proper ending of the 20th Anniversary series, but also as a set-up for future stories. At one hand, this final volume feels like a return to the style of earlier stories, in a full circle sense of things (though it is interesting to note that nobody dressed as Rosenkreuz ever appears, nor is there a legend / urban legend / curse / etcetera at work here). On the other hand, Amagi has planted some very significant plot points, that are bound to get picked up in future stories.
Anyway, great ending for a somewhat disappointing series. The 20th anniversary of Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo might be over, but I'm sure we'll see more of him soon!
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 ２０周年記念シリーズ』第４、５巻 (『薔薇十字館殺人事件』)