Tuesday, December 29, 2009



Radio dramas can go as far as mankind's imagination, that's what I think. I love it, you know. Radio dramas."

"Welcome Back Mr. McDonald"

While I wrote earlier that I watched the drama Meitantei Asami Mitsuhiko: Saishuushou ("Great Detective Asami Mitsuhiko: The Final Chapter"), I have to admit I have never, ever watched a whole episode of it. I fell asleep halfway through every single time. While the stories aren't that bad, early classes meant I was already dead by the time the drama finally began. And to be honest, you don't watch Asami Mitsuhiko for its story, you watch it for great location shots of every part of Japan.

Which is a big thing of detective drama in Japan. Especially the lighter mystery dramas (based on works by writers like Nishimura Kyoutarou and Yamamura Misa) are not as much about the story, but just excuses for location shots. Heck, sometimes the story even moves to South-Korea. Which is in fact quite close to Fukuoka. JLCC students who are from Busan could theorically go back home every day with the ferry.

But the king of travel detectives has to be the Asami Mitsuhiko series by Uchida Yasuo. Protagonist Mitsuhiko is a freelance writer on food and history and he travels to a new place in every book. And of course, Always Murder. So I tried the first book in the series, Gotoba Densetsu Satsujin Jiken ("The Go-toba Legend Murder Case"), which was an OK book, making no real faults, but also not containing elements to make it a classic. Weird though, was how Gotoba Densetsu Satsujin Jiken initially starts as a police procedural, until halfway the book the author suddenly seems to have a change of heart and changes a minor character from several chapters earlier into the great detective. That and the legend of Go-toba was surprisingly not very relevant to the case. You'd expect otherwise from a book named The Go-toba Legend Murder Case. But in any case an entertaining book.

And then there were the new podcasts/radio dramas of the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. As I haven't read Q.B.I.: Queen's Bureau of Investigation yet, I was looking forward to these modern radio-drama versions of Ellery Queen's The Myna Birds and A Lump of Sugar. Especially the first one, as I was wondering whether something else besides Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney could pull of bird-as-a-vital-witness succesfully (Cross-examining a PARROT while still maintaining your dignity is hard to pull off!).
However, The Myna Birds certainly didn't succeed. The biggest problem is that the radio dramas are way too short, leaving no time for any development. The original war-time radio plays usually are around 30 minutes, leaving enough time to flesh out everything. Even with the bad sound quality and overacting, they're great to listen to even in this age. Heck, you could even just do with reading the scripts. These two radio plays by EQMM were just too short with too little substance.
\But they had nice music. Which is something.  

Original Japanese title(s): 内田康夫 『後鳥羽殺人事件』


  1. I watched this in my first year of high school!!! It was on a Japanese channel with no subtitles at my friend's house. I can't really remember the plot, but I really loved the scenic shots they used. Especially when Sawamura Ikki and Tanaka Kotaro were talking about Sawamura's sister (in episode 7, I think).

    1. AFAIK, most Asami Mitsuhiko TV series/specials feature loads of scenic shots, as each story is set at a different location (tourist spot) in Japan. They don't call it a 'travel mystery' for nothing!