Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Secret of my Heart

『428 ~封鎖された渋谷で~』

"Asking will make you feel ashamed for a while. Not asking will make feel you ashamed for a lifetime"

This second entry in the Short Shorts certainly came earlier than I myself had guessed. I guess I pick up small, insignificant things at a faster rate than I thought. Like the previous time, this is just a series of unrelated thoughts that wouldn't have made for interesting seperate posts.

Aah, the hours that pass by as I scour websites like YouTube and Nico Nico Douga. Which is probably not nearly as long as the time it took the creators of the following Detective Conan related movies. One is an impressive statistical research of all the deaths in the series. The title says I counted the persons who died in Detective Conan (including the anime and such). Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. The creator even went through the trouble of categorizing the deaths in homicide, suicide, accidental death, illness and unknown causes. It goes up until the first 68 volumes of the manga, episode 574 of the anime and the Lost Ship in the Sky movie. There were actually fewer deaths than I had expected. Even more ridiculous is the movie where someone counted the times the word barō (a Conan-specific swear word based on the longer bakayarō) is said. And I thought reviewing the Conan manga from the beginning was insane. Random fact: it is barō in the manga, but pronounced more like bārō in the anime, which is why most people write it as the latter.

And ooh, a new videogame of Conan! Kako kara no Prelude ("Prelude from the Past") is a sequel (prequel?) to Rondo of the Blue Jewel, which was sorta decent. It's a DS/PSP release, which means I don't have to switch hardware yet. Wondering how they'll differ. I prefer DS games as they are cheaper and I can play a lot longer on my DS than on my PSP, but I'd totally go for the PSP version if they included voice acting.

Because Edogawa Rampo mostly wrote unorthodox mystery stories, I sometimes hesitate writing about them here, but I guess they fit this short shorts segment. Hito De Nashi No Koi ("An Inhuman Love") is a pretty famous horror short story by Rampo, that actually seems to start out as a detective. The narrator, Kyouko, tells the reader about an incident that happened when she had just married, a local heir who was known as being stunningly handsome, but there were also rumors of him being misogynist. Luckily for Kyouko, those rumors seem to be false, but she does discover that her husband sneaks out of bed every night to go to the second floor of the small storage building. Following him, she hears her husband and another woman talking silently there. Kyouko naturally thinks of an affaire and waits outside the building to confront the pair, but only her husband comes out. This is repeated several times, with her husband's lover seemingly disappearing into thin air every night. Up until this point the story seems like an impossible disappearance story, but the ending clearly places this in the horror subgenre. I sadly enough already knew the ending because Hito De Nashi no Koi was mentioned a paper on a certain theme in Edogawa Rampo's works, but it is still a pretty interesting short story.

Rampo's Monogram is even shorter than Hito De Nashi No Koi, but also less interesting. The story starts with two men who just happen to sit next to each other on a couch in the park. The two men start talking with each other and they both can't seem to shake the feeling they have met before, even though they are both sure they never did. This story is really, really happy and sweet and light-hearted and everything nice, which is very surprising for an Edogawa Rampo work. Heck, even his Shounen Tantei Dan series is darker than this. It thus felt surprisingly fresh, even though the story is pretty simple and nothing special an sich. Rampo himself didn't rate this story very high either, but he had an interesting note about how he wrote this story, basically a love story surrounding a 'code' of some sorts. Hiding behind a code was what fitted his own personality, Rampo said, as he himself was pretty shy and didn't dare to show his own feelings himself too. Awww.

Around the same time the TV drama of Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de ("Mystery Solving Is After Dinner") started, NHK produced a radio drama of the series. Or to be more precise, they made a radio drama based on the first story of the first book, Satsujin Genba de wa Kutsu wo O-nugi Kudasai ("Please Take Off Your Shoes At A Murder Scene"). I didn't really like this radio drama, because it featured a narrator who was absolutely unneccessary for the story. The complete story could have been perfectly conveyed with just the two characters of Reiko and butler Kageyama and that would have made for a much more enthralling show. The story itself is still a very entertaining one, that revolves around the simple question: why was the murder victim wearing shoes inside her apartment (which is simply not done in Japan). It seems like a very trivial question, but butler Kageyama manages to solve this case based on this little fact alone. In fact, most stories in Nazotoki seem to revolve around almost Queenian strange murder scenes.Which makes the series the more fun. It's kinda sad NHK didn't do this radio drama within their own NHK Youth Adventure series, as I've been very content with those productions until now.

Original Japanese title(s): 江戸川乱歩 『人でなしの恋』『モノグラム』 / 東川篤哉 「殺人現場では靴をお脱ぎください」

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