Thursday, February 03, 2011

Kindaichi Shonen No Jikenbo – review

Director: Ikeda Kenji

Release date: 2005

Contains spoilers

This was another incarnation of Kindaichi Shonen No Jikenbo, this time as a TV special and live action. It was based on the Case of the Vampire Murder Legend and we have already looked at its anime variant here, which was later than this live action version but it needs noting that I saw the anime first.

The characters were changed around a little, altering the dynamics to a degree and further characters were added in and this expanded the story a little but, essentially, it was the same murder mystery and thus, if you have seen the case before, there was very little in the way of mystery.

Ueno Juri as Miyuki
In this Nanase Miyuki (Ueno Juri) is organising an athletics camp for a few of her schoolmates. Meanwhile Kindaichi Hajime (Kamenashi Kazuya), grandson of *the* famous detective, is in a mall chatting up a girl. This is interrupted by a security guard asking why they are not at school. The girl leaves and Hajime is about to when a police detective (Kato Masaya) comes along and they clash over Hajime’s use of slang. He is reported to the school for truancy and receives a three day suspension. Miyuki tries to get him to go to the camp – and the idea that her friend will be there (he pictures the friend as a pretty girl) persuades him.

Kamenashi Kazuya as Hajime
Miyuki is let down by all those who are meant to be going and Hajime doesn’t show up for the transport. However a regular guest, Negomo Junko, the detective who had the run in with Hajime and a third guest (who is a photographer) wait for the bus. The hotel, named Ruin, is near an abandoned village. When they get to the hotel they are shown round the dilapidated building and the guide, Minako Aoko, suggests that one piece of corridor has rotten floorboards and only those under 50 kilos should step there. A hand falls on Miyuki’s shoulder and she flips the owner in a Judo move that has him crashing through the rotten floor. It is Hajime, who cycled there. His misery is complete when he finds that Miyuki’s friend is male and that the detective is there.

Transylvanian wine
They are shown around the abandoned village. In the hospital they come across fashion designer Kaitani and doctor Futakami – who, for some reason, has a rifle. Back at the hotel they sit down to dinner. During dinner the wine, imported from Transylvania, is served and we meet another guest. The last guest, Hiro (Nakamura Shunsuke), arrives whilst the meal is ongoing, scaring Kaitani who is retiring to her room. After dinner Miyuki goes to take a bath whilst the others are told of the vampire legend.

Kato Rosa as Yuria
This begins with a Romanian family, years before, moving to the area. After a girl dies, seemingly wasting away, the locals blame the Romanians and burn their house down. Only the mother and father’s bodies are found and people start dying, allegedly at the hands of the son. Cut forward to fifteen years before our story starts and a family buy the hotel that was built on the site of the fire. The daughter, Yuria (Kato Rosa, Koishite Akuma), had an incurable heart condition and, when the bottom fell out of the economy and her parents killed themselves, was left alone with the hotel. The girl died but, just before, the villagers had seen her walking with the vampire. They found her body drained of blood and staked her.

the first death
The vampire starts appearing. We see it behind Miyuki as she prepares for her bath and she is grabbed. She comes round, tied and gagged, in a hotel bedroom. Kaitani is bound and gagged also. The vampire strangles Kaitani and then turns its attention onto Miyuki. When she comes around Kaitani is dead and both the dead woman and Miyuki have bite marks in the neck, it seems.

the vampire
The film has a total of three murders (compared to the anime’s one) and, rather than launching into an investigation, Hajime is reluctant to get involved. The film explains that he resents living in the shadow of his grandfather – even though he has inherited the detective skills. Actually it seems, at one point, more that he doesn’t want to fail the memory of his grandfather. Eventually, of course, he picks up the mantle.

moody shot
There is a quirky humour occasionally and some nicely moody shots. The main case itself is convoluted and rather flat if you already know the solution. The second murder adds a little more variety to proceedings but the third murder was a damp squib hardly dealt with.

This was okay but nothing too special.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here

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