This 10-episode series comes from a novel called Himura Hideo Series by Arisu Arisugawa, first published in March, 1992 by Kodansha. Clearly, it’s self-referential because the writer of the novel is also part of the series. But lots of J-dramas come from books and manga and they don’t always translate well to screen, so let’s see how Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa fared.
Criminologist Himura Hideo is fanatically in love with his job, he wants to find the perfect crime, so much so that he has even said he’d be happy to kill someone. Mystery writer Arisugawa Arisu follows Himura, using his cases as fodder for his mystery novels, but sometimes gets it all wrong. However, he keeps Himura on the straight and narrow and Himura keeps him safe and together, they form an unbeatable crime-solving team.
Now you might think this was the perfect vehicle because it hits all of the right buttons. You have the oddball detective, or criminologist in this case and the clueless sidekick, out solving mysteries that no one else can. But while there is a strong Holmes and Watson vibe here, the mysteries themselves are less than impressive and they spend far too much time on the bromance and not enough on actually solving cases. And the cases themselves are just everywhere, there isn’t a lot of consistency. Some are pretty decent, others just drag on and because they exist in arcs within the series, you’re either going to be enjoying the mystery or bored out of your head.
Saito Takumi stars as Himura and has done a couple of things I’ve enjoyed, such as Keizoku 2: SPEC and Specialist. Kubota Masataka is his partner, Arisu and he starred in Keitai Sosakan 7, which was a fantastic series that we needed more of and also appeared in Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de. Yuka, who played Ono Nozomi, has also been in such things as the Akumu-chan series and movie.
Honestly, I thought this could have been really good if they had changed their focus to the mysteries and spent more time making the quality consistent. I found that the affection Arisu had for Himura was a little out of place too, it just didn’t feel natural a lot of the time, like there might be something else going on there that they just didn’t talk about. And series like this just bug me because I know they can be great, they just aren’t. It turned out to be pretty average and in the end, I just didn’t care to see more of their adventures, it had run its course and I was fine with it. And unlike Holmes and Watson, who were both very strong characters on their own who became stronger when they were together, Himura and Arisagawa were both deeply flawed characters that, when together, were almost workable. That’s really not what I want to see in my detective drama. Flaws are fine, having so many flaws that you barely make up one person together isn’t.
This falls into the “if you have nothing else to do, go ahead, what can you lose” category for me. Let me know if you think I’m off the mark.