Every once in a while, I stumble across an older J-drama that looks interesting, so I pick it up and check it out. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, but it’s always an interesting experience.
This time, I take a look at Houkago wa Mystery Totomo ni, roughly translated as “Along With After School Mysteries”. It’s a 9-episode half-hour series from 2012, based on the book of the same name by Tokuya Higashigawa, published in 2011.Kirigamine Ryo is a girl with an unusual name and an unusual interest. She is the vice-president of her high school’s detective club but she’s really, really bad at it. Her reasoning is always full of holes but the bizarre cast of characters around her can be counted on to muddle through and eventually solve the case.
Frankly, this is a pretty mediocre series. The two main actors are very talented, but totally wasted here, which is unfortunate. Everything is completely over the top, from Ryo’s constant mugging for the camera to her biology teacher, Ishizaki Hiromi and his bizarre fetish, to the police who constantly beat and abuse people for confessions. It’s like the Three Stooges trying to solve mysteries, badly.
Kawaguchi Haruna plays Ryo and I generally like her. She’s been in several of the Kindaichi movies as well as having a bit part in Galileo 2. Hayami Mokomichi is Hiromi, the biology teacher with a secret in the refrigerator. He’s done some fine work in Densha Otoko and the Kamen Rider Faiz movie.
I was actually pretty disappointed in what could have been a very fun series. There was little need for as much slapstick as they stuffed into the show. In fact, I’d argue that there was no need for the amount of violence that they had, no matter how light it was. The police beat everyone including each other. Everyone hit everyone else, particularly Ryo. And honestly, even though it started out being funny watching Ryo failing in her detective skills, she would up being annoyingly stupid by the end.
Unless you’re really, really bored, I’d skip this one. There were times it was cute but it quickly outgrew its welcome. Most of the cases were generic and the actors, while good, were really given nothing to grab onto. Hopefully they will be in something better down the line.