I’ve been using the Japanese title for a lot of these J-dramas but I think I’m going to switch to the English translation, after all, nobody really knows what Seishun Tantei Haruya actually means, do they?
Based on a Japanese light novel named “Endo Kurejitto ni Saiteki na Natsu”, published in 2007 by Eiichi Fukuda, it explores college age kids trying to get by while solving mysteries along the way. What could be better?
So let’s take a look at this 10-episode 2015 series and see how mysterious it is.
Poor university student Haruya never has any money, he’s behind on his bills and his part time job doesn’t pay enough. When he’s tempted by a reward to hunt down a stalker for Miu, he doesn’t know what his newfound detective skills will bring as more and more people need his help and he’s always willing to take the job if there’s a little extra money in it for him and his friends.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think this is much of a detective show. Yes, they take on cases and yes, they solve cases, but there isn’t much actual detecting going on. They tend to stumble into solutions rather than put together clues and that, to me at least, isn’t really being a detective. That doesn’t make this a bad show though, the characters are fantastic, with the possible exception of the three girls who follow Haruya around and fawn all over him. I found them to be generally annoying, they existed only to make Miu jealous and I had no real love for that.
Let’s take a look at the cast. Tamamori Yuta plays Haruya, our main character. He has, of course, been in shows like ATARU and the ATARU Special. Then we have Shinkawa Yua playing Miu. Likewise, she was in ATARU. Then we have one of Haruya’s two friends, Takada Sho, who plays Kazutomi, although he hasn’t been in anything else I’ve seen. Finally, Takashima Reiko is cafe owner Shizue and she’s done a lot, including Angel Heart, Hancho series 5, and Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge.
Now I’ve said in the past that I am not a particular fan of romance in a lot of these shows, often it is included just to take up time, time that I’d much rather see cases being solved. However, in this series, there are two romances, one between Haruya and Miu and one between cafe owner Shizue and her customer Isobe. And in neither case do the romances really go anywhere. Every single episode, they bring up the growing attraction of Miu to Haruya and his complete cluelessness. Toward the end, every single episode, they address Isobe’s fear of opening up to Shizue about how he really feels. I was hoping at the end that at least one of these would work out because both couples really worked, unlike a lot of shows where there isn’t a lot of chemistry. But both fizzled completely in the end. There may be a second series or a special down the road where this can be revisited and I hope it is because given the lack of any particular detectiving in this series, that was actually something worth paying attention to.
It isn’t the best mystery show I’ve seen, even lately, but the characters were fun and the interaction between Haruya and his friends worked very well. Everyone got a chance to shine and I was pulling for Haruya and Miu and also for Shizue and Isobe the whole way. This one needs to go further and I hope that it does, if only to resolve some of the relationships left hanging.