A little change of pace for me, I picked up a (somewhat) new Kindaichi
manga (after haven't read the series like in forever), and am reminded why I like this series. Unlike Detective Conan
(much as I like and prefer that series), Kindaichi
(at least the manga) doesn't require you to be familiar with the series to be able to understand the case (in other words, each murder case pretty much stands alone). But I'm also reminded of a downside of the ability to pick up the series at any point, which is the relationship between the main leads kind of go nowhere (granted, Conan
isn't doing much better in the romance department, but there is still some definite progress (the latest chapter, for example)). That isn't to say the interactions among the Kindaichi characters are not wonderful, by any means. It's more like a serial, where existing relationships must be kept pretty much static so new comers to the series are not lost.
Anyway, moving on to the case itself. I was a little worried (that was before I was reminded that the cases more or less stand alone) since it has been so long since I read the first Opera case, and not even sure if I'd read the second one. But of course, my fear was almost for nothing. Yeah, a few characters from past cases are mentioned, but that doesn't really impact the present case (meaning the murder would still be carried out in the same way regardless). Everything occurs at a right pace, I think. And the deductions (and the identity of the murderer) really do make sense. A reader could almost follow along, if they wanted to and really tried to work it out, since clues and maps were given. (I did kind of guess who the murderer was, but it was just from something Kindaichi said very early on. And I later dismissed the idea because I didn't have any proof.) And the motives. I don't condone murders in any case, but I guess I almost understand why this particular kind of circumstance would drive someone sane to kill another person. (I think some of the motives in Conan
just plain suck.)
One thing I don't like in this case, though, is that Kindaichi points out the murderer early on. I have hoped the readers would have to continue to guess who it was for a while longer. If nothing else, I wanted to be spared the murderer's attempts to cover up. They got so desperate to point I was embarrassed for them. (Conan
has this kind of desperate attempt from the murderer/culprit, too, but usually not long and too dragged out to the point where I just want to skip ahead to the part where they were confessing their motives.)
One other thing (and it's not really limited to this case), the murders are often more gruesome than the ones in Conan
. I really did get scared of the first murder, where the victim is killed in front of everyone. (Not just a lifeless body suddenly appearing; it is the actual murder taking place live.) Even more creepy, Kindaichi sensed something bad was about to happen, but he didn't know what.
I suppose I'll be looking at the anime (it does exist, after all) and the drama next (especially the episodes having to do with this opera house; I guess I've become somewhat attached to it).Kindaichi Case Files
volumes are available in the US, although I'm not sure how easy it would be to obtain any volume because I don't recall having ever seen one sitting there in a local bookstore (have seen Case Closed
(Conan) volumes, though). IMHO, the covers of the US editions are rather pretty, too. Anyway, Kindaichi
is well worth the time to read and I don't know anyone who is disappointed with this series yet (sure, can't please everyone, but a mystery (and manga/anime) fan would most likely enjoy it).