Random Lists: 5 Favorite Episodic Mysteries

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Inga looks up

Hopefully, this post isn’t too weird. Many mystery shows stretch out a larger mystery across multiple episodes or split the series into longer arcs. These would be shows like Death Note or Erased/Boku dake ga Inai Machi. It’s a great way to build intrigue and tension across an entire series. I definitely enjoy watching shows like this, but I often find myself with more of an affinity towards the shorter, bite-sized mysteries.

I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes, so I have a soft spot for shows that follow that same pattern.. Watching a complicated mystery unfold is great, but I think there’s something to be said about a show that gives you the satisfaction of an answer promptly. In honor of that, here’s a list of 5 shows shorter mystery segments that I enjoyed watching.

Sakurako doesn't like being woken up

5. Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru

Centering on the titular Sakurako Kujou, this series follows an eccentric bone expert who solves cases with her expertise. We see the story through her plucky assistant, Shoutarou Tatewaki. I think part of what drew my interest in this series was how active Shoutarou’s role in it is. He’s often seen pushing the story forward or examining his own cases. It was a fun series overall.

4. UN-GO

Boy does this series make me feel old. Taking place in a dystopian future, the series follows the disgraced detective, Shinjuurou Yuuki, as he solves mysteries to regain his reputation. Joining him is Inga, a mysterious boy who often aids him by forcing his suspects to answer one question truthfully. I liked the dynamic between the main characters in this series, especially given that the mysteries tend to focus around Shinjuurou figuring out the right question to ask.

Dalian is not amused

3. Hyouka

I’ve talked this show to death, so I won’t spend too much time here. Most shows in this genre focus on more traditional crimes, full of death and betrayal. I’ve always thought that this series was refreshing for looking at much more mundane mysteries, unveiling the wonder and stories behind everyday life.

2. Dantalian no Shoka

This might be a hard series to sell. The story follows Hugh Anthony Disward, a man who inherits the estate of his recently deceased grandfather. In the manor, he finds a strange girl named Dalian, who maintains the titular library. Contained within that library is a collection of Phantom Books, magical books with a variety of powers. Together with Dalian, Hugh seeks to recover the books that have made it out into the world, solving the mysteries surrounding their new owners.

Victorique is bored

1. Gosick

Kazuya Kujou is a Japanese student transferring into a fancy boarding school in Europe, who is shunned by his classmates for his foreign appearance. While exploring the school’s massive library, he meets a mysterious girl named Victorique on the top floor. Together, the two solve mysteries, largely relying on Victorique’s “fountain of wisdom”.

This series arguably doesn’t belong here because of how the story shifts at about the halfway point. However, the first half of the series fits the bill quite well. It’s probably the most endearing series on this list, and I really liked Victorique as a character.

What will you remember about a show in 5 years?

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Will I remember this series in 5 years? This is a question that I find I don’t ask myself enough. For that reason, I thought it might be fun to set up a little experiment to see what I really remember from the shows I watched when I first started this blog. The idea is to pretty much go through the list of series that I wrote about in the past to see what left an impression.

The goal is to use what I remember from past series to get a better idea of what I’ll remember in the shows I watch now. To keep things fun, I’ve avoided looking up anything related to the series I’m covering to see what I truly recall.

Dantalian no Shoka

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should say that I read the manga version of this series at some point in the past two years, so I did refresh my memory a bit. Put simply, I remember this series as being about a man (was his name Humphrey or something?) who inherits his relative’s estate (grandfather, maybe?). As part of this inheritance, he meets Dalian, a strange girl who holds an entire library of magic books within her body.

Our protagonist is also given a key that allows him to unlock that library and make use of the books inside of it. From there, the series follows a bunch of short arcs where the protagonist and Dalian (who I believe was often bribed with sweets) investigate multiple strange occurrences that involve magic books.

As spoiler warning, I’ll be talking about the plot of one of the episodes in particular if you care about spoilers. It’s unrelated to any kind of overarching plot in the show.

There’s only one arc in this series that I can remember vividly enough to actually describe, and that’s probably because it was my first real experience with bad science in an anime. The episode focuses on a struggling author that Dalian really likes who is trying to write the final installment in a series of books. He’s watched by a deranged fan who repeatedly kills him and resurrects him with a magic book.

In the end, the author becomes “immune to death” through evolution after his repeated deaths and rebirths. I’m willing to concede that this is a world of magic, so it’s in the realm of possibility, but it seems to be a pretty gross misunderstanding of evolution. But hey, that’s what it takes for me to remember what happens. I think it’s safe to say that I still think positively about the series if I was willing to read the manga later.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

I saw a review for this series fairly recently, and I’m actually interested in watching it again. It’s not that the show is particularly noteworthy. From what I remember, it’s a pretty simple show, a slice of life show about a Japanese girl staying in a Western country (France?).

I can’t remember any names, but I recall that it takes place in a fairly unpopular shopping district. The male lead is the son of a famous craftsman who is attempting to scrape by after the passing of his father. I believe he’s aided by his uncle(?), who introduces him to the Japanese girl.

From there, it’s nothing special. The two learn about each other and the differences in their cultures. There was also another girl in the series who was obsessed with Japan. It’s definitely a show that I don’t think about often, but I would remember it if it’s mentioned. I’d say I have a positive impression of it.

Kamisama no Memochou

I pick this show to kinda prove a point. I say a lot that I enjoy watching mystery shows, but I honestly can’t say I remember anything from this series. I know it was a mystery series about a NEET girl who solves crimes without leaving her room. I just remember that she was really good with computers, but I think that much should be pretty obvious from cover art. I believe the main character was a generic male lead meant to interact with the world in her place. I really remember nothing about him. I feel like I should rethink the whole “mystery genre” thing.

Mawaru Penguindrum

I would have expected to remember more about this series because of how crazy it is, but I don’t really feel like I remember that much. I know that it centered around three siblings, the youngest of whom is terminally ill. I think she might have died, but gets resurrected by a penguin hat that periodically possesses her and forces her brothers to do weird things.

I’d say this is probably the most popular series in this post, but it was way too early for me to understand the symbolism or message that was in the series. My overall impression of the series is likely negative because I just didn’t get it at the time. Oh, and the series had penguins…that was a plus.


So how’d I do? Maybe I’m biased, but I thought I did pretty well.

Do you recognize the series I’ve mentioned? If so, what did you take away from them? If you watched them at around the same time, let’s compare notes.

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Final Episode (11): I guess this was finally Hashiba’s moment

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I’m going to try and interpret this ending as best as I can. On the surface, the ending seems strange, right? If the entire plan culminated in Namikoshi’s death, doesn’t that make the plan a success? Why would the ending be celebratory if Namikoshi ended up getting what he wanted? I’m assuming the idea was that Namikoshi’s death was meant to get Akechi to enter the circle of hatred that is Twenty Faces. However, the fact that Akechi fought against this plan to the very end resulted in what could be called a failure. That being said, though, there’s one piece of the ending that doesn’t quite add up for me. If the plan was to spread the message of Twenty Faces, how was that not accomplished? I understand the plan to turn Akechi failing, but shouldn’t the propagation of Twenty Faces have succeeded? Why were things quieting down after the incident? It seems like an inconsistency to me.

All in all, I would judge this ending as somewhat weak. I get that the show was trying to question the idea of justice in society, but I wish Namikoshi wasn’t ultimately portrayed as child who really wanted Akechi-senpai to notice him. I think something that would have made the ending more interesting is if the disappearance of Namikoshi’s body had been planned as a way to immortalize his ideal, but no such luck there. That being said, I would say the show was interesting enough to bring me in and asked some decent questions, so I’d put it in the higher end of shows this season (I don’t expect much agreement on that, though).

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 10: Twenty Faces origin story time

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This week’s episode was pretty slow…the entire episode is devoted to the captured Kobayashi hearing the story of the Twenty Faces. I’m honestly not sure how much his story actually contributes to the show. We already know that he was heavily abused from the story that Akechi gave…it’s not a huge stretch to conclude that he had a rough home life as well. That’s why I’m curious whether there was something else I was supposed to conclude this week. Maybe it’s something about his statement at the end about sacrificing Kobayashi?

I’m curious what Namikoshi’s intentions are with this final episode coming up. His system is meant to be an immortal system of self-governance that uses a mask to empower citizens to take justice into their own hands. So what does he hope the riot will do? Is just simply just to spread the rumor of Twenty Faces further? Does he intend to focus on targeting a global stage by choosing a specific target? I don’t see how all of this involves Kobayashi, though…maybe that one’s just to specifically attack Akechi. I guess we’ll see. Making Namikoshi a surprise dark character might be an interesting ending too…

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 9: Final showdown is coming?

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This week’s twist isn’t totally unexpected…the series has already suggested that Twenty Faces was the main enemy for the series, so it made no sense that Akechi would figure out how to defeat it two episodes before the end. Also, self-immolation is a way to cover up DNA evidence and the mask brings anonymity, so there was no concrete proof that Namikoshi had died. That being said, I definitely didn’t suspect Minami as this episode’s Twenty Faces distraction.

There were two pieces of this week’s episode that I didn’t fully understand, though. First was Hashiba’s transformation into a silhouette in the eyes of Kobayashi…was that meant to suggest that Hashiba had drifted too far out of Kobayashi’s circle that he was no longer readily recognizable? Or did it mean that Hashiba had now turned into a suspect. That scene also relates to the second thing…the hand that grabs Kobayashi near the end of the episode. Was it Hashiba? Or some other Twenty Faces sympathizer? I really hope Kobayashi doesn’t turn into some sort of damsel in distress for Akechi to save. That doesn’t seem interesting. I do like the rivalry between Akechi and Namikoshi, though. Though, what is going on with the formula? Did Namikoshi evolve the formula further?

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 8: Origin stories

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Ugh…I’m so upset with myself. I convinced myself that they couldn’t possibly solve the mystery in the first five minutes of the episode because of the letter of challenge from Twenty Faces. If I hadn’t done that, my suspect would have been the girl…now it’s too late. The reason that she was most suspicious last week is that she’s the only one at the scene that didn’t provide any information helpful for the case.

The culprit aside, though, this week’s episode also finally gives Akechi’s connection with Twenty Faces. I think I’ve said before that it’s really likely that Twenty Faces is being controlled in the background by a single person, but it looks like it’s actually a program designed to dispense justice. It’s an interesting concept and we can finally see why Akechi is so obsessed with catching every one. That being said, where does it all end? The original Twenty Faces that kicked everything off has died, so is there really any way to stop an urban legend? Or will Akechi end up forever chasing these new Twenty Faces cases?

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 7: No culprit yet?

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Wait…people get excited about locked room murders? I feel like they’ve become so commonplace in murder series these days that I find them boring. Anyway, as expected, Twenty Faces has become a recurring phenomenon in this series and will likely be the focus for the rest of the show given the time remaining. My suspicions are the same that someone is in the background pulling the strings for these murders, but we’ll have to see.

Am I supposed to be able to guess the culprit for this week’s murder yet? I feel like I don’t even have enough details for the murder yet. But the medical examiner mentioned that she would be back next week, so either this Twenty Faces commits another challenge murder in the next episode or there’s a new mystery for next week (the first option is much more likely because I can’t imagine they would spend 5 minutes at the start of the next episode solving this murder). If another murder is going to happen from this culprit, I would assume that he/she hasn’t been introduced yet, right? If the same person appeared in two crime scenes, it would be too obvious…

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 6: Well…that was strange

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So I guess this week’s episode counts as filler, right? I suppose it’s just letting things cool down from the Twenty Faces incident? I’m also wondering if the episode also intends to somewhat clear Shadow Man from the incident at the end of last week’s episode (killing the fat man for Sachiko’s sake). That being said, most of the events of the episode ended up being really boring to watch despite how zany they were trying to be.

I assume next week will pick up again with more Twenty Faces investigations. As expected, Kagami wasn’t truly behind Twenty Faces…I’m still running with my theory that the real one finds people in vulnerable states of grief and convinces them to take justice into their own hands. I’m not convinced yet that this switch from random murders to a main “villain” of sorts is a good idea for this show…it seemed so much more interesting in the first couple of episodes.

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 5: Well…that was boring

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I’m really upset about this week’s episode. Not only was the entire episode spent on Kagami’s past, his story ended up being really generic for vigilante killer. Basically, he was a bright-eyed detective who had his sense of justice corrupted seeing the legal system fail to protect the one he loved most…thus, he took the law into his own hands. I’ve sometimes wondered whether I would do the same thing in his position (I’ve been fortunate enough to dodge that scenario). Still, does the legal system really allow the insanity plea that much?

What am I supposed to make of the final scene in the episode? Based on the story from Kagami, it’s obvious that he wasn’t the original Twenty Faces…the real one will likely be the main focus of the series based on the opening song stuff I mentioned last week. My hypothesis from what we’ve seen so far is that Twenty Faces somehow pulls the strings of vengeance for those who have lost loved ones to criminals who have walked free, basically encouraging the copycats to exist by preying on their weak moment. However, there is a crucial weakness in this hypothesis because there was no indication that Kagami ever met Twenty Faces. He willingly took the name himself. Maybe that part of the story is missing? Or maybe there’s just something else entirely going on…

Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace Episode 4: What exactly am I watching in this prison?

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So this week’s mystery seems to have ended quickly like last week’s episode. As promised, ME-chan made her appearance after two weeks, but I found her autopsy this time to be a lot more boring. As for the mystery itself, did anyone else think it was really obvious that it was Kagami acting as Twenty Faces? That scene between him and the other detective seemed too random and his actions seemed to indicate too much of a personal link with the case from three years prior. But that aside, another question I have for the group: does anyone else find Hashiba’s actions in the episode really annoying? I feel like he’s pretty much the worst character because of how he acts around Kobayashi…

Is everything going to be so simple with this mystery? The episode ends with the mystery seemingly resolved, but they seemed to push Kagami pretty hard into cast…are they really planning to just take him out? Also, I’m really curious about the Twenty Faces mask. If you look at the OP closely, there’s a part where every major character is shown on screen, but then swapped with an image of that character wearing a similar mask. Is it going to be a recurring theme? Maybe Twenty Faces will continue to re-emerge with some mysterious mastermind? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it…