Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kindaichi Case Files
Kindaichi was also made into an anime series and a live action movie. It is written by Yozaburo Kanari and illustrated by Fumiya Sato, and collected stories are published in English by TokyoPop under the name Kindaichi Case Files.
Kindaichi mysteries are whodunnit stories featuring (usually multiple) gruesome murders, often with a supernatural tinge. They usually feature a locked room mystery or other seemingly "impossible" crimes, such as a murder occurring when all surviving suspects have (apparently) airtight alibis. As opposed to the cold, calculating killers in some mystery series, the killers in Kindaichi Case Files are often sympathetic figures, pushed to great emotional trauma by the greed or thoughtlessness of others.
- Hajime Kindaichi (金田一 一 Kindaichi Hajime): High school student Hajime Kindaichi is unmotivated, lazy, and a little lecherous, much to the exasperation of childhood friend Miyuki Nanase. However, only a few people see his great intelligence and deductive prowress, possibly inherited from his grandfather, (fictional) police detective Kousuke Kindaichi (called the "Japanese Columbo" by some). His catchphrase is "This mystery is solved!", indicating to readers that they are now in possession of all facts needed to correctly deduce the killer's identity and methods. Despite his clumsiness and myriad other flaws, he is a loyal friend and a first-rate detective.
- Miyuki Nanase (七瀬 美雪 Nanase Miyuki): Hajime's childhood friend and next door neighbor, many question why a model student like Miyuki is friends with a slacker like Hajime. Deep down inside, Miyuki feels Hajime is no idiot, and the two seem to have a love that neither has yet fully expressed.
- Detective Isamu Kenmochi (剣持 勇 Kenmochi Isamu): A Tokyo homicide detective who met Kindaichi on his first case, and was so impressed that he has lent the youngster his unquestioning support ever since. He is often the investigating officer on Kindaichi's cases, and provides the official stamp of approval Kindaichi often needs to pursue his investigations.
- Kengo Akechi (明智 健悟 Akechi Kengo): An extremely smart high-level police detective(superintendent), he is Kenmochi's supervisor. First appearing in "Death TV", he became a rival to Kindaichi in terms of solving cases, but still helped Kindaichi solving cases and got him out of trouble more than once.
- Yosuke Isuki (いつき 陽介 Isuki Yōsuke): A writer who first appeared in "Legend of Lake Hiren" and they become friends after the case. Later on, he helped Kindaichi during his run in "Kindaichi the Murderer", and from then on, became the main contact and helper of Kindaichi in many other cases.
As of October 2004, nine volumes have been published in America, each with a complete story. They are released every two months, though starting in December 2004, two stories that were long enough to cover two manga collection volumes each will come out. New readers are recommended to read the volumes in order, since later stories sometimes reference killers or characters from previous tales, especially Kindaichi's arch-nemesis, who will appear in at least one of the mysteries not yet published.
In general, all the mysteries followed a certain theme (such as a famous legend/story), or have a certain MO.
In Japan, there is a total of 37 volumes, with 23 cases, as well as six short stories and six novels.
- The Opera House Murders is the first Kindaichi mystery, and the story on which the first anime movie is based. Miyuki corrals Kindaichi into assisting the school drama club in rehearsing The Phantom of the Opera at an isolated island hotel for a contest. But a killer stalks the high school group, one who can walk across mud without leaving footprints, and it's up to Kindaichi to solve the case, fighting time, weather, and Detective Kenmochi, who fails to take the young man seriously (for the last time).
- The Mummy's Curse sees Kindaichi and Miyuki visit a classmate about to get married, accompanied by a friend of the bride. The small village in which the classmate lives is packed with wealthy aristocrats who keep mysterious, cut-up mummies in their luxurious homes. But things turn serious when a murder is committed in a locked chapel, and the aristocrats start dying one by one...
- Death TV follows Kindaichi and Kenmochi as they assist in the production of "Shock TV," a reality show similar to Scare Tactics. Fun turns to fright when one of the show's victims is slaughtered by someone dressed up as a legendary snow demon called Yukiyasha, while the crew watches in horror via TV broadcast. The trouble is, how was the murder committed when all the suspects were a twenty minute drive away from the crime scene?
- Smoke and Mirrors hits Kindaichi's high school when he and Miyuki are asked to join the school's Mystery Club and attempt to track down a series of urban legends called "The Seven Mysteries of Fudo High" that revolve around the campus's oldest building. It seems the school has been receiving threatening letters from someone who calls himself "The Afterschool Magician," stating that his home in the old campus area must not be destroyed. But the school's legendary bogeyman turns out to be all too real, a shadowy figure who is able to make himself, and the corpse of one of Kindaichi's classmates, vanish in less than two minutes from a locked room. This case may be too much for Hajime Kindaichi...
- Treasure Isle is rumored to hide a vast bounty of gold said to be guarded by the legendary beast "Yamawara", which Kindaichi and other treasure-hunters gather to search for. But the host is killed before the group even arrives, and a bloody slaying takes place during a time in which none of the people on the island could have done it. Will the island's mythical monster-guardian claim more victims?
- The Legend of Lake Hiren involves a legend about a pair of lovers who drowned themselves in a lake, but the lake itself now houses an exclusive resort whose shares could be worth millions. Kindaichi and Miyuki join a focus group evaluating the resort. But the group is soon stalked by an escaped killer who fashioned his slaying after those of Jason Vorhees, and wouldn't you know it, the only bridge to civilization has been cut off...
- The Santa Slayings revolve around an exclusive hotel and one of its most unusual guests, a red-bearded man whose dress resembles that of Santa Claus. His very mythos is a shadow hanging over a prominent acting guild staying at the hotel, putting on a murder mystery weekend game. But the murders turn all too real, and Kindaichi becomes personally involved when one of his friends becomes a victim, and the only other person found in the locked room... is him!
- No Noose is Good Noose, or so they say at an exclusive college prep school that Kindaichi is conned into attending by his mother. But the high-pressure school is known for driving its students to suicide by hanging. It's in this atmosphere that a teacher begs Kindaichi's help in finding a mysterious vandal who seems to be targeting her. But the vandal soon graduates to murder, and seems to have the ability to evaporate from locked rooms. Can Kindaichi make the grade?
- The Headless Samurai is a legend in a small town, warning of betrayal and blood. A childhood friend of Detective Kenmochi's asks him for help when this myth comes to life and begins threatening her. Then a mysterious stranger is killed in a sealed room, and Kindaichi has to deal with headless corpses, greedy heirs, and an entire village too scared to talk.
- Kindaichi the Killer?! Kindaichi is invited by an old acquaintance to help his publishing editor acquire the rights to a new book by a famous writer. The eccentric, arrogant author throws a code breaking contest at his villa to determine the lucky recipient. Unfortunately, the writer is murdered, and it's impossible for anyone to have committed the crime except one person: Hajime Kindaichi! Soon Kindaichi is in a race against the police and the killer to break the code and clear his name.
- Playing the Fool is something Kindaichi is loath to do, especially when it comes to women. Pop star Reika invites Kindaichi and Miyuki to the Tarot Chalet, along with a few of Reika's workmates. While the two ladies vie for Kindaichi's attentions, tragedy strikes the gathering in the form of multiple murders and a mysterious secret that Reika's father will do anything to protect. What will Kindaichi do when his prime suspect also turns up dead?
The following mysteries have not yet been translated or announced by TokyoPop, and the titles have more or less a literal translation. These titles, as well as some details, may be changed by TokyoPop if they release these volumes in the future.
- Murder at the Wax Museum: Kindaichi and Miyuki are invited by Superintendent Akechi to a Castle to participate a murder mystery game. Within the castle are numerous wax figures, even replicas of each participant. However, they soon find out that this is more than a mere game: the mysterious host, "Mr. Redrum", uses the wax figures to show a murder scene before actually killing the victims with the same method. Now, Kindaichi must find the host that calls himself a murderer before everyone else is killed.
- The Gentleman Thief is a famous thief who like to steal famous artworks, as well as their "themes," by destroying or mutilating the object featured in the artwork. However, it seems that this time he has gone too far, by killing the father of one of Kindaichi's friends. Can Kindaichi solve this mystery?
- Graveyard Isle is one of the many results of the US's island hopping in World War II, where Japanese soldiers committed harakiri. However, it seems someone — or a ghost — has lived on, and is out to kill Kindaichi and his friends... Can Kindaichi get him and his friends off the island before they're all killed?
- The Magical Express is a train that run between Tokyo and a remote town, but what makes it unique are the magic shows put on by a group of prominent magicians. However, the "Hell's Puppeteer" has decided to kill off the magicians one by one, seemingly delighting the magical aura that surrounds these seemingly impossible murders... So who is the "Hell's Puppeteer"? And what else is hidden behind that insane mind?
- The Undying Butterflies is a rediscovered butterfly species that's made its discoverer very famous. It's also inspired a murderer, who leaves his victims pinned like butterflies! Can Kindaichi stop a killer so cold-hearted that a child becomes one of his targets?
- Burial Francs is a burial practice in a small French village, where a franc is buried with the dead. For one of Kindaichi's childhood schoolmates, however, it was an omen of death for her and her colleagues! Who is this "Burial Francs" who is killing off people one by one, and what's his connection with Kindaichi's friend?
- The Devil's Artifacts is the nickname given to four artifacts that were said to be cursed — but Kindaichi, who was hired to dig them up, didn't believe in the old tale... until people started dying because of it. Now, with people's lives (and his salary!) at stake, Kindaichi must find out the identity of the artifacts' "guardian" and where they are hidden.
- Reika's Kidnapping
- Forest of Cerberus
- The Murderer From Screen
- Divine Treasure of Kotousu is a long lost treasure belonged to Catholics in Ancient Japan, guarded by a White Hair Ghost. Not caring much about the legend, Kindaichi — who desperately needed the money and by invitation — went to Kotousu to hunt for the treasure. However, just like in "Treasure Isle," the treasure hunters started to die one by one, one during a time when all the hunters are present and accounted for! Will Kindaichi be able to find the murderer, and get some money for himself too?
- Ghost of Yuki Village: One of his childhood friends has passed away in the remote Yuki Village, so Kindaichi goes to pay his final respects. However, the death isn't all it appears to be, and soon more of Kindaichi's friends are dropping dead. Who is the killer, and what does the original death have to do with these new murders?
- The Plot of Russian Dolls Once again, Kindaichi is invited to solve a puzzle, one that leads to the inheritance of a famous mystery writer. But the puzzle deepens when the heirs start losing their heads... Literally! To make things worse, a figure from Kindaichi's past returns with a bet: if Kindaichi finds the murderer first, he will let the killer face justice. Otherwise, Kindaichi's nemesis will allow the killer to continue his bloody work... then will execute him! Can Kindaichi protect both the future victims AND the murderer?
- Circus de Murder
- Judgment of Gankutsuou: Kindaichi's last manga case. Looking over a traveler's brochure, Kindaichi discovers that his old nemesis is in Hong Kong, and up to no good. Indeed, his latest scheme involves assisting a murderer who calls himself the Gankutsu Ou (Count of Monte Cristo). Ultimately, the nemesis manages to frame Kindaichi for the murders, just to prove he is the smarter man! Now, Kindaichi must prove his innocence by finding Gankutsu Ou, and make his nemesis pay for his crimes, once and for all!
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