High school student Hajime Kindaichi is the supposed grandson of famous private detective Kosuke Kindaichi. Visiting Hong Kong for a fashion event with Kindaichi, our hero's girlfriend Miyuki is captured by a stranger in a case of mistaken identity. The journey to save Miyuki itself leads to yet another crime case...
- This review does not take any considerations of any previous Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo material, and the series will be treated just by itself -
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns is, of course, a sequel to Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo, which was a long running series (148 episodes) in the 90s that has also inspired, movies, OVAs and a live action series. First thing I'll make clear is that you don't really need to watch any previous material to enjoy Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns by itself.
This series target a very specific type of audience, and that's the people who like crime fiction. If you
don't like crime fiction (Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Conan Edogawa, etc), then you really shouldn't waste your time with Kindaichi. Now, if you do like it, you'll more than likely enjoy the show.
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns doesn't really have a big story that will go progressing. There is a clear antagonist who's known as the puppetmaster, but there is not really much story progress with him. The whole series will be different arcs with their particular murder (or more commonly, serial killing), in which Kindaichi, our young protagonist and detective, will be involved and will have to resolve th mystery behind. Pretty much our standard crime fiction.
The series manages to create some pretty entertaining cases, and does give the viewer an opportunity to think about the cases and try to resolve them by themselves. In general, they're not that difficult to resolve, and giving it a bit of thought and by being attentive to details, you'll more than likely figure the killer, and at least part of the method in which he did the killing and/or forge his alibi.
They do sometimes come up with things that they just didn't tell the viewer before Kindaichi resolved the case, which makes impossible to resolve some cases completely by oneself.
The music selection is pretty adequate to the situations and helps creating a good atmosphere, and I find particularly helpful that in every episode they give you a picture with every possible suspect.
This is a show you enjoy by not just watching, but by trying to think alongside it. As stated before, there are some flaws sometimes, but the series does invite you to think, and you will miss part of the enjoyment if you don't, most likely.
There are really only four constant characters throughout the show (maybe five) and they all accomplish their roles very well. There is not much character development, but again, that's really not the point in the series.
While being something very known as a typical crime fiction, Kindaichi manages to be relatively unique in the anime world, as there are not many anime of this type, probably because they're not that easy to write and require a lot of creativity by their authors. Of course, whenever you hear "Kindaichi", the first response will more than likely be "Conan", and of course, vice-versa (and it should be that way, as they're obviously similar anime).
If you like crime fiction, aka, mystery with detective stuff, by all means, give Kindaichi a chance.
I'm a sucker for detective anime, so when I found out Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo got a sequel, I was all over that. Is Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns as good as the original? Not really. But it is a decent series in its own right.
The story is very episodic in nature, so there's no need to watch the original series before this. The original series is very episodic in nature as well, so the only thing that really connects the two series is its cast of characters. There is no major overall plot, but a series like this doesn't really need one.
The animation isn't
anything special. It's basically an updated, cleaner version of the original series. There isn't anything particularly impressive about the animation, but the animation still gives the viewer a clear idea of what's happening and doesn't look inherently bad. It just isn't anything special, but at the same time, it doesn't need to be.
The sound isn't anything special either, but it fulfills its purpose. There are some recycled tunes from the original series, which is a nice little touch. The opening and ending themes aren't terribly memorable, but they aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination. The soundtrack does do an adequate job of setting the mood for the mysteries, and the voice acting is pretty solid.
The series has two main characters and a couple of recurring characters. None of them go through any arcs or development, but given the episodic nature of this series, character development isn't really necessary. We do get introduced some intriguing characters in the mysteries, however. When the mysteries unfold and the motivations become clear, they are often times heartbreaking.
Overall, I would say I enjoyed my time watching this series. The cases are generally pretty interesting, and it's always fun trying to guess who the culprit is. I will say this, however: The cases in this series aren't quite as intriguing as the cases in the original series. The cases in the original series are much darker and result in a lot more death. This series does have some dark cases (especially near the end), but the cases in the original, in my opinion, were far more interesting.
If you're a fan of Kindaichi, then definitely give this a try. It's not as good as the original series, but it's still a decent series on its own merits. If you haven't seen the original series but enjoy detective anime, then you'll still have an enjoyable time with this series. Just don't expect anything spectacular.