Kindaichi (frequently with best-bud, Miyuki) travels to various places where a murder has taken place, typically involving ghosts, curses, myths and folklore of significant events from the distant past, and solves the mystery using ingenious deductions of curious clues and his cool magic.
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: File Series was partially published in English as The Kindaichi Case Files by Tokyopop, who published the first 17 volumes between June 1, 2003 and May 13, 2008. Each volume has a subtitle, The Opera House Murders being the first, and The Undying Butterflies the final English volume.
“Even if you hit rock bottom and wound up on the darkest place imaginable, I still believe there’s no life that can’t be salvaged.”
Classic Kindaichi File series is THE definitive murder mystery manga as far as I am concerned. Featuring a deceptively moronic protagonist with uncanny aptitude at deduction and problem-solving (as well as running into dead bodies...), it’s an episodic whoddunit consisted of 19 individual cases spanned across 27 volumes. Each episode tends to follow more or less the same structure: Kindaichi and his pseudo-girlfriend Miyuki got into a situation where they mingle with a handful group of strangers and/or acquaintances,
people start dying in seemingly impossible circumstances, Kindaichi eventually unmasked the culprit among the survivors, and a tragic confrontation/resolution caps the whole thing. Repetitive, yes, but it’s built on solid and complex plotting with plenty of nods to classic Japanese examples of the genre (e.g. one of the cases borrowed the central trick from a Shozo Shimada novel , and Kindaichi himself is depicted as grandson of Kosuke Kindaichi, the fictional main detective in Seishi Yokomizo’s works).
The murder mystery construction is the meat and potato of the series, and it doesn’t disappoint. Yozaburo Kanari (later joined and eventually replaced by Seimaru Amagi) integrated a lot of cunning tricks and puzzles into the proceeding, with effective dash of supernatural and/or survival horror backdrop. The art by Fumiya Sato is a decent complimentary, injecting chills to the atmosphere through some unnerving imagery. They’re very good at immersing you in the suspense and investigation, making the whole series a fun guess-along exercise; when Kindaichi eventually explained the solution, you often see how the clues previously planted in certain panel/sequences are paying off beautifully (and how the misdirection and red herrings may make you feel like a big fool).
While there are occasional humor and unmistakable shonen-ish flavor—Kindaichi’s status as a high-schooler, and his entire “we’re not dating, we’re just childhood friends who get SO flustered when the other is hanging out with a guy/girl!” dynamic with Miyuki—Kindaichi’s world is a harsh, often heart-breaking, one. The murderers’ motives are often elaborate and tragic, frequently leading to powerful emotional moments as things invariably don’t end well for them. Kindaichi, while still condemning their actions, is often shown to have a not insignificant amount of sympathy or care for them, and this reflected a key tenet of the series: even a fundamentally good and moral person could be driven by overwhelming despair and grief to commit the act of murder. It’s a pretty sobering theme, and a big part of what makes Kindaichi File Series distinct and special.
There is a lot of Kindaichi off-springs in various forms (sequel manga, novels, films, live drama), but this original manga series clearly represented our pony-tailed investigator at his absolute best. Some cases are naturally going to be a cut above some others (the early cases are remarkably strong before slightly faltering around the halfway point), but as a whole it’s a great treat for big fan of locked room murder mystery, and one that I’ll always hold near and dear.
This is a story about Kindaichi jr. , grandson of the famous fictional detective, Kindaichi.
I do not really know how to feel about having the grandson of a detective be one himself. It's like taking a big fictional character that you did not create and just say : let's give him a son! It's not really something you thought for hours about. Though, Kindaichi jr. is a very likable character, and you can somehow relate to his roots. The story in itself is quite good. The cases aren't just as detailed as Detective Conan, and a little bit difficult to understand, but this
will make you feel so much more emotional or tense.
The art wasn't the best I have ever seen, but I kinda like it. Its not bad, its just that I have seen such incredible drawing skills that this doesn't seem just as good. But don't be blocked by the art, even if it is kind of oldish.
I liked Kindaichi quite a lot, playing double game, being a dummy and intelligent a the same time. Though he's the only character I really liked. His friend turned me a little off, and I didn't like how their love/friend relationship was developed, and I didn't like the fact that he had a second love interest. I mean, please, don't turn this into a harem.
Okay, so this is what I like the most about this series. Its the fact that you can totally follow the cases, trying to guess the criminal at the same time than Kindaichi. Detective Conan hid some things, while this tells you almost every clue that they found. In the first cases, it didn't give the clues, but later on, the cases were a little more detailed.
Overall, I'll give it an 8, because nonetheless, Kindaichi Shounen stays a very good series.