Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

More Kindaichi Case Files

I got my English translation of the Kindaichi Kousuke mystery The Inugami Clan (Inugami-ke no Ichizoku) by Yokomizo Seishi, from Amazon on Friday. What a good book! You've got a nice down-to-earth detective, an exotic setting, a nice gritty postwar story about returning vets, a beautiful and mysterious woman, and all kinds of savage intrafamily secrets and aggression. I can see why this book has inspired a couple of mangas and a hugely successful movie. Last-will-mandated-marriage fu! Garden kabuki doll fu! Motorboat fu! Koto string fu! Ice fu! Red-hot poker fu! Non-gratuitous skiing policemen scene! Two breasts. At least three beasts (depending on how you define them). Heads do roll! So Joe Bob would certainly say "Check it out". (And there's even a soundtrack album.)

Since it's more likely you'll run across movies than more translated books, you might want to check out Yokomizo's listing on IMDB. 17 listings isn't bad, eh? Mr. Kindaichi was played by Chiezo Kataoka in the late forties; Ryo Ikebe in 1956; Akira Nakao, Koji Ishizaka, Kiyoshi Atsumi, and Toshiyuki Nishida in the 70's; Takeshi Kaga in the 80's; and Etsushi Toyokawa in the 90's.

Kon Ichikawa wrote and directed six Kindaichi films. He is better known to anime fans as the screenplay writer for the lovely noir train-in-space opera, Galaxy Express 999 (and he also did Hi no Tori, an adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's manga Phoenix). As for other series detectives, he made the 1991 Mitsuhiko Asami mystery movie, The Tenkawa Legend Murder Case (about which the New York Times critic says "Check it out"), as well as The Youth of Heiji Zenigata.

House of Hanging, a 1979 Kindaichi Kousuke movie. "This time, Kousuke investigates the murder happened in a hospital, and the murderer intentionally diverts Kousuke's attention by leaving deceptive evidence. Suspicions and doubts cloud Kousauke's mind…...." Ooh, sounds tricky.

Kindaichi Kosuke no Boken (aka The Adventures of Kosuke Kindaichi) pits Kindaichi against the unknown who's beheaded a statue and made off with said head. Obayashi Nobuhiko directed. And Toshiro Mifune's in it as Kindaichi's future self, while Mr. Yokomizo plays himself! Here's a picture from Kadokawa's website.

Btw, I've also learned that The Kindaichi Case Files ("Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo" or literally, "Young Kindaichi's Casefiles"), the manga about Kindaichi's slacker grandson, Hajime, inspired both an anime TV series with 148 episodes which seems a good sign. And a couple of anime movies. And a videogame (of course). And live action TV movies which seem rather popular. And there's another couple of soundtrack albums (or six). All of which I will probably never get to see, alas alas.

Catchphrases: "Jichan mo, nani kakete!" (In the name of my grandfather!) and "The mysteries have all been cleared up!"

Since the chances of getting an American release for a 1996 mystery series that didn't make Conan's ratings seem rather small, those of you not on dialup may wish to check out this fansub project from #Anime-Urchins.

Allos is a "shrine" to two minor characters from the manga, the brilliant and annoying young Chief Inspector Akechi Kengo (note that Akechi name showing up again!), and some kind of psycho killer named Takato Youichi (who doesn't show up till Volume 20, and here we're only up to 11 or so here). I don't it me or is this site vaguely disturbing? ;)

Several films of detective interest are available here. The gentleman claims they're all public domain now, which they might well be. It's a thought, if you don't mind a certain lack of subtitles! But it would be much better to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so you could just check Kindaichi flicks out of their East Asian collection. Sigh.

Somebody who doesn't love Kindaichi like I do, but at least finds him entertaining.


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