Criminologist Himura & Mystery Writer Arisugawa (臨床犯罪学者 火村英生の推理) is a 2016 Japanese investigative mystery drama that is based off the Himura Hideo novel series authored by Alice (Arisu) Arisugawa, which was first published 1992. It stars Saitō Takumi (Himura Hideo) and Kubota Masataka (Arisu Arisugawa) with direction from Noriyoshi Sakuma.
The series is about a brilliant detective named Hideo Himura who has quite a few pieces of psychological baggage and who also gets unusual amounts of delight from challenging and complicated criminal cases. He is watched over by a quirky and at-times vacuous mystery writer named Arisugawa, who writes tales revolving around the cases they encounter.
Criminologist Himura’s first episode made me feel like the series is a sort of Japanese-style Sherlockian show with an air of quaintness that works rather well within the gritty, darker parts of the city’s settings. Himura has an eidetic, or photographic, memory and a brilliant sense of deductive reasoning. He’s also very eccentric and strange, as well as stoic and intimidating that can be immensely off-putting to many individuals, except for his mate, Arisugawa. As a big fan of Sherlockian stories, this was a trait that really kept me interested in seeing how the episode and the mysteries within it would unfold, especially in the face of the more lesser-polished qualities.
The pilot begins with Himura and Arisugawa being called into a case late at night where the former’s deductive skills are put on display for the audience. Honestly, the whole scene felt too convenient for me initially, which can be credited to how fast it all unfolded. I understood the purpose of the opening scene, however, I wished it paced itself just a tiny bit more. The rest of the episode wasn’t as rushed and that was nice.
Apart from that, the rest of the pilot was mildly to moderately enjoyable. The suspense grows slowly as the more challenging case surfaces, however that tight-knit tension that I crave and positively adore in my mysteries never took off, at least not with regard to the case. I was interested in what was happening, but it was far more passing than interactive. Also, there was an instance where the culprit was essentially revealed to the audience in a blatant manner that further destroyed any air of mystery that existed. Suffice to say that I was quite disappointed by that.
Another thing that felt unrefined was the acting. The character of Himura felt disengaged from the actor himself, like it was openly obvious he was acting, and everything was quite a theatrical façade, particularly during instances that required serious facial expressions or dialogue. Those scenes came off unnatural. Nonetheless, the chemistry between Takumi and Masataka was very good and far more natal than anything else. They made a good fit and that compensated for the acting inadequacies rather well.
My biggest fascination with Criminologist Himura is the relationship between our detective and his writer mate, Arisugawa. Arisugawa isn’t as bright at putting together all of the details as his partner, and more often than not is placed in a small box as humorous relief to Himura’s heavy intensity. Nevertheless, this is what I adored about him. He has compassion within him that brings a more personal and human touch to the mysteries that didn’t exist with the methodical and scientific approach we get with the brilliant detective. It stabilises out the dreariness of whatever fucked-up thing is going on. Arisugawa’s more normal nature is highly complementary to Himura’s fiery peculiarities. I will admit that this balance is rather subtle in the pilot, yet I’m hoping that it will more forthcoming with the rest of the episodes because I believe it could significantly impact the character development of both individuals.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the first episode of Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa. Regardless of everything that let me down, I do plan on trying to finish the whole series. It’s relatively short with ten, forty-six-minute segments total. My main reason for doing so aside from my love of Sherlockian tales, is due to my curiosity of Himura’s past, as well as the delight I felt from watching Himura and Arisugawa interact. Also, I am hoping that the cases and acting shall improve with each new episode. Maybe I’m being far too wishful, but that’s okay. It’ll be an experience either way!
If you’d like to see Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa for yourself, you can catch it over on Viki.