The Case Files of Jeweler Richard – Episode 1

By: Vrai Kaiser January 9, 20200 Comments
Richard putting on gloves and Seigi holding a gem to his eye

What’s it about? When his need to help others leads Nakata Seigi to cross paths with the appraiser Richard Ranashinha de Vulpian, he finally has a chance to uncover the origins of a mysterious ring his grandmother kept until her death. In the process, Seigi finds himself agreeing to take a job at Richard’s shop in order to help others.

Content Warning: References to attempted suicide and domestic abuse (off-screen).

The slice-of-life case drama is an inherently risky investment. Because of the strong episodic focus, with arcs for the recurring characters generally confined to snippets that bookend a case and one dramatic arc at the end, the viewer has to go in essentially expecting an anthology of short stories, which means (particularly with television scripts) gambling on the quality of writing from week to week.

Perhaps that’s why I ultimately walked away from this generally solid premiere with a profound feeling of “meh.”

A woman holding up her hand to look at the ring on it

The actual case file in question is the best part: the engagement ring in question was pickpocketed by a single mother from a woman forced into a marriage of convenience, and the story is ultimately a melancholy one about how both women felt trapped because of societal prejudices. Despite its somewhat serendipitous ending—the engaged woman attempted suicide (which plagued Seigi’s grandmother for the rest of her life), only for her doctor to become her future husband—it feeds into an open ending about Seigi’s estranged relationship with his own mother and ends on a hopeful note.

Despite some nicely delicate plot beats, the script does get a bit too eager to show you its metaphors. There are not one but two conversations about the Important Secondary Meanings of Gemstones and how those apply to the characters, and a nice young woman is kind enough to look down the barrel of the camera and voice the primary theme of the show: how do you tell sincerely good intentions from liars?

If only there were some field that was primarily about telling real objects from clever fakes. That would be really relevant here.

Close-up of Richard. subtitle: the pink sapphire represents justice for the weak.

It is somewhat unfortunate that we only get a chance to hear these women’s stories through the lens of the male main characters, which is another downside of the procedural format and more than likely a pragmatic matter of marketing. This is the kind of show that gets one (1) recurring female character who won’t get too close to the two handsome male leads who may have the tiniest sprinkling of homoeroticism to their interactions but nothing worth writing home about. Pretty standard, archetypal stuff.

If nice-looking, quiet episodic stories are your thing, this has the makings of a better-than-average example. But for anyone looking for a meatier amount of story, this probably isn’t going to be your thing.

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