Shinzanmono – Red Finger

Imagine this: After a long, tiring day at the office, you’re ready to go out for a couple of tall, cold, Asahi beers with a few of your mates at work. However – they decline. Just then your wife calls. Can you come home right away? We have a problem. It’s serious. When you ask her is everyone okay, she says, Just come home right away. It’s very serious….

When you finally get home, all the lights are out. Tadaima! (I ‘m home!), you say but there’s no answer. When you turn on a lamp – your wife jumps out and says turn it off. You’re dumbstruck – you have no idea. What’s wrong?

She directs you to get a flashlight, and to take a look out in the courtyard. And it is out there, in your own courtyard, which is your enclosed back yard – a young girl lies dead in the moonless night. Hel–lo…!

Not quite the Okari (Welcome home) response you expected. This is how the latest entry from the producers of Shinzanmono which I reviewed last year here, begins. This time, the series has returned to the broadcast medium in the form of a 2 hour Special Movie. The title is Red Finger.

Hiroshi Abe returns as Detective Kyouchiro Kaga

Detective Kyoichiro Kaga, portrayed once again by the wonderful Hiroshi Abe, returns to TV. This SP is a prequel to the series and takes place two years earlier. Kaga is still a great detective. And the beautiful Meisa Kuroki is once again on hand as a local reporter named Aoyama.

Meisa Kuroki as Ami Aoyama

As the DVD cover tells us – when Maehara returned home to find a corpse on his property, this average salary-man and his family, were looking at just the beginning of a tragic chain of events.

The Maehara's: a death in their own family might have preferable to this nightmare of a situation

I won’t tell you anymore about the plot – but I can tell you that Detective Kaga is once again a breath of fresh air as far as television detectives go. He’s not stylish, he doesn’t toss off memorable one-liners, and he’s not run by an overbearing boss who questions his every move.

No sir, this is straight detective work which requires diligence. The production is a little heavy-handed in that they make sure you are shown some major clues, but still converting clues into proof is never easy in real life, nor in a television mystery. It is also true, that as a viewer, you may miss the significance of what they show you. So pay attention!

They don’t make these made-for-tv movies to be over and done in an hour. This one runs two hours, and while the murder mystery genre is turned inside out – this is not a ‘who is the killer’ deal, instead it is how will he be caught, or can he be caught?

Abe is marvelous – his observational and listening skills are superb, as is his ability to ferret useful information from the way people speak as well as what they actually say. All of us have seen so many television and film detectives. Mysteries along with the detectives that solves them are a staple of the book industry.

So it is both a pleasure and a reward to watch an intelligent detective work his way through the case. Not a bullet is fired, there are no car chases, and the detective, and the beautiful reporter do not between the sheets for a night of heavy breathing.

As Red Finger closes, we get a voice over spoken by Meisa Kuroki’s character, the reporter Ami Aoyama. She is actually quoting something that Kaga told her. She says, “A detective is not only responsible for unlocking the truth, he not only captures the offenders, but he also needs to save the souls of those related to the case.”

That’s not in the spiritual sense only, but it is reflected in the care that Kaga shows everyone in the case – be they his colleagues, or people he meets along the way to solving the case, the victim’s family, as well as the criminals. Aoyama concludes, “And this is the Detective named Kyouchiro Kaga.”

"I'll be back ... "

As such, I will recommend this Red Finger. It is available through To demonstrate further proof of Kaga’s popularity, there will be another movie coming out next year.

5 thoughts on “Shinzanmono – Red Finger

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