Holmes of Kyoto
Episode 12

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Holmes of Kyoto ?

How would you rate episode 12 of
Holmes of Kyoto ?

Well, that certainly was a TV series based on the light novels of the same name. I really wish I had something more encouraging to say about Holmes of Kyoto, but after this lackluster finale, I'm very much afraid that it's a series that will slip quietly under the waves in the Pool of Mediocrity, there to languish unlamented. That's not to say that this was a terrible show, because it did have its moments. But on the whole this episode dropped the series' chance to end with something conclusive, be it either a solid mystery or a firm cementing of the romance plot, leaving things to finish much as they began.

I do have to commend the episode for not taking one particular easy way out. The plot follows Rikyu's father as he puts in a command appearance for his father at the family mansion. The old man is ready to choose a successor to his house (or rather, House in the Game of Thrones sense), and to that end he's asked each of his sons to come with an appraiser to find the single most valuable item in the mansion. Rikyu's dad settles on his reflection in the mirror rather than any one physical object, thinking that perhaps it is the family itself that is most valuable in the long run. He's probably not wrong, but that answer that would have been correct in nine out of ten TV series is way too cheesy for Holmes of Kyoto, and as it turns out, his dad was looking for an actual valuable object rather than Very Special Episode levels of symbolism. It's very much of the tone the series tried to set, and that one moment more than anything else illustrates what the show could have been.

Sadly, that's not the show we got. After all of the posturing between Kiyotaka and Ensho their final battle is really very lame, with basically nothing resolved. It looked for a moment as if things were going to take a new and disturbing twist when Ensho attacked Aoi and accused her of not being alluring enough for Kiyotaka to want to make a move on, but ultimately it went nowhere. It seems very possible, if not likely, that there was originally more to that scene and the one after it where Aoi confesses to Kiyotaka that she suspects her boyfriend of breaking up with her because she wouldn't have sex with him – there's a lot there that could have been expanded upon and used to make a romantic moment between the two into something affirming for Aoi. Kiyotaka does react well to her tearful confession, and he does say the right things, but if Aoi has been carrying this around the whole time and it has been behind her worries about his interactions with other women, I'd have liked to see it handled with a bit more gravity.

That's essentially the overall feeling I take away from this episode specifically and the series in general: it didn't treat any of its plots, mystery, forgery, or romance, with the dignity and importance that could have made the show feel like it did more than just skim the surface. Apart from the blow to those who were watching for the Big Moment romance-wise, we also have no real resolution to the Ensho issue. The final minutes of the episode do come with implications that Kiyotaka and Aoi are moving forward together, and Kiyotaka's final exchange with Ensho can be interpreted as indicating to the other man that he never saw him as a rival or a threat, making the attachment entirely on Ensho's side, which would make sense. But again, that needed to be more explicitly treated in order to make this journey entirely worthwhile.

So yes. That certainly was a show. It had bits of mystery and romance, characters who kind of liked or disliked each other, and some nice scenes of Kyoto. As the outline of a better story, it worked well enough – but not so well that I'm sorry to see it go.

Rating: C

Holmes of Kyoto is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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