The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 3 of
The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED ?
The Millionaire Detective is back with his unlimited funds, but if you were hoping for things to pick up right where they left off in the spring with the Hong Kong conference, I have some bad news for you: this is an entirely new case. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, because this episode does a lot more for Kanbe and Haru's working relationship than either of the previous two, and if this series is going to work, that is something that needed to happen.
In keeping with Haru's attitude, however, as well as Kanbe's usual way of doing things, that mostly stems from what Kanbe can do for Haru in the moment. The case itself revolves around Haru meeting a kid on the Shinkansen only to discover that no sooner has he disembarked than the teen has pulled out a gun and held the crowd of middle-aged idol fans in the car hostage… while livestreaming the whole thing on “ChainTube.” Haru's in shock about the whole thing, because the guy he met was so unassuming that he could barely bring himself to take the onigiri Haru offered him, only doing so when Haru assured him that he was getting off and having supper soon. While these things don't always add up, within the context of fiction at least this is not the behavior of someone about to go on a rampage. (We're just going to ahead and leave real life out of this. Clearly this is not a show heavily invested in realism.) When Haru's old squad shows up and he realizes that they plan to shoot the young man, he can't bring himself to sit things out, even though it brings the trauma that got him transferred in the first place to the fore.
This trauma, as it turns out, was based on the time he was first on the scene of an armed crime of some sort and was authorized to use force. He shot to disarm the suspect, but then the woman who seemed to be the hostage (or a hostage) grabbed the man's gun and Haru had to shoot her too—but instinct took over and he shot to kill. It's not completely analogous to what's going on in the train car, but with one hostage down and many more present, it's enough to bring the incident right back to the forefront of his mind, and he risks being frozen for the same reasons that meant he couldn't remain with his old unit. In fact, he's so freaked out that he fails to notice that the woman who has supposedly been shot isn't bleeding and doesn't appear to have any wounds on her body, which if I were holding this show to semi-realistic standards would be a major issue.
But considering that prior to Haru and Kanbe entering the train car we saw Kanbe essentially pull out Batarangs with wire attachments to yank them over the fencing separating the road from the train tracks, that's not really a consideration. The Millionaire Detective exists in a space somewhere between James Bond and Batman, with fancy gadgets, random sexy ladies in the opening theme (in case you forgot the novel the series is based on was penned in the 1970s), and oodles of ludicrous tech and money. When your not-J.A.R.V.I.S. can hack into anything, fire smoke bombs, and summon boy bands from the ether, you're deep into fantasy territory.
And as the spy/cop fantasy goes, this episode is a decent mix of drama and wish fulfillment. There are definitely some cheesy aspects, such as the boy with the gun doing it all to get money from ChainTube views to send his sister to America for brain surgery, but it's hard to argue with the laisée-faire flair of Kanbe's actions as he casually circumvents the system mere non-millionaires have to navigate. More importantly, he seems to be doing it for the right reasons this time: Haru said that the kid he sat next to on the train wouldn't actually kill people and that he wants to help even if he's scared, and so Kanbe makes it possible for him to do so. It's the first genuine sign of partnership that we've seen, and while it may be because his grandmother is moderately terrifying in the way of many grandmothers, the point is that he tries to do something to help his partner. If the series can build on this, it will be a good thing.
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