The winter anime season isn’t known for having the best anime. Usually, that is reserved for spring and summer. But every slow season, there’s an anime or two that surprise us! One such anime this season is the drama mystery Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei or The Case Files of Jeweler Richard which, at the time of writing was on episode 6.
Set in Tokyo, we follow Seigi (written using the kanji for “justice”), a college student who, as his name implies, can’t allow injustices to happen—which makes him kind of nosy but he means well. One night, he saves a tall, gorgeous, foreign man named Richard from some drunks beating him up and, as luck would have it, Richard is a jeweler and Seigi ends up working with him after Richard helps him solve the mystery behind a ring that belonged to his grandmother. Oh yeah, Richard is part detective (kinda, more on that later), and probably the biggest mystery so far...
The Case Files of Jeweler Richard is labeled as a mystery, as it is based on a mystery light novel, but the way the anime works feels more like a slice of life and, in each episode, Richard solves a jewel-related mystery. But they’re not the kind of mysteries you find in other anime like ID:Invaded or In/Spectre. They’re more personal mysteries surrounding the customers of his establishment and their reasons for visiting. And that’s the beauty of The Case Files of Jeweler Richard! Read on to find out why we think it is a hidden jewel this winter 2020 season!
Human, Relevant, Eye-Opening
The topics dealt with in this anime are varied and, at least in the first few episodes, revolve around the pressure created by traditional Japanese societal norms and their repercussions. Single mothers and how they were viewed and treated in mid-nineteenth century Japan, being openly gay and trying to hide it but feeling like it kills you even though that’s what’s “normal” and expected, the damage that giving conventional beauty too much importance can cause to one who isn’t considered as such, depression, heartbreak, low self-esteem; these are all discussed and played out in such a realistic way that it truly gets to you.
It’s also interesting that we get to see how Japanese people see foreigners—getting nervous as soon as they spot one, assuming they don’t speak Japanese, some see them as very trustworthy while others wonder if the foreigner looks down on them. But we also get to see many aspects of Japanese culture that still prevail, much like some of the outdated ways of thinking mentioned before, like being judgemental, giving beauty too much importance, feeling like one isn’t good enough, being too a busybody, being too self-conscious about status and in general... Ok, so these are all universal, but they are very prevalent in Japan! And one of our favorite parts is the inclusion of an educated, self-confident Japanese woman who doesn’t play coy and doesn’t wait around for the guy to ask for her number and the deer-in-the-headlights look she gets when she does! You go, girl!
Richard the Counselor
Even without taking his looks into account, Richard is a diamond. Most people are taken aback by his beauty when they first lay eyes on him but it’s then when they get to talk with him that they discover how beautiful he is inside too. Really, Richard is more of a life coach/therapist than a jeweler OR a detective. He’s worldly, educated, and therefore, open-minded. He sees Japanese society from a different perspective but knows it so well, he is able to navigate it perfectly. But he is also just generally a very intelligent man with a knack for psychology and observation. The mysteries aren’t murder-related, they are all about people, their hearts, and their feelings and Richard can see through everybody and know what they truly want and who they truly are, even when sometimes they don’t know themselves. So while it seems like Richard wants to teach this open-mindedness and empathy to Japanese people and Seigi, we can all benefit from his therapy sessions..ahem…customer interactions.
While Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei is set in Japan and deals mostly with Japanese people, there are a lot of relevant topics; the LGBTQ experience in a society that still doesn’t fully get it, the effect of media and marketing, learning when to shut up or at least think before you speak, and generally being tolerant and compassionate towards others. A “mystery” anime that won’t have you at the edge of your seat but will leave you feeling better about life. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the art is beautiful and, well, so is Richard!
And we’re barely halfway through the season so who knows what else will happen! If you haven’t already, we suggest giving Jeweler Richard a chance. Are you watching The Case Files of Jeweler Richard? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts below! Till next time!