Anime Review: The Case Files of Richard the Jeweler

(12 episodes, available from CrunchyRoll, subtitled)

This show is based on Japanese mystery light novel series, although I’m not familiar with the original content. I’ll be honest, I started watching it because the title was so ridiculous that it caught my curiosity. Plus the attractively drawn characters (and two male leads….hmm).

In some ways this show feels very ’90s in that the premise is a bit ridiculous to get these two guys involved in one another’s lives, and it feels queer-baity as hell. Or is it? I don’t know.

(I also thought I wrote up this review immediately after finishing the series and then found it languishing in my drafts, so my memory is not as clear as it once was!)

The basis of the story is Richard is hassled by some drunks on the street and Seigi (a college student) stops them. He learns Richard is a jeweler who just opened a shop, and ends up getting a part-time job there. Each episode involves a customer with jewelry to be appraised or else looking to buy and the story that revolves around that piece or the meaning behind it.

If you like slice-of-life shows that are very chill, I’d recommend it, as long as you have a strong ability to suspend disbelief. Sometimes events are eye-rolling worthy, but I enjoyed a wild ride. I will warn that the pacing feels a little off, as the Big Dramatic Arc seems to happen 2-3 episodes before the end, so there are a few episodes that happen after. They are relevant, but feel a little tagged on (IMO).

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Queer-baiting? So…the thing that makes it feel very ’90s and queer-baity is that there are a ton of moments that, in a romance, would be Clearly Showing Interest. They go out to eat together at a fancy restaurant (Richard orders a parfait), Seigi flies to London to find/rescue Richard, there’s a Fake Engagement, they exchange expensive/meaningful jewelry, and Seigi compliments Richard’s beauty in a way most straight men don’t (IME) and while it’s played as “how unobservant” Seigi is because of a customer, it also hints that Richard feels flirted with and Seigi doesn’t get it.

But nothing concrete seems to come of their odd interactions (thus the baiting), although I realize the genre conventions kind of determine that. Also it’s not really meant as a romance. Seigi has a crush on a girl, which is established so fast it feels No-Homo, but she also ends up being…aromantic/asexual (or as close as I’ve seen discussed in mainstream anime)? She’s betrothed to someone else but even when that falls through, she and Seigi don’t become an item.

Having said all that…although it’s not for everyone, it’s definitely enjoyable for what it is.

3 thoughts on “Anime Review: The Case Files of Richard the Jeweler

  1. The anime skipped a lot of stuff, especially in the last 4 episodes, which is why the pacing seems so off at the end.

    I promise you this story is not queerbait. The anime didn’t cover the whole series so it’s not the end. Hopefully, there will be a second season so you can see how far they have come with their relationship. After having canon lesbians and a canon aromantic character, I don’t know why people keep thinking the author is giving all those Richard/Seigi hints just for “bait” This author is not afraid to go there.

    • Thanks for letting me know that the last four episodes are wonky because of skipping stuff. I skimmed the wiki, but for the most part this review is of the anime and what we have, so I can only judge on what we’ve seen.

      As for why I would think it’s queerbaiting….because a lot of titles have done just that and part of the problems with the pacing and how things are handled in the anime leave the feeling that big important moments about their relationship aren’t being addressed and possibly even ignored. The presence of side characters who are queer doesn’t necessarily mean that the creator is going to make the main characters queer, or together. I can only base my call/warning of potential queerbaiting on what we’re given.

      • I suppose I can understand. But I don’t think it’s entirely fair to judge this work by what other works have done. Times are changing and stories don’t have to be labelled as BL for there to be a canon gay romance.

        It is very unfortunate that the anime toned things down compared to the novel but with all the time constraints, I can see why they wouldn’t want to directly bring up the “Do they romantically love each other” question when that plotline is unresolved at this point in the story and there is no guarantee there will be a 2nd season. If this had been more popular and 2nd season was likely, they might have done things differently. But I still think, even with how much was cut, it’s not hard to figure out that they are in love. It’s just that Seigi is going to be the last person to realize it.

        Crunchyroll subtitles messed up sometimes. Like when they translated “taisetsu na hito” (most important person) as “dear friend” and omitting “So far” from when Richard said he hasn’t had any male lovers, which makes it clear he’s not against the idea. So many people interpreted that scene in the hotel as a “no homo” moment but it was quite the opposite. Then there was the 好きで好きで仕方がない line that Richard said in the last episode, and I think it’s hard to get across in English just how strong that phrase was because “I love you so much” doesn’t quite do it justice.

        Luckily, the manga is following the novel much more closely and I hope it and/or the novel will get licensed so people can see the entirety of this amazing story.

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