Possessing a deep knowledge of mineralogy, Richard Ranashinha de Vulpian is a young and handsome British jewelry appraiser who owns a small shop in Japan. One fateful night, Seigi Nakata, a righteous college student, saves him from drunks who were harassing him due to his good looks. Upon learning of Richard's identity, Seigi hires him to appraise a pink sapphire ring that was left behind by his deceased grandmother. Before long, Seigi becomes a trusted part-timer at Richard's shop. Together, the duo solve various jewel-related requests from diverse clients of different backgrounds. Step by step, they unravel the hidden motives and feelings that lie within the gems in order to understand and empathize with the little stories behind each piece of jewelry.
The case files of Jeweler Richard / Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei falls into one of my favorite categories of preview guide experience: the low-key palate cleanser. After a full day of premieres stuffed with indulgent fanservice and overwrought worldbuilding, it’s always nice to close out the day with a show about antiquing, cafe management, or some other similarly mundane activity. And if you yourself are looking for a relatively peaceful, low-tension drama, Case Files feels like a fine example of the form.
This first episode introduces us to the titular jeweler Richard, along with his soon-to-be apprentice Seigi. Over the course of a mystery involving a sapphire ring handed down from Seigi’s grandmother, Richard and Seigi develop a light but natural rapport, and dig into the extended history of Seigi’s ring. The drama remains resolutely low-key throughout, with this episode’s “climax” coming in the form of an extended conversation with the ring’s elderly original owner. The emphasis here is not on danger, or even necessarily discovery – through the ring’s story, Case Files lightly explores the strange coincidences of fate, how simple objects can have complex meanings, and the many forms justice can take.
Case Files’ production values are so-so, but in this production’s case, that’s not necessarily a major handicap. Constructed as a series of thoughtful conversations between reserved adults, there was little that took place this episode that actually required fluid animation, and the relative stillness of the production served its calming intent quite well. Case Files’ premiere felt like sitting down with a familiar mystery novel after a long day; it’s far from this season’s most dazzling production, but sometimes a peaceful mystery vignette starring a pair of thoughtful jewelers is exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re a fan of anime’s more adult-oriented slice of life productions, Case Files looks like a fine pick.