story by Yuma Ando; art by Yuki Sato
published by Kodansha Comics; $10.99 US
I enjoyed Sherlock Bones Book 3 enough that I tracked down the two previous volumes. I found that the cases covered there followed the same pattern, making this a read better spread out instead of tackled all at once, where it risks becoming repetitive.
The first book opens with Takeru adopting Sherdog. I had wondered if there were details to how they got together beyond the brief version in the Story So Far section (or at the beginning of some chapters), but there aren’t, really. Takeru goes to the pound to get a dog and has a strange connection, thinking he hears the dog’s voice in his head. He brings the dog home, naming him Sherdog. Along the way, they solve a case that involves figuring out why a guy in a car accident would be willing to pay off the motorcyclist he hit when it seemed to be the cyclist’s fault.
The rest of Book 1 consists of one case. A student has killed himself after being bullied. The bully is found stabbed, and the student’s mother turns out to be Takeru’s swimming teacher (allowing for several swimsuit images focused on key body parts), who has taken revenge. Sherdog focuses on how to break her alibi.
Like an old-fashioned sitcom, once you know the premise, the stories can occur in almost any order. Most involve not deduction, as the original detective stories did, but observation, as the dog is able to watch events that would be hidden if any other people were around. Thus, the cases are less about classic Holmes, more about the cute puppy. We usually know who did it and how, so the mystery comes in convincing the authorities of the perpetrator’s identity. As well, Takeru often ends up confronting the villain, risking his own life to force them to confess.
Book 2 follows the same structure, with one long case and a couple of shorter stories. The introduction engages in slapstick, as Sherdog tries to wash dishes to ingratiate himself with Takeru’s mother. Of course, since he’s a dog, he winds up destroying the house. Fans of Holmes will be very disappointed by how incorrect his deductions are, portrayed that way for comedy.
The main case is set in the entertainment world, with Takeru’s friend Miki having been scouted for a bit part in a movie. She’s working with teen idol Yuji and young model Risa. Risa wants revenge for her best friend, who committed suicide after her boyfriend (who happens to be Yuji) betrayed her. Naturally, Risa has borrowed the adorable Sherdog, who thus happens to be on the scene when she’s killed. There’s also a short story about a doctor at school posting voyeuristic pictures of the girls undressing during a required exam.