The Case Files of Jeweler Richard
Ever since he was young, Seigi Nakata has always wanted to help people. He is often called a Hero of Justice. One day, he chases away a group of drunks who are pestering a lone businessperson.
Upon seeing who he rescued, Seigi is shocked to face an extremely handsome foreigner named Richard Ranashinha de Vulpian. Richard, an accomplished jeweler, is grateful, and the two men instantly form a friendship.
Throughout its run, The Case Files of Jeweler Richard (Jeweler Richard) had a lot of aspects that helped it stand out. Among the most immediate was this series’ animation. Although there weren’t high-action set pieces for the visuals to be on their full display, the show was still easy on the eyes.
However, there were two things about Jeweler Richard that took me off guard. These points alone are compelling me to recommend this series. Most everything else about this show was serviceable at best and irritating at worst. Nevertheless, I can’t deny how impressed I was by Jeweler Richard.
First, I don’t believe I have ever seen an anime from any genre depict foreigners in Japan in quite the same way this show did. In any other series, a foreigner will be framed in one of two ways:
- They are completely fluent in Japanese, and any reference to them being foreign is quickly glossed over, to the point where it is irrelevant.
- A foreigner, despite speaking perfect Japanese, is given this weird, incredibly unnatural, this-person-sounds-like-a-simpleton accent that makes it obvious they are from somewhere else.
What Jeweler Richard did was hint at how many Japanese people see foreigners. Mainly, some Japanese people become utterly bewildered that a non-Japanese person can speak Japanese. And I’m not talking about fluent Japanese either, but rather ANY Japanese.
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had this happened to me:
- Odyssey: Hajimemashite. Watashi no namae wa Odyssey desu. (Nice to meet you. My name is Odyssey).
- Japanese Person: Oo, suge! Nihongo jouzu desu ne! (Oh, wow! You’re Japanese is good!)
If you are Japanese, please don’t do this. You might think you’re giving a compliment, but you are actually being condescending. I gave you a simple, learn-on-day-one greeting, not a philosophy lecture. Keep in mind; this is coming from someone who admits they are not fluent in Japanese. I have friends who have been studying the language for over a decade, are living and working in Japan, and they still receive this BS.
And if you think that’s bad, imagine someone who was born and raised in Japan to non-Japanese parents. Every single person I’ve met who is in this situation has told me similarly infuriating stories.
I’ve never seen an anime with the self-awareness to show a Japanese character do what I saw happen in Jeweler Richard. IN THE VERY FIRST SCENE, Seigi Nakata manages to chase away a group of drunkards who were accosting the titular Richard. Seigi runs over to help, and this is their exchange:
- Seigi: Daijoubu desu ka? (Are you okay?)
- Seigi sees for the first time that Richard is a foreigner and immediately switches to strained English: Awe you okay?
- Richard smiles and in extremely polite Japanese that is way too high for my level: Yes, thank you. (Trust me, formal Japanese is a bitch to learn.)
Throughout Jeweler Richard, people kept getting shocked whenever Richard spoke to them. Please note that Richard’s Japanese was probably better than Seigi’s. Still, because Richard was foreign, many people assumed he couldn’t understand them.
I have no idea how much of this was intentional, but this made me very happy to see. This was partly because this kind of exchange does happen. Mostly, though, this caused Richard to be one of the best characters I have yet seen from 2020.
I don’t know if I can express how much I liked Richard. Without a doubt, he was my favorite thing about this series. He was calm, sophisticated, smart, and, most importantly, aware of his surroundings. It was clear that he had lived a life where people were quick to make assumptions about him. Therefore, when he finally had a place of his own, Richard made it a point not to allow those sorts of biases from his employees, a.k.a., Seigi.
Richard was always fast to call Seigi out whenever he was rude, especially when it was an unintentional jab towards one of their clients. But instead of straight-up reprimanding Seigi for being a prick, Richard would go to more effective lengths to turn the tables on him.
There was a scene when Seigi kept complimenting Richard’s appearance in front of a customer. Seigi kept using words like “pretty” and “beautiful.” All the while, Seigi was blissfully unaware that he kept insulting their client, who was self-conscious about their looks and didn’t much appreciate Seigi’s comments.
Rather than telling Seigi to watch his mouth, Richard chose to send Seigi an eloquently written message. This was the same kind of message a person might send to someone they were hitting on. As intended, Seigi was weirded out by the romantically-tinged flattery. When Seigi asked Richard why he sent such a thing, Richard delivered his point.
Richard’s message was one-hundred percent complimentary, and he used terms associated with praise. Nevertheless, such words made Seigi just as uncomfortable as Seigi had made their client. He hadn’t realized it, but when Seigi kept going on about Richard’s good looks, he was using the customer as a comparison.
Jeweler Richard had a lead character you couldn’t help liking. That was pretty damn fortunate since Richard had to carry this series, which had a massive anchor attached to it.
I disliked Seigi as much as I liked Richard. So, maybe you can imagine how annoying he was.
If there was ever someone who needed to learn to mind their own damn business, it was Seigi. At every opportunity, he would try to stick his nose into places it didn’t belong. He would go out of his way to jam himself into any situation, using the excuse of helping people.
And as we already established in the previous section, Seigi had a bad habit of unintentional rudeness. He saw the world in this strict black and white setting, and it rarely occurred to him that people have their own sets of circumstances.
There was only one time in this series when I had any sympathy for Seigi, and it came in the final episode.
To close off this show, Seigi’s estranged father returned to milk some money out of his son. This guy was a real scumbag, and it was terrific to see Seigi stand up to him. There was even this powerful moment between Seigi and his stepfather, who came to his adoptive son’s side without hesitation. There was just one problem with this episode.
It came out of f@#$ing nowhere.
Jeweler Richard ended in episode ten. The final two episodes were tacked on and had nothing to do with anything that had happened before them. Should you decide to watch this series, you can skip them.
I didn’t realize Seigi’s father was in the picture. There was a single scene that explained that Seigi’s father was abusive, but it had nothing to do with what was going on at that moment. Thus, I forgot all about it.
Then suddenly, with no build-up, this guy appeared and claimed he was Seigi’s father. Was this a thing he had done before? I don’t know. This seemed to serve as a last-minute heart-wrencher with characters who hadn’t appeared once in the show. Seigi’s stepdad, for instance, had barely been referenced. I didn’t even know his name, let alone what he looked like.
As I said before, had it not been for Richard’s engaging personality, this series would not have amounted to much. After all, the ending may have been random and irrelevant, but everything prior to it was average and nothing special. There are things I will remember about this show, but its story won’t be one of them.
The majority of this show wasn’t what I would call outstanding. The story was average, and one of the lead characters was irritating.
However, much of this series’ problems were secondary when compared to the other lead character who was phenomenal and who carried everything over the finish line.
For that reason alone, The Case Files of Jeweler Richard has earned a recommendation.
The Case Files of Jeweler Richard Series Review: A Keen Eye
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Plot - 6/106/10
- Character Development - 8/108/10
- Production - 7/107/10
- Music - 6/106/10