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Manga / The Kindaichi Case Files

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Hajime Kindaichi, as the grandson of famous detective Kosuke Kindaichi, picked up the tricks of his trade from Grandpa and, after proving himself to the skeptical police in his first case, finds himself tangled up in the murder mystery from hell on a regular basis.

Though fairly obscure in the west, Kindaichi was Japan's most popular manga for much of its original run and remains quite popular today. The series relies on a strong formula that mixes the horror and detective genres: the atmosphere is similar to a well-made Slasher Movie, with the killer usually taking the persona of a legendary monster. He then murders his victims in gruesome ways relating to the legend, thus providing a more violent version of a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax. He still leaves clues, though, which Kindaichi is inevitably the only person to notice. There's always some secret tragedy from the past (often surprisingly moving) motivating the killer as well. All of which leads up to the climax of each story where Kindachi unmasks the perpetrator in a dramatic summation gathering. Each story is also a rather challenging Fair-Play Whodunnit so clever readers may be able to beat Kindaichi to the solution.

The manga began serializing in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine in October 1992, with the first compilation volume released in February 1993. Dubbed as the "File series", it would run for 27 volumes (19 long cases). The continuation, "Case Series" (10 volumes, 7 long cases with one Akechi's case thrown in the mix) along with Short Case compilations (6 volumes, 20 short cases ALSO with Akechi's own case thrown in the mix) were published in 1997 until 2001 in which the series seemingly ended with a grand finale chapter. As of 2004, the series has restarted in Japan, dubbed "New Series" (14 volumes, 8 long cases, 2 average cases, and 4 small cases). To commemorate its 20-year anniversary, four long cases (with 1 small cases) were published in 5 volumes. The manga resumed its weekly serialization (with occasional long hiatus) as the "Return Series", publishing 14 volumes with 10 long cases, an short case, and 2 Akeichi cases. The first 17 volumes of the first series were distributed in the US by Tokyopop, but are now out of print.

An 148-episode anime adaptation started airing in 1997, but it faded into obscurity; a follow-up series, titled The Kindaichi Case Files R (the R stands for "Returns") aired in 2014, spanning two seasons of 25 and 22 episodes respectively. In 2017, two new spin-offs came along: The Culprit Case Files, a humorous revisiting of past case files focusing on how the culprits pulled it off, and The (37-year-old) Kindaichi Case Files, focusing on an adult Kindaichi who gave up on detective work but recently is getting caught up in various cases again. The series also has two anime films, three TV specials, two OVAs, seven video games and five live action adaptations, with the longer running one being Kindichi Case Files Neo (2014). A Setting Update reboot was published in 2022 and 2023.

Now has a recap page.

The trope... is among us!

  • AB Negative: The Vampire Special Case features 5 characters with Bombay blood type. One of them is the murderer, who commits the killing spree to avenge her long-lost sister, who shares the same blood type. The latter is believed to have been killed by her doctors who wanted to sell her blood to an injured girl, also with Bombay blood type. The injured girl also has a sister with the rare blood but had died earlier. Later, it is revealed that one of the doctors, who is actually the sister's lover, is also a Bombay type, and the others actually intended to sell his blood, but since it wasn't enough, the sister offered her own blood.
  • Abusive Parents: Played around with regarding Shimon and Midori Madarame from The Undying Butterfly Murder Case. Shimon isn't physically abusive to his three daughters, but it's clear he views them mainly as specimens in his collection to the point he named all three of them after different types of butterflies. It's greatly implied all three girls dislike their father because he sees them as things. In Midori's case, she can be considered abusive because she impregnated herself with frozen sperm samples taken from her deceased boyfriend Minoru and tricked Shimon into thinking he was the biological father of her children. Because Shimon drove Minoru to suicide by stealing his life's work, Midori tried to get revenge by having Shimon raise Minoru's children and hoped to reveal the truth on Shimon's death bed. In this case while loved her daughters and never did anything to directly hurt them, Midori gave birth to and exploited them for the sake of avenging Minoru's death. In the process, she gave up her firstborn son to be raised by Minoru's mother who then grew up believing Midori was a horrible woman who betrayed his father. Under the idea Midori genuinely did betray Minoru to marry Shimon and live a wealthy lifestyle with their three daughters, the son wanted to avenge his dad and murdered two of his sisters and Shimon. Once her son's identity is revealed, Midori tearfully admits her scheme and realizes it backfired horribly.
  • Accidental Murder:
    • The classic "Two people have a fight near stairs and one of them falls to their death" scenario often shows up in the murderer's backstory.
    • Another variant happened when a group of people robbed a family who had a lot of money and left them in a car with the engine on. It was intended to warm them up (the robbery happened in snowy condition) but then a pile of snow blocked the car exhaust system, killing one whole family. The only family member who was not in the car eventually mistook this as deliberate murder and plotted to exact revenge on the robbers.
  • Accidental Pervert: Both played straight and subverted; Kindaichi himself tries to pass himself off as this on multiple occasions, but he's also walked in on people he didn't mean to. (This even provides the solution to one of his mysteries.)
  • The Ace: Detective Akechi. He is a former straight-A student, Todai graduate, amateur chess player (who ranks somewhere among the world's best amateur players), trained violinist (who can play for a professional quartet), capable fencer (who once beat the national champion), can pilot planes and has a high enough reputation that he was once requested for a case in America. Most of these exploits can be found in his separate series, Akechi Files series, as pretext for the murder cases happening prior to his appearance in the main series.
  • The Alibi: A major feature in this franchise is built on the challenge of figuring out how the culprit(s) in a given mystery murder case could have carried out the deed(s) despite claims of absence at the crime scene(s) at the time.
  • Amnesiacs are Innocent: The series normally operates under the idea that people don't become killer unless they've been screwed over really badly by their eventual victims. Hence, if a murderer somehow loses their memories after being exposed, the narrative will not hold them accountable for the crimes they commit before, and Kindaichi will allow them to "start over" with their new life.
    • The culprit behind the Broken Heart Lake Legend Murder Case blows himself up after being exposed as the murderer. However, his suicide attempt fails and he gets an Identity Amnesia instead, after which he is adopted by Shimon Madarame from The Undying Butterfly Case, and assumes a new identity under the name Hikage Miyama. He is found innocent of the second case, and Kindaichi lets him live under his new identity. It helps that he shows none of his previous identity's psychotic thirst for vengeance, but has become noble, self-sacrificing and willing to risk his life to protect his beloved.
    • In Demon God Site Murder Case, the culprit is struck by lightning just as they are about to kill themselves after completing their revenge, causing them to lose their memories of the case, but is left otherwise unharmed. Since they are incurably ill and are about to die anyway, Kindaichi and friends allow them to live the remainder of their days reconnecting with Satsuki, and allowing the latter to finally get to know her real mother.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Hikage Miyama is the new identity of Eiji Tono, the murderer of the Broken Heart Lake Legend case. Unlike Tono, who had a psychotic thirst for vengeance where he killed four people trying to find his intended victim, Miyama is far kinder and is completely innocent in the case he's involved in.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Said word for word by Kindaichi in the book "Smoke and Mirrors" when he explains at the end the difference between the American version of a clue, and the Japanese version of the same clue.
  • Animal Theme Naming: Shimon Madarame, out of his twisted love for butterfly, names his daughter based on buttefly species; Tateha from Tatehachou (Nymphalidae), Ageha from Agehachou (swallowtail butterfly), and Ruri from Rurishijimi (Holly Blue). The three daughters are also made to dress in a kimono with patterns that resemble the butterflies their names are inspired from during the family's special occasions.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • Beside being apart of the core cast, being a child, a friend / teacher to Kindachi or Miyuki or the other supporting cast does not exempt you from being killed or being revealed as the killer. Poor Ryuta Saki can attest. As for perpetrator, Takashi Senke is a childhood friend of Kindaichi, was a Red Herring suspect in his debut case but then is revealed to be the killer in his second appearance.
    • Miyuki and Kindaichi also got roughed up quite a number of times in the investigation. And they clearly bear a lot of physical (completely averting Beauty Is Never Tarnished) or emotional trauma from the case.
  • Art Evolution: You can compare Kindaichi in Kindaichi's first appearance (File Series), Case Series, New Series, and Return Series change overtime. The artist (Satou Fumiya) drawing Tantei Gakuen Q and claiming that all the works on Kindaichi "draining her energy" may be the reasons.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Miyuki describing a lion adopting a cat was used as a metaphor for Lima Syndrome. In reality, putting a cat near a lion is not a good idea.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Makabe Makoto, a mere comic-relief character and self-proclaimed Kindaichi's rival in the manga has gotten more roles in drama adaptation (Season 1, 2, and Neo).
    • Takashima Tomoyo is an even bigger example of this. From a mere suspect from the same case as Makabe in manga with occasional cameo with addition of becoming one of the killer's targets in "Opera Houss Murder Case", even one of people trapped in Graveyard Isle as well as one of the killers!
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Saki, Miyuki, and Kindaichi encounter an inn patron wearing a face mask during The Bloodthirsty Cherry Blossom Murder Case arc:
    Saki: Senior, he came here to have dinner, but he kept his mask on. How is he gonna eat?
  • Asshole Victim : Most of the murder victims are callous, egoistical jerks who caused the death of an innocent over some petty reasons. Revenge for that dead loved ones is the reason why they are targeted by the killers. The Snow Goblin case plays with this as the motive for the culprit was over believing the victims had driven his lover to suicide with malicious slander, but it turns out said lover had gotten into a skiing accident mistaken for a suicide. However, one of the victims had spread malicious slander about prominent figures in the past that even drove some to suicide and took glee in this fact, so even though he wasn't responsible for her death, he certainly wasn't entirely blameless either.
  • Ax-Crazy: Subverted. At first it always seems as if the killer follows this trope to the letter and is killing people at random. But in reality, their victims are always carefully chosen, and the murders themselves are part of a larger, complex plan.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The Kowloon Murder case has a Distant Prologue about a man being murdered in a dark building. It was expected to be the Cynicism Catalyst for the Poison Dragon, the Serial Killer for the arc, but not in the way viewers expected. The murder victim was actually a bodyguard, not actually biologically related to the Dragon. His death caused a chain of events that led to the Poison Dragon's mother to commit suicide, which is the true motive behind the murders in the present.
    • In the Game Mansion Murder case, Kindaichi correctly deduces that the Game Master's real target are the mother-and-son Shimomura duo. Kindaichi elaborates further that the bar hostess Kozue was in fact related to them through her father, and thus makes her eligible to inherit the Shimomuras' fortune. Kozue, thinking she's being fingered as the Game Master, denies everything, but Kindaichi believes her...because he's actually pointing to Kozue's boss Mugimama as the Game Master instead. Mugimama arranged for the murders so Kozue can inherit the fortune because she is in fact Kozue's Missing Mom, thought to have committed suicide a long time ago by going to the Sea of Trees.
    • Played for Laughs when Reika screams and runs into Kindaichi, only for the scenario to turn out to be harmless (e.g. in Tarot Hut Murder Case, the reason Reika runs to Kindaichi with a Modesty Towel is because a skier had gotten lost in the nighttime darkness and tapped on the window of the bathroom while Reika happened to be bathing at the time, and Demon God Ruins Murder Case starts out with Reika doing this as part of movie-making, though she wasn't supposed to run to Kindaichi, who was cast as an extra).
  • Bandaged Face: Mostly used as disguises, though occasionally somebody wore full face bandages because they needed them.
  • Beautiful All Along: Sakura Izumi, one of Kindaichi's classmates is this when they meet again as Gamou Gozo's daughter complete with The Glasses Gotta Go makeover.
  • Best Served Cold: In many a case this is how the killers plot their revenges, but the most memorable one is the House of Wax case, where the killer waited a good 20 years to claim retribution when the victims are at the heights of their careers.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kindaichi lampshades in one case that killers would disguise themselves as goody-two-shoes to hide their murderous intent.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Occasionally the killer is avenging a murdered/Driven to Suicide sibling.
  • Big Eater: Kindaichi. It's more explicit when he happens to be at a fancy setting as a guest, at which point he can be seen holding a tray/plate full of food, gorging himself, or gorging himself while holding a tray/plate full of food.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Usually the most helpful person is the culprit. Eiji Tono is a good example.
  • Black Comedy: The Culprit Case Files is chock-full of this, as it's a series of Self-Parody of the gruesome murder cases that are being revisited, but from the culprit's perspective this time.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: A translator did not notice that Sakura's dog is named Poirot not Paolo.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: Combined with Bluffing the Murderer. On at least one occasion, Kindaichi stages a fight and pretends to go off alone in order to lure out the suspected killer.
  • Book Dumb: Kindaichi pretends to be this so that he can slack off in class (as he is too lazy to study for tests), but as a detective, he demonstrates a wide range of knowledge.
  • Bookends:
    • The "Phantom of the Silver Screen" case arc starts with Kindaichi, Miyuki, Saki, and Fumi watching a movie that stars Reika. At the end of the case arc, Kindaichi and Miyuki decide to watch another film.
      Miyuki: *pulling Kindaichi's arm* Let's go, let's go.
      Kindaichi: Hey, Miyuki! Stop pulling! You're hurting me!
    • The prologue of "Yukikage Village Murder Case" starts with Kindaichi's dream when he asked one of his childhood friends from Yukikage Village, Haruna, why she was painting in a quiet place, to which she answered she was painting a snow. Near the end of epilogue, said dialogue reappeared after Kindaichi opened time capsule along with his friends.
  • Brains and Brawn: The teamwork between Kindaichi and Kenmochi has this dynamic. Kindaichi is a genius with prodigious deduction skills that help Kenmochi solve many a murder case while lacking strong physique for melee confrontations, whereas Kenmochi is a black-belt in judo with Charles Atlas Superpower and serviceable but not excellent deduction skills that are often needed to solve elaborate murder plots.
  • Break the Haughty: Ryunosuke Tatsumi from "The Headless Samurai" is the first son of Tatsumi Clan, one of the most influential clan in Hida region. He gives a very hard time to Kindaichi and the others due to how selfish, arrogant, and bad-tempered he is, thinking that he should've been the one inheriting the clan's legacy instead of Seimaru, his stepbrother he despises. At the end of the case, everything he knew comes crashing down. He's actually not the legitimate son of Tatsumi clan, instead he's the biological son of the stepmother he also despises and the family's newest servant, his younger brother stops his mental retardation facade and reveals to the entire family that the reason said brother does it is because Ryunosuke poisoned his drink, and his real mother died from the same trick he used on his younger brother just because he doesn't want her to have any share in the Tatsumi family's wealth, not knowing that she would've given up her rights to it anyway. He can only cry when the consequences of his action unfold.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: School bores Kindaichi, so he just coasts by with a bare minimum of effort, frequently napping in class. Give him a mystery to solve, though, and he shows his true genius.
  • Brother–Sister Incest:
    • The death of a man's sibling lover kicks off a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in one mystery, though the fact that they are siblings don't come to light until after the case has ended. Although from the flashbacks shown, while the brother was indeed in romantic love with the sister there's no given indication if his sister felt the same way.
    • The same case alludes to another tale of brother/sister incest which made the location of the mystery ( the lake where the pair ultimately drowned themselves) particularly bizarre.
    • An accidental and rather twisted one happens in one case. Masayuki Onodera and Tateha Madarame are engaged and despite their constant bickering, Tateha is shown to actually like him. However, Masayuki got engaged with Tateha in the first place in order to kill the entire Madarame Family because he was an illegitimate son of Midori (Tateha's mother) and Minoru Suga whose research about luminous butterfly was stolen by Shimon Madarame. However, Tateha and her sisters were not Shimon Madarame's biological daughters, instead there were born from artificial insemination using Minoru's sperm making Masayuki and the three sisters biological siblings. Double yikes.
    • In a mystery, the way this trope is deliberately invoked leads to the death of one of Kindaichi's friends, prompting her boyfriend - actually not her brother at all - to murder the two jealous girls who spread that rumor.
  • Bully Hunter: Yoko Asano, Takayuki Ujiie, and Akiko Hama were this on their respective cases. Both Yoko and Ujiie were this and Stern Teacher at the same time.
  • Busman's Holiday:
    • Most of the time, Kindaichi is called out to the locations by his associates because of his skills, but he's run into his share of murders while on vacation or part-time work.
    • Kenmochi gets this in his first appearance in the series, having stayed at the Opera House hotel for a vacation. He also encounters cases in his free time if Kindaichi is around.
  • The Cameo: During "Alchemy Murder Case" (manga only), Saburoumaru appears as one of final contestant in a quiz Kindaichi attends in order to be able to go treasure hunting. Q-class members also appears in one panel watching the show from TV.
  • Cannot Spit It Out : Kindaichi is coy about his feelings for Miyuki, and the one time he does manage to spit it out, his confession is muffled by the marching band.
  • Catchphrase: "In the name of my grandfather..." and "This mystery is solved!".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Any incidental object (or sometimes person) in a scene could provide the solution to the mystery.
  • Cherry Blossoms:
    • Yukikage Village, the place where Kindaichi spent his 2-week holidays with his mother, is famous for its "Snow blossoms", where for 300 years the last snow falling along with cherry blossoms blooming in 5 days. Not really tied with cherry blossom but it's there.
    • One village also has its own Cherry blossom legend tied with Japanese myth about death: A group of cherry blossom trees' petals turn bloody red after one deranged doctor mutilated his patients and buried the corpse under the tree as if the tree sucked the victims' blood, thus the name "Vampire/Blood-drinking Cherry Blossom".
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Miyuki in particular, and several of other victims as well.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Kindaichi is something of a skirt chaser, but he is still more or less a gentleman.
  • Clear Their Name: Occasionally an innocent is blamed for the murders and Kindaichi must prove their innocence. Examples are Hikage Miyama in The Undying Butterflies case, Reika in the Alchemist Mansion case, and Kindaichi himself in Kindaichi the Killer. Akechi had to clear Kindaichi's name in another case.
  • Clock Discrepancy: In the very first mystery, Kindaichi manipulates a suspect's watch to get said suspect to reveal themselves. Many other mysteries are also solved when Kindaichi realizes that some sort of clock-based manipulation is in play.
  • Closed Circle: Many a case arc would have the characters being forcibly stuck where the murder case is taking place in said arc (the only way in & out of the area is made inaccessible, the communication devices to the outside world are sabotaged and/or have no connection access point, the ferry service that is due to arrive to pick people up has left and won't return for a few days, etc.), creating panic for the survivors as a result.
  • Clueless Mystery: Averted and then some thanks to Tokyopop's attempts at Cultural Translation, though Death TV ends up being one due to the very obscure and specialized knowledge that's required to solve the mystery.
  • Comic-Book Time: As a long-running series, Kindaichi certainly suffers from this trope since the year used in one case was from the tankoubon's publishing year. It was obscured by the fact that it seldom explicitly tells you when those cases happen and the series never have a distinct plot to begin with. To take an example, they celebrated Christmas twice; one in the main case Santa's Slaying and one in the short case where Fumi made her debut but as far as the story concerns, Kindaichi and Miyuki are still in high school (mind you, the start of the series begin with them in their second years).
  • Coming of Age Story: This is a big theme in "Yukikage Village Murder Case." Kindaichi who went back to said village after five years because he got news of his friend's suicide saw that the rest of his old friends changed either in personality or career choice after faced with life hardships. The narration at the end of the case also alludes to this.
  • Continuity Snarl: The series was first written by Yōzaburō Kanari (File and Case series or earlier series), but Seimaru Akagi took over as the sole writer in the other series, so small inconsistencies can be found. One example is that in earlier series Miyuki became the Mystery Club's new president. But then comes "Blood-sucking Cherry Blossom Murder Case" when suddenly Makoto Makabe, a minor character, took charge as if he's the leader.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The way Kindaichi finds himself in the same kind of situation in every story, purely by random chance, never seems to strike anybody as too weird, although it does get lampshaded by Akechi when Kindaichi finds himself the prime suspect of a murder.
    • The solution in Smoke and Mirrors hinges on Ryuta Saki, a schoolmate of Kindaichi and Nanase, having a habit of filming everything around him. Kindaichi is able to catch the killer because, conveniently enough, Ryuta and his ever-present camera are around exactly when the plot requires them to be.
    • In the Death God Hospital Murder Case special, the Gentleman Thief is revealed to have impersonated Maki Daigo, the same journalist whose identity she stole back in her first appearance. When pressed by Akechi, the Gentleman Thief admits that she had no idea the real Maki would be aboard the ship for the heist, and that her appearance was merely a lucky coincidence.
  • Crime After Crime: Even if the murderer wasn't trying to kill several victims, he would be forced to kill some inconvenient witnesses.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite being a genius with an IQ of 180 and a brilliant detective, Kindaichi mostly behaves like an idiot who rarely shows up for his classes and barely passes for any of his tests. His bumbling attitude doesn't exactly help improve people's opinion about him.
  • Cultural Translation: Quite a few of the clues that rely on Japanese language or culture were changed for the English version so that the clues could still be solved by an astute reader. (But in practice, the cultural translations were often a wasted effort—they were only solvable if you knew in advance that the solutions were culturally translated. If you didn't know that, you wouldn't know to search for English wordplay and codes in the dialogue and so on. Instead, you'd naturally assume that all wordplay and codes were in Japanese. One example is the case where the cultural translation is based on the characters using a Western keyboard and not one with Japanese characters. But the Western readers wouldn't know that the keyboard was a Western one, since they knew that the original manga had the Japanese characters writing Japanese with Japanese signs. Therefore, the readers wouldn't expect the wordplay and codes to be in English.
  • Dark Secret: The source for many a murder case in this franchise, and the culprit(s) would likely be linked to the one(s) being harmed/killed in said secret in some way, with few exceptions.
  • Darkness Equals Death: There's one short case made to commemorate Kindaichi's 20th Anniversary with this setting. The murder happens in a recreational spot made to experience blindness and deafness by entering a room with complete darkness called "Midnight Castle". Even in such a setting, the culprit is still able to find and kill the target.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Spin Offs aside, the R series features 2 cases where Akechi is the main focus of the story instead of Kindaichi.
  • Deadly Prank: Quite a few cases involved a backstory involving an intended prank gone horribly wrong connected to the murders, such as the the Opera House case and the Antlion Trench case.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Several cases happened to have this during Motive Rant. Two killers from different cases assumed identity of dead individuals who committed suicide (but nobody knew said dead people disappeared) to start a second life, but had to kill in their new life. There's also one for mystery purposes, in which the culprits were more than one.
  • Death of a Child:
    • The first victim in the The Undying Butterflies Murder Case is the 12-year-old Ruri, the youngest Kindaichi victim to date.
    • The culprit of the Seiren Island Murder Case is related to a preteen girl who was admitted into a hospital for cancer treatment only to become an Unwitting Test Subject and died in hospital.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: In some of the cases, the culprit would murder their targets and try to have the final victim set up as the killer while making it look like said final victim had committed suicide after having killed the other targets.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Has two installments that are more light-hearted but still deconstruct various aspects of the series
    • Kindaichu Shounen No 1-Paku 2-Ka Shouryokou (Kindaichi Case Files: Mini-Vacations) is a Dark Comedy spin off that focus on Miyuki and Kindaichi interacting with the case's former suspects, survivors and love ones. The series explicitly shows (comedically or seriously) the impact of such incredibly traumatic and gruesome events had on their psyche and how some of the backstory that gave them possible motives to kill would continue after the cases are over.
    • Kindaichi Shounen No Jikenbo Gaiden: Hannin-Tachi No Jikenbo (Kindaichi Case Files Sidestory: Casebook Criminal Offender) is a more lighthearted installment that focus on the criminals of the cases and shows their preparation to conduct the case, as well as their reaction when the case did not go as expected and their feeling when Kindaichi said his deductions. At the end of the chapters, the criminals were asked by an unnamed narrator to describe the main downfall of their plan and how can someone outsmart Kindaichi.
  • Detective Mole: Narumi Fuwa from Western-Style Hotel Murder Case that was trying to arrest Kindaichi was this. Oh my god....
  • Digital Bikini: The Vietnamese translation is infamous for censoring nudity and implication of sexual activity in the early volumes. They got more lax at the end of their run but the most risque panels of the naked female characters are still noticeable.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • In the "Undying Butterfly" murder case, Shimon Madarame abuses his wife, and one scene depicts her hung like a butterfly on display while he watches her smugly as she begs for forgiveness.
    • The culprit of "Kyoto Beauty Florist Murder Case" that Kindaichi has to solve as a 37-year-old was brought up with an abusive stepfather who frequently hit his wife. It only stopped when said stepfather targeted his stepchild, which caused his wife to stab him dead and end up in prison for it.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The occasional fate of a cornered suspect, though Kindaichi always does his best to prevent this from happening.
    • This also happens to quite a few of the people who the murderers are off to avenge.
  • Dramatic Drop:
    • Done for comedic effect in "Santa's Slaying", the trope came to play after Kindaichi, Miyuki, and Saki Ryuta found out that Nijikawa, one of the suspects, was bisexual while also implying that he was going to make Kindaichi experience... a whole new world complete with semi-NSFW imagery. The drama plays this more often, particularly in "Headless Samurai Murder Case" and "Graveyard Isle Murder Case". Good thing the things those characters dropped were not breakable...
    • This also comes when victims drank poisonous substance mixed in their drink.
  • Dub Name Change: In South Korea, the series is called "Boy Detective Kim Jeon Ilnote , as that is what the main character is named there. Not to be confused with a a certain former leader of a neighboring country.
    • During the show's run on Tooniverse, the supporting cast were also renamed, though they'd retain their original names when Daewon distributed the anime.
      • Miyuki Nanse to Seol Yumi
      • Akechi Kengo to Oh Jimyeong
      • Isamu Kenmochi to Lee Samunote 
  • Dying Clue: Quite often left in some form of code such as grasping a specific object or holding the hands in a certain formation.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Sakura Izumi from the Gentleman Thief case delivered this to Kindaichi before finally dying from stab wound she inflicted on herself.
  • Dying Town: Some of the places that are associated within their respective case arcs have seen their human population decreasing over time.
    • Much of the economy in Hitokui Village has been dependent on a bio-chemical research lab, so there was more population within the village when there was more funding for lab research(es) during WWII and the population decreased after much of the funding for lab researching got pulled out or dried up after WWII. In the present day, about half of the buildings in the village are boarded up and/or showing other signs of vacancy.
    • Seiren Island is technically a "dying island", as the island has no separate townships itself, but the trope applies all the same because it has a dwindling human population. At the present day, there's only one person, an elderly octogenarian woman, who's still residing on the island. According to her testimony, the island population was around 100 in her younger years, during and after WWII, but the failed attempt to turn the island into a resort after WWII caused the already-critical economic status of the island to become downright unsustainable, which, in turn, resulted in the continual decrease of the island population until only she herself remained as its inhabitant, which has held true for the past twenty years.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Akechi is a very talented violinist. He managed to flawlessly play a score he saw for the first time and impress four talented musicians from Todai when he was still in high school. Don't forget that Ruriko Tokiwa, the Broken Bird from Heresy Mansion Murder Case was this too.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: If the change in Kindaichi's expression doesn't tell you he's had one, then the Catchphrase drop certainly will.
  • Exact Words: Played for Laughs in the "Twin Murder Incident" case short story. Kaya (an undercover cop from the Treasure Isle Case arc) requests Kindaichi's help to solve the murder, promising that she'll let him see the inside of her mysterious box if he concede. Kindaichi agrees, only to find at the end of the chapter that inside Kaya's box is... another box. Kindaichi isn't pleased with how it turns out.
    Kaya: I said you could open the box, but I never said you could take a look at what was inside.
    Kindaichi: How... How can you use such a childish trick...?!
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Justified Trope when Kindaichi finds himself among a group of war game enthusiasts.
  • Face Fault: Several times. Seen in "Kindaichi the Killer" and "Demon Artifact Murder Case".
  • Facial Horror:
    • The Freudian Excuse of the Opera Hotel murderer is that his lover was a victim of a prank by her envious fellow actresses Gone Horribly Wrong; they only wanted to scare her by burning her clothes with acid, but in her shock, she stumbled onto the table where the bottle stood and caused it to fall on to her face.
    • The modus operandi of "Jason" in the Lake Hiren murder case is to viciously slash his victims' faces with an axe until they are virtually unrecognizable. This is so he can pull a Faking the Dead, substituting one of his victims for himself so he can continue his killing spree.
    • The murderer in the case Itsuki wrote in a report a decade ago also mutilated his victims' faces with an axe. Unlike "Jason" in the present-day Lake Hiren murder case, however, the culprit in the case Itsuki published in his report did so in a twisted attempt to imitate Jason, who was an "idol" to him.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: The translators have gone to great pains to make this true even in the English version, though one story arguably breaks the "no identical twins" rule.
    • In the comic's heyday, figuring out the solutions to Kindaichi mysteries became something of a national craze for the Japanese. The storylines typically ran for two or three months, leaving plenty of time for fans to speculate. Later storylines have much tougher solutions as the authors strive to keep things challenging for fans who often collaborated on figuring out the answers.
    • The animated adaption dealt with this by adapting the comic stories but often changing the solutions, with a different character turning out to be the killer than in the manga.
    • One small case violated one of Knox's Commandments ( The 7th one, where Kindaichi framed a crow to knock off suspicion that he stole Miyuki's panties by putting her watch on the crow's nest.)
    • Averted in cases where the culprit(s) would plot murder early in their respective case arc for the readers to know while the in-story characters aren't informed of said plot yet, such as Student Akechi Kengo Case Files in the R series and Tower Mansion Madam Murder Casein The (37-year-old) Kindaichi Case Files.
  • Faking the Dead: Done several times in the franchise.
    • There were three bullies who drove a guy to suicide. Two of them are murdered and when the supposed killer (the guy's sister) was caught, the third one was murdered too. It turns the real killer was the second victim who had faked his death. He had planned killing himself after, though.
    • Legend of Broken Heart Lake is also this. The killer faked their guilt as an excuse to go seeking help with a boat everyone's too scared to go with (All of them are hydrophobic except the killer and Kindaichi and Kindaichi had to take care of Miyuki). They went to kill a target who were represented by Kindaichi and Miyuki, and the target's corpse was used to pose as the killer's corpse. The fact that the Modus Operandi involved dismembering victims' face helps.
    • The killer in Takato's spin-off manga also did the same concept. Bonus point that they're found as the second victim, similar with the first example!
    • Takato also did this in the Case series' finale.
    • A variant was used in the Graveyand Island murders. The killer took care of a group of his targets in one go by throwing an explosive into the camp, instantly killing them. By the time Kindaichi's group reaches the blast zone, all that's left of the victims are their dismembered body parts strewn everywhere, and thus Kindaichi can't actually tell how many actually died in the blast. In reality, one of the victims was kidnapped from his group before the explosion and was taken prisoner. That prisoner was then dressed in WW2 soldier clothes so when he escapes and tries to go to Kindaichi and the others for help, they would mistake him for the "Ghost Soldier", which also sets up an alibi for the killers. He was eventually killed (implied to be the last victim of that case) via cyanide capsule hidden in a loaf of bread fed to him.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: This manga really, really likes to drop light sources at some victims. There are four cases up until now that did this to one of the victims; one case uses a heavy stage light while the remaining three uses real chandelier. Coincidentally, three of the 4 murders appeared in cases with similar "Scooby-Doo" Hoax disguise: Phantom of the Opera.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Kindaichi gives out hints during Summation Gathering about some particular details as to how a murder or an alibi trick is carried out in quite a few case arcs, someone (be it Miyuki, Kenmochi, or someone else) is bound to catch on to it and asks him if he meant what he's about to reveal, right before he drops the ball and says it out loud. If the hints point to something that's particularly dark/gruesome, Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat may also take place right as the realization is sinking in at the moment.
  • Forced into Evil: Reika's father and Takamori Masumi were forced to kill by the cases' real culprit for the same reason: Blackmail.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Sabaki Kaito from the Snow Goblin case is an internet flamer who takes glee out of slandering prominent figures and even causing them to kill themselves, one of his victims being Yukihara Sayaka, the girl who is the motive for the culprit. While it turns out said victim hadn't killed herself over the slander (she'd actually died from a genuine skiing accident), it's difficult to feel sorry for him considering his character.
    • In the "Vampire/Blood-drinking Cherry Blossom" case arc, the inn cook informs Kindaichi, Miyuki, and Saki when they ask him about the mystery case connecting the Mad Doctor with the blood-red Cherry Blossoms, the Mad Doctor had a twisted enjoyment with the prospect of seeing Cherry Blossoms in blood-red color, which he wrote in his medical examination notebook. This is the only known possible motive behind his abduction, murder, mutilation, and burial of the sanitarium patients under the ground where the cherry trees stood.
  • Frame-Up: A lot of murder rely on this. This was even done by Kindaichi (albeit, not a murder case), of all people!
    • This is doubled in the Thunder Festival Murder Case where the culprit framed someone who merely assaulted the victim and fainted. After waking up, the framee, thinking they actually killed the victim, frame a third person.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: In one case where the killer created a condition in order to cast a suspicion on them so that they got an alibi for the second murder while being interrogated in police station while staging their murder as a series of suicide.
  • Generation Xerox: In the "French Coin" murder case, the culprit was able to manipulate Masami because of their similar thought processes, which seems to be induced by their eerily similar backstories of being abandoned by their mother, going through a period of "darkness", before being rescued by Yurie, who took them under her wing and gave them a new life as a model and designer under her brand. Later, it is implied that Yurie took so much pity on them because she herself had gone through a similar life experience.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Kindaichi does this when revealing the culprit among the crowd in a given case.
  • Gossipy Hens: Yuka, Chiharu, and Meku, who work in the same PR company where Kindaichi is employed as a 37-year-old adult, are almost always seen gathering together and gossiping about Kindaichi, much to his annoyance.
  • Great Accomplishment, Weak Credibility: In the very first case, the accompanying teacher tells Miyuki that several teachers suspect that she helped Kindaichi cheat on his entrance exams, since he hasn't shown any sort of academic ability at all throughout his high school life so far. A flustered Miyuki denies this, but the teacher tells her she's well aware, since she's come to the realisation that Kindaichi is Brilliant, but Lazy (plus, his score was actually significantly higher than Miyuki's). It's her murder that really causes Kindaichi to begin investigating in earnest... because he can't shake the feeling that if he'd bothered to sooner, she might have lived.

  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Some of the supposed asshole victims turn to be this trope, having hidden their kind or decent nature under the mask of a total jerk. Cue My God, What Have I Done? from the killers.
  • His Name Is...:
    • If someone besides Kindaichi discovers the identity of the culprit, you can bet that person will be dead before he can tell anyone.
    • In one story, a character realizes who the killer is, but fails to notice said killer standing right behind him, about to bring an axe down on his head.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Early in the Smoke And Mirror Case, part of the attempt at coaxing Kindaichi into club membership by the then-president of the Mystery Club is claiming that she likes her men "handsome and intelligent" in a seductive tone. Kindaichi claims her attempt to charm him isn't working, only for the club president to say that his lower body doesn't agree with his words, prompting Miyuki beating Kindaichi up as a result.
    • Kindaichi the Killer starts with Itsuki asking Kindaichi for a favor. Kindaichi, who's not interested, tries to get out of it by claiming he needs to study for a college entrance exam next year, but Miyuki, who's sitting next to him, calls his bluff at once.
      Miyuki: Since when do you study?
    • During The Undying Butterfly Murder Case arc, for example, he claims the morbid display of dead butterfly collections has caused him to lose his appetite... while he's holding a tray full of food and stuffing himself with it.
      Miyuki: That's hard to believe.
    • After two people have fallen victim to murder in Seiren Island Murder Case, the elderly island inhabitant catches and cooks some fish as dinner for everyone. Kindaichi claims no one could have an appetite... while stuffing his own mouth with fish.
      Miyuki: They seem so delicious, but I feel like I have no appetite!
      Kindaichi: *with mouth full of fish* Like there would be an appetite in this condition!
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: In a lot of cases, the culprit(s) didn't mean the victims harm (or at least not death) but things spiraled out of control.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Occasionally a murder case will turn up where a victim is stabbed to death this way while the murder weapon is still lodged in the victim's throat.
    • One of the victims in the "Graveyard Island Murder Case" is killed from a fatal stab wound into the throat by a bayonet bladewhile asleep, at that.
    • A victim in the "White Snake Brewery Murder Case" is shown with the sharp edge of a broken kaibonote  piercing the throat.
  • Informed Ability:
    • When someone is stated to be a writer, the readers/viewers don't get to see the details of their handiwork.
    • Among the participants in the scheduled matches in Go in the Chidamari's Room Murder Case, only Kindaichi and the rival school club president get to show their skill, with Kindaichi pulling off a Dark Horse Victory and the latter suffering The Worf Effect.
    • The participants in the Seiren Island Murder Case arc are supposedly experts in fishing — most of them, at least, as Kindaichi's fishing skills are just basic enough to grant him rudimentary knowledge and Miyuki, by her own admission, doesn't even know "how to set a bait to the fish". Due (in part) to the serial murder case derailing the fishing tournament to the point of it being canceled, the viewers never get to witness any of the participants showing their fishing expertise. The only person who manages to catch fish in this case arc is the elderly resident, but she doesn't count due to using an underwater rifle in conjunction to the diving gear to catch fish because she admits to being too old to have the strength that's needed to fish via a fishing rod.
  • Invented Individual: Done several times.
    • Akanuma Saburo in Headless Samurai is this. The character was described as someone's child and when said person died, the blood test revealed that it was not true. It was actually done to camouflage the killer's "child" in order to be identified as the said dead invented character. In fact, the "child" was not really the killer's. The plan was created such in order to hide this fact.
    • Two members of the writer group "Persona Doll" in the Hitogata Island Murder Case are also this. The core member of the group, the real writer, decided to stage a fake murder plan in order to erase their existence. However, the writer didn't know that someone used this plan in order to kill said writer.
  • Invisible Parents: Kindaichi's and Miyuki's parents are alive and well, but they're rarely seen due to their lack of relevancy to the plot at hand — a good thing, too, due to the gruesome nature of many a plot Kindaichi and Miyuki find themselves in at the time.
  • I Will Wait for You: Occasionally the killer has a loved one who states that he/she will be waiting when the killer is released from prison.
  • Japanese School Club: Sometimes cases in Kindaichi Universe will involve Fudou High's school clubs (notable example is the first case; it happens to the school's drama club members). Kindaichi and Miyuki themselves join the school's mystery club.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The journalist-author Itsuki, whom Kindaichi befriended in the Legend of Lake Hiren case. Less jerk and more heart of gold with each reappearance.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The clues are all there for the reader to find, but good luck coming to the same conclusion Kindaichi does in the grand reveal.
  • Karma Houdini: Eiji Tono, commits suicide after being exposed as the murderer behind the Lake Hiren serial killings, but apparently survives and shows up a year later, under a new identity after completely losing his memories due to his botched suicide attempt. He ends up getting Happily Married with his newfound love, and Kindaichi just lets him off the hook despite Itsuki's protests, saying that the person who had committed the murders has died, and that this new person is an innocent.
  • Karmic Death: The MO of the culprits, often being a grieving loved one or someone who was personally hurt by the actions of the victims in the cases and thus wishes to enact vigilante justice on criminals who got away scot-free.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: It's hard not to get SOME satisfaction out of seeing the Asshole Victims get their just desserts as they often did crimes that were far worse than the murderers in the cases.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed:
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: Kindaichi Returns case "Black Spirit Hotel Murder Case" combines this trope with Falling Chandelier of Doom. In the middle of making a horror film, a chandelier falls down after a blackout occurs and kills an actress sitting below it, making people believe that the culprit is someone not present during the shoot. In reality, the killer replaced the screws holding the chandelier up with an electromagnet. This way said chandelier will surely fall when blackout occurs.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The characters tend to wear the same clothes through each case, even if the event takes place throughout several days.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Featuring some very Squick-tastic sound effects.
  • Local Hangout: There are business venues where the characters gather to talk about an upcoming case, though possibly downplayed since the characters don't remain in the place for long before said case has them going somewhere else.
    • The File series feature a cafe named "Donny's" that's open 24 hours a day.
    • The R series have Owl Cafe.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Almost every story.
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On:
    • As a series that has lasted for more than 20 years (the first manga released in around 1992), this trope is inevitable. For comparison, look at Smoke and Mirror where wapro/Word processor was still used, Kindaichi the Killer when Kindaichi only had pager as his portable communication device, Snow Goblin Legend Murder Case where one of the participants had both laptop and smartphone, and Black Spirit Hotel when Kindaichi received Reika's message through Liso, a parody of Line.
    • Even more egregious example is Takato's spin-off manga; one of the victims confronted the killer by saying they had a proof showing the identity of the killer; fingerprints on computer used to send mass e-mail to magic club members' flip-phone. In case you don't remember, this case happened when Akechi was still a sophomore in Todai, look above for when the main series start, and do the math to estimate in what year it took place.
  • Love Triangle: Kindaichi has this relationship with Miyuki and Reika, though Reika is more forthcoming with her feelings than Miyuki is with her own. It's likely got nowhere, however: Twenty years later, Reika has a son with an unnamed man who's about to graduate from high school soon, Miyuki is an airplane stewardess, and Kindaichi seems to be as single as he has ever been.
  • Magician Detective:
    • Kindaichi counts although it's more of "Detective who knows some magic tricks". This knowledge is very useful in solving several impossible crimes since several tricks uses similar basic concepts as how magic performance works.
    • Yoichi Takato, Kindaichi's Arch-Nemesis is a unique subversion of this. He's an aspiring magician who learned a few magic tricks from his mother and a lot more from his teacher abroad who became a murderer after finding out that his mother had been killed by her greedy disciples. After his debut, he created a lot of impossible murder cases which confuse Kindaichi and police. A straighter example comes from a spin-off Takato Shōnen no Jikenbo where he had to solve a murder case when he was in high school. In this time, he was shown giving street magic performance in a public park.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • While the cases generally reveal that any supposedly supernatural element was in fact just clever planning by the culprit or a Red Herring, there have been a few times where the legend or myth in question might in fact be real (such as when Kindaichi thinks he might have seen a tengu during the climax of one case). They just didn't have anything to do with the murders aside from giving the killer something to freak out their targets.
    • Kindaichi may have had a run in with a centuries-old ghost or perhaps someone who just got away and really did look like their ancestor.
  • Most Writers Are Writers:
    • Itsuki is a freelance writer who used to write for a weekly paper a decade ago. That being said, he functions more as an Intrepid Reporter in many a mystery case arc.
    • In The (37-year-old) Kindaichi Case Files, Fumi, now a 29-year-old, works as a mystery novelist.
    • Some of the individual case arcs have a writer as among the participants in a given case. Which role said writer plays varies, depending on the case arc in question.
  • Motive Rant: Occurs pretty much Once an Episode.
  • Murder by Mistake: The killer tried to put a poison in a glass of their intended target. However, the glass was filled with wine the target had an allergy for and the poor guy next to him offered to drink the intended target's wine. Cue the killer's inner panic. Inverted. The killer was blackmailed by the intended target and the poor guy was the target all along.
  • My God, What Have I Done? - Many a killer has experienced this after the case has been solved when Kindaichi presents them with information that makes them realize how misguided their actions were, often by revealing that the person who they've killed wasn't the monster they believed or that the person they're killing on behalf of clearly wouldn't have wanted it.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • Usually subverted, as the missing people who are suspected of being the culprits are really dead. For instance, in the Alchemy Murder Case, the previous owner of the mansion who was said to have gone missing had simply died from illness in a basement and the body is found when the police conducts a proper search of the building.
    • However, in the Strange Circus Murder Case, the performer Monster, who was supposed to have been burned to death but whose body was never found, turned out to have been alive. He still isn't the culprit.
    • The culprit of Broken Heart Lake Legend Murder case kills himself by exploding a boat in the lake, but his body is never recovered. It later turns out he survived his suicide attempt, but completely lost his memory and lives with a new identity.
  • Never One Murder: Main cases in the series follow a strict formula that murder victims will almost always be more than one except certain occasion; "Hayami Reika's Kidnapping" becomes an aversion with and without considering the twist since it was actually a murder plan disguised as kidnapping and subversion in Doll Island Murder Case because the 3 corpse pieces found actually belonged to one person.
  • Never Suicide: More precisely, Never Suicide during the cases.
    • While there are plenty of suicides as a motives to the murders or after the cases are solved, if a case seems to end with the "culprit" killing themselves after writing a confession letter and/or having evidence of their guilt, you can be sure they were murdered and framed. This happened in numerous cases like the Amakusa Treasure case or the Western Style Hotel Case.
    • This also applies to the backstory of some cases where a person was thought to have committed suicide but the climax reveals this wasn't actually the case such as the School of Hanging Necks case (an accidental murder disguised as a suicide) and the Snow Goblin case (the individual got into a genuine accident).
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The villain in the Graveyard Island murders created a pretty solid alibi for himself by keeping Kindaichi awake for when it's his turn to stand guard, annoying the latter blabbing nonstop while his accomplice murders one of their targets. The accomplice heard the whole chat, so she would try to craft an alibi of her own later. The two neglect to forget the fact that each person in their group are hiding in separate soundproof bomb shelters; the second murderer would never have learned of Kindaichi's and her accomplice's conversation unless she was outside of her own shelter. This, and Kindaichi would never even have figured there were two murderers in the first place until Kindaichi tried chasing what he knew was the murderer only to get immediately ambushed by the second one, strangling him from the back until he passed out.
  • Not the First Victim: The first victims in some of the case arcs are uncovered/connected with the case in question only late in the story, with most of them given only a brief mention at the very start of said story arc.
  • Numerical Theme Naming:
    • Hajime and Fumi have this dynamic between them, as their names are "one"("一") and "two three" ("二三"), respectively.
    • Most of the participants in the "Demon Dog Forest Murder Case" arc actually have a number in their names, which one of the would-be victims quickly notices upon seeing the map for the sleeping arrangements due to the names written down on said map.note  The victim in question soon presents a question to Kindaichi with the intention of testing him, only for Kindaichi to make a comeback remark that makes it clear Kindaichi knows what the question is intended for, and the victim later on leaves behind a Dying Clue in his final moment, knowing Kindaichi would be able to solve the case through it despite its cryptic presentation.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: In "The Headless Samurai Murder Case," Hayato found out Ryuunosuke tried to poison him so he'd be named their father's inheritor, so Hayato spent months pretending the failed poisoning had mentally traumatized him out of fear Ryuunosuke would try something again. Hayato reveals the truth after Shino drinks the poisoned tea Ryuunosuke used to get rid of her, and just after he Ryuunosuke learned Shino was his birth mother. The only other person who knew Hayato was faking was Tamaki, one of their family's maids and Hayato's girlfriend.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In the "Magical Express Murder Case", Kindaichi and Kenmochi—who were investigating a threatening letter from The Puppeteer from Hell—encounters Akechi while the latter is on a vacation. Despite experiencing a large-scale case on the train (a bomb threat and a possible murder), Akechi quickly leaves for the hotel after the commotion is over, saying that he's not going to bother with police duties while on holiday, instead of trying to compete with Kindaichi to solve it. Kindaichi wonders if there's something wrong with him because of this.
  • Off with His Head!: An uncommon method of murder, but nonetheless this manga doesn't shy away from showing this in several cases.
    • This is the M.O of the culprit of the Takato spin-off manga. All the victims are beheaded and their heads displayed on a table.
  • Oh, Crap!: After 20 years, Hajime has to go back to what used to be the Opera House island for a company presentation. He isn't thrilled about going back to a place that had nothing but tragedy.
  • Old School Building: A murderer trying to hide a Dark Secret in an old school building commits several murders to keep the truth from coming to light.
  • Older Than They Look: None of the main characters look like they've aged at all in the 37-Year-Old Kindaichi series, even though 20 years have passed. Kindaichi is almost 40, and Akechi would be close to 50, but they look no older than 30 at most. This is lampshaded in Akechi's case, when Itsuki asks if he's been taking anti-aging drugs.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The stock-in-trade for The Culprit Case Files, which is a series focused on revisiting old cases, except it's from the culprit's perspective this time.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Kindaichi, Miyuki, and all of their peers in their age group (before they return 20 years later, of course).
  • Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: Very common in this franchise. Whether it's Played for Laughs or drama/horror varies, depending on the circumstance at the moment.
  • Papa Wolf: By the end of "The Seven Mysteries of the School Murder Case," Matoba is stabbed to death by the school's night watchman whom Kindaichi deduces is in fact the father of Chihiro Aoyama, who was killed by Matoba. Chihiro's father reveals he suspected whatever happened to his daughter was connected to Fudo High, so he hid his identity and worked at the school for a decade hoping to discover what happened to Chihiro.
  • Pet the Dog: The cold-blooded criminal chessmaster Takato once spared the killer of his friend because he sympathized with her motive (both of them have a deceased loved one whose creative work was stolen and plagiarized by an antagonists, and wish to reclaim the lost work).
  • Picky Eater: Saki turns out to be this, as the following dialogue taking place when the cook working in the inn asks Kindaichi, Miyuki, and Saki in The Bloodthirsty Cherry Blossom Murder Case arc shows.
    Cook: Is there any food that you don't like in today's dinner?
    Kindaichi: No, I could eat anything!
    Miyuki: Me, too. There's no food I dislike!
    Saki: For me, it's pork, animal fat, pepper, tomato, and...
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Happened once in a case where Kindaichi revealed connections made by victims on said case and pointed out that there was still one the killer hasn't killed. The killer initially planned on making the last victim's death through poisoning the target's drink, but Kindaichi right away blurted out that he had already switched the victim's drink with the killer's and asked for all remaining suspects to drink all at once to reveal who the killer was.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • In general, the targets in many a serial murder in this franchise had done something grievous that law enforcement agents nevertheless can do nothing about (the transgressions the intended victims had committed left little to no evidence to have them charged as murder, the crimes the targets were charged for netted them only a minor degree of punishment at most and are treated as "closed", etc.), leaving the killer(s) to resort to taking the matter into their own hands via murder.
    • The local cops in "Kindaichi The Murderer" case is a major example of this trope, getting tricked by the Villain of the Week and are trying to arrest Kindaichi only based on the lack of other footprints near the crime scene during the snowy night, without investigating other possible suspects. It is implied that the local cops only want to bring Kindaichi to the station, interrogate him, and make him confess the crime (that he didn't commit). Kindaichi calls them out of this during his Clear My Name deduction.
    • The detective in the "Amakusa Treasure Legend Murder Case" is pathetically ineffective, as he not only takes the fake evidence the culprit leaves behind at face value but also refuses to entertain the idea that his assessment about the crime scenes might be wrong or to believe in Kindaichi's deduction, going so far to have Kindaichi arrested on the charge of insulting a police officer when Kindaichi calls him out on his obstinacy. It takes a stern "The Reason You Suck" Speech Akechi gives him over the phone to make him back down and cooperate with Kindaichi.
      Akechi: [over the phone] How disappointing... that in such an important case... you were defeated by a little punk! Listen well, you! Compared to this kid, the difference between your abilities... is like day and night! What you should do right now is to shut up and listen to what he has to say, understand? Just follow his instructions and you'll catch the murderer! Is that clear? *click*
    • Averted by Kenmochi and Akechi, who are strictly committed to investigation protocols and they at least would listen to reasons.
    • Downplayed with the superintendent in the second Western-Style Hotel Murder Case that Kindaichi is involved in after the 20-year Time Skip: He firmly believes Kindaichi to be the mastermind behind the cases he helps to solve and, therefore, is suspicious towards Kindaichi, though he averts becoming an Inspector Javert by not pursuing Kindaichi on false charges. He also manages to deduce that the cause of the initial victim's death is Never Suicide correctly, only to fall for the actual murderer's Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit later on, necessitating Kindaichi to find the real evidence that sets the record straight.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In several cases, had the culprit known some critical information, they would never have done their crimes in the first place and these cases make up some of the most tragic conclusions.
    • The Opera House case's culprit murdered the girls responsible for the Deadly Prank that horribly disfigured a star student of the theater club to kill herself in despair. But in truth, the student had killed herself not out of despair, but because she wanted to die before she could grow to hate the girls and sent a letter to her boyfriend, the culprit, telling him about this and wanting him to also forgive them. Unfortunately, the culprit never got the letter because he didn't go back to his residence after her death and only is told the truth after he's murdered two of the girls and even their club advisor, who had nothing to do with the incident and was killed only due to stumbling upon a clue that caused said advisor to realize who the culprit was.
    • The first Hotel Europa case has the culprit murder her twin sister over believing she betrayed her to the police after she confessed to murdering a thug in self-defense years ago after she tells her to turn herself in and seeing a police car ride up. It's only after said culprit is arrested does she discover her sister had been living a double life as an actress (her original dream) and a designer (said sister's original dream) in both her identity and her sister's because she wanted her sister to have the chance to start over with her original dream.
    • The Black Butterfly case involves the culprit doing Revenge by Proxy against his mother, who he believed abandoned his biological father for the man that drove him to suicide after stealing his life's work, by murdering two of her three daughters and the man in question. He only learns that said mother only married said man and concieved her daughters via sperm samples of his father for the sake of screwing him over...meaning he actually murdered his own sisters. Both he and his mother are horrified realizing the weight of their actions.
    • The Burial Franc case where the murderer thought her boss/mother substitute was about to betray her. She then discovers the boss was trying to protect her. Fortunately for this case, the boss survives and they make amends.
  • Print Long-Runners: The entire series have been running from 1992 to the present day, with 76+ volumes so far.
  • Pull the Thread: You can count on Kindaichi finding the one thing that doesn't fit and using that to expose the culprit.
  • Punny Name: We only need to place "ko" in Mori Utako before Mori to become Komori Uta (lullaby). A character named based on lullaby in a case where lullaby is involved while said character being a batshit crazy girl showing her obsession over lullaby song? Well played, writer! Well played...
  • Put on a Prison Bus: Many a culprit in a given murder case would be under arrest and taken away to prison should they remain alive by the time said murder case concludes.
  • Put on the Bus: Miyuki is absent in the Time Skip series because she is working as an airline stewardess.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender:
    • One of the innocent participants in the Demon God Ruins Murder Case arc is a "boy raised as girl" example. To elaborate: He was born in one of the households within the village where the case would take place, but since the children born in the village had always been female, his father raised him as a girl out of paranoia for fear that the curse that is the dreaded legend within said village might befall them should the secret be out. He was running away from home when the fire that consumed his house took place and subsequently raised in an institute, marking the time of the case as the very first time he visited the village since then.
    • The backstory of Makoto Rindo, who was in Miyuki's violet class back in their kindergarten period, is also a "boy raised as girl" example, though Makoto himself actually thought he was a girl until he and his mother moved to the island where the Doll Island Murder Case would eventually take place, as his mother revealed to him that he was a boy being asked to dress as a girl, which surprised Makoto himself. As Kindaichi and Miyuki weren't told of this prior to their arrival at the island in question, this information was a surprise to them and the readers alike.
  • Rape as Backstory:
  • Red Herring: Will mostly certainly appear. One case relies heavily of a soon-to-be-victim one to work under said person's nose.
  • Retired Badass: The (37-Years-Old) Kindaichi Case File is the story of a 37 years old Kindaichi (now an PR agent) got sucked into investigating murders again.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The killer in "The Undying Butterflies" murdered two of his half sisters (he failed killing the third) because his mother got married with the guy who drove his father to suicide. And then he discovered the truth...
  • Revealing Cover Up: The killer of "Kindaichi the Killer" Case arc accidentally does this when he realizes that the real hidden code he was after laid in the names of the message givers he had been silencing. Names which would be printed in order of death in the next newspaper thus providing the necessary clues to everyone.
  • Right Behind Me:
    • Late in the Opera House murder case, Kindaichi gets Miyuki to help him test the effect of sound system communication access, with the curtain up or down on stage. The communication between them is completely fine with the curtain up, but the access actually gets blocked off with the curtain down, resulting in Miyuki returning to the sound room, where Kindaichi is. Since Kindaichi can't see or hear Miyuki because of the curtain, he assumes she's still on stage and starts teasing her, right up until Miyuki answers his question right behind him.
      Kindaichi: (through the sound system) Hello? Miyuki-chan, the girls who wears pink panda-bear panties? Are you there?
      Miyuki: (behind Kindaichi) That's not true! I have different underwear now.
    • Kindaichi, Miyuki and Saki discuss Superintendent Fuwa behind her back after she goes about her stiff demeanor. This naturally happens.
      Saki: I know someone/something just like her!
      Miyuki: Really? Who/what?
      Kindaichi: Haha, I see! An ugly snake-haired gorgon which can turn people into stone just by her gaze!
      Saki: If sempai doesn't want to turn into stone, don't turn around!
      Kindaichi: Eh?
      Supt. Fuwa: WHO is this snake-haired gorgon, hm? *smirking, with snake hair imagery*
    • As the Headless Samurai Murder Case arc is wrapping up, Kenmochi, in his talk with Kindaichi and Miyuki, compares motherly love with romantic love before going on a rant about how a woman treats her husband like trash after feeling comfortable with her spouse. A woman asks him who he's referring to, with him responding that he's referring to his wife, only to turn around and see that the woman he's talking to is none other than his wife. Cue Kenmochi's Oh, Crap! expression.
    • During the Graveyard Island Murder Case, Koshiro expresses interest in Miyuki to Kindaichi, who reacts by describing Miyuki in demeaning words to try to discourage Koshiro. Unfortunately, Miyuki shows up right behind him at that point and Koshiro, much less Kindaichi, notices too late.
      Kindaichi: Forget that kind of thought, Koshiro! She's arrogant, a blockhead, and an airhead. If you go with that girl, you'll only be used! Her breasts might be big, but they're all muscles inside!
      Koshiro: *notices Miyuki behind Kindaichi* Uh...
      Kindaichi: *sporting an Oh, Crap! expression* M-M-M-Miyuki, you heard me...?
  • Right in Front of Me: Early in the "Magical Express Murder Case" arc, Kenmochi takes Kindaichi to a bar, where they join a group of young lady cops, all of whom have heard of Kindaichi due to his many examples of detective assistance, and he suggests playing a game of identifying people via touch while blindfolded, starting by blindfolding himself. After identifying one lady cop correctly, he goes on for the next one, at one point saying "your legs are a little big", only to find out, to his horror, that the person he's groping is Miyuki, once he takes off his blindfold. Cue Miyuki beating him up for his perverted act.note 
    Miyuki: So I have big legs, huh?!
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • The backstory behind the Castle of Wax Murder Case arc is based on the 300 million yen robbery, which took place in 1968. The largest heist in Japanese history at the time, it has remained unsolved.
    • Occasionally, some case arcs will have an In-Universe example of this trope, in which a crime that happened in the past would not only serve as source material for a mystery novel but have a connection to the present-day case arc where said mystery novel and the crime said novel was based on are both featured as well. Examples include "The Doll Island Murder Case" and "Ayase Serial Murder Case".
  • Roaring Rampageof Revenge: Most of the killers are on one of these. One even has a ''checklist'' (shown manga only) to boot!
  • The Rival: Kindaichi occasionally faces off against arrogant pretty boy detective Akechi as well as Yoichi Takato, a Moriarity-esque recurring character who uses every opportunity to taunt Kindaichi on his uselessness.
  • Sadistic Choice: Koda Seisaku from the Broken Heart Lake Legend Murder was forced into one during a cruise accident where he was forced to abandon a drowning girl because the boat he was on was filled with other passengers and her addition would have doomed everyone else. It's made apparent it still haunts him even in present.
  • The Scapegoat: Some of the final murder victims are this, after the real killer deliberately made situation that only them who were able to commit such crimes, overlapping with Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit.
  • Scars are Forever: Some case arcs have at least one participant among the group who had gone through some plot-relevant incident in the past, which would leave facial deformity that has persisted right up to the present time and justify them covering (part of) their own face.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Most of Kindachi's cases involve murderers who disguise themselves as a feared monster from local folklore, and kill their victims in ways relating to the legends surrounding that figure (e.g. a killer disguised as a legendary headless samurai ghost decapitates all his victims, a killer who makes vampire teeth marks on their victims' neck and draining their blood to make it seem like they were attacked by a vampire). Kindaichi gathers clues leading up to a dramatic unmasking of the "monster" at the end of the story. This franchise is different from your standard Scooby hoax in that most characters understand from the get-go that this isn't a real monster, just a psycho in a disguise.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Accidental one. One of the suspects in "The Headless Samurai" slipped a poison on his stepmother's tea but she was revealed to be his real mother.
  • Self-Parody: The Culprit Case Files is an officially published Crack Fic that shows the cases in the point of view of the killers. It has a lighter tone and constantly pokes fun at the convoluted murder plans that the killers used.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: Subverted. Supposedly, a serial killer has gotten loose and is killing everyone trapped in the Closed Circle, but Kindaichi figures out that they're all connected. While the murderer is looking for one specific person, he doesn't care that he's killing innocents in the process.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Two heretofore otherwise apparently unrelated characters will be hinted at having a connection (that Kindaichi will expound on during The Reveal) by shared physical traits and/or personal habits. (For example, he deduced that two characters must have been raised together as children by the way they held their spoons.)
  • Shipper on Deck: Saki in the 2022 version ships Hajime/Miyuki and tries to create opportunities to bring them closer together, such as inviting them to come stay at an inn run by his family where Episode 5 takes place.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In The Mummy's Curse case, the trick Mr. Kazamatsuri used to create the seven mummies to save his lover's and the mother of that case's murderer is taken straight from prolific Japanese mystery writer Shoji Shimada's classic debut novel, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.
    • There are numerous references to famous fictional detectives including Hercule Poirot and Columbo.
    • The alias of the culprit in the Castle of Wax Murder Case is "Mr. Redrum", a reference to The Shining.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Kindaichi's reaction to many a Motive Rant and/or Suicide Attempt.
    • The murderer in the Plot of the Russian Dolls actually does this right back to Kindaichi when he expresses disbelief on how the whole motive was for money. She yells back that he has no understanding on how humiliating and torturous it was growing up without a cent, and being forced into prostitution.
  • Significant Name Overlap: Played for drama in the "Murder of the Yukikage Village Case", where a girl commits suicide after believing a false rumour that her boyfriend (and the father of her unborn child) is really her half-brother because they both have a Disappeared Dad who happens to share the same first and last name.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: Courtesy of Slipping a Mickey most of the time.
  • Sneeze Cut: As a part of comedy, this becomes relatively frequent.
    • Kindaichi's grand introduction in manga is this.
    • Happened in Burial Franc.
      Kenmochi: A duel? Somehow that reminds me of a certain annoying superior...
      Kindaichi: Well, at least this guy has his funny and quirky side, unlike SOMEONE we know...
      (Scene cuts to Superintendent Akechi sneezing while reading a newspaper)
    • Also in "Black Magic Murder".
    • Apparently Live-Action Drama version of "Gentleman Thief" has this scene.
      Sakura: It's said that lavender's scent has a therepeutic effect.
      Kindaichi: Maybe this will cure Miyuki's crankiness!
      (Scene cuts to Miyuki sneezing on a pool chair in Okinawa)
    • The manga version of the "Gentleman Thief" case applies this trope rather differently from its live-action drama counterpart, due to two participants, one of whom being a reporter, gossiping over the Aomori inspector nearly arresting the wrong person for a painting theft.
      Reporter: If it weren't for Mr. Kindaichi, you would have been sent to jail by that orangutan cop!
      [the panel shows the cop sneezing suddenly]
  • Spanner in the Works: Kindaichi himself is this on occasions when the murderers try to factor in his reputation as a detective in their planning.
    • Specifically, though, in House of Wax, the murderer's otherwise well formulated plan, which required keeping the fireplace lit at all times, hit a snag when the air conditioning broke down.
    • The reason all of Yoichi Takato's masterpiece murder plans end up being solved by Kindaichi. One time his own common sense betrayed him, other times it's the blunder of his 'puppet', the culprit. Often leads to Takato pulling a (usually fatal) You Have Outlived Your Usefulness move on the culprit and Kindaichi can't do anything but watch.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Inverted in the Demon God Ruins Murder Case for the Vietnamese translation. The translator cut out 8 pages of the last chapter that detailed the killer Muranishi's survival from her suicide attempt and losing her memory, making the last shot is Kindaichi and her daughter Satsuki desperately trying to stop her from dying.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Two times in the whole series. First in "The Undying Butterflies" when one of the suspects found lots of tarantulas in a bathroom she used. Justified since the tarantulas are Sydney Funnelwebs, the most venomous spiders in the world. The second one is in "Opera House 3rd Murder". Reona, one of the suspects found tarantulas in a pouch containing the key to a locked-up person. Since no available footwear/blunt objects was available at the moment, they had to burn the pouch, key, and tarantula in a fireplace. Guess what? The locked-up person was murdered.
  • Spin-Offspring: Hajime is (in this comic) the grandson of Kosuke Kindaichi. This of course was not official canon in The 'Verse of Kosuke stories actually exists, so it got the writers in a little legal trouble.
  • Spoiler Title:
    • "Kindaichi the Killer". Guess who is accused of murder in this case.
    • Anyone who knows what a "sommelier" is or does can probably guess who would be serving wine in the case arc that's titled "Case File of Kengo Akechi the Sommelier".
  • Start of Darkness:
    • The premature death by murder of his mother is one for Kindaichi's nemesis, Yoichi Takato.
    • In most of the case arcs throughout this franchise, if the culprit in a given case is a Sympathetic Murderer, the motive is likely to murder the ones that are responsible for the death(s) of the culprit's loved one(s), whether said loved one(s) died due to murder or suicide.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Uniquely done in "Man-Eating Laboratory Murder Case". The suicide was done to establish that someone would commit suicide in that place, becoming the place's apparent curse.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Reika Hayami is revealed to have been a kidnapping victim as a very young child, and ended up treating her kidnapper as her father. Fortunately for her, the kidnapper developed Lima Syndrome and genuinely loves her as a daughter. Justified, seeing as Reika either forgot or repressed her memories of the kidnapping, and thus thought the guy really was her father.
  • Strictly Formula:
    • The mysteries, while for the most part are genuinely well written, can be a little paint by numbers. Here's a typical mystery: Hajime and Miyuki are invited to/stumble upon a gathering of people hiding a Dark and Troubled Past; as dead bodies start piling up Hajime declares that he'll solve the mystery in the name of his grandfather, but it usually takes a few more deaths and a "Eureka!" Moment before Kindaichi figures things out, sets a trap for the murderer, and then makes a long, long summation of all of the evidence against the murderer; the murderer then delivers a Motive Rant about how their victims have wronged them in the past (usually by killing a loved one), and now that their revenge is complete, they have nothing to live for, and attempts suicide or said that they have no regrets about killing the people who wronged them until Kindaichi pointed out that they wasted their future consumed by hatred and vengence.
    • The Culprit Case Files combines this trope with Self-Parody, where the culprit in a given mystery goes through their thoughts about the tricks and schemes that are used to pull off their murder plots at different junctures and reactions towards others around them, especially when Kindaichi starts voicing his beliefs about the mystery plots, right up until all the mysteries are solved, after which a Q & A session takes place where they're asked about what the reason for the failure of their murder plot is and how a mystery murder mastermind might beat Kindaichi.
  • Suicide, Not Murder : In the Shanghai Mermaid Case, the first victim of the serie of murders actually killed themselves. The mistake is understandable as the culprit stumbled onto the corpse, disposed of the suicide note, tampered with the corpse and left with the weapon (that is later used for the actual murders).
  • Summation Gathering: Almost all the time. If someone is in any way connected to the case, they'll be present when Kindaichi solves it. Notable aversions are manga version of Yukikage Village Murder Case and all versions of Drifting Firefox Murder Case, where Kindaichi confronted the killer directly.
  • Surprise Incest: A false rumour of this is what kickstarted the plot of "Yukikage Village Murder Case". Haruna, the girl who committed suicide at the start of the story, is in a relationship with Shimazu. But two other girls who are in love with Shimazu spread rumours that the two of them are siblings due to their fathers sharing the exact same name. Haruna, who is pregnant with Shimazu's child, is so ashamed when she hears about this and commits suicide in despair. Shimazu kills the two girls in revenge because of this.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In "Kindaichi the Killer," Kindaichi gets framed for a murder. Akechi falls for the frameup, and says that if Kindaichi's a murderer it'd explain why he's been present when so many other murder cases took place.
  • Suspect Existence Failure: Once happens in "Opera House Third Murder Case". All evidence pointed at a certain person, and thus that person was locked with the key on constant watch. In the next day, that person was found murdered. It was deliberately set up by the real killer to create this locked-room situation.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Saki #2, who looks so much like his brother that Kindaichi mistook him for a ghost at first.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: The large majority of the killer have a Dark and Troubled Past, where their loved ones died because of other people's assholery, and they avenged their beloved by murdering those responsible for their deaths. Often, they try to commit suicide once their plot is uncovered.
  • Taking the Heat: At least twice a killer has tried to convince Kindaichi that their accomplice was not involved at all.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Done a few times. One memorable example is in a case involving feud in determining a family clan's head. After the apparent prime suspect committed suicide, the oldest son slipped a poison to his dead rival's mother's (stepmother) tea. It ended very horribly.
  • Tarot Motifs: Unfamiliarity with how a Tarot deck works is used to point out the murderer in one mystery.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: The discovery of such a relationship kicks off the plot of "The Mummy's Curse" The teacher's fake substitute though, and it was merely for revenge.; the Asshole Victims of "Head Hanging School Murder Case" accidentally killed the student half of a pair of lovers. This is also present in "Who Killed the Goddess" short story and Fudou High Festival Murder Case.
  • Tears of Remorse: Those killers who discover their victims weren't in fault and everything was an huge misunderstanding.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In many a murder case arc, the culprit(s) would assure themselves that the crime(s) they carry out would be the perfect crime, only to be proven otherwise.
    • After the 20-year Time Skip, Kindaichi would prefer living a boring, mundane life as a Salaryman, only to find himself thrust into crime-solving again reluctantly, even when he wishes all his might NOT to solve crimes any longer.
      Kindaichi: [thinking privately] I don't want to solve crimes anymore!
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Part of the formula is that the potential pool of victims and suspects overlap, and symbolic murder announcements are often used to unnerve victims and set up fake alibis.
  • Theme Initials: A major part of "The Legend of Lake Hiren"; the killer knew that the person he was after had the initials SK, but not which of the individuals involved was the true target.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • A variant is pulled by Reiko Chikamiya, the mother of Kindaichi's archenemy Yoichi Takato. Reiko's death was caused by the members of her magic troupe who wanted her to divulge the secrets behind her various, hand-created feats of illusion. After her death, they stole her book of magic tricks and used them for their own. As it turns out, Reiko had two of them in case of such a situation. The real one was sent to Yoichi, while the others kept the copy which contained a bonus magic trick. This extra trick was created so that anyone who tried it would wind up killing themselves. The reason Yoichi agrees to go to jail after killing most of the ones responsible for his mother's death is that he KNEW the last surviving member (also implied to have been the one who specifically caused Reiko's death) would attempt this trick, so he felt that his mother would be able to get her revenge posthumously.
    • Another one shows up in Plot of the Russian Dolls. A dying famous mystery author wrote a will bequeathing his fortune to his acquaintances, who also happened to be people he hated (mostly for very petty reasons), with the condition that they solve a puzzle he left in his mansion. Once he died, the candidates gather in his household to solve the puzzle. Then all of them start dying one by one at the hands of the culprit, a Green-Eyed Monster Broken Bird girl trying to reclaim her late father's castle and notebook containing his ideas which the author had stolen and wrote famous novels based on them. In the end, Takato reveals to Kindaichi that the author knew the culprit's identity and predicted her reaction to the will all along, he just went ahead with his plan because he wanted her to kill his personal offenders in his stead.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • A culprit who was previously thought dead was found to be alive with amnesia in another case. Hajime believes that it's pointless to have him arrested for his crime when he doesn't remember his own background.
    • In some of the murder case arcs, the culprit would claim outright that their former self had died by the time they resolved to resort to murder.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Played for Laughs.
    • One case arc in The Kindaichi Case Files R begins with Miyuki telling Kindaichi the local legend of Hakuja village while Kenmochi is driving the three of them there. After Miyuki finishes the recitation, she asks for Kindaichi's feedback, only for him to respond that he's most excited about the part where the white snake deity was wrapping around the village head's daughter-in-law, prompting Miyuki to smack him on the head with the book she was reading from at the time.
      Kindaichi: Ow...! Are you trying to kill me?!
      Miyuki: It's because of your perverted thoughts!
    • At one point in The (37-year-old) Kindaichi Case Files, Fumi, while making a visit to Kindaichi one day, tries to wake Hajime up by calling him repeatedly. When that doesn't work, she smacks him on the head with a book to make him wake up.
      Fumi: What time do you think it is?
  • Time Skip: There is a sequel series where Hajime is 37 years old and has given up solving crimes and became a Salaryman who gets sucked back into solving murders once more.
  • Trail of Blood:
    • The Snow Demon Legend murder case has a variation, as the scenario in question involves "a trail of money bills with bloodstains", but the trope gets played straight otherwise. Kenmochi discovers one such trail that leads into a room, where he finds the axe the culprit has been using before spotting the corpse of a guy who fell victim to said axe.
    • There's one such trail in "Opera House: The Third Murder", which leads to a secret door and a labyrinthine underground passageway underneath.
    • During the Snow Goblin Legend serial murder case, Kindaichi and co. discover a trail of bloodstains leading to an old hut that's used for storage — for coffins, to be precise, with one of them containing a bloodied corpse.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: The culprits in some of the case arcs had lost their memories about some traumatic incident(s) they suffered in the hands of some other people who would become their intended victims in the present, whether directly or not, only for those memories to return to them later on, which then became (part of) their motive for the murders committed by them.
  • Troubled Production: In-Universe. Some case arcs occur in settings related to entertainment, usually involving Reika.
    • In "Reika Hayami Kidnapping Murder Case", Reika is kidnapped shortly after the start of the case arc due to being unlucky enough to witness someone else in the film-making crew being abducted before the kidnapper notices and kidnaps her as well. As she is part of the cast, the filming is forced to be postponed while Kindaichi tries to help get her out safely.
    • The "Black Spirit Hotel Murder Case" starts out with the film production already getting rough as the result of three part-time workers quitting while the film-making is still ongoing, which causes Reika to send a plea for help to Kindaichi, prompting both Kindaichi and Miyuki to fill in the spots. And this is before the murder case even begins to unfold.
  • Two-Timer Date: Kindaichi himself gets in one such scenario when Kindaichi, Miyuki, Saki, Kenmochi and his wife all gather at a beach house at the start of The Undying Butterfly Murder Case as the result of Reika, who happens to be working there for a photo shoot there, and Miyuki inviting Kindaichi separately to for a private meeting later that night. Kindaichi tries to juggle the two meetings, and he almost succeeds due to the two girls actually being nearby each other at the time, but Kindaichi hits a snag when he twists his back right as his meeting with Reika is ending as she's leaving, by which point Miyuki has realized Reika is around as well, prompting Miyuki to figure out what Kindaichi has been up to and to leave him by himself as payback.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having:
    • The Lake Hiren Murder Case arc begins with Kindaichi being informed by a male classmate of his that he had sex during the summer... but he's not feeling all that excited now that it's done.
      Once it was done, it wasn't that big of a deal.
    • As Kindaichi and Miyuki set out to return home at the end of the Human Eater Laboratory Murder Case arc, Kindaichi suddenly remembers that he has yet to ask Mayu (the Teen Genius they visited for the selfsame arc) for the answer of a puzzle Mayu had given him before she dropped out of school to work at the bio-research lab, but, luckily, Miyuki had received from Mayu a sheet of paper containing hints regarding the puzzle during the case arc and hands it to him. Kindaichi solves it at once... and finds himself flabbergasted by the answernote .
      Kindaichi: Seriously?
      Miyuki: Eh? What? What does it say?
      Kindaichi: Nah, it's nothing!
      Miyuki: Eh? What is it? Tell me, Hajime-chan!
      Kindaichi: Forget it. It really is nothing!
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: While many a case arc builds on the premise that Everyone Is a Suspect, occasionally the criminal investigation in a given case becomes more challenging because the murder victim is so reviled that (part of) the difficulty in finding the culprits is in narrowing down from the potential suspects.
    • After an actress has died as the first murder victim in "The Snow Demon Legend Murder Case", the director believes the cameraman, who's missing at the moment and, therefore, the presumed most likely suspect, is the culprit due to the two of them having gotten into fights back when they were reporters. One of the actors, however, disagrees by arguing that this line of argument would mark everyone among the participants in this case arc having been in the show business long enough with her as a prime suspect due to her notorious reputation as The Prima Donna.
      Oh, come on. If you're looking for motives, pretty much everybody here has one.
    • In the "Student Kengo Akechi Case File", Kenmochi quickly found out in his investigation into the murder case that the murder victim, being an infamous Serial Rapist, had so many girls victimized and too traumatized by him to report his crimes to the police that the sheer amount of suspects was enough to overwhelm him unless he found a way to narrow the suspect list down. Luckily for him, Akechi was able and willing to step up to the challenge.
      Kenmochi: The victim is really hated by college girls here. There will be too many people to keep an eye on...
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • This is an Exploited Trope in the Broken Heart Lake Legend Murder Case, as all of the intended targets in this case have suffered acute hydrophobia after surviving an accident three years ago following the collision between a cruise liner they were on and an oil ship, where they nearly drowned.
    • Due to them witnessing their father getting strangled to death as children, both Reika and her manager cannot bear to have things around their necks.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The killer in The Undying Butterflies. And the first victim, no less!
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit:
    • How someone tried to frame Inspector Kenmochi for murder.
    • The difference from manga and anime adaptation is, while the anime stated that the killer calculated the time it took for them to be saved, the manga made the killer blaming themselves so much that he intended to end his own life while framing Kenmochi at the same time. Of course, this didn't work.
  • You Killed My Father: Or mother, or sibling, or lover... A lot of Sympathetic Murderer in the series kill for this reason. Occasionally the loved one was Driven to Suicide.

Alternative Title(s): Kindaichi Case Files