The Problem With Mystery

thumb-1920-683930I’d quite like to consider myself an intelligent viewer of a lot of the shows that I watch so when I watch a crime mystery show I naturally want to find out who did it however I’m often made disappointed. Firstly this is because some of the time the only interesting thing about a show is the mystery aspect so once you find it out, the show can be a let-down. Obviously this isn’t always the case however if a show’s only interesting thing is the mystery, then the chances are the answers to it aren’t even that great.

Bear in mind that in mysteries realistic doesn’t always mean entertaining yet I always try to look at the mystery in a realistic way.  So in a show of this nature they may show the crime scene and a bunch of little details to make you try to solve the mystery. If there’s no crime scene they may show you the situation around when the crime happened and present you with other evidence and suspects.

(Sorry if you didn’t come for crime mysteries but it’s the only thing that I’m going to be talking about)

The realistic way of looking at it is looking at the evidence and thinking who did it from there. Whichever person the evidence most leans towards has done the crime, surely? But no, not really, the thing that you have to bear in mind during the show, is that it’s a show! Someone has made it, thought about it more than you have and made a crafty plot to try and fool you. This will normally happen when the lead detective announces that the murderer (or whoever) was actually someone else and make extreme links between pieces of evidence to prove their point. When they do this I don’t really think that they’re wrong but I normally feel let down, probably because of the way I was thinking about the show.

Most of the time I’m thinking about only one suspect; evidence for and evidence against them. As I get wrapped up thinking about that character I tend to forget the other suspects. It’s cool that it’s someone that I didn’t think it would be however it makes me feel like the past ten minutes of trying to convince you that it was someone else was a waste of time.

The biggest, most annoying example that I could come up with is during one of the live action Scooby doo films (this may seem dumb but carry on – I assure you it’s not stupid). It starts with the gang getting out of their van and going to a conference where they speak to a news reporter saying how they will solve the mass murderers in the city. They then spend the next 110 minutes trying to work out who did it and it was… the news reporter. This news reporter had only been there for the first two minutes and never showed up until the last part. So naturally I forgot that the reporter existed and felt like it had wasted all of my time, after all the only point for the other 110 minutes was to try and make you think that someone else caused it. I do admit that I was probably 8 or so when I saw the film and I’ve forgotten whether I was dumb or the mystery was just stupid but even if it was obvious from the start I would think that the two hour ending should be at least a bit related to the suspect.

Another problem that I find is when a show convinces you that the criminal is innocent based on contradictory evidence: Evidence that you’re shown at the start but is then contradicted at the end. For me the prime example of this is “Erased”. If you don’t want to be spoiled for Erased then don’t read on, it’s a show that I still enjoyed despite the mystery so I recommend it.

They say that the criminal is a mastermind, a true genius, a villain who travelled from city to city committing mass crimes against children. I distinctly remember this scene as it was the moment when I ruled out the teacher as the criminal. After all it’s completely impossible for a teacher to be working at a school for two years and also travel to each city every weekend to stalk and find a victim to kill. However this led me to not think about him as a suspect and feel a fool when I realised that he did it. (This was in the manga. I read the manga first so I already knew what would happen in the anime, I don’t know how much better or worse the mystery was delivered in the show)

This then lead me to think that the criminal hadn’t showed up. Throughout the manga I thought that the murderer was an off-screen stalker, someone so unbelievably good at what they do that they can stay hidden from view, it was the only thing in my mind that seemed to realistically make sense. This obviously led to disappointment.

But that’s the thing, mysteries can be annoyingly unrealistic just to try and fool you. If your one of those people that always finds mysteries obvious and has been laughing at me this whole time, then congratulations you’re a great detective! Just know that the differences between real crime mysteries and show crime mysteries are huge.

If you go back and watch/ read Erased there may be a small detail about my Erased points that I’ve forgotten about. That aside, I hate how forgetting the most minor small detail can cause you to not know who did it. It sucks knowing that you would have gotten it if you paid attention to that small amount of detail.

I haven’t seen as many mystery anime as I have harems however I feel like I’ve seen enough cartoons and films to talk about the most common part of the mystery genre. The mystery.

3 thoughts on “The Problem With Mystery

    1. Yeah, I know. I’ve seen and read Erased. I agree that it is the choice that makes the most sense however the post talked about the minor details that led me to think that it would be contradictory for the teacher to be the killer. I wrote about how missing something minor was annoying too but I guess thinking deep into something minor (like I did) isn’t the best idea.


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