Episode 1: Burn
Yukawa Manabu is an assistant professor at Teito University’s Physics Department. He enjoys overwhelming popularity among his female students because he is handsome, brilliant and an all-round sportsman but he is also an eccentric who has virtually no interest in things other than knowledge. A new detective from North Kaizuka Police Precinct, Utsumi Kaoru, visits Yukawa’s lab due to her esteemed senior, Kusanagi Shunpei’s referral. Taking Kusanagi’s advice, she asks for Yukawa’s cooperation in the investigation of a case that took place within the precinct’s jurisdiction. Nicknamed “Mystery Hunter”, Kusanagi has been promoted to the headquarters in recognition of his achievements in cracking numerous difficult cases. However, Kusanagi confides that he has his university classmate, the genius physicist Yukawa – called “Weird Galileo” among friends – to thank for the cases he has solved.
The case occurred in a quiet residential neighbourhood at about 10.20 p.m. the night before. The head of one of the boys in the group that often gathered boisterously along a street of the neighbourhood suddenly ignites and he dies. Kaoru heads to the scene with her senior, Yuge Shiro, and learns that the boys were playing with mouse tail fireworks when the incident happened but according to the medical coroner, Jounouchi Sakurako, the victim sustained burns charred his skull. It is inconceivable that mouse tail fireworks were the cause.
Yukawa’s assistant, Kuribayashi Hiromi, desperately tries to stop Kaoru from approaching Yukawa for his help in the investigation. Before this, Kusanagi had also brought his cases here to discuss them with Yukawa, interrupting research in one way or another. However, Kuribayashi’s pleas are in vain as Yukawa takes a deep interest in the combustion of a human body.
Yukawa visits the scene with Kaoru. He continuously inspects the surroundings as he listens to Kaoru’s explanations. Seeing Yukawa look as if he has gathered something from his observations, she asks if he knows the reason for the boy’s death. Yukawa, suddenly flashes a smile and replies, “I absolutely have no idea.”
On another visit to the scene, Yukawa and Kaoru encounter a little girl, Mana, who seems to be searching for something as she looks up at the sky. Kaoru realises that Mana had seen something in the sky on the day of the incident and asks her. Mana replies that there had been a red thread hovering in the sky. Yukawa, who dislikes children, orders Kaoru to ask Mana for the details. The little girl mentions that she had also seen that red thread floating at Yukawa’s height three months ago on the night of the Star Festival (July 7).
When Yukawa hears that, he has a brainwave and notices Tokita Manufacturing Co a factory that makes machine components near the scene of the incident. Tokita, the manager of the factory, is disturbed when he learns that Kaoru is a police detective. Meanwhile, Yukawa, who is looking around the factory, picks up a component part from a work table. This draws the attention of an employee by the name of Kanemori Tatsuo. Asked about the incident by Tokita, Yukawa replies that it might have been caused by naturally occurring plasma. There are places where such incidents can easily occur. If such an incident happens at the same location again, the investigation will end, he says.
Leaving the factory, Kaoru asks Yukawa to explain his words. However, he replies that he can’t tell her because his theory is still a hypothesis. Then he says “This is truly interesting” and smiles. Kaoru gets angry with his attitude and shouts “What’s interesting? A person died! There’s a limit to jokes.”
The next day, Kaoru receives an odd text message composed of emoticons from Yukawa. The title reads, “Let’s meet. I want to talk to you.” Kaoru comes to Yukawa’s lab. He apologises by saying that he hadn’t intended to anger her. Kaoru tells him that she wants to know why the boy’s body combusted but Yukawa declines and says he still can’t prove it. She then resorts to following Sakurako’s advice to “use a woman’s weapon”, and suddenly starts telling Yukawa why she became a detective. When she was a child, Her parents and older sister were mistakenly shot to death by the Chinese mafia at their hotel in Los Angeles, Kaoru says as she cries. “That’s why if there is a criminal involved in this case, I want to arrest him.” Yukawa softens and brings her to a place situated in the mountains.
The place that they visit is the university’s testing site. The scene of the incident has been recreated and Yukawa’s students are preparing for an experiment. Yukawa’s hypothesis is that the discharge from the carbon dioxide laser in Tokita Manufacturing Co had hit the target with the use of mirrors.
Kaoru and Yuge stakeout the scene of the incident each subsequent night. Yukawa had laid a trap when he lied that the incident had been caused by naturally occurring plasma during their visit to the factory. On the third night, Yuge notices a beam of red light beside the car and in the next instant, a bag of trash at the waste disposal area bursts into flames. Kaoru rushes out of the car and hurries to Tokita Manufacturing Co. She confirms that gold-coated mirrors had been placed on the utility poles while making her way there.
When Kaoru enters the factory, she heads toward the equipment that’s the source of the carbon dioxide laser discharge. Beside the equipment is a connected computer with a programme to receive mobile phone messages is running. A man enters. He is Kanemori.
During the interrogation, Kanemori admits that he had discharged the laser. Kanemori, who is a recital volunteer, claims he had done it to intimidate the group of rowdy boys because the noise they made every night interrupted his recordings. He’d never thought to hit a person, he says and hangs his head.
Kaoru informs Kusanagi of the developments of the case and they listen to a tape of a recording that Kanemori had made after the incident. Kusanagi says that he finds something odd and then asks Kaoru about Yukawa. She says that he’s still conducting his experiment. Told by Kusanagi that she had better go to the testing site immediately because Yukawa may charge her an astronomical amount for the use of the laser in the experiment, Kaoru rushes off.
When Kaoru arrives at the site, Yukawa and his students are still working on the experiment. He says that they had already failed 42 times due to the misalignment of the optical axis and temperature differences. Kaoru says the police can’t afford to pay for the experiment fees and asks him to stop but Yukawa continues. On their forty third try, they finally succeed in setting fire to the mannequin’s head.
Seeing this, Kaoru mutters, “Such a roundabout method … Kanemori is a timid person, isn’t he?” In response, Yukawa asks her if she knows what the significance of his success on his forty third try means. Kanemori, just like Yukawa, had eventually succeeded after a process of trial and error for over three months. “That means he made 42 murder attempts.” Kaoru is shocked by Yukawa’s words.
Kaoru, who has returned to North Kaizuka Police Precinct, walks in on Kanemori’s interrogation and accuses him of planning the murder. Kanemori denies it and Kaoru asks how he can sound so calm and composed in his recitation of the last chapter of Herman Hesse’s Beneath the Wheel if he felt guilty after the murder. Kanemori suddenly starts hitting the desk with his leg many times. “They are trash,” he says.
Yukawa, who has received report from Kaoru on Kanemori’s case, returns to his lab. Kuribayashi is there eating his lunch while watching television. The opening of a police drama classic is being narrated and that was the exact reason Kaoru had confided in Yukawa when she had told him why she became a police detective. He is dumbfounded … …
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