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Private investigator Goro Nanase, whose nickname "Hedgehog" is a pun on "Watchman" and "Bed-head," is hired by Mrs. Toyama to locate her missing husband. The only clue, his face on a poster proclaiming that he's wanted for murder. The race is on, Nanase against the Tokyo Police, through the snowbound Japanese countryside to the slush and dirty sleet of small-town Japan.
Sadly, Domain of Murder was the only episode from the 24-volume manga in Young Magazine to be animated. Artist Kenshi Hirokane also created the best-selling Section Chief Kosaku Shima and the manga masterpiece for the over-60s, Shooting Stars in the Twilight. This is the Japan familiar to Hirokane's adult audience, a lower-middle-class suburb of hard-drinking salarymen and smoking mothers. The production was ill-served in English (with a distributor who managed to mistranslate the names of the creator, writer, main cast, and director!), though the subtitled edition retained the excellent voice of Shigeru (Arion) Nakahara in the lead, and there's a wonderful cameo from Yo Inoue (Patlabor's Kanuka Clancy) as a bar-girl past her prime. Endo's script contains some beautifully observed moments, such as a reverse interrogation when Nanase and his ally double-team the cop they find in her apartment. The subtitles leave the marvelous Japanese-style Raymond Chandler-inspired dialogue untouched, and linguists should watch for the timeless moment when Inoue changes from polite-friendly to superpolite-hostile.