Chapter 108 is a downgrade from last month’s chapter. Instead of compelling events occurring left and right, Inaba chooses to return to what it truthfully excels most at: comedy. While this chapter makes for a refreshing departure from the genuine tension of recent chapters, there is little to ponder this time.
Inaba has a strategy meeting with Yuta and inspector Ogi. Inaba instructs Ogi and Yuta to evacuate the building in place of Inaba himself. There is a brief but touching exchange between Yuta and Inaba wherein Yuta expresses his desire to go with Inaba instead of Ogi. It is never outright stated, but the art does an excellent job of conveying how Inaba desires for Yuta to remain safe. Ogi and Yuta being paired together to evacuate the building was not just a thoughtless decision on Inaba’s part.
There’s a pained smile on Inaba’s face as he tries to keep calm for his assistant, Yuta, and it becomes clear just how deeply he cares deeply for Yuta’s well-being. At the end of the exchange, Inaba sets out to apprehend Yataro and Somei. Yuta shows maturity as a character, and with a brief pause accepts the situation, deciding to move forward despite his anxiety that something may happen to Inaba.
Immediately afterwards, the tender moment is ruined by a return to slapstick, as Yuta, mostly off-panel, defeats some random character whose allegiance are not clear at all. Not long afterwards Yuta and Ogi encounter Gabriella and, Lorenzo who themselves are making an escape from the crime scene. It is not clear at present why Yuta and Ogi do not take the opportunity to chase after and apprehend Lorenzo and Gabriella. Yuta has grown rather fond of the Valentinos as the series has moved on but Ogi has zero motivation no to apprehend members of the Valentino family.
The Valentinos were technically the primary antagonist when the series started, and I dread the thought that their role in the series will ultimately amount to nothing. They are the least compelling antagonists, but it feels like an insult for both the characters and the readers for the series to simply shrug them off in what is apparently it’s final arc. It would have been nice if the Valentinos could have been tied into the plot in a more clever manner.
By far the biggest problem with chapter 108 of Cuticle Detective Inaba is the page count, although what is done within is also problematic. At thirteen pages, the page count this chapter is much shorter than it is for the series the majority of the time. As a result, the previously established tension is all but cast aside for a chapter for no reason other than to add slapstick, and to give the audience the break from the conflict. The problem is this arc developed a balancing act between conflict and comedy, which it was maintaining quite well without any need for an interlude. Furthermore, this is supposedly the final arc, and at least a minor rise in tension is a reasonable expectation. In short, this chapter is almost entirely unnecessary, apart from the brief exchange between Yuta and Inaba, which amounts to padding.
This chapter is frustrating in the grand scheme of the series. It should have felt more meaningful rather than something ultimately designed to pad a page count. Hopefully Inaba transitions into the more serious material in the coming chapters, because the series was finally starting to feel compelling. If that is the case, I apologize; however, as it is, chapter 108 feels entirely unnecessary in the grand scheme of the series.