Case Closed 3.1: Behind the Facade
Homemade bombs, kidnappings, and karaoke feature highly in this bittersweet disc of mysteries taking young detective Conan Edogawa from the baseball field to glamour filled mansions in order to solve crimes up and down the social spectrum.
The opening two part “Billionaire Birthday Blues” is not one of the best two part episodes this series has to offer, but it clearly takes advantage of the two part format – multiple victims and a string of red herrings are fairly expected and dished out accordingly. “Left in Tatters” is significantly weaker offering, mostly because the crime is a relatively minor one and much ado is truly made about nothing – oh, no, a banner in the principal’s office is slashed. Sports are serious business and a key member of the team may be kicked off if Conan doesn’t figure out the real culprit! Conan works best when he’s investigating old flames with grudges, vengeful family members, and up to his short socked kneecaps in real crime. Any bloodless crime tends to be less than intriguing and is truly a matter of filler. “Left in Tatters” could have been left in tatters on the cutting room floor with no loss to the rest of this disc. In “Karaoke Killer”, a pop star is killed in a Karaoke bar while hanging out with his bandmates. Everyone in the band becomes a suspect when it is revealed the victim was planning on leaving the band in the near future. The episode has a fairly tragic ending, uncharacteristic for the series as a whole.
“Karaoke Killing” is a strong episode, but the best episode on this disc is clearly “Conan is Kidnapped” by a narrow margin. “Conan is Kidnapped” is a significant episode due to the fact we get to meet Jimmy Kudo’s parents and a plausible explanation is finally given on how Conan is able to stay with the Moore family for so long. Unfortunately, the way the Kudo family goes about things leads the viewer to feel they are more selfish than sweet, and in Jimmy/Conan’s shoes it isn’t much of a stretch to figure out why he would rather stay with the Moore family. I would have thought Jimmy’s parents would be more concerned about the fate of their son, but apparently it doesn’t bother them that much and Jimmy doesn’t appear to be that close to his natural family at all.
The final episode, a bittersweet “Unhappy Birthday” allows Conan to prevent a murder in a family dead-set on killing each other – the episodes where the mysteries are unraveled before further and often needless tragedy takes place are often top notch, and this is no exception.
Skimpy on the extras, this six episode disc isn’t a bad way to pass the time. Pick it up.
Formulaic mysteries ranging in difficulty are a great way to pass lunch breaks.
Retro look and feel, with music to match.
English subtitles, English/Japanese Stereo, Episodes 40-45