Case Closed: Broken Dreams

Old Man Kangaroo

imageFunimation continues the Case Closed series with the release of Episodes 62-64. The Case Closed series originally began airing in Japan in 1996 and is now coming to the U.S. in a dubbed English release, which aired on Cartoon Network.

Though it is only from 1996, Case Closed uses a retro, Astro Boy animation style. Aside from the basic premise and a few gadgets, Case Closed is done essentially realistically. There are no people dressing up as ghosts trying to scare people away from a treasure. Though there are meddling kids.

Possibly because there are very few animated mystery series, people have a tendency to compare Case Closed to Scooby Doo. Usually, with fans of the Case Closed series, this degenerates into Scooby Doo bashing. Really though, they are two very different series and liking one should not exclude a person from liking the other. While Scooby Doo always emphasized the comedy, with the mystery simply being a backdrop, Case Closed is much more in the vein of live action mysteries intended for adult audiences. Case Closed has comic elements, but it is primarily a mystery series.

Episode 62: Illustrated Murder
Richard has been selected to contribute to a book a famous artist, Horace Hennegraf, is producing which consists of pictures of murder sites. In the opening scene we see Hennegraf murder his assistant with whom he has been having an affair. Later, when Hennegraf is meeting with Richard (who of course has Conan and Rachel with him) the assistant appears to commit suicide by jumping off her balcony. This episode is unusual in that the audience knows who the murderer is from the beginning. Instead, the mystery of the episode lies in figuring out how Hennegraf faked the suicide.

Episode 63: Ghost Ship Murder Part I
Now when I said there were no people dressing up as ghosts to scare people away from a treasure, that was to say there are a certain amount. Richard shows up on an island with Rachel and Conan to give a lecture. As soon as they step off the boat a spunky young girl named Suzu claims Conan as her new boyfriend. Even as a seven-year-old, Conan is quite the man with the ladies.

imageSeven years before, a ship carrying a load of stolen gold disappeared along with its’ crew. Just recently, the ship was found floating off the island with no sign of the missing gold. The islanders believe an ancient curse from pirates their ancestors slaughtered is involved. Hoping for a cut of the loot, Richard soon agrees to help find the gold. Of course, it wouldn’t be Case Closed if someone didn’t turn up murdered pretty soon.

Episode 64: Ghost Ship Murder Part II
Richard finds himself the prime suspect in the murder. With Conan’s help, he is soon exonerated but the mystery of the gold remains. Clues are starting to come together but there’s still a murderer on the loose. Things are becoming dangerous for Conan and Suzu.

A relatively good pair of episodes, the basic plot could have come right out of ‘Scooby Doo’ (minus the horrible deaths). The mystery is pretty simple since there are few possible suspects and the location of the treasure is pretty obvious. It may be that this episode was intentionally referencing Scooby Doo.

Ghost ship murder may not appeal as much to the Case Closed fans who don’t do the Doo. If you are not among that group it is a fun pair of episodes. The plot may not be the standard for the series but it still maintains the Case Closed flavor.

Technical/Extras: 8.0 Funimation continues to include a good complement of extras. The interactive nature of the unlockables fits well with the mystery. I do not recall an anime including outtakes from the voice actors before. If you are a voice actor fan, that should be a big plus. These are not the fake outtakes you see included with many American animated films lately. Funimation gives you actual unused audio footage from the voice actors, but you’ll have to work for it.

Entertainment: 7.0 These three episodes break a bit from the standard formula of the series. If all you want is the same thing over and over again, you might not enjoy them as much. Most people will probably appreciate some variation though.

Overall: 7.5

Case Closed episodes 61-64 should make a good addition to your collection. Many animes can seem pretty generic. In a market flooded with Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Yugio rip offs, Case Closed has a concept and style all its own. If you are looking an anime with something different to offer, Case Closed may be a good choice.

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