Case Closed: One Truth Prevails Volume 1.3 [h2]
Jimmy Kudo is trapped inside a child’s eight year old body for now, but that doesn’t stop him from solving mysteries of all kinds as orphan Conan Edogawa. In this volume of a very long running series, he solves the mystery of an old haunted house, solves a set of murders, and tangles with a set of department store thieves.
Armed with a James Bond-style potpourri of gizmos and gadgets, Case Closed episodes immediately remind me of Encyclopedia Brown books, but with a high-tech spin. These cases are in no way light-hearted Scooby Doo-style adventures either, even if Conan and his three friends do end up in a haunted house at the end of the disc. The themes of these cases are dark and grim complete with showing poison, blood, murder and gore. Each case generally has some odd detail to it that immediately leads to a rapid-style resolution that doesn’t take too many leaps of logic to follow along to solve. The endings make sense. Because these are mysteries, the viewer immediately is hooked into following along and seeing if they can figure out “whodunit” first. Not all anime gives you the opportunity to think so this is a very pleasant surprise. You actually end up wanting to pay attention during the episode right from the outset to make sure you don’t catch any subtle visual clues. Each episode is also self-contained, so you could watch them in any order, but there’s not much point to doing that.
As far as the overall premise to the show goes, Jimmy/Conan does express occasional frustration at being eight again, but doesn’t go all out to try to resolve the situation. This is an excellent set up for a long running series, and makes the end goal entirely less important than the journey taken to reach it. Jimmy also provides the viewer with Conan’s inner monologue as he works through each case. This could have the potential to get irritating, but overall Conan is smart without being smug, cute without being cloying, and just all around endearing to watch as he manipulates various people in positions of authority to still get the case at hand resolved. Sure, it gets a bit tedious watching Conan having to knock someone out and use his voice changing bow tie to explain the intricacies of the crime every single time, but what else is a kid to do? It is a bit implausible that no one ever notices that the person explaining “whodunit” is generally out cold, but it is a minor infraction that everyone appears to be willing to overlook.
The weak moments so far tend to be centered around the unnecessary inclusion of the “junior detective club” – a trio of youngsters Conan hangs out with and drawn from the typical sidekick gallery: the skeptic yet somewhat smart kid, the overweight kid who is always hungry and the stereotypical, obligatory girly girl. Conan shines best when he is working solo, which fortunately is more often than not.
The art looks a bit dated, and after some quick investigation I realized why. This series started back in 1996! It is no surprise that this series is still going, as the current format gives room for a lot of opportunity for the overall plot to be told in a leisurely way. I would be in no rush to see Conan resolve the issues that turned back the clock for him in the first place, or see him grow up naturally from his current state. Feed this kid a steady stream of youth inducing potions and unleash him on the crime ridden city, because it’s fun to watch.
If you love mysteries – even fairly simple ones, pick this up.
Retro look and feel, with music to match, no extras but crammed full with episodes.
DVD Features: Uncut Episodes 16-21