Famous Detective Conan
“Case Closed” (“Metaintei Conan” or “Famous Detective Conan”) was a series that was hugely popular when I lived in Japan, on the same level as Naruto and One Piece, but one that I just never got around to viewing. There was no particular reason for this, and I always wanted to check it out, but…I didn’t. (Strange too, because I am a huge fan of the two authors Conan takes his name from, Edogawa Rampo and Arthur Conan Doyle.)
When I finally go this Funimation release of “Case Closed Series One,” I popped in the first DVD to expecting to give it a quick watch and that was the end of my Saturday. I got sucked in and spent the next several hours watching episode after episode until I had almost watched the entire box set in a single day. I polished off the rest of the set the next day!
Obviously, “Case Closed” is a lot of fun, and a great anime series. There is a reason it is as popular as it is. Telling the story of teenage detective Kudo Shinichi, a popular and handsome high school student who is also a famous detective, Shinichi finds himself caught up in a case featuring black-coated members of a secret crime organization who poison Shinichi to keep him off their tails. Instead of killing him, the poison shrinks Shinichi down to a child-sized body while keeping his intellect intact. Realizing he is better off playing dead for the moment until he can find a cure for the poison, Shinichi adopts the alias of Edogawa Conan after two of his favorite mystery writers and continues on solving mysteries.
“Case Closed” is only about half “boy Sherlock Holmes” with the other half being “boy James Bond.” Conan’s ally Professor Agasa serves as Conan’s “Q,” setting him up with high-tech gadgets to help Conan compensate for his childlike body and to add some action to the series. The episodes are pretty evenly split between mystery-orientated showing off Conan’s detective skills and full on action/adventure.
There is a big ensemble cast to help along, like Mori Ran, Conan’s lady interest back when he was the full sized Kudo Shinichi, but who now treats him like an Elementary school student, and Ran’s father Mori Kogoro, a bumbling detective who manages to take the credit for all of Conan’s discoveries. Conan also gets himself a little gang of “junior detectives” made up of his elementary school classmates who help out from time-to-time.
The big laughs of “Case Closed” comes from Conan having to deal with being trapped in a kid’s body. Here is someone with a genius IQ being sent back to elementary school and being given rabbit-shaped balloons from girls when he would rather get a kiss. The series does a lot of good with this rather odd plot point, especially when dealing with Ran and her “babying” of Conan all the while longing for Shinichi, never realizing they are one and the same.
The only real drawback of the series is a nitpicky minor one. I realize that there are some legal entanglements from using the name “Conan” here in the West, due to its association with Conan the Cimmerian rather than Arthur Conan Doyle, but I am not a fan of the new title “Case Closed.” Also, when doing the English-language track Funimation did more than just dub the series but gave it a whole “Western overall.” Kudo Shinichi became Jimmy Kudo. Mori Ran became Rachel Moore. I didn’t like this when it was done with the series Card Captor Sakura (Daidoji Tomoyo becoming “Madison Taylor”) and I don’t like it here either. Fortunately, with a quick swipe of the remote control button, the Japanese-language soundtrack can be selected and all such worries fall away.