Anime First Impressions from the Vault: Detective Conan (AKA Case Closed)

(Posted to my Facebook page on July 11, 2015)

So, uh, I had a plan to watch through Case Closed (Also known as Detective Conan) and do a review of it but uh… well, some people think Dragon Ball is a long series. It’s pretty long, with about 500 episode between DB, DBZ, and DBGT (And more coming from DBS). Some people think Naruto is pretty long, with something like 600 episode between Naruto and Shippuden. Some think that One Piece is pretty long at 700 episodes. Case closed has almost 800 episodes and, here’s the important part: IT’S STILL RUNNING. How “alive” is this series? The newest episode was released today. And this is a series that started in 1996. As yet another frame of reference, The Simpsons has been around since 1989 and has less than 600 episodes. Let that sink in.

Funimation isn’t even dubbing it anymore, their dub got discontinued after Season 5 (Episode 130 was the last one they dubbed). I finished through what they called the end of Season 1 (Episode 26, though wikipedia shows Season 1 ending at episode 29), so I figured I would give the best review I could given that information because there is no way in hell I could push my way through 800 episodes of this in any reasonable amount of time.

Case Closed follows world famous teenage detective Jimmy Kudo, who has dedicated his life to becoming a great detective like Sherlock Holmes (Despite being reminded that Holmes is a fictional character). A former soccer superstar and all around genius, Jimmy pieces together cases with ease that the police are unable to make heads or tails of. However, one day while tailing a pair of suspicious looking people, he is attacked and knocked unconscious. The attackers know he overheard them and slip him some poison that they were told would be untraceable before escaping. When Jimmy wakes up, he discovers that he now has the body of an eight year old, the poison having a strange effect on his body. Confiding in long-time friend Doctor Hershel Agasa about his condition, the doctor warns him that if the men who attacked him discover that he’s still alive, that they would come after him and his loved ones again, persuading him to keep his identity a secret. Jimmy adopts the name Conan Edogawa and poses as a relative of Doctor Hershel’s, living with his friend Rachael Moore and her father Detective Richard Moore. Now Conan seeks to find the men who poisoned him to find a way to reverse the effect and get his old body back, all while still trying to solve cases with his young body.

This is where things get… weird. After the first two episodes, the amount of actual plot and character development we get is extremely limited (At least, as far as season 1 goes). Conan becomes friends with some kids his own age and form the “Junior Detective League”, Doctor Hershel makes him some gadgets to assist in his work (Such as a Bow-Tie that allows him to change his voice or a tracking device built into his glasses), and Conan has to deal with the fact that few, if any adults value his opinion on cases, but he’s often the only one able to piece those cases together. Worst of all, Rachael’s father is a terrible detective, but Conan frequently has to use him to get the police to arrest the right person.

My main problem with this series is that because the overarching plot develops at a literal snail’s pace (As one would expect from an anime with nearly 800 episodes), it can get a little tedious to watch the show go through the normal motions. Each case IS unique, and enough attention to detail and care is included that it’s possible to puzzle things out for yourself, and it’s always entertaining to see Conan put everything together in the end, but just having to do a hard reset and watch the motions over and over again can get kind of boring. This is really an anime that should probably just be watched at something like one episode per day (Which, even if done religiously, would still take you more than two years to watch through). My marathon approach seems rather ineffective against this beast, but even if it was, I just have sort of an issue with seeing so little progress being made after so much time investment. It’s like trying to watch the first season of Code Lyoko. So little happens until episode 25 that it’s almost pointless to watch, but the characters themselves are pretty interesting so…

Ahem. The show has some pretty basic animation style, but as I mentioned the attention to certain details is very impressive, and those details always matter in the end. The series also features some really great music, from a great theme to some kick-ass music for every mood the story needs.

It almost seem pointless to talk so much about a series that I’ve barely scratched the surface of; I’m not even going to offer a score for it, because I lack enough of a grasp to really know for certain. I enjoyed it a great deal at times, but it can also be draining, and somewhat annoying at certain moments. Still, the voice acting is good, it’s a very thought-provoking show, and you end up caring about most of the characters and situations, which is probably all that matters. Give it a shot if you’ve got the time.

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