Saturday, June 25, 2011

『心強き名探偵達』

「命っちゅうんは限りがあるから大事なんや。限りがあるから頑張れるんやで」
『名探偵コナン』
"Life's important 'cause it's limited. 'Cause it's limited, we try our best at livin'!"
"Detective Conan"

Third post in this series of re-reading Conan! Once again, spoilers for both past and future volumes, though I do try to avoid very big things, like refering to Hattori dying in volume 6x or something (DOES NOT REALLY HAPPEN). It seems Aoyama is done with just normal cases in this set, as he brings in a group of new chess pieces to play with. I'll stop for a while with these posts though, as they take quite some time to write. And read.

Detective Conan manga & movies:
Part 1: Volumes 1 ~ 10
Part 2: Volumes 11~20; The Timebombed Skyscraper (1) / The Fourteenth Target (2)
Part 3: Volumes 21~30; The Last Wizard of the Century (3) / Captured in Her Eyes (4)
Part 4: Volumes 31~40; Countdown to Heaven (5) / The Phantom of Baker Street (6)
Part 5: Volumes 41~50; Crossroad in the Ancient Capital (7) / Magician of the Silver Sky (8) / Strategy Above the Depths (9)
Part 6:  Volumes 51~60; Private Eyes' Requiem (10) / Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure (11)
Part 7: Volumes 61~70; Full Score of Fear (12) / The Raven Chaser (13) / Lost Ship in the Sky (14)
Part 8: Volumes 71~80; Quarter of Silence (15) / The Eleventh Striker (16) / Private Eye in the Distant Sea (17)
(You will find the links to the reviews of volume 70, 72~76, 78, 82~87 and the films Quarter of Silence (15), The Eleventh Striker (16), Private Eye in the Distant Sea (17), Dimensional Sniper (18) in the library)

Volume 21
Keyhole: Satou Miwako
Cases: Search in the Old Blue Castle Case; The Flying Locked Room - Kudou Shinichi's First Case; MPD Detectives' Love Story; Case of the Locked Room A Night Before the Wedding
Characters: Megure Midori (mentioned)
Police: Sergeant Satou Miwako (Tokyo MPD); Police Inspector Shiratori Ninzaburou (Tokyo MPD); Miyamoto Yumi (Traffic Division)
Item: Wristwatch Flashlight

The search in the castle is pretty interesting, as Haibara is clearly the main character in the story. She is shown as someone with pretty good deductive capabilities. While the tone of the series has become more serious generally, I think that having both Haibara and Conan as guardians for the Detective Boys allowed their stories to become more serious and complex too. The second story is great one, with a murder in an airplane. The story starts with similar misdirection as the KID story, ending in a flashback to Kudou's first case. Aoyama uses his trademark everyone-knows-everyone cliche, as we discover that Megure has known Shinichi since he was a kid (as he's friends with his father) and that Takagi has met him too. Aoyama really takes this trope to an extreme in later stories though. As if Beika-chou is the center of the world. The story is quite memorable for its murder weapon, at least, its hiding spot. MPD Detectives' Love Story 1 starts the long, long story of detective Takagi (and Shiratori) chasing Satou. The murderer has used the cops for his alibi trick, but Conan manages to solve it by giving the detectives hints. Which won't be the last time, nor will they forget it. Yumi of the traffic division also makes her first appearance.The final story is another Hattori story (together with Kazuha). Hattori seems to have finally noticed that he always encounters murder when he's with Conan.

Volume 22
Keyhole: Kudou Yuusaku
Cases: Case of the Locked Room A Night Before the Wedding; Hokutosei 3 Departing from Ueno; Sonoko's Dangerous Summer Love Story
Characters: Kyougoku Makoto
Police: Police Inspector Nishimura (Hokkaidou)

The solution to the locked room has multiple layers, which by now has become a staple of the Hattori stories. The second story mentions the Hatamoto's (volume 3) and features a murder in a running train and a disappearing murderer. The Kudous appear again (Yukiko using the way-to-easy fake name of Akechi Fumiyo) and it's also the first time we get a real glimpse of Kudou Yuusaku's novels (besides the Night Baron references).The final story is like those summer thriller movies, or those Japanese 2 hour suspense dramas, with an innocent girl (Sonoko) being attacked by an unknown assailant during a holiday. Her future not-sure-if-they're-really-having-something boyfriend Kyougoku Makoto makes an appearance. How many skilled martial artists don't we have in this series by now?

Volume 23
Keyhole: Shiratori Ninzaburou
Cases: The Last Screening Murder Case; Murder Intent on the 20th Anniversary - Symphony Serial Murder Case; MPD Detectives' Love Story 2

The Detective Boys go see a Gomera movie marathon, during which a viewer is found hanged. Not a very memorable story, especially as the second one is very, very memorable. Conan, Mouri, Ran and Hattori all board a cruise ship, apparantly together with the Shadow Planner, a master criminal thought dead. What follows is a really complex story with multiple layers and in fact, it's the first time since their first meeting that Hattori and Conan do not agree on their theories. And even more surprising: they're both wrong! Even though Hattori disappears halfway through the story, we have some Hattori-factoids here: another mentioning of his dad practicing kendou (still no mention of Hattori practicing kendou); Hattori is once again put in danger during his investigation; Kazuha's omamori seem to work quite well. The second MPD Detectives' Love Story is about Takagi and the Detective Boys helping a suspect prove he's innocent, with Satou and said suspect chained to a toilet in a museum. Mostly important because the way Satou entrusts the Detective Boys, or more specifically, Conan, with such responsibility is kinda suggestive.

Movie 3: The Last Wizard of the Century
Release: April 17, 1999
Item: Bulletproof Glasses
Plot: Kaitou KID finds out that Conan is Kudou Shinichi

Guest-appearances of both Hattori and KID?! The movie is kinda shizophrenic, with a serial murder, said guest appearances (also the first time KID appears in Osaka) and a Detective Boys-esque castle-with-hidden-hallways. The motive is kinda strange too and I don't think I'd have liked the movie if not for Hattori and KID. Oh, and strangely enough KID finds out about Conan's real identity in this movie, even that wasn't the case in the manga (and even now it's kinda vague). In the movies, KID often appears as Shinichi in front of Ran and the others, knowing that Conan can't reveal his real identity. Funnily enough, KID/Kaito's real face is almost a copy of Shinichi's anyway, so KID can actually appear without wearing any masks.

Volume 24
Keyhole: Araide Tomoaki
Cases: MPD Detectives' Love Story 2; Dead Angle in the Dark; Meeting the Black Organisation Again;
Characters: Araide Tomoaki
Black Organisation: Pisco (Matsuyama Kenzou); Vermouth (Chris Vineyard); the Boss
Plot: Pisco is killed by Gin, Gin and Vodka see Haibara (in older form); Gin's car is a Porsche 356A; Chris Vineyard infiltrates in the cast

Wow. MPD Detectives' Love Story 2 also makes references to an upcoming story, as Takagi mentions that it seems like Satou likes Megure, or when Satou mentions her father died when she was young. The second story introduces Dr. Araide (senior and junior). Junior is supposed to move to Aomori, but as his father is murdered in this story (in bath!), Dr. Araide stays for a while as a recurring character/love interest for Ran. The ending is pretty emotional, as the police and Conan cover up certain facts of the case to protect an innocent person.. The final story is the big story: the first real confrontation with the Black Organisation. Tequila died pretty much the moment he appeared, so that wasn't much of a confrontation. The murder (commited by Pisco, a high-ranking member of the Organisation) isn't that interesting, but we see a very smart Gin here, who deduces that the escaped Miyano Shiho must have entered his car (A Porsche 356A). We see another Organisation member, Chris Vineyard, who will turn out to be a formidable opponent with her disguise skills. We also hear the first mention of the Boss of the Organisation (ano kata literally 'that person') , I think. As Haibara didn't know that Paikaru could work as an antidote to APTX4869, it might suggest that Conan and Agasa don't trust Haibara completely, as you'd think they'd tell her about this if they really needed her to make an antidote.

Volume 25
Keyhole: Kyougoku Makoto
Cases: Revived Message of the Dead - Dying Message; Mystery of the Tottori Spider Mansion; Desperate Revival [Detective Boys in the Cave / Wounded Great Detective]
Plot: Conan gives Ran a cellphone

The first story, a dying message story, is one I like quite much. Probably as it was one of the few dying message stories relying heavily on knowledge of the Japanese culture I actually solved (even though it might be said that is even easier for foreigners...). The case is set in Tropical Land, the place where Kudou disappeared. Conan sends Ran a cellphone at the end of the case; thus giving her a direct line to her. The second story, a locked room mystery linked with Japanese legends, is one of my favorite stories. The murder themselves, the atmosphere with the Spider Demon legends, the creepy twins (probably a reference to Yatsu Haka Mura's elderly twins) and the utterly tragic ending. Seriously, seldom have I seen such a tragic conclusion (oh, and we see Hattori's bike for the first time). And the first part of Shinichi's desperate revival: Ran suspects Conan (again) and the suggestion of Conan of making a Shinichi robot is pretty funny for people who have read Magic Kaito (the killer KID robot). And what starts out as a normal Detective Boys code cracking story (another Yatsu Haka Mura reference it seems, with the cave and the poem), things become more dramatic when Conan is shot, the Detective Boys are forced to solve the riddle themselves and Ran now being convinced that Conan is Shinichi, as she states that she has the same bloodtype as Conan (because she knows she has the same type as Shinichi). A dramatic ending, quite so.

Volume 26
Keyhole: Vermouth
Case: Desperate Revival [The Third Choice / The Black Knight]; Desperate Revival [The Return of Shinichi & The Promised Place]; A Meaningful Music Box
Plot: Kudou Shinichi solves a case at school

The desperate revival is succesful, as Shinichi regains his body and manages to fool Ran, as Haibara is posing as Conan, using a voice changing cough-mask. The poisoning case isn't too interesting though. Hattori posing as Shinichi is pretty hilarious, as his dialect is way too strong to fool anyone (ore ya, Kudou Shinichi ya!). This little costume party does serve as a hint for a later story and I wonder whether Aoyama planned it as such. But good things don't last long and Shinichi changes back to Conan by the next story, just when he tried to take his relation with Ran to the next level. The final story, with a music box is not really interesting and I'm not surprised I didn't remember anything about it

Volume 27
Keyhole: Yamamura Misao
Cases: Suspect Mouri Kogorou; MPD Detectives' Love Story 3; Battle Game Trap; Mushrooms, Bears and the Detective Boys
Characters: Jodie Santemillion
Police: Detective Chiba (Tokyo MPD)
Plot: Jodie works at Teitan High, [Rotten Apple], [Cool Guy]

Suspect Mouri Kogorou is actually the first story where Mouri and detective Yamamura meet. Heh. I always see them as the 'famous combi', but I had never guessed they first met in volume 27! The Kogorou/Eri stories are always entertaining, competent stories and this one is no exception. MPD Detectives' Love Story 3 explores the death of Satou's father, Masayoshi and links it together with a case concerning arson. The clue for Satou's case doesn't really work in English (or any language using the alphabet) as it's way too easy to see and is probably confusing too. Also marks the first appearance of officer Chiba of the MPD. The next story, set in an game arcade, introduces Jodie Santemillion, the English teacher at Teitan High. And a demon with videogames. She is obviously not what she seems and she lingers on for quite some volumes. Very meaningful dialogue to be found here, though the context is only made clear in about 15 volumes or so. The final story is another Haibara-centered one, as she and Mitsuhiko have to flee for a hunter, as they found the man he just shot.

Movie 4: Captured in Her Eyes
Release: April 22, 2000

A movie that makes optimal use of the introduction of the Metropolis Police Department in the previous volumes, as it features a cop-killer story. Add in the fact Ran lost her memory as she saw how detective Satou was shot in front of her eyes (also losing the memory of who the killer was) and we have one of the better Conan movies that actually features a neat plot and character development without being over-dramatic. The internal investigation at the MPD is tense, just like the atmosphere surrounding Ran, as people have to protect her from the murderer who tries to kill the only witness. The plot of an internal investigation at the MPD is actually re-used in  the 13th movie, The Raven Chaser.

Volume 28
Keyhole: Hattori Shizuka
Cases: Mushrooms, Bears and the Detective Boys; The Lying Client; And Then There Were No Mermaids...; The Sealed Secret of Megure
Characters: Hattori (Ikenami) Shizuka
Location: Cafe Poirot
Plot: Miyano Shiho has done research on immortality

The story with the bears is not very interesting. It's in fact another code cracking story. The Detective Boys seldom do something different. The second story introduces us to Cafe Poirot, beneath the Mouri Kogorou Detective Agency as well as the mother of Hattori, who actually seldom makes appearances. By now, both he husband and herself have been established as being very talented at kendou, but strangely enough nothing is said about Hattori. I don't really like the Mermaid Island story as much as I should, I think, though the identity of the real murder is pretty memorable. Also: Hattori gets hurt, again. The final story is just the beginning of a serial murderer story.

Volume 29
Keyhole: Megure Midori
Cases: The Sealed Secret of Megure; The Mysterious Passenger; The Evidence That Didn't Disappear, Osaka "3K" Case
Characters: Megure Midori; Akai Shuuichi
Plot: Akai Shuuichi appears; [a Secret makes a Woman Woman]

Which as usual, is based on finding a missing link.Not very interesting, but it does explain why Megure always wears a hat (and also an appearance of his wife, who was mentioned in an earlier volume). The bus hijack case is, in retrospect, important, as it establishes Haibara's instinctive fear of Organisation members, which is used quite often in later stories to a) foreshadow BO stories or b) misdirect the reader. Akai Shuuichi also appears for the first time, and will regularly make enigmatic appearances in the following volumes. The third story, with a disappearing dog is pretty boring. The last story, is a classic which-of-the-three story, with a neat conclusion.

Volume 30
Keyhole: Hakuba Saguru (Or.: Magic Kaito)
Cases: Shinkansen Escort Case; The Gathered Great Detectives: Kudou Shinichi vs. Kaitou KID; Young Genta's Calamity; Murder Intent in the Pottery Class
Characters: Hakuba Saguru
Plot: Gin is left-handed

The murder of a suspect in the Shinkansen Satou and Takagi were escorting also means the first meeting between Satou and the Sleeping Mouri. I like the clue quite much, as it a) connects to the previous case and b) is kinda Japan-specific. Which is usually very too hard to solve, but this is something that is not too obscure. The second story is a big ode to And Then There Were None, with a group of detectives (based on other detectives) gathered. One of detectives is Hakuba Saguru, from Magic Kaito, which immediately suggest KID's involvement in the case. The detectives get murdered one by one (?) and is pretty amusing, just like KID's role in the story. Young Genta's Calamity is like a code-cracking story, as Conan needs to make sense out of very vague testimony of Genta about a robber. Haibara tells Conan quite randomly that Gin is left-handed, which will probably turn out to be very important. I can't actually remember whether it's mentioned again in later stories. The last story is one of those inverted stories where you see the murderer commiting the murder, but not the details of the murder.

Almost near the half-way point and by now Aoyama Goushou is clearly building up a storyline with the Black Organisation. Every volume or so he places some new pieces on the chessboard. Volumes 21~30 are mostly introduction of these pieces though, movement of the pieces is mostly set in volumes 31~40 right after that. The MPD detectives are also developed more, some of them who actually originally debuted in the anime, most prominently Shiratori, who was a suspect in the first Conan movie and then got promoted when he first appeared in the manga. Oh, and the return of Shinichi is pretty memorable too, right? Hattori has really become regular by now, popping up a bit too often maybe.

The stories themselves are also becoming better and better. Favorites are the three stories in the sky, on a train and on a boat (The Flying Locked Room - Kudou Shinichi's First Case; Hokutosei 3 Departing from Ueno and Murder Intent on the 20th Anniversary - Symphony Serial Murder Case), all very entertaning stories set on means of transport. The tragic Mystery of the Tottori Spider Mansion is a great locked room mystery with a surprising twist on the end. 

Original Japanese title(s): 青山剛昌 『名探偵コナン』第21巻~30巻 / 『名探偵コナン 世紀末の魔術師』 / 『名探偵コナン 瞳の中の暗殺者』

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