"Mister, you're a detective, right?"
"A Great detective. Don't forget the Great"
"Detective Conan - A Challenge Letter for Kudou Shinichi"
Doing these weekly reviews for Meitantei Conan - Kudou Shinichi e no Chousenjou ("Detective Conan - A Challenge Letter for Kudou Shinichi") is fun, but also quite difficult. Writing reviews is hard enough, but with books, or complete series you usually have enough material to write about. However, it's quite hard to write something substantial about a single episode of a running series. It's like writing a long post on a single short story. Depending on the story, it can be done, but that's rare. The same with these episodes. Meh, at least I have a whole Conan review database to refer to when discussing Conan-related media...
Meitantei Conan - Kudou Shinichi e no Chousenjou (Detective Conan - A Challenge Letter for Kudou Shinichi)
Episode 1 (July 7, 2011): Before he turned into Conan, the high school detective solved the mystery of the adultery murder!
Episode 2 (July 14, 2011): The locked room murder commited on air! Reveal the secret cursed by the psychic
Episode 3 (July 21, 2011): Murder Case in a Locked Courtroom! Reveal the Trick of the Hostess Murder
Episode 4 (July 28, 2011): Perfect Crime! Murder Notice at a Wedding, Reveal the Locked Room Poisoning Trick
Episode 5 (August 5, 2011): The Glamorous Murder Trick of the Actress who lost her Memory - Perfect Murder at the Summer House
Episode 6 (August 11, 2011): The Magnificent Murderous Kiss of Twenty Beauties! The Murderous Intent Hidden in the Murder Equation!
Episode 7 (August 18, 2011): Inheritance Murder Among Bloody Relatives! Reveal the Mystery of the Kidnapping Trick!
Episode 8 (August 25, 2011): A Woman's Determination, Revenge on the Molester! The Murder Trick hidden in the Security Camera
Episode 9 (September 01, 2011): Hattori Heiji and the Mystery of the Invisible Locked Room Murder Weapon! Deduction Battle between the Detectives of East and West
Episode 10 (September 08, 2011): The Mystery of the Body that Moved 200 KM Within An Instant! Reveal the Perfect Crime Scheme of the Evil Woman
Episode 11 (September 15, 2011): A Kiss Is the Reason for Murder, A Revenge Murder After 20 Years! The Mystery of the Perfect Alibi
Episode 12 (September 22, 2011): I Killed Her! 3 Single Murderers? Reveal the Mystery of the Fake Murder!
Episode 13 (September 29, 2011): Ran Dies! The Final Challenge of the True Criminal to the Genius Detective - Reveal the Mystery of the White Room
Last week's episode was not really enjoyable, so I wasn't really looking forward to this week's episode, but it actually turned to be OK-ish. In episode 6 ("The Magnificent Murderous Kiss of Twenty Beauties! The Murderous Intent Hidden in the Murder Equation!"), the whole 'a nightly Conan' theme of this series comes back as the story is set within a hostess club. The main Conan series often refers to these clubs as a place where Kogorou likes to spend some time, but I think this is the first time that a hostess club is used as a setting. Which is somewhat understandable, as you can hardly bring in Conan or the Detective Boys to such a place.
Anyway, Shinichi, Ran and Takagi have been following Kogorou to a hostess club on request of Ran's mother (Takagi was needed to get Shinichi and Ran, who are minors, inside). Kogorou is one of the two participants in a drinking game with all 20 hostesses. The hostesses are all lined up in the club and the participants take turns in choosing girls. Each turn, they can choose up to three girls, who will give them a kiss and pour wine in their glass. With each turn, the participants move up in the line of hostesses. The winner is the one who chooses the twentieth hostess, the no. 1 hostess in the club, who will give a kiss to the winner. Kogorou loses, but the real loser is probably the no. 1 hostess, who dies after drinking the wine that was poured out by the hostesses during the game.
Another poisoning story?! That was my first thought. Which wasn't making me very happy, as the previous two episodes were also poisoning stories and they ranged from OK-ish to bad. But luckily, the focus of this story was different from the previous two stories. Those stories focused on the direct poisoning method, how the poison entered the victim's body. This is actually how a poisoning story in Conan usually turns out to be, the search for the item that was used to introduce the poison in the victim's body (see for example, Kaitenzushi Mystery (Conan 63) or China Town - Deja Vu in the Rain (Conan 34).
In this episode however, the focus lay on the method the murderer used to manipulate the drinking game. It made the episode feel quite fresh compared to the previous two stories, which were essentially Queen-ish search stories. This change made this episode feel quite fresh, something the series was really needing by now. I won't say that this episode's trick was very good or anything, but it was original enough for this series and I could totally see this trick being used in the main series (be it in a different, non-hostess club setting). And that's maybe the most important for a series carrying the Conan brand, it has to fit the main series' atmosphere. Poisoning stories for example wouldn't be as fitting for a Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo series (unless it was one of many tricks used by the murderer).
The episode also had a distinct Galileo-ish atmosphere: mathematics and Descartes play a big role in the story, as the trick used by the murderer was fundamentally based in mathematics and one of the suspects is actually a mathematician. I really wouldn't be surprised of the scriptwriter was influenced by Higashino Keigo's scientific detective series when (s)he wrote this story. The episode also reminds me of a series like Liar Game, which relies heavily on mathematics, game theory and all kinds of sciences in explaining the awesome things the characters do to win games.
The main story (with Shinichi, Ran and Kogorou trapped) seems to be moving on too, as Shinichi and Kogorou manage to save Ran by retrieving the antidote, but Kogorou gets seperated from Ran and Shinichi in the process. Kogorou still has the spoon he took with him in episode two, so he might use that in one way or another. Or am I just too fixated on that spoon.
I'm also very happy to see that the next episode isn't a poisoning story! Kidnapping stories are not rare in Conan, but for some reason I associate a kidnapping story more with Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo, than with Conan. Even though young Kindaichi only handled like two or three kidnapping cases in his career, with most of them ending in murder...
Original Japanese title(s): 『名探偵コナン 工藤新一への挑戦状』 サブタイトル「美女20人の華麗なる殺しのキス! 殺人方程式に隠された殺意!」
Date & Password: 2010.06.10; デカルト