"But have you figured it out yet? At this rate, Heiji might solve the case before you"
"That doesn't bother me. No matter how many detectives there are, there is always only one truth"
"Detective Conan - A Challenge Letter for Kudou Shinichi"
No, I've not been very enthusiastic about the Conan drama for quite some time now. Most of the episodes feature rather predictable plots (and some are actually awful). In the manga, all the cases Shinichi solved in the past before he turned into Conan featured interesting plots, thus in my mind Shinichi case equals high standard detective stories. So my expectations for a series with only pre-Conan Shinichi stories were pretty high. The gap between my expectations and the actual series is sadly pretty big. And for the last couple of weeks, I was just watching the series out of habit.
Yet, the preview for this week's episode did spark my interest. For it was a Hattori Heiji case. Which equals awesome in my mind.
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
I'll just start with saying that episode 9 ("Hattori Heiji and the Mystery of the Invisible Locked Room Murder Weapon! Deduction Battle between the Detectives of East and West") is pretty much impossible Conan-canon-wise. Hattori and Shinichi actually meet for the first time in volume 10, which is after Shinichi turns into Conan. So the meeting of the high school detectives of the East and West is simply impossible (despite some nice tries of the scriptwriter to save continuity).
Anyway, Hattori and Kazuha are in Tokyo to attend a match and happen to run into a robber. Chasing the robber, Hattori runs into Shinichi and Ran (not knowing who Shinichi is) and Shinichi stops the thief with his football, which ricochets into a house. Cue the sound of glass shattering and the discovery that a woman has died inside the house because she was hit by shattered glass. Was it Shinichi who accidently killed her? Of course not, and the detectives of the East and West join forces to find out what did happen inside the house.
The funny part is that Shinichi doesn't want Hattori to know he is Kudou Shinichi (the high school detective of the East). So he lies to Hattori, saying his name is Doiru (戸伊流（ドイル） - Doyle). Which is actually an awesome reference to the Edogawa Conan name, so yeah, I was quite happy with that. Ok, not much is done with it afterwards, as Shinichi isn't holding back his deductive powers this episode, so Hattori pretty much figures out he is Kudou Shinichi (_thus_ making this episode impossible canon-wise), but still, a nice nod to the main series. And Shinichi should use the Doiru alias more often.
The trick of the dead woman is pretty basic though and it was funny to see that the scriptwriter of this episode also wrote episode 6, as both episodes have a clear Galileo-vibe going on, with a type of trick that seldom appears in the Conan manga. Realistically though, the trick is pretty ridiculous as it might take 100 tries before the trick becomes actually lethal. It's probably one of the most basic tricks in this particular category of tricks and has been parodied quite often actually (one of the best gags in the detective-parody drama Kaette Kosaserareta 33pun Tantei ("The Forced Return of the 33 Minutes Detective"), where detective Rokurou actually confesses he doesn't understand the trick himself, as he only saw it on TV!).
But the appearance of Hattori and Kazuha really saves this episode and actually makes it one of the better, if not best episode of the whole series. With some dialogue lifted from the manga, this 'first contact' story is really amusing. Despite the subtitle of this episodes, Hattori and Shinichi are actually cooperating quite nicely, like the later Conan-Hattori stories in the main series. Having two detectives really makes this episode fun to watch. And the two actors of Hattori and Kazuha fit their roles a lot better than the ones doing Shinichi and Ran.
It also seems like the series slowly enters its final stages. The cast is still captured in the white rooms and they got seperated from Kogorou some episodes earlier already, this time Shinichi and Ran get seperated from each other too. Which is pretty much screaming that the show is almost over. I have no idea what to expect of the series finale though. My expectations were pretty high when the series started, but that has pretty much died out now, so little things like Kogorou pinching a spoon and the fact we have all these dates and keywords might have no relation at all with the series' finale.
Not sure when the finale will be though. Wikipedia says this series will run until the end of September, which would mean another 4 episodes? 13 episodes is a bit on the long side for a normal drama series though...
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「服部平次と密室殺人見えない凶器のナゾ! 東西探偵推理バトル」
Date & Password: 2010.09.10; キズナ