"Kazuha, call 'em!"
"Who, the police?"
"Yeah! Tell'em there's an idiot here who dared to kill somebody in front of us detectives!"
"Detective Conan 74"
And no, even in the new year I won't stop writing about Conan. Oh, and congratulations Conan, for having passed the 800 installments mark. Yes, I know that this was last month's (last year's!) news, but it took some time for Conan 74 to arrive at my home.
The Movie Site Kidnapping Case is a rather minor Detective Boys story (though it seems big in at first). Ayumi gets kidnapped while she's at Agasa's house, and the Scooby Gang are forced to find a cat for the kidnapper to get Ayumi back. Yes, it is exactly as silly as it sounds. There is something behind the whole case of course, but I'd say that the most interesting part of this story is the attempt of Aoyama to depict Sera Masumi as a candiate suspect for Black Organisation member and disguise specialist Bourbon, who should have infiltrated the Conan cast by now. And I guess there's also a Beware-What-You-Post-On-The-Internet lesson for kids too. Remember, glasses reflect!
Who's the Great Detective? features our favorite Osaka duo, Hattori and Kazuha, so yes, this is the best story in this volume. Kazuha (and another familiar face) get involved with a poisoning case in a restaurant, with the only clue being that the murderer is someone from Osaka. What follows is a fantastic story for anyone interested in dialects, local speech-styles and stereotypes. Which is exactly where I specialized in with my Japanese studies. So I might be a bit biased. From a linguistic point-of-view, this really is a puzzle that makes good use of the linguistic and cultural diversity (and the stereotypes of said items) within Japan. From a translator's point-of-view, this seems like a nightmare though, precisely because of that. I guess lots of footnotes? Oh, and there is a funny sub-story here, with Sera Masumi wanting to know whether Hattori or Kudou is better. Cue heated deduction battle.
In comparison, The Distorted Optical Illusion Murder Case seems less interesting, even if this is supposed to be the 'main' Hattori story. Appearances of Hattori are often split in two: it usually starts with a short story just as Hattori arrives in Tokyo to visit the gang, followed by a longer story that is about the actual reason for Hattori visiting Tokyo. Which is also true for this volume. The reason Hattori came to Tokyo was because Hattori was challenged by a murderer to solve a crime that happened a bit earlier in Karuizawa. The gang visits the family of the deceased, but murder strikes again and Hattori and Conan are forced to reconsider the theories about the first murder. This is quite a large case, with a disappearing dying message, an unknown poisoning method and much more beneath the surface, but the story is kinda chaotic and a bit too bloaty to be considered really good. Even though I have to admit that the story continues into the next volume and I have no idea yet what happened.
While not a bad volume per se, volume 74 feels like 'just' a transition volume. The last volume featured Sera Masumi's introduction, so this volume was more focused on making Sera Masumi seem like a totally suspicious person and the two Hattori stories here are definitely just "let's throw in Hattori now, because I can't do an plot-important story so close to Sera's introduction, but I need to come up with something to hook the readers"-stories. Which again isn't bad per se, but the The Distorted Optical Illusion Murder Case certainly is not as amusing as regular Hattori stories.
Original Japanese title(s): 青山剛昌 『名探偵コナン』第７４巻