We drew a dream that stayed within our hearts
That is why I pray to you here, always with a smile
Spring Song (Ikimonogakari)
It is a sacred ritual by now. Going the theaters in April to see the newest Conan movie whenever I am in Japan. It usually also includes finding people to go with me and finding the right time / day to suit everyone's schedule and me looking a bit too often at the movie trailers, but I am happy to report that this year the operation was succesful this year too. Though I have to admit that it took me a bit longer than I had hoped (*gasp* I didn't even see the movie in the first week!)
J-League professionals have a guest appearance as voice actors) to deduce where the bomb is located. This is only the start of the movie though and it is up to Conan to find out who the mad bomber is and to foil his/her evil (?) plans.
The tone of this movie really feels like a continuation of the tone set in the previous movie. Both movies feature a very compact cast, so none of that fanservicey appearances of Hattori, KID or the Black Organisation. Both movies also feature some ridiculously awesome skateboarding sequences by Conan (though that trend actually started in Lost Ship in the Sky). It's like the director feels compelled to come up with even more impossibly awesome stunts with every new movie (though nothing beats the ridiculous skateboarding [and landing] in the Conan vs. Lupin III TV special). The last few movies in general feel a bit more action-oriented than the older movies (though the movies in general are a lot more action-oriented than the manga), which might or might not be a good thing.
Part of this sense of action/suspense derives from the football-setting of this movie. A lot of the story is told during a football match, with scenes of Conan's deductions/skateboarding scenes/awesome stuff being interspliced with shots of the football matches, which are animated quite dynamically for a series that is usually actually very slow and static. It is almost like watching two screens at the same time, one with Detective Conan and the other with Captain Tsubasa. Which is actually quite fun. What is also interesting is that the whole movie feels like a football match, with two distinct halves and a rest in the middle. Don't know if it was a coincidence, but considering that football imagery plays a big part in the story, I am tempted to think that the director did this on purpose.
As a detective movie, The Eleventh Striker is not that exciting though. Looking at the story structually, this is actually an interesting story with a neat trick pointing to the identity of the mad bomber, but certainly not something that should have taken two hours to tell. Most of the time is indeed filled with action scenes and LOADS OF EXPLOSIONS. Which is fun in the theaters, but I do kinda miss the more traditional detective movies like The Fourteenth Target and Captured in her Eyes. Though I have to admit, there was not a single moment I was bored.
Like I mentioned, this movie features several J-League professionals starring as voice actors, as this movie was produced with the cooperation of the J-League (yes, you should think of this movie as a promotional vehicle for the J-League and football in general). The trend of guest voice-actors in Conan movies started some years ago, but it is still something that remains very annoying. At one hand, the guest voice actors are actually voicing themselves, so I should not complain, but they could have tried to... be a bit more livier when reading their lines.
And a last bit on the music. Not too big a fan of this year's remix of the Detective Conan theme. I love Ikimonogakari's ending theme Haru Uta though!
Oh, and don't worry. At the end of the movie a teaser was shown for next year's movie. A ship drifting at the sea kinda reminded me of Strategy Above the Depths, but we'll have to wait for next year to see what's coming...
Original Japanese title(s): 『名探偵コナン 11人目のストライカー』