Monday, July 4, 2011


「やっと会えたな… 愛しい愛しい… 宿敵(こいびと)さん?」

"So we finally meet again... my dear dear nemesis"
"Detective Conan"

Volumes 41~50, so I'm actually nearing the ending of this series of posts! A LOT happens in these volumes with the Black Organisation, with Aoyama bringing in new parties, revealing a carefully planned surprise and lots more. Spoilers and quite a few of them!

Oh, and I will try to come up with a book-review err... soon, but I have to admit that reading Western books earlier and manga now has really messed up my Japanese reading speed.

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 41
Keyhole: Miyano Akemi
Cases: The Two Alike Princesses; Secret of the Touto Developing Studio; The Four Porsches; Hidden Away in the Toilet
Plot: Haibara being shadowed; Haibara catches a cold; wiretaps placed in Agasa residence; Haibara and Conan find out about tapes hidden by Akemi

The Two Alike Princesses is pretty making things really ridiculous, with the revelation that Kogorou, Eri and Yukiko are all Teitan High alumni. All the important characters all seem to have met in the past already. Anyway, the case is pretty fun with Eri and Yukiko (The Night Baroness) as the main characters, but the trick itself is a bit too medical for me. Not sure if the fact that Yukiko speaks Tosaben, Touhokuben, Nagoyaben and Kumamotoben fluently will come back. The second case is the first time the Detective Boys meet Yukiko (though she has to leave for NY at the beginning of the story), but the case itself is a pretty standard one with a hard to spot visual clue, but hinted at through the setting, I guess. The Four Porsches isn't that interesting (a man found strangled in a Porsche), but it leads directly into the most important Black Organisation-arc by having Haibara catch a cold and by having her shadowed. The last story is a copy of volume 18's The University Professor Murder Case, with Haibara and Conan trying to find secret documents left by Shiho Akemi just before her death and murder happening as they visit an illustrator's studio (which used to be the Shiho residence). Shiho Elena is said to be nicknamed Hell Angel in the organisation, but I don't think this fact returns in later volumes.

Movie 7: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital
Release: April 19, 2003
Police: Police Inspector Ayanokouji  Fumimaru (Kyoto)
Plot: Cold-inducing medicine counters the immunity for the APTX4869 antidote

Murder among art-thieves in Kyoto, the ancient capital. I really like this movie as a) Hattori plays a major role in it and b) the location of Kyoto. The story itself feels a lot more action-oriented that the other movies, I think, with sword-fights, bike chases and attempts on Hattori's life. As this is still Conan, the writers really needed to rub it in and confirm that Hattori's first love was in fact Kazuha, even though he didn't know at the beginning of the movie. It's also the first movie where we see Shinichi transformed back, as well the first movie since Captured in her Eyes that used the vocal version of the Conan theme, Kimi ga Ireba. Police Inspector Ayanokouji, who entered the same time Shiratori did, is really creepy though and feels like a throw-away character (even though he returns for a cameo in The Raven Chaser).

Volume 42
Keyhole: Jodie Starling
Cases: Hidden Away in the Toilet; Trap in the Convenience Store; Confrontation with the Black Organisation - Double Mystery under the Full Moon; Look for the Mark on his Behind!
Black Organisation: Calvados
Plot: Revelation that Araide is Vermouth (Sharon and Chris Vineyard); Jodie is a FBI agent; Haibara's identity is known to Vermouth; [Silver Bullet]; Conan hears the telephone mail-address of the Boss, [Angel]

Haibara and Conan find the tapes, which turn out to be tapes by Elena for Haibara. She does has one surprising message for Haibara, but we never get to know what that is. The second story is, in hindsight, important. Or at least, the case is not important on its own, which Ran solves on her own (with some encouragement by Shinichi over the phone). What's important is that Ran mentions that Conan has been hanging around the Agasa residence ever since Haibara got a cold, not leaving her alone for a moment. Which is all preparation for Confrontation with the Black Organisation - Double Mystery under the Full Moon. Just like that fact that Ran finds out Jodie has pictures of everybody hidden in her room at the end of Trap in the Convenience Store. Actually, practically everything that happened ever since... around Shinichi's revival in volume 26 was preparation. The shuffling around the one responsible for Araide Sr.'s death? Preparation The voice-changing cough mask in volume 26? Preparation. Jodie Saintemillion and Akai Shuuichi in the story? Preparation. The feeling Haibara had during the Bus Jack? Preparation. Keywords like Cool Kid, Cool Guy, A Secret Makes a Woman Woman, the stolen files on Mouri Kogorou, Shinichi and Ran meeting Sharon Vineyard, Shinichi and Ran saving a murderer, Araide treating Haibara for her cold, everything preparation for the revelation that Araide is in fact Vermouth, who is in fact both Sharon and Chris Vineyard. Preparation for the revelation that Jodie and Akai are FBI agents. Preparation for the fact that Hattori and Conan play a mean game of dress-up, by having Hattori dress up as Shinichi and Conan as Haibara.The double mystery is paced perfectly and the case in volume 26 was meant as misdirection for this. In that story Hattori's disguise was easy to see through, but here his disguise was made by Yukiko and the lines were in fact spoken by Conan himself. We don't see much of Organisation member Calvados and as he commits suicide pretty much immediately, we don't know much about him. Ran actually saves Haibara near the end, but Conan, who was knocked out, doesn't know this. Might come back later as an important fact? The last story is a Detective Boys story and probably meant to take away a bit of the tension of this volume, but it feels really out of place.

Volume 43
Keyhole: Enomoto Azusa
Cases: The Forgotten Telephone; Whose Deduction Show; The Miracle of Koushien! We're Not Losing From the Invisible Demon
Characters: Enomoto Azusa; Nakashima Shigeo (Or.: 4ban Third); Inao Kazuhisa (Or. 4ban Third)

The Forgotten Telephone feels a bit like an earlier Conan story, with a small request, made by Poirot waitress Azusa, that turns out to be linked to a bigger case. Not very interesting, though Azusa will pop up now and then. The second story is hilarious for its ending. Here Hattori and Kazuha decide that whoever solves a murder first gets to decide where to take the Mouris to in Osaka: the Takarazuka Revue or the Koushien. The case, with double layered dying message, isn't that interesting either. The final story is like The Trembling Metropolice Police Department - 12 Million Hostages, with a mad bomber giving hints to Hattori inside the Koushien Stadium. Pretty much unsolvable unless you're familar with Koushien Stadium. Funny is the finale is played between Kounan and Oogane. Kounan's ace, Nagashima Shigeo was the protagonist in Aoyama Goushou's 4ban Third. He owned a magic baseball bat that allowed him to hit homeruns in exchange for money. Oogane's Inao had a magic glove (yes, it's like the story with the unbreakable shield and the invincible spear). In this story though, they seem to be playing fair.

Volume 44
Keyhole: Nakamori Ginzou
Cases: The Miracle of Koushien! We're Not Losing From the Invisible Demon; MPD Detectives' Love Story 6; Kaitou KID's Miraculous Air Walk; Ghost Story of Teitan High
Chracters: Suzuki Jiroukichi; Lupin; Jii Konosuke (Or.: Magic Kaito)

In MPD Detectives' Love Story 6 Satou and Takagi seemed to have gotten a bit closer, but the rumor that Takagi is getting transferred seems to ruin their plans for the future. The case is fun because the main suspect is detective Chiba's roommate, but the trick seems a bit convoluted and a bit out of date. Kaitou KID's Miraculous Air Walk is a great story though, and the first story that really revolves around a heist ever since his first appearance in the series! The previous KID stories focuses on his disguises, but this is the first time we see some of his grand illusions. And what an illusion! A man walking through air! Adventurer Suzuki Jirokichi (and his dog Lupin) is also introduced, who will be the series' main means of introducing similar KID heist stories. We also catch a glimpse of Jii, KID's assistent. The last story is an impossible situation story, with a desk of a deceased student suddenly appearing in the school courtyard. Because of the rain, the courtyard is wet, but there are no signs showing how that desk got there. (The real) Araide also returns to Beika and resumes his responsibilities as the neighbourhood doctor, as well as the doctor at Teitan High.

Volume 45
Keyhole: Tsukamoto Kazumi
Cases: Ghost Story of Teitan High; Tragedy of Marumie Pier; The Dumb Route; The Stars and Cigarette Code

Why. Is. Tsukamoto. Kazumi. The keyhole character? I don't she ever comes back in the series. Anyway, the ghost story isn't that interesting. The Marumie Pier story is a pretty neat story though. One of those look-for-the-means-of-poisoning stories, and it's not very complex because the situation sorta suggest the means of poisoning, but elegance in its simplicity, I guess. The Dumb Route is a lot like a certain Matsumoto Seichou book, only modernized. Effective, but simple. The last story revolves around a dying message left by a man killed years ago, but it's kinda far-fetched. Or at least open for multiple interpretations.

Movie 8: Magician of the Silver Sky
Release: April 17, 2004

Conan learned everything on Hawaii. Handling guns, speedboats, cars and now jumbo jets. Yep. KID's performance is fun as always and he makes optimal use of the fact that in movie-canon, he is aware of Conan's identity. Meaning he is free to disguise himself as Kudou Shinichi, as Conan can't call him out on that. The chase in the middle of the movie is awesome, as is the way KID helps the gang near the end. The murder itself is... kinda not interesting. It's just a single murder, but I wan't more in a movie! Especially as the murder happens late in the movie. Fun movie because KID appears in a significant way, but the plane part is a bit too much like one of those accident movies.

Volume 46
Keyhole: Haga Kyousuke
Cases: The Stars and Cigarette Code; Dissonance of the Stradivarius (Prelude/Intermezzo/Postlude); Big Adventure in the Eccentric Mansion (Seal/Trick/Solution); Request at a Strange House - A Suspicious Ran
Characters: Samizu Kichiemon
Plot: Conan finds out what the phone-number is of the Organisation's boss (location: Tottori)

Dissonance of the Stradivarius (Prelude/Intermezzo/Postlude) is a great story with a cursed Staradivarius and a musical theme to everything. People getting burned, locked room murders, the works! It also features Haga Kyousuke, a character with perfect pitch, an ability that is used extensively in the 12th Conan movie, Full Score of Fear. Haga also tells Conan that the tune the telephone number of the Boss sounds like, is Nanatsu no Ko. Both the perfect pitch and a character telling the protagonist what song he has been looking for, is straight out of a episode of the third season of Furuhata Ninzaburou, The Perfect Pitch Murder. Big Adventure in the Eccentric Mansion (Seal/Trick/Solution) is a Detective Boys-in-a-strange-house story and the appearance of KID feels very abritrary, so not very interesting.

Volume 47
Keyhole: Miyamoto Yumi
Cases: Request at a Strange House - A Suspicious Ran; Red-Handed Jewel Robber; Conan and Heiji's Deduction Magic (Trick/Mansion/Solution)

In Request at a Strange House - A Suspicious Ran Mouri is asked to search for a lost telephone, but the case ends in murder. The story revolves around misdirection and done pretty good. The sub-storyline is that Ran suspects Conan is Shinichi (again!) because Conan's telephone rang when she sent Shinichi an e-mail. The way Conan fools Ran in the end is the same as he did in the story in volume 3 actually, but this time he (Shinichi) gives Ran his cellphone number. Good idea? Bad idea? It does mean he has to be more careful when he picks up his phone. The second story is a pretty good, though I tend to think that about stories with Takagi in the spotlight anyway. Here Takagi and the DB's follow a jewel robber, who seemingly takes a dive from a building, killing himself. It's of course murder. The trick is pretty grand, even for Conan-standards and reminscent of Shimada Souji's tricks. The essence of the final story is the same as Cornered Great Detective! 2 Great Murders After Another (1) (volume 14), with an old magician gone and his three disciples gathering at his house. This story ends in murder though, and the trick is a very old one (also used in a famous Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo story), but the visual clue to this trick is done pretty well.

Volume 48
Keyhole: Mizunashi Rena
Cases: Shinto Shrine Torii Surprise Code; Evil Spirit That Comes on Butsumetsu Day (Case/Suspicion/Solution); Black Impact! The Moment the Organisation Reaches Out
Black Organisation: Kir (Mizunashi Rena); Korn; Chianti
Plot: Mizunashi Rena looks Conan straight in the eyes; Conan overhears Mizunashi Rena's conversation with Gin; tracker stuck on Mizunashi Rena's shoe;

Shinto Shrine Torii Surprise Code is a double mystery: Conan can't seem to crack a code made by Haibara and Agasa, while Ran and Sonoko also seek Shinichi's help as they're involved with a murder case on their holiday. The solution to both problems is similar and not too difficult. The second story is a much better version of volume 21-22's Case of the Locked Room A Night Before the Wedding, this time set in a mansion where practically every suspect has a phobia, making it seemingly impossible for them to commit the murder. The plot-twist at the end is hinted at nicely, so fair. The final story is pretty big surprise, as it's a big Black Organisation story, pretty soon after the previous one. Here Mouri is introduced through Okino Youko to TV announcer Mizunashi Rena and helps her with what seems a stalker case. But coincidence has it that Conan's bug gets stuck on Mizunashi's shoe and he overhears a phone-call of hers with Gin, confirming that she is the Organisation member Kir. A enormous troupe of the Organisation, Gin, Vodka, Vermouth, Kir and the two snipers Korn and Chianti are preparing for an assasination and Conan has to stop them. Luckily, FBI agents Jodie Starling (Saintemillion), James Black and Akai Shuuichi seem to be at hand.

Volume 49
Keyhole: Hondou Eisuke
Cases: Black Impact! The Moment the Organisation Reaches Out; The Super Secret Road to School; The Couple Who Can't Go Back Anymore
Characters: Hondou Eisuke
Plot: Gin remains suspicious of Mouri Kogorou, Kir gets hospitalized, Eisuke sees Mouri (Conan) in action

Gin suspecting that Mouri Kogorou has something to do with the failed assassination and the bug on Kir's shoes is not that far off and he actually ordered Korn and Chianti to kill off Conan and Mouri, but last-second intervention by Akai Shuuichi (destroying the bug with Conan's fingerprints) makes the Organisation think that the FBI planted the bug, using Mouri as a scapegoat. Close call. The red-herring of Akai Shuuchi mentioning his 'girlfriend' all the time in his appearances is finally explained here (first made to make you think it's Haibara), as it is revealed that 'girlfriend' refers to his archenemy, the Organisation. The Super Secret Road to School is a DB story that deals with the after-effects with the previous story, but not very interesting. The Couple Who Can't Go Back Anymore is one of those stories where someone tries to use Mouri as an alibi, which backfires. Alway. The story also introduces Hondou Eisuke, Ran and Sonoko's classmate and major player in the next couple of volumes. He is actually like an older Conan, being quite smart but seemingly hiding it behind a face of innocence and clumsiness. I don't like him at all though and I'm glad he'll be gone in the future.

Movie 9: Strategy above the Depths
Release: April 19, 2005

I. Love. This. Movie. It's pretty tame in comparison to the previous movies, no KID, no Hattori, no virtual reality, no Black Organisation. Just plain serial murders on a boat. But the story is competent and the ending, with Kogorou solving everything on his own, outsmarting Conan, is just awesome. Of course, all stories where Kogorou solves the case are awesome. With every parent in Conan seemingly a super-detective except for Mouri himself (the only professional detective), it's nice to occasionally see Mouri in Serious Mode. 

Volume 50
Keyhole: Kobayashi Sumiko
Cases: MPD Detectives' Love Story 7; Special Report on the Detective Boys; Heiji's Memories

MPD Detectives' Love Story 7 has Takagi and Satou joining the same goukon, and they're both kinda mad at each other for doing that. The kidnapping case they encounter after the goukon is very Queen-ish: they figure out which of the three suspects is the kidnapper because they know what information is available to whom at what time. The ending, with Takagi saving the kidnapper from a suicide attempt is pretty cool though, as it's one of the few times we see Takagi take action without talking it over with his superior. In Special Report on the Detective Boys a reporter who wanted to do an article on the DB's gets killed and the DB's solve the case in front of their teacher Kobayashi (who has never seem them in action). It's the first story that places Kobayashi in center stage since her debut, and she'll return quite often from now on, also because she looks a lot like like Satou without her glasses. The final story is one I want to like, but just can't. Hattori tells Conan of the best detective he has ever known, not realizing it is Shinichi. The two boys apparently worked on the same case in the past, with a murder connected with the legend of a snow ghost, but they never met each other as they walked past each other the whole time (Shinichi seems to have headstart in the investigation though). What's even more mind-boggling is that Yukiko apparently met Hattori's mom at the same snow resort and the way Kudou Yuusaku and Hattori Heizou solved the case just by listening to the facts. I know Aoyama likes everyone connected, but this is a bit ridiculous.

Volume 42's main story is still one of the best plotted stories of Conan. Misdirection that starts almost 20 volumes earlier, the pacing of the two mysteries (Haibara's kidnapping and the murder on the boat), the double revelation as 'Shinichi' solves the case on the boat; it's perfect. While the story seemingly goes back to a status quo with Vermouth fleeing (yet promising to keep Haibara's identity a secret), the fact we have an insider who at least doesn't want to kill Shinichi is pretty important, as well as the fact that soon after we have the trio of Kir, Korn and Chianti entering the story, starting a new multi-volume-arc, which is also strongly connected with Hondou Eisuke and the reappareance of the FBI in Japan.

In this batch of stories, I see quite some 'rehashed' stories from earlier Conan volumes, that I only noticed as I re-read this stories. Most of them are improved though (luckily). Best stories here are Confrontation with the Black Organisation - Double Mystery under the Full Moon, Evil Spirit That Comes on Butsumetsu Day (Case/Suspicion/Solution) and Kaitou KID's Miraculous Air Walk. Especially the last story is great, as it re-introduces KID as a phantom thief, rather than someone who encounters murders (as in the previous KID stories). The Jirokichi vs. KID stories are all quite cool and feel as actual KID stories, rather than stories where KID just happens to be in.

The next batch might take some time though. Up until volume 42, I went through the stories pretty fast as I remembered most of them, but I had forgotten a lot about the last few volumes, and as I took a quick look at 51~60, I have to admit that I couldn't remember anything about the majority of the stories.

Original Japanese title(s):  青山剛昌 『名探偵コナン』第41巻~50巻 / 『名探偵コナン 迷宮の十字路(クロスロード)』 / 『名探偵コナン 銀翼の奇術師(マジシャン)』 / 『名探偵コナン 水平線の陰謀(ストラテジー)』

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