Saturday, August 20, 2011


"There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better. No lesser crime than murder will suffice. Three hundred pages is far too much pother for a crime other than murder. After all, the reader's trouble and expenditure of energy must be rewarded"
"Twenty rules for writing detective stories"

This has definately been a very active year for Conan-related media (as it's the 15th anniversary of the animation): besides the manga, anime and the annual animated movie, we were also treated to a new game, a live action TV special and a live action TV series. And now Aoyama Goushou is also going to release two new chapters of Magic Kaito?! While I really like Conan!KID, Magic Kaito!KID was always a lot more comedy-oriented and I felt the last chapter in Magic Kaito was a bit too dark for the series. I hope the new chapters are a bit more light-hearted. But anyway to continue with the weekly Conan 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

Episode 7 ("A Bloody Inheritance Murder Among Bloody Relatives! Reveal the Mystery of the Kidnapping Trick!") is a very strange episode in the Conan-Canon. I didn't notice it until the preview for this episode, but Conan has very few kidnapping cases (though volume 72 actually had one..). At least, they don't occur often  in the manga, I'm not sure about the anime. You'd think that in a mystery series with a lot of children and even a heir to a zaibatsu conglomerate walking around unguarded, there'd be more kidnapping cases. I'm not sure whether Kindaichi Hajime encountered more kidnapping cases or not, but those cases were at least memorable. But anyway, Sonoko does get kidnapped in this episode actually.

Sonoko was just kidnapped for convenience however, as she happened to be with the real target of the kidnapper: Noguchi Yuri, (incredibly rich) daughter of the recently deceased Ramen King Noguchi. The kidnapper asks for a case full of diamonds as the ransom. Miki, Yuri's half-sister, agrees to pay the ransom. Not for Yuri's sake, but just to protect the company's name. She is supposed to place the diamonds in a briefcase and attach it to the big ad-balloon on top of the firm, letting it float in the sky. The police and Shinichi keep a watch over the briefcase and balloon, but nobody approaches it for over an hour.

After a hour, the kidnapper calls again, saying he has received the diamonds. Shocked, they get the briefcase back to the ground and discover that all the diamonds have disappeared from the briefcase! And because we want murder in a mystery (?), Miki gets killed while everybody is busy releasing Yuri from her holding cell. Because an impossible disappearance isn't enough.

Like I said, kidnapping cases seem more a case for Kindaichi Shounen (or maybe more specifically, Amagi Seimaru) to me and this case really feels like a mesh of some Kindaichi Shounen stories (and a bit Tantei Gakuen Q  ("Detective Academy Q")). The disappearing ransom trick was done much better in Kindaichi Shounen's short story The Ransom that Disappeared into Silver. The setting of the diamonds disappearing from a floating locked room in this episode is cool, but the solution to the disappearing ransom is just too obvious here. It's never a good sign when you figure out the trick of a mystery before it appears on screen, right? Well, I bet most people figure out the trick to the stolen ransom trick before it's even done!

The whole kidnapping-ending-in-murder plot was also done better in Kindaichi Shounen's Hayami Reika's Kidnapping Murder Case and Tantei Gakuen Q's Murder Collector. Both stories are written by Amagi Seimaru and share a similar trick, which is actually also sorta used in this episode, but not nearly in as interesting ways as in the mentioned stories.

So all in all, not an episode I like very much. The idea of a kidnapping case is good because it hardly ever happens in Conan, but the mystery itself is pretty boring. Focussing only おn an impossible disappearance might have made the story better, as now it's a bit too much in too little time (something the Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo live action series also suffered from actually: Young Kindaichi's Murder is a hectic story as is, but reduced to a 45 minute episode? It's nearly impossible to follow)

Soooooo, when are they going to introduce Hattori? The storylines from the manga? Don't tell me I have to wait for the finale for that....

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「血ぬられた骨肉の遺産相続殺人! 誘拐トリックのナゾを暴け!」
Date & Password: 2010.05.27; ダイヤモンド

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