Friday, November 2, 2018



"Most motives I know of here about crimes committed in the past, or some deep-rooted hatred, but it's much simpler in your case."
 "The Case Files of the 37-year Old Kindaichi"

Oh, wow, it's been more than three years since I last did a double Detective Conan and Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo review!

Like I mentioned in all of my Detective Conan-related reviews of this year, author Aoyama Goushou had a short break from the end of last year (around the release of volume 94) until one or two weeks before the release of Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer in April this year. This of course meant that the weekly serialization of Detective Conan had also stopped for those four months. Usually, about three or four volumes are released each year, and at the very least, one volume is released in April to coincide with the annual theatrical release, but with no serialized chapters for four-five months, this was impossible of course and even after Aoyama resumed his work, it would take months to create enough material for a new collected volume. So Detective Conan 95 was finally released in the second half of October and it's not only the first Detective Conan volume to be released in 2018, but actually also the only volume of this year, as the next volume is slated for an April 2019 release! Guess I'll have to be grateful with the little Conan I did get this year....

Volume 95 starts with the final chapters of The Scarlet School Trip, which started in the previous volume. Thanks to some help of his friends and the experimental antidote, Conan is able to (temporarly) change back to his true Shinichi form, and participate in the Teitan High school trip to Kyoto. Shinichi and Ran run into the actress Kurachi Keiko (and old friend of Shinichi's mother Yukiko) at Kiyomizu-Dera. Keiko wants Shinichi to make sense out of a coded message left by a friend who committed suicide at Kiyomizu-Dera only a few weeks earlier. Her latest film is also set at Kiyomizu-Dera, and is a remake of a film she and her friends made as a graduation project for art college, and like Keiko, her college friends have all become famous people in the industry as actors/directors/screenplay writers etc. Not even half a hour has passed after Shinichi and Sera have left Keiko and her friends to think about the code, when they are called back to the hotel room of one of them: the screenplay writer was found stabbed to death inside his hotel room, and bloody footsteps left on the ceiling suggest something pulled the man up to the ceiling, stabbed him mid-air and dropped the victim on the floor, and then walked on the ceiling to the window to fly away. Almost as if the Tengu from their film has come to life! While Shinichi, Sera and even Hattori ponder about this case, more attacks are made, with bloody footsteps appearing out of nowhere on walls and other places.

I already mentioned last time that this is a packed story, and for a reason: the opening chapter of The Scarlet Story was chapter 1000 of this series, so Aoyama went all-out with the characters. Lots of fan service and guest appearances in this story, and a lot of the typical rom-com you'd expect from a school trip story with Shinichi and Ran, but the core mystery plot is... not as entertaining as everything around it. The culprit stands out like a sore tooth, and the various "strange" incidents aren't really that impressive: one murder committed behind a restaurant for example seems more like an afterthought than anything. The main murder of the screenwriter with the footprints on the ceiling has an interesting idea behind it, but would not ever, ever work practically speaking. The trick of how the footprints appeared on the ceiling is not original per se, but what it uses for that end is definitely something new, and a perfect example of Detective Conan using modern-day objects to find new possibilities for mystery stories, but no way everything that had to be done to create this specific murder would go as planned, and that goes for most of what's going on in this story: the basic ideas might work, but it can not work in those particular forms, under those circumstances. The murderer basically re-uses the same idea from the first murder for the final murder, but that is utterly impossible to do at that specific location. I mean, you'd physically not have the space to do that without everyone noticing you, and even then it'd be hard to do! So The Scarlet School Trip is best enjoyed as a special story to celebrate the fact the series reached a milestone and there's plenty of character development here, especially for the Shinichi/Ran fans, but it won't really satisfy as a standalone mystery story.
...I had totally forgotten Yaiba has a sister...

The True Identity They Found is a transition story, dealing with the aftermath of The Scarlet School Trip, combined with a cute Detective Boys story. The story about a treasure hunt the deceased grandmother had laid out in her home for her granddaugher (one of the Detective Boys' classmates) is nothing special mystery-wise, fairly simple stuff that kinda invokes the earliest Detective Boys stories (which Genta actually comments on). This story however is also about a certain post on SNS, that says the poster saw Kudou Shinichi solving the case of The Scarlet School Trip. Which is very troublesome, as "Kudou Shinichi" has disappeared from the public eye ever since he was turned into Edogawa Conan, and he is thought dead by the Black Organisation that turned Shinichi in a kid. If they would learn that Kudou Shinichi is in fact alive, his life and those close to him would be in immediate danger. While efforts to surpress the rumors are made, it seems this will turn into a story-driving force for the moment. Oh, and the obi explicitly mentions this, but this is also the volume Conan finally learns the name of the boss of the Black Organization!

In Don't Come To The Black Bunny's Club, Mouri Kogorou is hired by Moro'oka, a wealthy man who has received a threatening letter, telling him to stay away from the Black Bunny's Club (where the waitresses dress like bunnies. And no, you can't touch them). Kogorou is not only joined by Ran and Conan, but also his "disciple" Amuro, who seems to have his own agenda too to accompany the three. During dinner, Yuri (a bunny who was becoming close to Moro'oka) is poisoned, and it seems three persons had the opportunity to add poison to Yuri's wineglasss: Moro'oka himself, his butler and a rival bunny. The way Conan and Amuro rule out two of the suspects seems a bit hasty, but I do like the solution to how the poisoning was done: it builds somewhat on an old trope from whodunnit puzzle plot mysteries, but is again a good example of Detective Conan using modern day objects to create original solutions to what would seem to be "classical" mystery plot. The ending of this story also shows that Aoyama is busy moving his chess pieces for an event which might very well be the ending of this series.

Volume 95 ends with the first few chapters of The Targeted Female Police Officers, where a few of Yumi and Sanae's female patrol officers are killed by a horrible serial murderer, who is luring the women away and killing them off one by one. But we'll have to wait for volume 96, to be released in April 2019, to see how this'll end.

Detective Conan 95's release was followed a few days later by Kindaichi 37-sai no Jikenbo 2 ("The Case Files of Kindaichi, Age 37"), the second volume in the new Kindaichi Shounen series which is, as the title suggest, not about the 17-year old high school student Hajime anymore, but a 37-year old Hajime who now works as a single, low-ranking employee at the firm Otowa Black PR. In the first volume, we learned that 37-old Hajime is quite tired of solving mysteries and he just want to live his life, but fate has something else in store for him. His firm is organizing a new dating tour: five eligible men and five eligible women will spend a few days in a resort hotel on a faraway, small island, where they'll get to know each other and hopefully find a partner. Hajime and his cute subordinate Hayama are to supervise the tour and make sure everything goes well. Hajime's Spider Senses however go nuts when he notices the "faraway small island" for his tour is in fact Utashima, the place where Hajime as a teenager solved no less than three seperate murder cases, which were all connected to The Phantom of the Opera. Despite Hajme's best intentions to run the tour as best as possible, his fourth visit to the island seems to be cursed, as one of the bachelorettes is killed, with the body first disappearing, and then re-appearing hanging from the bell in the chapel tower, and later another bachelor learns why you should NEVER EVER trust the chandeliers in buildings on Utashima. For yes, they have a tendency to kill people, the past has told us. With his tour (and by connection, his job) at stake and a storm cutting the island off from the outside world, Hajime has no choice but to play the detective again like he used to and figure out who the murderer is.

The Utashima Resort Murder Case started in the first volume of this new series, but the remainder of this story still takes up most of volume 2. As a mystery story, it's not exceptionally brilliant compared to other stories in the series: we've seen the "perfect alibi" type of trick very, very often in this series, where it seems all the suspects have an alibi when a certain incident happens, and most of what occurs in this story are variations on this plot device. The tricks used in this particular story aren't really original on their own either, so you end up with a mystery story that isn't really outstanding, but does everything kinda the way you'd expect it would, without ever really falling beneath the standard of expectation. The story also doesn't play fair with the motive at all: Hajime is told something by Kenmochi that basically solves everything, but we are not told the details. Sure, we can figure out who the murderer is without that, but why do we need to do that if Kenmochi basically just told Hajime!? Also: the physical change in that one character was extreme. Nice touch with the nature/motive of the murders though, as it's not something often done for the whole series of murders and it definitely sets this murderer apart from other murderers in this series.

The Utashima Resort Murder Case did manage to entertain me a lot by the plot device of having a 37-old Hajime now though. Most of the time, the story does feel like a "normal" Kindaichi Shounen story, and you wonder whether it's really necessary to make him twenty years older than the other series, but at times, it really manages to hit the right (comedy) marks by subverting the expected tropes of this series. We already know that there's some kind of incident, or at least something on his mind, that made Hajime turn away from his teenage detecting days, but the timeskip is also used to reflect a bit on the old stories. One of the best moments of this story for example is when Hajime asks everyone to gather at his room so he can explain who the murderer is, like he did in the old days, and he finds nobody has come except for the murderer themselves. Heck, even Hajime notes that the motive is something he hardly came across in his teenage detecive days. Things don't always go like in the old stories, though it's still obviously the Kindaichi Shounen we know.

The end of the story also sets up the overall storyline for this series, as it seems Hajime will have to face multiple grown-up "seeds" planted by his greatest nemesis and we might get a more storyline-focused series like Tantei Gakuen Q. Volume 2 ends with the first chapter of The Tower Block Madam Murder Case, which seems to be shaping up to be a kind of inverted story like we occasionally saw in the old series, with Hajime helping his (single) neighbor with her catering service at a party at a high-rise apartment tower organized by some of the women who live there who seem to hate one certain woman a lot.

Both Detective Conan 95 and Kindaichi 37-sai no Jikenbo 2 were not particularly impressive as mystery stories, though for long-time fans of both series, both volumes had a lot to offer: Conan 95 is one of the clearest signs Aoyama is thinking of the end of the series, while Kindaichi 37-sai no Jikenbo 2 is in essence a very familiar sight, but with a few funny surprises here and there. Anyway, the next volumes of both series won't come until next year, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what direction both series will turn to now.

Original Japanese title(s):  青山剛昌 『名探偵コナン』第95巻


  1. I probably have mentioned this somewhere already, but the premise of a 37-year-old Kindaichi is as intriguing as it's annoying.

    Shifting the focus from a high school detective to an adult one in his late thirties is a good and refreshing idea, especially after twenty years of teenage Kindaichi, but surely a guy with a genius IQ could have done slightly better than becoming a single, lowly ranked company employee. I know the series has made a point in the past that Kindaichi isn't “book smart,” but you would have expected Akechi and Kenmochi would have nudged him into the direction of a police academy or something. It's what he's good at and the transformation from an amateur detective to an adult police inspector has never been done.

    In any case, I'll sample this series whenever it becomes available.

    1. I really can't imagine Hajime as a police officer, not after having seen him in all the previous stories. Unlike the gang from Tantei Gakuen Q or Conan's Shinichi, Hajime has never been shown to have any interest in detection as a profession. Heck, all his daydreams/fantasies basically come down on ending up with the girl he likes and 'huisje-boompje-beestje'. Ending up as a not particularly succesful company employee, "living a normal life" is *exactly* what would seem normal for Hajime, as the fields he does excels in are rather specific.

      Some TV drama adaptations had also utilized the concept of Hajime not wanting to play detective, but they didn't work because that was always *before* his first case (i.e. he'd hate being compared to his grandfather and being told he was wasting his talents, until he'd get involved with his first murder case and then act as the usual Hajime). I think it works for this series, for we know Hajime has solved countless of cases and helped plenty of people, until he stopped playing for a still unknown reason. But it's not like he never used his talents to help people, he's just trying to live a murderless life now.

      I can't even imagine Kenmochi pushing the matter besides a suggestion once or twice during college, as he knows Hajime pretty well, and Hajime would also never *ever* want to work beneath Akechi.

    2. "Ending up as a not particularly succesful company employee, "living a normal life" is *exactly* what would seem normal for Hajime, as the fields he does excels in are rather specific.

      You probably have a point there, but ending up as a low-ranking employee on the corporate ladder without even having accomplished his ordinary huisje-boompje-beestje dream seems like such an unkind interpretation of the slacker student as an adult. That he doesn't want to live up to his grandfather is one thing, but he even failed to live up to his dopey father who appeared briefly in the original series.

      I mean, why not let him put his problem solving skills to use as a trouble shooter for a big company, which would make it even easier to keep murders coming his way. Just like William DeAndrea's Matt Cobb of Special Projects of The Network.

      What I gathered from your reviews, the only real difference between this and previous series is that Kindaichi is now an adult. A missed change, if you ask me.

      Am I actually complaining about poor characterization? What has gotten into me?

      "...he's just trying to live a murderless life now."

      Spoiled brat! I would give your left kidney to have people being murdered all around me in locked rooms and play detective. :)

  2. Thanks for the review, as I've been eagerly anticipating news of the Kindaichi 37 series. There's no sign of a Chinese translation as yet, so I'm hoping its on the way! I'd have liked a great puzzle mystery with staggering twists, but sounds like the first case has its own charm in terms of playing on and subverting existing tropes.

    1. I don't think I'd have liked the Utashima story as much if the whole series had been about subverting the older series and going a completely different direction: the way they do it now, where it still feels like an old-fashioned Kindaichi Shounen story, but with some subversions here and there works really well.

  3. Its a shame that a great detective fiction series like detective conan starts with the most stupidest & impossible to perform murder plots in the roller coaster murder case.What's your opinion of that particular story?

    Regarding the mystery of the black organization boss,i read somewhere that his name has been revealed.But no one seems to know where he is or how he looks like in present time.Has there been any positive clueing regarding this matter?

    Also which point makes you think that the series might be nearing its end ?

    On Kindaichi's new series,I have to admit that the artwork hasnt changed one bit.With character designs,not for once does it look like 20 years has passed.Has miyki or takato reappeared in the first case ? And you mention that a major storyline may be connected to this series.Can you please explain the scenario?

    1. Meh, most of the early Conan stories were not *that* inspired.

      If you read the review, you'll see I mention that this volume indeed reveals the name. You'll have to look on Wiki or something for more info, because I don't know anything more, and I also do not wish to talk about it in the comment section, as it's likely there are other people here who want to learn the details themselves. And as I also mention in the review: Aoyama is moving a few characters around and having them meet for the first time, and it seems to be in preparation for something big.

      Regarding Kindaichi 37, again, I'm not going to spoil things in detail in the comment section, but let's say Hajime learns that this first killer has a connection to a familiar name, and it appears they weren't the only one.

  4. Ho Ling, do you have any idea which writer came up with the exchange murder theme and where was it first applied i.e anime or novel.Recently I watched a Kindaichi & Conan episode with the same theme.So I thought since you are a hardcore follower & researcher of detective fiction,may be you can provide a answer to my query.Please do reply

    1. I don't know where the idea first came from, but it's certainly not from any anime or manga. I mean, Hitchcock's famous movie Strangers on a Train is already about that same plot idea, and that film was also based on a novel.

  5. well i have not read Kindaichi 37-sai.but so far it seems pretty sad. after 20 years he dont even got his girl miyuki.``at least that's what it seems like`` if i am wrong i'd be down to read it.
    but if not doesnt seems rly worth. i mean the MC dont have that little of progress after 20 years lol

  6. Ho Ling,you have been writing reviews on some Detective Conan Anime Original Episodes.Would you please write some reviews On Kindaichi & Detective Academy Q Anime original episodes? It would be great to know your favourite ones.

    And recently,I got hold of 3 Detective Fiction Anime Series.Moryo No Hako,Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation & Holmes of Kyoto.Have you seen or read any of these series?If you have,please suggest which one should I choose.

    1. Sorry, haven't seen enough of those three series to be able to even say anything meaningful about them.

      As for Kindaichi Shounen and Tantei Gakuen Q, I already saw the anime original episodes many, many years ago, and none of them made enough of an impression that I'd want to go back and review them (same with Conan originals actually, I only went with the originals I hadn't seen yet, and which I thought really worth writing about).

  7. Ho Ling,I must say that I was quite disappointed in this new Kindaichi series.The First story was not so good in my opinion.Making Kindaichi a clown at 37 is another joke.And worst of all,in the latest chapter of Kindaichi, there is a full page scene of a man having sex with a nude girl.I mean this is not the kindaichi we grew up with.Addind adult themes is fine,but this is too much.You dont need these kind of scenes to push a story forward.Well,that's my opinion.Just want to know what are your opinions on this matter & do you justify graphic porn in this well loved series? Also,you may delete my comment if you think this post is negative.But please reply.

    1. Meh, we knew the series would change in some way in terms of atmosphere and content, as it moved magazines, with a completely different reader target. If it'd just be the same old, it wouldn't have been necessary to move out of Shonen Magazine. So not really bothered by this.

  8. Ho Ling, I really like your reviews!!
    Btw, is there any chance of the original Kindaichi Series (File and Case) getting a review?

    1. Nothing planned, I'm afraid. Sometimes there's a special occassion for it though, for example when the NEO drama featured some of the Case stories, which allowed me to discuss them together with their drama adaptation.