Saturday, April 22, 2006

A case presents itself

Yesterday there was no post because my older brother occupied the computer the whole night till I went to sleep ( after taping Jake 2.0 which has been moved because of some stupid reason to six o´clock in the morning without the usual bombardement of commercial we get for all the shows we DON´T want to see ). I waited a few hours to get a chance to write something and post it watching the episodes of CASE CLOSED that aired this week.

If you don´t know it Case Closed is a manga I first discovered when my little brother brought a video with four hours worth of episodes from his vacation in Spain. On my next vacation in Spain I started reading the manga and changed to the german translations when it arrived here years later. It took also a while till the anime hit Germany and although I find the spanish version much better I have all episodes that aired so far. I have my VCR programmed to tape the episodes and because the stories are mostly two- or three-part stories ( and I usually don´t have the time to watch them every day ) I usually watch them at the weekend. Case Closed is a crime story manga presenting mostly who-dunnit type of stories and many murders in closed rooms.

The main character is Shinishi Kudo whose name was changed to Jimmy in the american translation like most of the other names ( probably to make them easier to remember for the american audience ). The master detective Kogoro Mori is Richard Moore, Ran Mori is Rachel Moore and the Detective boys names got changed from Genta, Ayumi and Mitsuhiko to George, Amy and Mitch. Shinichi ( or Jimmy ) Kudo is a 17 years old student at the Taitan school in Tokyo who has become famous as a master detective helping the local police to solve the more difficult crimes. On one of his cases he stumbles into the mysterious machinations of the secret criminal organisation only known as the " Men in Black " ( who always are dressed in black and who have codenames of alcoholic drinks like Wodka or Gin ) when he becomes the witness of a murder committed by two members of the " Men in Black ". They try to kill Shinichi by giving him an experimental poison which is supposed to kill him without leaving traces. Instead it transforms him to childhood size and Shinichi tries to dismantle the organization of the " Men in Black " and regain his normal size.

Therefore he takes on the name Conan Edogawa ( Conan after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the writer of his big idol Sherlock Holmes and Edogawa after a famous japanese writer of crime novels ) and gets kind of adopted by his girlfriend Ran Mori whose father Kogoro Mori is a P.I. Shinichi´s plan is to get more high profile cases and to stumble onto the plot of the " Men in Black " but since Kogoro is an experienced detective who sadly always seems to be missing the piece of the puzzle he has to take matters in his own hands. So Shinichi always gives him a nudge in the right direction and mostly has to solve the crimes for him. When he presents the solution Shinichi knocks out Kogoro with a tranquilizer dart and imitates his voice with a special electronic device and since Kogoro seems to be sleeping he soon becomes famous as the " sleeping Kogoro " the master detective who solves his cases in his sleep. Since he has the body of a child he has to go to kids school again where he befriends Ayumi, Genta and Mitzuhiko who make up the Detective Boys a crime school club who solve some crimes together with Shinichi. The only one who knows that Shinichi is now Conan is Professor Agasa a friend of the family and inventor who supplies Shinichi with the tranquilizer dart, his voice modifier, power boots and a lot of other gadgets throughout the series.

What really hooked me into this manga is that the cases are always presented in a fashion that challenges the reader to solve the crime himself. The main characters are always commenting on the clues that are discovered and their theories about what happened. Before the final solution is presented all the clues are reviewed one more time giving the reader a last chance the solve the crime before Conan presents the solution. And of course the humor of the series which mostly comes from Kogoro who is despite his fame as a master detective still a normal down to earth guy whose main interests are drinking and hot women ( especially the famous popstar Yoko Okino whom he even gets to meet on a few cases ).

  • the official case closed website

  • the case closed forum

  • Case Closed is at the moment one of the only two mangas I read, the other being Naruto. I´ve been looking to add more mangas to my pull list after LONE WOLF AND CUB and KENSHIN / SAMURAI X ended but with the fllod of mangas coming to Germany it is difficult to find one that is up to those high standards. Most of the known mangas like RANMA 1 / 2 or BATTLE ANGEL ALITA are on my brother´s collection since he´s the big manga reader in the family.

    Wow, that´s more than I intended to write about the series that almost deserves a post in itself. Next up we will get to what I originally wanted to write.

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