Hi everyone! It’s Jecka, semi-enthusiast of Detective Conan, here to bring a little something different to the table. So about six months ago, there was a poll asking if you’d like the English volumes to be covered and here I am!! Gonna be honest, this took me so long to write that I ended up waiting for volume 72 as well but that’s okay since we FINALLY got the London case. Let's get going.
What's the hardest thing about covering Detective Conan (or in this case, Case Closed) volume, you ask? For sure it'd be the continuous cases. Gosho Aoyama tends to make the cases 3-5 chapters and volumes typically contain 11 chapters so a case concluding on the final chapter of the volume is rare. The first case we get in volume 71 is “The VHS of Memories”, (continuing from volume 70), which is essentially a Chiba love story. This case is cute but Aoyama's tendency to use (or overuse) the “childhood friends” trope is a little tiring. Furthermore he doubles down with Chiba who doesn't recognize Naeko so it adds to the frustration.
Next is a warm welcome from Jolly ol’ London. I’ve never been to London, but I’m always down for a visit a city in a country I’ve never been to. Aoyama's artwork does a great job capturing the local landmarks; the London eye, Big Ben, and 221B Baker Street. However, if there’s one thing I never liked about this case from the several re-watches and this reread it'd be everyone’s obsession over Sherlock Holmes. He’s treated like he was a real hero although everyone knows he’s fictional. If you told me this was a fever dream Conan had one night, I’d believe it because that’s what this case feels like.
The English used in the Japanese version of this case is quite good with the exception of a few grammatical errors and some awkward phrasing. Viz does their best to keep the original while correcting some of the problems.
I can’t imagine Aoyama knows English well or at all really, but with this being only the third case he used English in (the first being the New York City case in volumes 34 and 35), I think he does a pretty decent job.
So, how about that case? The case is great. My favorite part is definitely the climax. Aoyama uses braille as a way to send messages similar to Morse code and I find that really creative. Most of the case is a scavenger hunt, and the story takes a different direction than most cases, but the obsession with Sherlock Holmes bugs me. Finally, yes, this is a big deal if you like the ShinRan ship. Aoyama teases us a little in this case, and it's not until recently (last year!) That he gives a follow up to these events. I won’t go into what happened, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little excited for the two of them finally communicating to each other about their relationship. Considering this was drawn in 2011 and the “sequel” was nearly a decade later, I’m not sure how we as fans survived the wait.
Ahem, moving on. The next case in volume 72 follows Conan, now back in Japan, playing with the detective Boys in an abandoned building. It’s set to be demolished soon, but sure, go right ahead and play kick-the-can/hide-and-seek. This case I remember well; It was one of the first manga cases I skimmed though when I first started watching Conan back in 2011. I was curious to see how many chapters/episodes the series was up to and what was happening. The other thing I remember about it is the earthquake. Going back to the case, while the kids are wondering where Genta is hiding, an earthquake occurs. This was only months after the Tohoku earthquake so my memory of this case is how the case was edited in the anime. In the anime the disaster itself was completely removed as the actual earthquake was traumatizing with the tsunami and the damage to the Fukushima power plant. Otherwise, this case is your run of the mill Detective Boys case: No one dies, the kids are in minor peril, and they all go home and eat curry. Just a light snack after that big fish and chips meal.
The 2nd full case in this volume has to do with Kogoro giving a speech at his alma mater and a haunted house attraction. Believe it or not I never completed this one in the anime and the last time I saw this case was in 2011/2012. But hey, this is just in time for Halloween.
Ran and horror are never a good mix. Add in a bit of Conan, and it's a fine night for murder. I mostly enjoyed this case. It’s a simple revenge case, but I find it visually appealing. Conan’s inner commentary is actually pretty funny, and Sonoko is always a joy to see. Normally I’m not one for Halloween/horror stuff, but in this case I enjoyed it, and this is one of the best pages ever (kinda NSFW):
I love the way each panel is detailed and the angle Aoyama uses in the first. Conan isn’t typically a horror series (though I guess you could argue with all of the murder and mayhem it's almost one) but it never ceases to surprise its readers. Say what you want about his story telling, but Aoyama’s art and storyboarding is something else; the way the pages flow make each chapter an entertaining read even without dialog. Another thing I like about this is how Ran is using Conan as a shield. Unable to escape, he has to go along for the ride, although I’m not sure how comfortable being carried around by some jumpy girls could be. Likewise carrying a 40 pound kid around can’t be too comfortable either, you can't be picky in what weapons you use against the undead.
Final full case of volume 72 and it’s about Karuta. Before we continue here are three things you need to know about Gosho Aoyama:
1) he loves baseball (something he shares with his friend Mitsuru Adachi).
2) he enjoys video games (mostly Kancolle and Animal Crossing).
3) he loves Chihayafuru.
Looking back on this now that I know what karuta is I have more of an appreciation for this case. There isn't competitive karuta as you’d see in Chihayafuru, but as a first introduction it did make me curious about the game and how it’s played. As for the case, I don’t dislike the kids as much as some do and this case has them trying to solve a case since Conan is stuck in bed with a cold. Due to this, Haibara has to take care of the kids on her own and play detective in his place.
Volumes 71 and 72 don’t focus on the main plot of the series: Conan finding the Black Org. They do, however, continuously grow character relationships and we’re even taken to an entirely different country. I enjoy the character relationships and the twists and turns in the series. I read Conan for the adventures and these two volumes are no exception. I mentioned before I started watching the series in June 2011, and reading these volumes in particular was nostalgic as these are the cases I watched when I caught up to the series, and it was a pleasure to experience these chapters through this reread and appreciate them in new ways.
The last chapter in Volume 72 is the beginning of a new case, but I'll wait to cover that with volume 73 when it launches in January. Volume 73 is where we get some really fun mysteries and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. I hope you enjoyed my unique take on Conan, and I very much hope that I'll have the chance to talk about the series again with everyone, and that's one truth that does prevail. Until then, thanks for reading!