Detective Conan Anime Review: Ep 12 - 28

Electronic Cnuculator

Written by ritabuuk and dubiousdisc
Posted on October 29th 2022
Last Updated on November 19th 2022
Tagged as:

Part two of many more of our episode-by-episode review of the Detective Conan anime. For some more background on how we're doing this, see the introduction to Part 1.

Ayumi-chan's Abduction

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 9)
First Aired
April 15, 1996
Our Quick Blip
Establishes the romantic interests of the Detective Boys and introduces the walkie-talkie badges and the solar-powered skateboard, but the ending is painfully unfunny

Ayumi is kidnapped! Or rather, she thought the trunk of a parked car was a perfect hiding place during a game of hide-and-seek. She'll need such a lecture after this. Her parents seem not to care at all about her, so maybe Conan will need to tell her, omg, never do that again.

It turns out (Toggle spoilers...) the guys in the car were theater actors rehearsing their lines, and what looked like a child's head in the trunk was just a prop, and the real kidnapper that was on the run had already been caught earlier that day, and then there's a bullshit ending where all the kids in a trenchcoat need to be the stand-in for the other actor, to make up for the fact that he had been knocked unconscious by Conan. And this is just excruciating to watch.

Conan and the kids on the solar skateboard

More importantly, this episode establishes that Ayumi has a crush on Conan, and Genta and Mitsuhiko have crushes on Ayumi. This is also when the kids receive their Detective Boys transmitter-badges which Agasa invented for them, and Conan receives the solar skateboard, which will be rarely seen in the show, but which the movies will love to use for all their fast-paced action scenes. In 1996, solar power was a brand new experimental technology that had a lot of promise, and anyone could imagine about how solar power would revolutionize technology. In this episode, we get to see what fanciful ideas the creator of Detective Conan had about how solar power might work in the hands of a genius mad inventor, and to our eyes in 2022, it is very silly. In this episode, it is presented as if the skateboard has infinite power as long as the sun is out, but the moment that it starts to be sunset, the skateboard slows down, and the amount of slowdown is relative to how close to sunset it is. Lol.

But overall, we really don't like this episode.

The Bizarre Manhunt Murder

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 2)
First Aired
April 22, 1996
Our Quick Blip
It's an enjoyable episode and we liked it, but we later learned that it's an anime adaptation of a manga case with one major diversion that has later plot-tearing consequences.

A girl hires Kogoro to find her missing father. (Toggle spoilers...)

Kogoro's client reunites with her 'father'.

But she isn't who she claims to be, and her quest to find her missing father is actually part of a dispute between a group of small-time criminals who are being manipulated by a big-time criminal.

The first time we watched this, we thought the big-time criminal was with the Black Organization, and that in this episode we were witnessing the hand of the Black Organization steering other criminals for their own ends, plus their ruthlessness of murdering all of the lesser criminals at the end. But it turns out that the culprit in this episode is an unaffiliated sicko who happens to also get his outfits from the Criminal Fashion Catalog.

He looks so evil He's got narrowed eyes and a suit and a trenchcoat and a gun.  Trust us, he's obviously so evil.
He just looks so incredibly evil, it's amazing

We were thinking that this guy would be a great candidate for the Black Organization to scout out and recruit, had he not gotten busted in this episode. Though, we were wondering if he would get along with Gin, or if Gin would dislike him as a wannabe, since they have similar tastes for brutality and trenchcoats and long hair...

It turns out that this episode is based on a manga case that does involve the Black Organization. (Toggle spoilers all about that...)

It was Gin in the manga (with Vodka too)

The beginning of the episode all goes exactly the same as in the manga, scene by scene and panel by panel, until the girl goes to meet the evil villain at the docks. In the manga, the evil villain was indeed Gin (accompanied by Vodka), and he shoots her, and she dies.

For some reason, the anime team completely changed the ending, so as to not involve the Black Organization and so as to not have her die at the end. However, in so doing, they fucked up the groundwork for a future plotline, because the death of the girl and her reasons for betraying the Black Organization will turn out to be extremely plot-important. (Toggle spoilers for that later plotline...) She's Akemi Miyano. Her sister is Shiho Miyano, codename Sherry, the scientist who created the poison that transformed Shinichi into a child. Akemi's death spurs Sherry to betray the Black Organization as well.

Conan goes to help the girl who has been shot

Actual Funimation dialogue:

  1. Conan

    Are you okay?

  2. Girl

    Just a flesh wound.

The anime will later have to do their best to rectify this mistake by inserting another episode that is based on this same storyline, this time closely following the ending from the manga, but needing to invent a whole new beginning. And by so doing, they ruined what would have been a really beautiful super-early set-up for an unexpected twist much later on.

We don't know why the anime team messed this up so badly. From what we've seen about the episodes we've written about so far, the Detective Conan anime is generally very faithful to the source material, often adapting manga cases word for word and panel by panel. At the time when they made this episode, the anime team didn't know how the shoe was going to drop yet, but they were still adapting a case involving Gin and Vodka, the primary antagonists of this series so far. Why would they think they could change that to cut them out and give this episode a happy ending instead?

The girl and the evil guy, framed similarly to how it was in the manga

In the manga, the girl had been working with Gin for a long time, and she is going against him for important reasons, and she is ready to die to leave the Black Organization. In the anime, the evil villain has nothing to do with the Black Organization, and neither does the girl. The evil villain seeming so Gin-like is because he's an anime-only stand-in for Gin. But if the characters no longer have the motivation of betraying the Black Organization or fulfilling the ruthless will of the Black Organization, what is going on here?

The new motives are explained by the girl casually mentioning, oh, there's a rumor about this guy that he always kills his accomplices, but surely that's just a mean-spirited rumor... So, she decided to work with this obviously evil guy because she doesn't trust gossip. She's naïve enough to go meet him on the docks alone. And she doesn't even have a backup plan in case the rumors turn out to be true! And, wow, the only way this guy could be more obviously a villain is if he had horns. In the anime version, (Toggle spoilers...) all the detectives figure out what is going on and converge to the scene before the villain can kill her, and she confesses to her crimes and goes to jail, but she does indeed live.

Ran breaks the car window with a kick

Beyond all this mess, one other scene we want to talk about is when Ran thinks Kogoro's client has been wronged by a man she sees outside the detective agency. Ran has taken the side of the girl so hard, she's willing to jump out of a window to attack the guy. She breaks a car window with a kick. We were trying to look up if it is plausible that Ran could have done that, and our research leads us to think that... maybe? She's a trained martial artist, and maybe it was an older car with thinner glass. From what we gather, it seems like today's car windows would not break that easily. But, sure, we believe it. Ran was really pissed.

The Mysterious Sniper Message Case

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
April 29, 1996
Our Quick Blip
A bit ruined by the fact that the mystery is so obvious from our perspective, but it's nice to see Conan, the Detective Boys, Inspector Megure, Kogoro, and even Ran all working together to solve the mystery. It also establishes that Kogoro is not a great driver.

Conan and the kids see someone being forced into the the role of a sniper against his will. The sniper notices that the kids saw him, and he leaves behind a calculator with a clue for them to find. Eventually, the Detective Boys, Megure, Kogoro, and Ran are all trying to figure out what the message means.

The calculator
Electronic Cnuculator

(Toggle spoilers...) This mystery hits us as obvious because it was a daily occurrence in fourth grade in the 90s to play with the hand-held calculators, and all the kids knew that if you type 5318008 into a calculator and turn it upside down, with the seven-segment displays, it would look like it said BOOBIES, or you could do 07734 for HELLO, and plenty of other words … So we wonder if this wasn't a thing in Japan, which would make this mystery much more compelling for the Japanese audience. But for us, this is immediately dead obvious. We guess we just so happen to fall into the laser-focused demographic where this mystery is ruined. Maybe folks older than us didn't get to play around with calculators so much, or they weren't the hand-held kind that could be easily turned upside-down. And maybe folks younger than us use their phones or fancier calculators with nicer displays that show rounded numbers that don't have the same impact when turned upside down. Ah well.

During the course of the episode, several bad assumptions about the calculator message are made, and circumstances keep lining up that they continue pursuing down the entirely wrong track. It is almost to the point that the episode should have some sort of moral at the end about wild goose chases, but it doesn't.

The Missing Corpse Murder

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 6)
First Aired
May 13, 1996
Our Quick Blip
This is an episode that is iconic in our minds. It's also an important one for the Detective Boys, and the first time Conan excludes them with the goal of keeping them safe.

The Detective Boys are all itching to solve a mystery, but they currently have no clients. Finally, a kid shows up asking help with finding his lost cat - not the grand mystery they had in mind, but it would have to do. However, when they do find the cat, they realize that it is covered in blood... human blood. The Detective Boys look inside the window that the cat had jumped out of, and wind up seeing a bloody corpse in the bathtub. AAAAAAAAAA

The cat covered in human blood The horrific and bloody crime scene

The kids call Inspector Megure, who takes them super seriously, because he knows of them as the kids who previously helped the police catch the crooks with the stolen gold coins back in Episode 4.

But when Megure knocks on the door of the house, a guy answers, seemingly fresh from a bath. He's grumpy at the cops and he taunts them, saying they must clearly not have anything better to do, which really pisses Megure off. He tells his underlings to look everywhere - under the floor, over the ceiling, look everywhere, we gotta get this guy!

The guy fresh from the bath Megure is not going to take that sitting down The cops look everywhere inside the house
They even check the golf bag!

But in the end, the police find nothing. The guy's brother returns home and lets the cops complete their search, and they even do an experiment to see if a body could have been carried out of the window, but no.

So Inspector Megure and all the police leave. Megure is super disappointed in the kids for apparently lying to him and wasting his time.

Now, we know the kids aren't lying. The culprit pulled off a huge trick here to fool the police. But, beyond the fact that there was the trick, there should have been more for Inspector Megure to work with before giving up on the case. For instance:

  1. Why didn't anyone mention the cat covered in human blood? That is a critical clue. The blood had to come from somewhere, and the cops would be able to scientifically determine that the blood was human in origin. Then they'd know that there must have been human blood somewhere - and enough blood to have covered the cat. Yikes!

  2. The pristine bathroom
  3. When the police investigate the bathroom, they find it to be perfectly pristine, although only fifteen minutes ago, there was a bloody corpse in the bathtub. Could the culprit have possibly cleaned up all the blood and set up the whole trick in just fifteen minutes? Based on our first-hand experience concerning the clean-up of period blood, we want to say no. Fifteen minutes would be maybe enough to clean a period disaster, but not to a police-proof pristine level, and then we wouldn't have enough time left for also constructing the elaborate trick to hide the body. And this murder made a much bigger, bloodier mess than our worst period disasters. That bathroom has to be less than perfectly clean.

  4. Ema Skye from Ace Attorney reccomends using Luminol in this case!
    Ema Skye would be so disappointed in Megure here.
  5. Why didn't the forensics team use luminol in the bathroom? Even if we believe that the culprit managed to get the bathroom to a state where it looked clean, there must be detectable traces of blood everywhere. And while we've joked about how an investigation with luminol would be useless in our bathroom (due to the aforementioned period disasters), in the house where only two men live, in the room where the kids say they just saw a bloody corpse, that would be evidence! Maybe later it would later be discounted in some way, but it's strange that this murder mystery show doesn't bring up luminol in this episode at all.

  6. And if, somehow, we believe that the cuplrit cleaned the bathroom in the time allotted to the point that there are no detectable traces of blood whatsoever, the room must stink of bleach. The guy is claiming that he just got out of the bath, still toweling off his hair. Then why does the bathroom stink of bleach???

Anyway, all our musings aside, the trick was this: (Toggle howdunit...) the younger brother murdered the older brother and posed him as asleep in a chair. He then disguised himself as the older brother, answered the door for the cops, said he was going to take a nap, then removed the disguise, climbed down the tree, and re-entered from the front door as the younger brother. He used the answering machine and the VCR to make it seem like the older brother was still alive, and he even invited the cops and the kids into the same room with the corpse.

The brazenness of this plan!!

Then Conan and the kids return to the house at night to try to figure out what happened and clear their names. This marks the first time that Conan leaves the kids behind because it's too dangerous, which will become a recurring bullshit that will make the kids resent him, but this plotpoint hasn't come to a head yet.

Telephone game

But this time it's a good thing that the kids are in the phone booth talking with Megure. They are able to transmit the brother's complete confession from Conan's detective badge to the phone, and Megure is able to apprehend the murderer before Conan dies.

And the whole confession. (Toggle this stunning motive...) This dude murdered his older brother because he was not perfect. The way he was not perfect is because he didn't rat the younger brother out for illegal stock trading, and instead expected the brother to share the wealth in exchange for his silence. This makes the younger brother see his older brother as corrupt and no longer a worthy role model. Says the one who did illegal stock trading. So he murders the brother. And then in his rant to Conan he says that he would want to restore his brother's goodness by assuming his identity and living his life as he should have. He says this while wearing a fake mustache to look like his dead brother. Yikes. What was the original plan before he was discovered? Was he going to disguise the corpse as himself to fake his death, and then live as the older brother? And then what was the modified plan, after he did the trick? Would he later fake his death with the corpse? Yiiiikes.

The Antique Collector Murder

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 6)
First Aired
May 20, 1996
Our Quick Blip
Part of how Kogoro's reputation is improving.
An old man is pinned to the wall with a samurai sword.  His mouth is hanging open, he's holding another sword, and he's covered in blood.

We forgot that the early series murders tend to be gruesome. It really makes sense that the person discovering the body screams and falls down.

This episode has an iconic Sleeping Kogoro moment. He's not known as Sleeping Kogoro yet, but we imagine this was one of the events that led to the nickname. He's asleep, and the murderer comes at him with a sword, even to the point of cutting off a few of his hairs, and Kogoro, being knocked out, does not even flinch, thereby earning the murderer's respect. In the post-credits, Kogoro wakes up, and the slight nick on his head is bleeding, and he finally screams. At that point, the murderer is leaving the premises with the police, and he hears what seems to be a delayed reaction.

The trick of this murder was (Toggle howdunit...) first make it look like there was a swordfight between the victim and the murderer, leading the investigators to think that the murderer must know how to swordfight, which casts suspicion on the only other guy who does swordfighting. But the hands on the sword are wrong, making it look like someone was trying to frame the guy who does swordfighting... when in reality, he is the murderer, and did this extra-level thinking to make it look like he was framed. Wow. And the fact that the victim's wife was having an affair ended up being not relevant at all to the murder, lol.

Conan solves the puzzle of rearranging of the drawers, and then remembers the moves until much later, when he can relate them to Inspector Megure. What the hell kind of memory does Conan have?

Conan initially solved the puzzle using a photo He cut up pieces of the photo and rearranged them Then, much later, he remembered to tell Megure complicated instructions like, switch the second drawer on the bottom left with third drawer in the top row.
Conan used a cut up photograph to be able to solve the puzzle, but he somehow was able to remember which drawers needed to be swapped with which drawers later on, and was able to explain the moves to Megure without any stuttering or pointing.

The Department Store Hijack

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
May 27, 1996
Our Quick Blip
A decent episode featuring the Detective Boys, but not overly important. Though, is this the first "appearance" of Kamen Yaiba?
A man dressed as Kamen Yaiba, readying a knife, surrounded by the baseballs he was recently pelted with.

In this episode, the kids end up locked inside a department store in the evening after hours, while the place is in the middle of being robbed by a gang of robbers. We kinda forgot about episode, but it's a really great one for the Detective Boys. Very Home Alone. And it also serves as a good bonding moment for all the kids and Conan.

We want to give props to Megure because, when Ran calls him all worried about how the kids are nowhere to be found, he takes their disappearance seriously, even though they've only been missing for like an hour.

The June Bride Murder Case

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 8)
First Aired
June 3, 1996
Our Quick Blip
Critically important canon episode, with the introduction of important characters and concepts (that maybe were dropped later? but yeah).
Ran, Sonoko, and Conan meet the bride.

This episode makes us think that the creator of this story had everything figured out at this point for what would the ending eventually be, and major groundwork is laid here, but by now the series has farted around so long that this episode can no longer possibly be such a cornerstone of the plot, since it has been way too long ago.

Young Shinichi playing a recorder as his teacher stands over him brandishing a crop. Yikes.

In this episode, we meet Shinichi, Ran, and Sonoko's middle school music teacher, who is about to get married. Ran and Sonoko are invited to the wedding, and Conan comes along with them. They are spending time with their teacher in the back room before the wedding.

The conversation goes to their times in school, and eventually to Shinichi. The teacher remembers him well as that one kid who was absolutely unteachable. Shinichi always thought the music teacher singled him out for torture, but the truth is that he's tone-deaf and sucks at music, even though he would like to think himself just as skilled as Sherlock Holmes at the violin. He has the double barrier of being literally tone deaf, so he can't hear how bad he is, yet he thinks he's hot shit, so he can't even fathom how bad he is, so, yeah, he's basically unteachable.

Conan solving the musical code from Episode 11
We're still annoyed at this bullshit

Yeah, Shinichi is tone deaf. Yet, whenever it would be convenient for Conan to not be tone-deaf, he's magically not tone deaf. If there's a code involving music that needs to be solved, Conan can solve it by identifying the notes that he hears, even though it is otherwise an established character trait that he's tone-deaf. And if Conan needs to identify the melody of the numbers of a touch-tone phone being dialed, he can do that too.

Essentially, in this story, whenever Conan needs to do something, he will sprout the necessary skill in that episode all of a sudden, even if it defies previously established characterization. Which is so, so bullshit. It denies Shinichi the one flaw that he gets to have. It's the one thing he's not a genius at, and can never be a genius at. Yet he can be a genius at it, when the mystery demands so.

But, beyond Shinichi being terrible at music, we also learn that the bigger reason for why the teacher teased him: it was because Shinichi looked a lot like a boy she knew as a child who she had a childhood crush on. This boy is the second Shinichi lookalike who has been casually dropped into the plot. (The first being Hide the soccer player).

Flashback of her childhood friend offering her a soda.
Her childhood crush looked like Shinichi when he was younger.
Scary

The music teacher's father is the scary-looking chief of police with an eye scar, who is introduced in this episode, and he makes a bad first impression. Ran and Sonoko are immediately distrustful of this scary-looking stranger who barges into the room, and then, even once it's established that he's the bride's father and he's the chief of police and Megure's boss, we witness him being mean to his daughter, and then he's a prime suspect in the murder mystery. He wasn't the murderer, but he's very gruff and has a scary eye scar.

It seems like maybe he was going to be a bigger element of the overarching plot, but things dragged on so long that he now seems to be no longer relevant. (Toggle spoilers for like around Episode 1000...) In a more recent arc, he has been transferred to another police department, and a new character with an eye injury comes in to take his place, and we are guessing that this new chief has assumed the role that this guy would have had, if he had had the time to do it.

The chief looking sad
Also notice Inspector Megure in a dark suit.

Which kinda sucks, honestly. We feel a bit bad for this character and his fate as a character. He was willed into existence only to be eventually exiled and replaced. He has been reabsorbed into the limbo of the unused OCs.

As for what concerns the mystery of the day, it is really fucked up, to the point that on our rewatch we forgot what exactly happened but we remembered that it was absolutely fucked up. (Toggle spoilers...)

And it is. So, the music teacher knew this boy when they were children, and then they lost contact with each other. Now, the music teacher has found him again, and they're dating… but her boyfriend hasn't realized that she's the girl from his past. She just reminds him of the girl he used to know and he didn't figure it out. We suppose this guy has one brain cell and it's all occupied with REVENGE against her father.

So, apparently, when the chief of police was a much younger cop, he was hot in pursuit of a criminal, and he ended up hitting another car during the chase. He glanced at the accident, didn't think there were any major injuries, ignored the boy yelling, and ran after the criminal on foot. Only later he learned that the boy's mom was injured, and because help arrived way too late, she died, and if only he had radioed for backup or something, she probably would have lived. By the time he learned this, he wanted to apologize, but the boy had already moved away, and he didn't pursue it further than that. It turns out the boy was adopted by a different family, and in the meanwhile he devoted his attention to REVENGE. He met the woman who turned out to be the daughter of the cop he wanted to get his revenge on, so he ended up dating her, and waited until their wedding day to poison her.

The flashback of the accident In the flashback, the boy tries to stop the cop, but he ignores him.

In the meanwhile, she recognized him, and confirmed that he was indeed her childhood crush, so she was dating him because she loved him. She also found out about the death of his mother and that it was her father's fault, and she realized his motives were solely about revenge, but she went along with it, and even drank the poison on purpose. Instead of confronting him about any of this, or talking to her father about any of this, she just went, I guess I'll die *shrug*

The photo from their future wedding

It's framed as kinda romantic in a tragic Shakespearean kinda way. But really, she needs some therapy. And even after all of that, she still has feelings for him, and wants to get together with him, and we know that they eventually do. At the end of the episode, Conan narrates that, three years later, the two of them got married. But the plot of the show has officially only gone on for about about one year of in-universe time, so Conan's narration is about after the end of the story, probably. Which... wow. This probably would have been important foreshadowing for something something, but by now it's probably retconned.

We know the creator of this series has a thing for childhood romances becoming true even though the people involved no longer fully remember or recognize each other. Maybe it's a central theme of this story. Or maybe it's a fetish. Given the way the repeated instances of this theme will devolve as the series drags on, we're voting fetish at this point.

This episode marks the first time in the anime that Conan ends up using the tranquilizer dart on Sonoko and using her voice to deliver his deductions. It will happen occasionally that Conan will use Sonoko as his sockpuppet in situations where Kogoro is not around.

It is Lemon Tea... ...with Pine Flavor???
Also, by the way, the can of "Lemon Tea" also says "Pine Flavor"??? Wait, do they maybe mean pineapple? But there's a picture of a tree underneath. Is this a thing in Japan? Is it like birch beer? Or does it taste like floor cleaner??? No wonder everyone gives her a hard time for drinking this stuff.

The Elevator Murder Case

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
June 10, 1996
Our Quick Blip
A decent mystery from an anime-original episode

Ran gets offered a modeling gig. Woo! But good on her to be accompanied by her family because, yeah, this could be some sort of a scam. Come in on a Sunday meet a famous fashion designer and to get your photos taken as a model... yeah... sure...

And this whole offer is indeed a set-up (Toggle spoilers...)

The fashion designer tells Ran that she would make a good model

...so that Ran can be a witness for an alibi, although the fashion designer makes a point to say that she really, really does think Ran would have made a good model, as she's being taken away in the police car... Unfortunately the fashion designer didn't realize that the model she chose just so happens to be the daughter of the famous detective. Once she learns the identity of Ran's father, she almost backs out of her plan, but today is her last chance to put her plan into motion. She wants to murder the secretary, and this is the final day before her two weeks' notice is up.

Kogoro is secretly a big fan of this fashion designer, and he knows all about her (and when Conan teases him about this, he claims it's because a detective needs to be well-rounded and know all sorts of things, you know)

Two out of the three elevators.

The whole plan hinges on how this building has three elevators: the first elevator only goes to the top several floors, the second elevator only goes to the bottom several floors, and the third elevator only goes to, like, every other floor on Tuesdays. Why are the elevators in this building set up like some kind of Professor Layton puzzle?

Yet, despite all the elaborate puzzle solving with the elevators, this murderer is so sloppy. (Toggle spoilers...)

The body is on the floor in the direction so that the feet are inside the elevator, rather than outside.  There are also shoe-prints in the carpet leading up to the corpse.

The corpse fell out of the elevator rather than into the elevator, making what was supposed to be assumed to be the scene of the murder appear to be altered and unnatural. She left scotch tape residue where she taped a coin to the elevator call button. Ran happened to give her a bouquet of flowers, so she ended up leaving flower petals all over the incriminating evidence. She kept the bloody gloves in her suspiciously unfashionable handbag. The alibi hinges on believing a random crook randomly snuck in through the mysteriously unlocked emergency exit and just so happened to come out on this random floor to murder the secretary for no reason. There's no sign that any other theft actually occurred in the building... just these cartoon-style shoe prints that don't even have enough space between them to imply that the crook was running - it looks like they casually walked over, murdered someone, and then just as casually left the building... Or maybe even daintily walking all dee dee dee dee… And all of these clues that this is some sort of ruse are immediately noted by the investigation. So much for all that premeditation, and this is the last chance to get to use this brilliant scheme!

And this was all about (Toggle motive...) designer espionage! The secretary sold the designer's secrets and was going to get away with it too, because, what is she going to do, sue her? And be publicly denounced for causing unnecessary drama? So, the only answer is MURDER.

The Haunted Mansion Murder

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 2)
First Aired
June 17, 1996
Our Quick Blip
We didn't like this one at all, except for the joke at the end. It also happens to be the introduction of the retractable suspenders.
The haunted house

The kids go into an abandoned house that has a reputation of being haunted, by the ghost of the father that had been murdered there, oooooo. It turns out... (Toggle spoilers...)

The mom visiting her son in the basement jail cell.
In the English dub, Shinichi thinks, "That's one disturbing parent-child relationship". Like he can talk.

...the mother and the son secretly still live in the house, and the mom keeps the son locked in a jail cell in the basement to protect him from needing to go to jail for killing his father. Um. She's all, wait until the statute of limitations is up.... so he's been locked up in there for like 15 years. What even would have been the sentence? It was an accidental murder, and the son did it in a rage and he has no memory of the event. I think he could have gone for some sort of defense regarding how he needs mental help. Instead he's living in solitary confinement in a dungeon where his mother comes every day to remind him that he's a murderer and deserves this torment. Yikes.

And then Conan reveals all his deductions about the case... to (Toggle whodunit...) the mother and son... but um... They already know all this. Are they supposed to be impressed?

And in the meanwhile, the Detective Boys (Toggle spoilers...) who seemed to have been taken away by the creepy old woman were in no way harmed. They were just tranquilized and put outside. Which, honestly, is almost creepier...

The only thing about this episode that we would keep is that, afterwards, the kids want to go to another abandoned mansion that is thought to be haunted... and they're talking about Shinichi's house.

A still of Conan trying to stop the Detective Boys from investigating his house
In the dub, Shinichi reacts with the thought: "This is one truth I hope doesn't prevail!"

The TV Drama Murder Case

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
June 24, 1996
Our Quick Blip
It's alright.
Yoko covered and blood splatters and holding a knife, for a scene of the drama.

Yoko returns! Today, she's involved in the filming of a new TV show. Someone is murdered, and the investigation is a mess because the crime scene has been modified so many times to shift the blame around. (Toggle spoilers...)

Kogoro immediately identified the culprit, Conan thought he was wrong, and gradually all the tricks were revealed, and ultimately the culprit was the one that Kogoro had pointed at the beginning, but for different reasons.

But it was absolutely self-defense. So actually, it would have been easier for everyone involved if the actual culprit just came clean. The bigger crime here is all the crime-scene tampering and attempted framing. The guy who was framed is a huge jerk, but just a garden variety jerk, and really didn't do anything here. We almost don't blame him for his part in modifying the crime scene. Imagine that you walk along, and find a dead body with the bloody words implicating you as the murderer, and wtf, you didn't do anything. But who would believe you with essentially your name written there in blood?

He happened to find the body ...with the dying message implicating him!
Conan solving the classic fish matchstick puzzle

The big hint about the mystery of this episode is that the jerky guy is a fan of Matchstick Puzzles. Yeah, you know, those classic brainteasers about moving around only so many matchsticks to achieve a different shape, the kind of puzzle usually given to little kids to solve? The jerky guy brags about his love for Matchstick Puzzles as a way to impress women. Yeah.

Conan sees matchsticks lying around, and is for some reason compelled to do the solution for making the fish face the other way. And then he complains that this kind of puzzle is too demeaning for someone of his intellect. Uh, this was all your idea, Conan.

The Luxury Liner Murders

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 3)
First Aired
July 1 and 8, 1996
Our Quick Blip
We didn't like this one too much.
Conan and Ran react to all the ridiculous feuding and rudeness on this boat.
What have they gotten themselves into?

Kogoro, Ran, and Conan would have been stranded on some island, but they were invited onto a private cruise ship that is currently hosting a family wedding party. They avoided being stranded on some island of creeps, but now they're stuck on a boat full of creeps.

Because, yeah, everyone on this boat is weird and fucked up. There's an ongoing feud about who deserves the inheritance most, and Grandpa's not even dead. He's planning on changing his will once they get onshore in order to cut out the entire family, except the bride, who is his favorite grandchild. The groom (Toggle spoilers...) only married the bride in order to get revenge on Grandpa who he feels is responsible for his father's death. There's also drama over the fact that one couple are cousins who married and had a kid, despite everyone's objections. And everyone is at war regarding who should be the head of the company next and who deserves it more. There's another couple that only married for the sake of this eventual inheritance.

A case of knives
And there's a chef with an entire knife collection!

Everyone wanted Grandpa dead for different reasons. And to be fair, he's a jackass to everyone else on the boat. And to be fair, they are all acting like he's already dead and arguing over the inheritance right in front of him. It's a fair cycle of jackassery.

But Grandpa is rude to Kogoro, Ran, and Conan too. When he learns that they are onboard, he comes out on deck raging that strangers should not have been allowed on the boat and how dare you make decisions without consulting me!!! Right in front of Kogoro and all... meep.

But of all the potential motives that everyone had and all the hatred going around... the actual murderer's motives were the most wretched and weak. (Toggle whodunit...)

The killer, dramatically surrounded by all the sketches of his cousin.

It was the grandson, the son of the aunt and uncle who were cousins. He murdered Grandpa because Grandpa didn't give him his blessing to propose to his own cousin. The cousin whom he had never even spoken with. And she was already getting married to someone else. And he is already inbred and wants to inbreed further. And she had never even spoken with him. And he was stalking her, and his entire sketchbook was full of nothing but drawings of her. And he's her cousin! And she just got married!

And then after the murder of Grandpa, someone saw him disposing the evidence, so he just murdered another family member who had never done anything to him, just to cover up the first murder.

What the hell is wrong with this guy.

The poor girl learns about her creepy murderer stalker cousin, and she was still dealing with the revelation that her freshly-minted husband was originally only dating her to be able to get close to Grandpa to murder him for revenge. His feelings for her became true, but he was still planning to kill Grandpa, and he would have done it, had the creepy cousin not gotten to him first.

The bride The groom
Apparently everything is worked out between the two of them...

Beyond how fucked up the situation is, we didn't overly enjoy this episode, though. Mostly, it's way too long. It takes two whole episodes, and it's not really compelling enough to warrant that.

There are, however, two scenes that might be important regarding our questions of, how much has Ran figured out about Conan's secret? And how much has Kogoro figured out about Conan's secret?

First, the bride is talking with Ran and her family in the dining hall. She asks Ran if she has a boyfriend. Kogoro tries to dismiss the question, since Ran is much too young to be interested in boys, but Ran retorts that she does indeed have someone she's interested in - right, Conan?

Either Ran directs this to Conan because she's previously told him all about her crush on Shinichi... or she directs this to Conan for another reason...

Ran then extols all the virtues of Shinichi. "He's smart, great at soccer, and you can always count on him in a pinch. He's so cool! And he's a detective who could give my father a run for his money."

Ran gushing about Shinichi Kogoro is suspicious of Conan's reaction
Funimation dubbed Ran as saying, "He's smart and he plays soccer and he's always there for me..." lol.

During all this heaping of praise, Conan gets all red and flustered. Kogoro notices and asks him what he is getting so embarrassed about. Why should Conan get embarrassed if Ran is talking about Shinichi? How much thought does Kogoro put into this incident?

Conan nudges Kogoro and jerks his head toward a hint.

Later, after the murder happens, Kogoro is trying to investigate what happened, but he's kinda stumped, and he is embarrassing himself in front of everyone. While he's there floundering, Conan kicks Kogoro in the leg to get his attention and then jerks his head toward a hint. Oddly, Korogo accepts Conan's help in this situation without any question or complaint, although usually he would be annoyed at Conan for butting into his investigation. Interesting.

The Case of the Mysterious Woman with Amnesia

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
July 15, 1996
Our Quick Blip
This had a lot of potential, and apparently the anime team later agreed with themselves.
Kogoro brings Get Well gifts to the woman they helped get to the hospital

A woman gets amnesia and forgets who she is. Kogoro, Ran, and Conan try to help her remember, and eventually it turns out that (Toggle spoilers...) she is an assassin who was hired to kill Kogoro by a criminal whom he had previously convicted.

This is a very similar plot as what will later be used in the movie Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare. Unlike in the movie, though, (Toggle spoilers...) this assassin doesn't have a change of heart throughout the experience, and as soon as she remembers that she was supposed to kill Kogoro, she resumes the plan, even though Kogoro saved her life and helped her recover her memories. Meep.

Conan says he knew she was (Toggle spoilers...) a wire assassin the moment he saw the wound on her finger. No he didn't! He only noticed she had a strange wound, and much later saw her pull out her secret wire weapon, and only then he goes, "Aha! I always knew you were a wire assassin!". You liar. And hypocrite. No better than Kogoro taking credit for solving mysteries in his sleep.

A torn bible page and a puzzle piece

The mystery hinges on the fact that there are Bibles in hotels. And the torn page from the Bible has nice paper, so it must be a really nice hotel. Kogoro touches the paper and says, hm, three stars at least. Though, unless this is different in Japan, the hotel does not provide the Bibles. They're furnished by proselytizers, so they're all the same kind of Bible with all the same quality paper. Fancier hotels don't get fancier Bibles, lol. We are very amused at the idea that the five star hotel has like, what, gold-plated Bibles, while the no-star hotel has, like, a moldy sock with a cross on it.

And it is really funny to us to watch the characters discuss the phrase "The Last Supper" without picking up on any religious connotations. Eventually, it turned out to be a bar. Holy crap, that's a great bar name. If this were real, we'd be making plans to visit. Of course, it's even... (Toggle spoilers...)

...a secret front for assassins, complete with a jigsaw puzzle of Leonardo's "The Last Supper" mounted on the wall, and if you restore the puzzle piece containing Judas's face, a secret drawer opens underneath with information regarding the target of the next hit. OOOOO.

The Last Supper bar Conan and Ran find the completed Last Supper puzzle The assassin restored the puzzle piece of Judas's face And a secret drawer opened revealing the information on Kogoro
Though, the exterior could be a bit more thematically consistent...

The Fake Ransom Case

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
July 22, 1996
Our Quick Blip
Kogoro has some great moments in this one.
The van went through the fence and into the canal.  Megure and the police all stand at the hole in the fence looking down as sunbeams shine down dramatically.

Wow, this one was anime original?

A former classmate of Ran and Shinichi is involved in a kidnapping case. When her father goes to meet for the ransom exchange, the kidnapper knows the police are involved and drives away -- and ends up crashing through the fence and into the canal. No bodies are found. The father turns away the police because they really bungled things. Instead, Kogoro gets involved to help Ran's classmate.

Suddenly the father changes his mind and wants to cut ties with Kogoro. Kogoro goes to talk with him about the evidence found so far, and the rich guy interrupts him by trying to pay the severance fee. Kogoro refuses. Good for you, Kogoro.

Kogoro is interrupted by an envelope of money being flopped onto the desk Kogoro leaves without taking the severance fee.

Actual Japanese dialogue:

  1. Kogoro

    I didn’t come here for the stupid money. Ran! We’re going home!

Despite this episode being anime-only, Kogoro got to have this awesome badass moment, and some great lines that are sick burns against rich fucks.

In the end Ran's classmate is saved. (Toggle spoilers...) But the whole scheme was originally a ruse to test if her father valued her more than his money. Turns out he picked the money. Yikes.

John the Dog's Murder Case

Source
Anime Original
First Aired
July 29, 1996
Our Quick Blip
Some major character-building for Shinichi, but since this is an anime-original episode, it's not actually canon about his character. Some characters introduced here will appear again much later in other anime-original episodes.

Although this episode is anime original, it gives Shinichi the backstory that, when he was a child, he loved this particular dog as a puppy. It was the pet dog of one of his and Ran's classmates in middle-school. Yeah, lately both the canon episodes and the anime-original episodes have been introducing people from their pasts, and so this episode invents another former classmate of theirs. This classmate had committed suicide because of bullying.

Shinichi and Ran visiting John as a kid. Conan says he's known the dog since he was a kid, and Ayumi is confused.

Conan still goes to visit the dog even now. He brings the Detective Boys along, and forgets himself and mentions that the dog was a puppy when he was just a kid. But Conan, you are a kid.

Sig and Friedelinde from Agarest Zero

Also, it's weird that the dog is named John of all things. In Agarest Zero, there was a gag about Friedelinde imagining her future life married to Sieghart, and part of her elaborate fantasy includes how they will start a family and also have a dog named John. Is John a normal name to give to a dog in Japan, as opposed to how unsuitable it sounds to our English-speaking ears? Or is it just a coincidence that we know of two stories using the same strange name for a dog? Which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice. Actually, we've learned of another fictional dog named John in Japanese media - from the Ginga series. So that's three.

At least according to this site, John is a fairly common name for dogs in Japan (it makes it as #7 on this particular top ten list). So, maybe that's what's going on here.

It seems Funimation also found the name just too weird to leave the same. They ended up dubbing the dog's name as Jack, which is a common nickname for John, and it's seems a bit more right for the name of a dog. The kids also call him Jackie, even more diminutive.

Dramatic shot of Conan, John, and Shinichi in the background.

Anyway, during the episode, the dog ends up killing someone, seemingly without reason. Conan is especially distraught. The kids ask Conan if there is some way to save the dog from being put down, and he snaps back that he stayed up all night trying to figure out how to prove the dog's innocence.

It's okay, Conan does prove it, and the dog doesn't die! (Toggle spoilers...)

The owner of the dog, the father of Shinichi and Ran's classmate, had trained the dog so that the specific combination of the phone ringing, the clock chiming, and a specific phrase would cause the dog to attack. In this way, he killed his son's bully in a way that would be seen as a tragic accident, and then the dog would be put down, thereby eliminating the evidence. But Conan points out how he turned his son's beloved pet, who still loves and misses his son, into a murder weapon, and isn't he ashamed? And yes, the father is ashamed.

The bully had apparently given the father a heartfelt apology at his son's funeral, so the father had forgiven him, but then the bully completely forgot about him or his son and was still going around being a bully.

The culprit hugs John for probably the last time.

There has to be a better answer to this. It is a bit concerning that the bully apparently completely forgot about the kid he goaded into suicide and didn't even recognize his father. The father assumed it's because he didn't really care, but what if it was some sort of traumatic memory loss? There's even the detail that the father is a lawyer for juvenile delinquents, which is why he was so willing to accept the bully's apology. Wouldn't he have lots of experience with how his recovery probably won't be instantaneous and in a straight line? Could he have tried approaching the bully in a different way? He didn't even remind the bully who he was. He pretended to befriend the bully and then resorted directly to this sick and twisted murder. Which also means he will probably never be allowed to be around kids or dogs ever again.

Kogoro's Reunion Murder Case

Source
Manga Canon (Volume 9)
First Aired
August 5 and 12, 1996
Our Quick Blip
Critically important canon episode and one of our favorites in the series overall. Kogoro is awesome in this one, and Conan has some rare character growth.
Kogoro realizes the solution to the case

There are really no such thing as seasons for Detective Conan, but Shogakukan needed to divide them up somehow for the DVD releases. They ended up making this the "season finale" of "season one", and we absolutely agree with that decision.

Many of the previous anime-original episodes of this batch have been giving a special spotlight to Kogoro in particular. He was a bit reluctant to take the mystery of the calculator seriously, but once all the evidence started mounting, he got really into it. He also dedicated himself to helping the woman in the missing person case and the woman with amnesia, and even the innocent dog accused of murder. Kogoro has a tight budget and definitely understands the importance of money, and he will even do things that he considers a bit demeaning if he's being paid enough, but he won't do anything that goes against his firmly held moral code, not for all the money in the world. Kogoro doesn't always arrive at the right answer, and he might not take everything as seriously as he should right away, but he tries. If presented with new information that contradicts his theories, he usually listens and changes his mind. He's a bit of a clown, but his clowning is motivated by wanting to put everyone at ease and not cause inconvenience for those around him. And when there's someone who needs his help, he gets invested and gives his all, even if his all isn't always perfect.

Now, there's an important two-part manga-canon episode centered on Kogoro, and it's one of our favorites in the series overall.

A photo of the Judo Club holding a trophy.  Kogoro is in the middle flashing a victory V.
An old photo of the Judo Club

Kogoro is going to meet up with all his old friends from university for the Judo Club's reunion. Kogoro brought Ran along last time, five years ago, and Ran wants to come along again, and also bring Conan. It's going to be at a nice hot spring, and Ran wants to meet all of her dad's old friends again. This time around, Kogoro doesn't really want to bring Ran, because it was one thing when she was a kid, but now she's a teenager and it's a co-ed hot spring and what about all the travel expenses and just... it's his reunion! But Ran ends up coming anyway, and so does Conan.

In the beginning everyone is having a great time, bathing and talking and looking at old photos and playing ping pong and watching the fireworks and drinking sake... and then one of the Judo Club members, Yumi, is found dead in the bedroom, having apparently shot herself in the head.

The woman is collapsed against a bloody wall with a wound on her temple.  Kogoro and Nakamichi are in the room investigating, while everyone else is standing in the doorway.

One of the other members of the Judo Club, Nakamichi, is now a police officer, and Kogoro is a former police officer, so they investigate the scene (the local police force is stuck in traffic from the ongoing festivals). At first it seems straight-forward that Yumi stepped away from the group saying she was taking a nap, and based on how stiff her body is now, she must have killed herself then. However, the bullet wound suggests that she was shot without the gun being against her head, and one of the other Judo Club members, Omura, claims to have seen her well after what would have been the time of death, glaring from one of the windows.

(Toggle spoilers...)

Nakamichi believes the evidence points to an outsider having broken into the inn, who then shot Yumi in a panic and tried to make it look like a suicide. At first, Kogoro seems convinced, but Conan sees many holes in this theory. Conan tries to do his usual thing of pointing out this and that to Kogoro to try to change his mind, and it seems like Kogoro is not listening to reason.

It's only as Conan follows Kogoro on the way to the toilet to continue insisting on different points of the case, and once they are out of earshot of the others, that Kogoro snaps and punches the wall in frustration.

Kogoro punches the wall in frustration.

Yes, Kogoro already knows that the murder cannot possibly have been done by an outsider. Of course it wasn't an outsider. But that means it was one of Kogoro's best friends. But he is not going to let the murderer get away.

Conan completely underestimated that Kogoro had any idea what was going on. Because Kogoro was going along with the "outsider" theory, Conan assumed that Kogoro had no idea of the truth. Conan cannot even fathom knowing something and not immediately blurting it out regardless of the timing or the consequences. He cannot hold in a factoid about hand calluses for five seconds after he notices them, and he thinks everyone else operates in the same way.

While Kogoro is in the toilet, Conan has all of the remaining epiphanies and solves the case. Kogoro comes back into the hallway, and Conan is aiming with the tranquilizer dart, but then his tiny atrophied shred of empathy is activated, and he realizes that he should let Kogoro be conscious for this, that Kogoro should be the one to make the deduction about which of his friends is actually the murderer, that Kogoro should be the one to solve the case as he just vowed to do.

Kogoro in the crosshair of the tranquilizer dart Conan aiming and reconsidering

Kogoro stepped away to go to the restroom with the goal of clearing his head, and once he returns, he's putting the clues together. For this part, we get to hear Kogoro's thoughts as he thinks everything through. He was there musing over how Omura could have possibly seen Yumi alive at 5:30 when the rigor indicated she died around 3:00. Conan starts giving Kogoro hints and passing it off as being an annoying little kid. He says some crap about table tennis, which helps Kogoro have the epiphany that Yumi must have been playing table tennis when she died, which was why her clothes would have needed to be changed and why her hand was frozen in that particular shape. And wait, wasn't there that case at the police academy when...

Kogoro reacts as Conan talks about Benkei

And then Conan starts babbling about Benkei, the namesake of the inn, who, according to legend, died standing up. Which was exactly the phenomenon that Kogoro was trying to put his finger on, that when engaged in strenuous exercise at the time of death, rigor sets in much faster.

Kogoro's face during this revelation is an intense wide-eyed stare. If you want to go with the theory that Kogoro has some idea of what is going on with Conan, this would be a scene to include in that discussion. The concept of exercise speeding up rigor mortis was already on the tip of Kogoro's tongue when Conan suddenly dropped the clue about it. Kogoro didn't even really need this clue, and his shock in this moment might be not so much regarding the revelation for this particular part of the murder mystery, but actually shock at how Conan seems to be aware of this rare forensic phenomenon and the sense that Conan is actively trying to help him solve the case under the table. How is this seven-year-old child just-so-happening to mention all the clues Kogoro needs in this conversation, veering wildly from niche table tennis knowledge to modern forensic explanations for the folkloric death of a legendary hero?

The inn's statue of Benkei
The inn features a wooden statue of Benkei.

By the way, we need to make this clearer. We looked up Benkei on Wikipedia, and we learned all about how he was a monk who became a warrior, and how he's known for his extreme dedication and loyalty. The story of his death goes that the battle was all but lost, the castle surrounded, and Benkei needed to defend the bridge long enough for his friend to go commit seppuku. Anyone who tried to cross the bridge and got too close to Benkei died, so they decided to shoot him with arrows. But still he stood guard on the bridge, despite being shot through with so many arrows. Eventually the enemy worked up the nerve to approach him again, and realized he had died standing up. He was such a loyal badass that he died standing up, still guarding the bridge even though he was dead. So badass.

But the Wikipedia page in no way mentions that Benkei is thought to have died standing up because exercise can speed up rigor mortis! This is something from the like, the Folklore Mysteries Explained show , along with a segment about how maybe the Egyptian plagues were caused in a chain reaction following a massive volcanic eruption and what if Jesus faked his death. This is not part of a mainstream understanding of the story, and this sort of forensic factoid is really weird for a little kid like Conan to just casually know, and to be bringing up right in this moment!

Kogoro points at the culprit

But, issue with Conan aside... Kogoro does put all the evidence together and comes to the right deduction. He needed just one more hint from Conan to lock-in the clinching evidence. But Kogoro's deduction was exactly right.

The murderer was Nakamichi, the police officer. He'd been dating Yumi for 18 years, but their relationship seems to have been really fucked up. They told everyone that they broke up ages ago, but, actually, they were still seeing each other. He wanted to marry her, and she didn't want to marry him, and after several turned down proposals, he seemed ready to move on and instead go along with a cushy arranged marriage with his boss's daughter. But then Yumi started harassing his poor fiancée, and she was going to even use their sexy photos to ruin Nakamichi. He decided the only way to escape this messed-up relationship and prevent further damage to his arranged marriage was murder. But now he's going to jail, and his boss probably doesn't want his daughter to marry a murderer.

Kogoro flips the culprit.

When Kogoro delivers his deduction, the murderer grabs him by the collar, but Kogoro defends himself with a judo move. During the flip, we get to hear Kogoro's philosophy regarding murder: "No matter what the reason is, I could never understand what drives people to kill. I don't want to understand."

In the post-credits, Kogoro is back in the office, looking depressed and gazing out the window. Conan and Ran talk about how Kogoro really is great at judo, but would get so worked up before tournaments that he couldn't compete. Kogoro can't do things on a stage. He does them when he needs to.

Conan says he wants to go cheer Kogoro up. Which is kinda a cute sentiment. We wonder what he would have done?

Kogoro gazing out the window.

In conclusion

At this point the series has gelled into, here's your episodic mystery for the week. The quality of the writing at this point is good in both the manga and anime episodes, for the most part. There were a few that we didn't like as much as the others, but nothing really worth complaining about. Probably the only critique we have is about the one that deviated from the manga and inadvertently ruined what would have been a really great early set-up for a future plotpoint - but even there, we watched that episode not knowing about how things went in the manga, and we found the altered version to be an enjoyable episode in itself. We can just mourn the small writing tragedy and how this unfortunately caused problems for the anime down the road.

But yeah, overall, the episodes in this arbitrary batch are enjoyable and good. There's even one of our absolute favorites. In this set of episodes, Kogoro ends up getting most of the spotlight. We see he's not just a useless bumbling detective that is convenient for Conan to steer around. He's a good detective in his own right, with his own values, and his own vices, and his own convictions.

Thanks

Special thanks to Mat for helping us to figure out more about what's the deal of about dogs named John.

Notes

  1. Haha, made you turn your head!
  2. Conan saw it on TV!