Posted on November 29th 2022
Part three 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.
The Computer Murder Case
- Anime Original
- First Aired
- August 19, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- This one amused us.
An episode about the dangers of a smart home! Prophetic words from 1996!
The victim, a CEO, had a heart condition, and he was murdered by someone messing with his smart thermostat ✽ to cause extreme temperature fluctuations that would trigger a heart attack. Apparently it got all the way to 40°C... and at no point during this process did he wake up. To be fair, he was extremely drunk that evening, but, wow. (Toggle spoilers...)
The culprit was obvious to us from the beginning. He has a motive. He is a programmer, so he could have hacked the thermostat. And he has an alibi for 2am of all times - he went to the convenience store and dropped the eggs, so he will surely be remembered. That's pretty con-fucking-venient. The fact that he has an alibi for 2am actually makes him infinitely more suspicious than if he didn't.
Of course, it doesn't matter where he was at 2am, because the program messed with the thermostat automatically and remotely, so the programmer could have been anywhere during the time of the murder...
The incriminating proof was evidence of the CEO's cat having been in the culprit's apartment. The culprit wanted to murder the CEO, but he's no monster who would kill an innocent cat, so he secretly kept the cat in his own home until the crime was over, leaving behind lots of incriminating cat hair and bits of kitty litter.
In this episode, Conan took a surprisingly long time to connect the dots. He makes up for that by ending the episode with an impassioned speech about how the culprit betrayed his best friend, the computer, by using it in a crime!!! It is complete corny cheeseball narm.
The Alibi Testimony Murder Case
- Anime Original
- First Aired
- August 26, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- A good anime original episode that builds on the manga canon.
This is another episode where someone hired Kogoro specifically to make him part of the alibi.
Conan, as Sleeping Kogoro, gives a whole dramatic deduction during a funeral ceremony in front of everyone. We misremembered this episode as the reason why Kogoro's fame as Sleeping Kogoro starts to take off, but this is an anime-original episode. You could still think of it that way, though. This is one of those times in which we think the anime-original episodes build on the manga canon in a way that enhances the story progression.
The TV Station Murder Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 11)
- First Aired
- September 2, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- Important development of Sleeping Kogoro, and a murder mystery that we had a lot of thoughts about.
Kogoro is invited to a live television talk show as a special detective guest. He mentions during the show that solving cases makes him sleepy and he doesn't really remember how it goes, and everyone takes it as a funny joke... it was not a joke.
During the interview, the conversation goes toward guns, and Kogoro mentions that he's not a good shot. This detail will be willfully contradicted by the anime team in the plot of the second movie, The Fourteenth Target. Watching the movie, apparently the manga author agreed that it would be more interesting to make Kogoro be a good shot, and decided it was canon too. So, looking back at this older episode, this detail is something that has been retconned. However, from a fan analysis perspective, we can try to come up with an explanation that reconciles this contradiction, in-universe. We can think of this as Kogoro just being humble about his abilities. When the host asks him if he is a good shot, we don't think that Kogoro would answer, yeah, absolutely, I'm an amazing shot, hohoho! Maybe if they complimented him first, he would agree. But we don't think he would open with bragging about it for no reason.
When Kogoro brags about himself, it's generally to put other people at ease. If someone is worried about whether the case will be solved, Kogoro will say, don't worry, I'm the great detective and, with me here, the case is as good as solved! It's also part of his job as a detective to be confident and make his clients have confidence in him as well. This contrasts with Shinichi's attitude. Shinichi brags because he thinks he's hot shit, not to inspire confidence. After all, Kogoro is a professional freelance detective, so he has to be confident and inspire confidence, even if he's not always right... but Shinichi is just a high school student with an ego, who doesn't work with clients at all, and doesn't know one jot about professionalism.
Also, in The Fourteenth Target, it comes out that, 10 years before the current time, there was an incident in which Kogoro ended up shooting his wife in the leg, which led to him being dismissed from the police force and was ultimately the catalyst for Kogoro and his wife's separation. This is not something that he'd want to casually bring up. He'd much rather minimize that topic, thanks.
Although, Kogoro does jokingly mention during the interview that he's available - he's currently separated from his wife. This was established back in Episode 1, but it has been awhile since then, so this mention serves to remind the audience about Kogoro's marital status.
Also from a storytelling perspective, the reason the conversation went into guns during the television show is to set up that the TV host is a great shot, which is a clue about how he pulled off the murder of the day.
The talk show host was the co-creator of this particular talk show together with the producer, and the producer made him agree to forfeit any recognition for creating the show in exchange for being the star. Then, the producer decided to rework the show into some trash with boobies, and he planned to fire the talk show host. And the talk show host, who freely signed away his control over the show, was all Surprised Pikachu Face at this betrayal. So, the talk show host murdered the producer so that he could continue the show that he had secretly helped to create.
During his confession, the talk show host says, actually, the planning phase of the show was the most enjoyable part of the experience, and he didn't actually like doing the show itself that much - but he seems to be having this realization as he's saying it, with the murder already committed. It sounds like the talk show host really liked the producer, which may have been why he agreed to such humiliating terms, and why he took the betrayal so personally.
It wouldn't have even been a big deal if he was fired from the show. The talk show host is well-liked by the public. He could have gone to a rival talk show and done something else, and people would have still watched him because it was him, in the meanwhile that his previous show becomes some bunny girl bullshit and loses its previous audience.
The murder method here was kind of interesting. The culprit shot the producer from the floor above, with the bullet traveling vertically downwards. That makes sense, but it's not something you would usually imagine when thinking of shooting. But with gravity... yeah, sure. And yeah, the culprit was banking on everyone thinking that someone shot in the head must have been shot horizontally from the other side of the room.
But way to kind of give it away. This was all premeditated, and yet, he immediately tips Conan off by somehow knowing where the corpse will be found. Then he's there gloating at the murder scene. Then he volunteers the information that, to commit the deed as Megure and Kogoro are theorizing, it would take 6 minutes even if you ran at top speed, and that's impossible. And then he even gets control of the camera to deliver a tear-jerking speech about, the show must go on! We will find the horrible monster who did this to my dear friend! By that point, everyone in the room is raising an eyebrow.
When Conan sets up the cameras for the deduction show, Megure has a cute moment of fixing his face and changing his voice to sound more refined. And proto-Takagi fixes his tie!
Conan was daring enough to have Sleeping Kogoro deliver his deduction on camera, but he didn't know that it would be broadcast on national television... Maybe that wasn't a good idea. What if the Black Organization notices that something is off about Sleeping Kogoro, and carefully looks at the footage and notices Conan in the background? But this won't happen. Gin wasn't watching that channel in that moment. Too bad, it probably would have been to his taste, what with someone getting shot in the head and all.
The Coffee Shop Murder Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 11)
- First Aired
- September 9, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- The first appearance of an important character.
Ran leaves the house telling Conan that she's got a date with Shinichi. Conan watches her go, all, wow! She really got all dolled up to see Shinichi. She must really like him. ... ... ...Wait, I'm Shinichi!
The detective with the body of a child and the mind of an idiot!
To be fair to Shinichi, we did see this moment as a sign that he's gotten used to the fact that he is now Conan. In Episode 2, he had trouble remembering that when people said "Conan" that they were addressing him. By Episode 32, he can have a whole conversation about "Shinichi" and forget that, wait, that's me. And it is interesting to see the shift.
But yeah, Ran is lying about who she is going to meet, so Conan decides to follow her. He's already jealously assuming it's a date with a new boy.
If Ran still suspects Conan might be Shinichi, this lie may have been a way to mess with him and to see how he reacts. The fact that Conan insisted on coming along only gives more potential fuel to Ran's suspicions.
But Conan isn't thinking about that right now. He crashes Ran's date and insists on being there to see who this new boy is and to ruin their outing. Ran steps away to buy a bribe-cake to try to convince Conan to leave. Not that it was going to work. But while Ran is gone, Conan tries to guess which one of the people in the cafe is her new date. He zeroes in on this one obnoxious guy who is talking on the phone about how he is meeting with an innocent girl who he's totally going to fuck.
...Also murder happens.
The investigation is assisted by a lawyer who happened to be in the cafe at the time. By when the culprit has been identified, Ran returns, and Conan is horrified to realize that the lawyer is Ran's mom, Eri, who was the person Ran was going to meet with all along.
Conan mentally justifies not having recognized Eri because he hasn't seen her in like ten years. But how much could she have possibly changed in that time? It just shows that Shinichi didn't think it was important to remember the mom of his best (and only) friend / love interest, and not even to remember that Ran's mom is a lawyer. And also, while he doesn't remember her face or anything about her, he does somehow remember the feeling of her glare, but that doesn't quite turn on the lightbulb.
Shinichi is really not as smart as he thinks.
But right before this all comes out, Conan tries to ruin Ran's date with the guy he thought was the date, by retelling what he was talking about in her absence. But Ran only reacts with confusion, and who's this dude saying such crude things? Then, the guy's actual date shows up - the "innocent girl" is Sonoko, who does hear this, punches the jerk, and immediately leaves. So, in the end, Conan's stupid jealousy turned out to be useful. Although, if Conan hadn't interfered, then Ran would have been in the restaurant to overhear it herself, and she would have told Sonoko, and then the dude would have been punched twice: first knocked out by Ran, and then an extra punch from Sonoko for good measure.
In the post-credits, Eri happens to see the recording of the events from the previous episode on a television set in a shop window. Seeing Kogoro, she seems almost touched, until they play the clip of him joking that he can have a hot date because he's separated from his wife. No amount of Ran explaining will save Kogoro - he didn't really mean it, it was all a hammed-up demonstration skit explaining the dangers of saying incriminating things on a cellphone... but the damage has been done. We guess it's a bad idea to say incriminating things on television also.
Eri's parting line is that she married Kogoro because they were childhood friends, and Ran better not make the same mistake with her childhood friend Shinichi. Funny. This is the show where everybody is compelled by the author to date their childhood friend, with like, two exceptions, over a cast that will eventually have more than 70 recurring characters.
The introduction of Eri was well-foreshadowed so that we could have guessed who this mysterious person was if we were paying a high enough degree of attention:
- The fact that Kogoro's wife left him is mentioned in Episode 1.
- The fact that Kogoro is separated but not divorced from his wife is mentioned in the previous episode.
- Shinichi looks at Eri and thinks she's hot. Because he also thinks Ran is hot.
- Ran says that she's meeting someone who is even more important to her than Shinichi, and when Conan presses on that, Ran says they are not really relationships that could be compared. So you could realize she's talking about meeting with family, not going on a date with someone she just met.
- Ran mentions that the person she is meeting with has long hair and usually wears it up. The jerk dude matches the description, but so does the lawyer.
- Megure already knows Eri by name. When Conan asks him about it, Megure says that of course he knows her, she is– and he never gets to finish his sentence. He was going to say something like, she's Kogoro's wife. And Kogoro used to be his partner when they were both in the police, so of course he knows his former partner's wife.
- When dealing with the culprit, Eri did the same judo flip as Kogoro. That's because Kogoro taught her this move.
So yeah, this is excellent foreshadowing, and not just an ass-pull. We could have made this guess if we were having a good day.
The first time we watched, we didn't get the clues, and Denise fell for the red herring that she was the murderer, because, yes, that was definitely presented as a possibility. Rosy remembers that she also thought that Ran wasn't meeting with the guy, so she must have been meeting with the lawyer, who ended up being the murderer in the meanwhile. So, half-right. And Denise thinks she remembers pausing and discussing, but why would Ran need a lawyer?
The Detective Boys Survival Case
- Anime Original
- First Aired
- October 14, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- Even though this is a nice enough episode in itself, essentially everything about it will later be contradicted by the manga canon.
Man, this episode has no business doing all the things it does as a non-canon episode.
The situation goes that Agasa has a secret treasure map, and he sends the Detective Boys on the treasure hunt in this hiking spot / fishing spot / campground. The kids have to go to each point on the map and figure out where they need to go next. In the meanwhile, some jewel thieves have hidden their stash at what ends up being the final point of the treasure map, so the kids have to survive a confrontation with the thieves.
But the intended treasure was a note saying that it was the journey and the friends you made along the way, and all that crap. The kids take it surprisingly well. Just, a, welp. And a laugh.
Conan notices that the note is signed and dated with his father's name, with his very distinctive signature. It turns out that this treasure map was a key part of a novel that Shinichi's father had written. A fan broke into their house and stole the manuscript before it was published. This fan ended up becoming a jewel thief and used the same treasure map to hide the jewels, and then died in a car crash, which led to his accomplices needing to find where the jewels were stashed. And Agasa had a copy of the map too, stashed away in his attic, for some reason.
Because the cops investigated the jewel thieves, they were also able to recover the lost manuscript, and Conan opens the first page to see that the novel was going to be dedicated to Shinichi. And in the end, Conan signs the note in the treasure chest as Shinichi in the same style as his dad.
In this episode, everyone acts out-of-character. The kids were fine with reaching the treasure chest and getting absolutely nothing but a sanctimonious note. This is especially out-of-character for Genta. He had decided that he'd use the treasure to get a lifetime supply of eel, and he was practically tasting it already as he opened the chest, and would he really accept that he's getting nothing at all, and with such grace?
As an aside, we think Genta's wish for treasure for the sake of eel is really cute. We forget when, but we are pretty sure we remember at some point he mentions that eel is his favorite food, but eel is kinda pricey, so his mom told him something like, since they are not rich, they can't have eel every day. So, whenever there's talk about finding treasure and getting rich, Genta immediately and only thinks of how that means he could have his favorite food every day. Dawww.
For another out of character moment... Conan is initially all pissed off that he is stuck doing this treasure hunt with the kids, as if he were also a kid, and he's not a kid... but by the end, Shinichi is thinking that this sort of adventure is fun whether you are seven or seventeen. This could be part of an arc where Shinichi reconnects with his childhood through the experience of being turned into a child and becoming friends with the Detective Boys, and we thought his characterization would be going in that direction, except that this episode is anime-original, and nothing that happened here will impact Conan's continuing canon characterization (say that three times fast). In the manga-canon episodes, we're not even sure if he likes the kids, or if he just sees them as part of his cover and that he needs to make sure they don't die because he feels responsible for them.
And then there's the whole presentation of Shinichi's dad. This episode is acting like Shinichi's dad is dead, and Shinichi never really got to know his dad very much, and so he's got a kind of deep reverence for him. In this episode, he's like, omg, this treasure hunt was designed by my dad! This treasure map was touched by my dad! This is the manuscript that was dedicated to me by my dad! It's incredible that this anime-original episode goes there, because, as we will later learn... Shinichi's dad is very much alive. And Shinichi has mainly negative feelings about his dad.
Though, we don't blame the anime team for coming to these conclusions. Why is this teenager living alone in his parents' mansion? Why are they not around at all? In Episode 1, Ran did mention that Shinichi's parents went to the US three years ago, but it was one single mention, and it's been a while now. Then again, did they die in the US or something? Does Ran have the full story? One way or the other, Shinichi's parents haven't written to Shinichi, or called Shinichi, or come back to visit him, in over three years. That's three years of the life of their teenage son! That means that they left when he was 14, and now he is 17. They missed the end of his childhood and a big chunk of his adolescence. And they haven't seen him in three years. What if the poison had worked, and Shinichi had died in the amusement park? Would they even have known? They wouldn't have checked. They'd be getting a call from the police, maybe, if the police could find them. Ran was right to think that she's the only one who would notice or care if Shinichi died.
So, the anime team seems to have assumed that these characters who have been complete non-entities up to this point must be dead. Well, that would be the sane answer. Because the canon answer is actually the batshit insane answer. Shinichi's parents are perfectly fine and just off gallivanting on another continent, on a whim, while their son who was a child is becoming a man (and then reverting to a child).
We're hoping Shinichi's parents will be revealed as villains in the end, who were in-the-know with the Black Organization, and Shinichi himself is part of some experiment for eternal youth, or he's one of several clones with impulsive detectivery, or with a supernatural aura that causes murders to happen around him, or a prototype for creating a squad of deceptively toddler-like assassins, or whatever it is that is going on, and the fact that they left for three years was all part of the plan in some way... but at this point, we're afraid that the story will end with Shinichi's parents just being inexplicably assholes, but presented as if we're supposed to like them.
Yet, looking again at the release dates... Shinichi's parents appeared in manga volumes 5-6, which were released by July 18, 1995. But this episode aired on October 14, 1996, so the anime team had plenty of time to realize that their assumptions about Shinichi's parents were wrong. Very strange. Why did they deviate from the canon so much?
So, actually, we think this episode should be skipped. Not because it's a filler, or because it's particularly bad. It's alright in itself, but the plot of this episode is actually detrimental to understanding the real story as it will develop later, and it won't be too long now before Shinichi's parents will appear in the show, alive and not dead, and their dynamic with Shinichi will screech horribly against this episode. But we kinda wish this episode was right, compared to what the truth will actually be.
The Mountain Villa Bandage Man Murder Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 5)
- First Aired
- October 21 and 28, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- More about Sonoko, and we also meet her sister. But we didn't care much for the mystery.
For being such a big deal two-parter, we thought the story here was kind of a plop.
Sonoko invites Ran to her vacation house in the woods, where her big sister has invited all of her college friends, which includes boys. Sonoko's goal is to get laid, and help Ran get laid too. But Ran brings along Conan for reasons unknown. We speculate that Conan guessed Sonoko's intentions and insisted on being there as a cockblock. If not for Ran, who isn't even interested, at least for Sonoko, just to annoy her.
Shinichi is rather proud of his... fish.
This is a good point for us to discuss the quality of the Funimation English dub of this show. While we have been watching Detective Conan in Japanese, we are using the dub episodes for screenshots (since they won't have the subtitles in the way). In the process, we get to hear some of the dub, and we have come to the conclusion that it is great. The translation is surprisingly very accurate, but they also took any opportunity to put a funny twist on it whenever possible. For one example, back in Episode 2, Conan hops in the car to go to the crime scene with Kogoro, and Kogoro is annoyed and says to get rid of this kid. In Japanese, Ran answers, "How can we do that? We are on the highway!" In the Funimation dub, she sarcastically retorts, "Sure, I'll just toss him out the window in the middle of the highway." Yeah. And Funimation definitely was on a roll with this Bandage Man arc.
When Ran first arrives, she accidentally opens all the doors without knocking, and sees all the boys naked.
This is a contrived excuse to ensure that the rest of the plot happens, and that she saw all three of the suspects, rather than the only relevant one which would have given away the answer to the mystery. In reality, this is ridiculous. If she absentmindedly opened the wrong door once, we could maybe understand. But thrice?! After the first mistake, she would surely knock. But even the first time around, would Ran really barge into some random door?!?
Later, after dinner, Ran is accosted by Sonoko's target, the hottest of the boys, who does the hand over the wall thing... and takes her out for a walk... in the rain and thunder, with an umbrella. He says that makes it more atmospheric. It also makes it more likely to get struck by lightning.
While the Ran is roped into this walk under the umbrella, she gives an (offscreen) explanation of her romantic situation to try to deflect this guy. He says, but why are you waiting for him? Why be with someone who's that cold towards you? I can show you an adult relationship ...and he would have made a move, had it not been for lightning striking in that moment, and Ran had more than one reason to run screaming into the woods.
But in the woods, she is attacked by a man covered in bandages swinging an axe. Ran is not having a good day.
The mystery of the day is surprisingly gruesome, with severed body parts... and you don't wanna know how the head was transported...
But after the first murder, Ran continues to be a target. It's because she saw something she shouldn't have seen when she barged into the rooms at the beginning. But she doesn't even know what that thing is. The murderer is trying to murder her just in case she remembers, even though there is no sign of Ran having that epiphany.
Ultimately, the motive is about... (Toggle whydunit...)
...a member of this club who had committed suicide over the one friend stealing her movie script and becoming famous with it. This sort of thing happens a lot in this series. But, as Conan points out, the culprit sure talks up all about holy revenge, but was willing to kill Ran, a perfectly innocent stranger, just for insurance? That is not justice, that is just being a bloodthirsty murderer! And watch out for the monster... called... revenge!
Yeah, that was very narmy.
The dude coming onto Ran was just a massive red herring. But he brings up an important point: does Ran actually want to wait for Shinichi, and, if so, why? Ran is extremely eligible, and has been waiting all this time for a guy who, from her perspective, called once, several weeks back, and this was after he abandoned her in the middle of their date, and she was worrying herself sick about how he might be dead, and he has made no effort to speak with her or meet with her ever since. She could just as easily come to the conclusion that he's not that interested, and she could move on. It's really only because the plot mandates that Ran doesn't move on. This episode could have gone more into why Ran is waiting for Shinichi. But mostly, it's just, she is waiting for Shinichi, and that's just how it is.
Another red herring the first time around, if you don't know yet how this series goes, is Sonoko's sister. But, in this show, if a new character appears who has a relation to an existing important character, they might as well be wearing armor. They are not the culprit, and they will not die. Sonoko's sister will reappear a couple more times, although as a very minor character.
The Monday Night 7:30pm Murder Case
- Anime Original
- First Aired
- November 4, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- The one with Ayumi's dentist! It's a memorable episode for us, and we had a lot of thoughts about it. And it's anime original?!
In this episode, Ayumi has to go to the dentist, apparently to extract a baby tooth that isn't falling out on its own. Is this really even necessary? This might already be a hint... But the dentist says this surgery is so urgent that she will see Ayumi after-hours in order to do it, and she even agrees to drive Ayumi home afterwards, so her parents don't even have to remember that she exists. There's something really off with Ayumi's parents. Actually, there's something really off with most of the parents in this show. They make Kogoro seem like pretty much the only responsible parent around. At least he's present in his daughter's life, sometimes.
Anyway, Conan takes pity on how Ayumi is so alone, and he accompanies her to the dentist's office. And yet the dentist kinda shoos him away. At the time, Conan doesn't think overly much of it.
The next day, the kids learn that there was a murder in the neighborhood, and the dentist was the one who discovered the body. The police question Ayumi to confirm the dentist's alibi.
But the investigation uncovers that the dentist does have ample motive to have killed the guy. He murdered her brother when they were children, but there wasn't enough evidence, and he went free. Megure finds it too suspicious that she was the one who happened to find the body, but he's a bit stuck, so he asks Kogoro for insight. (Toggle spoilers...)
And Kogoro does have 95% of the right answer. He suspects that the dentist fooled Ayumi into thinking it was a different time by altering the room and playing a recording of that night's episode of Kamen Yaiba, and probably giving her sleeping pills to make sure she was asleep at the right times and to confuse her. This is almost exactly how it went, but the dentist just sits there and is like, but what evidence? And there's no VCR, there's no tape, and Ayumi's parents can confirm that she arrived home at the right time, and this is all conjecture at this point, and Kogoro has to leave dejectedly.
Conan instead figures out that the dentist has the same curtain in her apartment as in the dentist office. When he visits her, there are signs that the room has recently had the same setup as the dentist office. So what actually happened was that the dentist took the sleeping Ayumi to her house, next to where the crime occurred, did the deed, woke up Ayumi so she could give the testimony that the dentist was present at a certain time while Kamen Yaiba was on TV and while Ayumi had no idea she'd been transported to a different place, then put her to sleep again, brought her back to the dentist office, made Ayumi catch the end of the show, and then brought her home. So the dentist manipulated not the time, but the place.
The only evidence Conan has is the fact that Ayumi took a card from the deck of playing cards as a good luck charm before her surgery, and put it back after. Since Ayumi was actually in two different places, now the deck of cards in the dentist's apartment has an extra ace.
Conan goes to the dentist's apartment alone, presents his only piece of evidence, and admits that he's told no one, and that no one knows where he went. There's a moment of suspense where we fear the dentist might harm him and destroy the evidence, but she doesn't. Conan was probably banking on the fact that her little brother died in a kidnapping, so she would never hurt a little boy... but that's a lot of trust to put into a murderer that you've cornered and conveniently provided an out for. It's kind of unnecessarily reckless from Conan. He may as well have lied and said that he told Kogoro and everyone is coming. But Conan wanted to let her turn herself in, and to validate her wish to be caught by a kid.
Because when she was a kid, she was an eyewitness to the kidnapping and murder of her brother, but her testimony was deemed not enough evidence for the murder trial, because she was a kid. So, we think that the fact that she specifically used Ayumi as a witness was to see if things had changed, and if they would take a child's testimony. But, in this case... if they do accept Ayumi's testimony, the dentist will get away with murder. And if they don't accept Ayumi's testimony, that's sad. And if they do accept Ayumi's testimony, and then it turns out that she was wrong, as it happened, that might directly undermine the dentist's point (see? they shouldn't have trusted a child to know what was going on). So... D:
Also, the dentist gave Ayumi sleeping pills. What if something happened? And we still can't get over the fact that Ayumi's parents let her have surgery with anesthetic while they weren't present. What if she had a bad reaction, or if she was scared, or if anything arose where a parental decision was needed? And they let her go there in the evening, to an empty building, and then trusted the dentist to drive her back. Anything could have happened. Just... they really don't care about Ayumi. :(
This is the second time Ayumi gets kidnapped, although she didn't know that had happened. Two of many, many more times. Poor Ayumi.
The Cactus Flower Murder Case
- Anime Original
- First Aired
- November 11, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- It's a pretty good episode, though the ending is again narmy.
A woman goes to Kogoro asking for his help to locate a man. She says she met him on vacation, and she'd like to meet him again because she's developed feelings for him, so she needs help to find him. She drew a picture to help Kogoro identify him, and Conan (Toggle spoilers...) can tell from the way she drew him that she doesn't actually like him, so he investigates. It turns out he's actually responsible for the death of her fiancé, and she wants to murder him for revenge.
The Polish dub localized the title of this episode as "Murder case with a cactus in the background". That's accurate: the original title makes it sound like the murder was committed with a cactus, but actually, the cactus is tangentially related to the situation and didn't kill anybody.
At one point, Conan finds a thorn of a cactus. It's a thorn... of a Christmas cactus. Which is a succulent with no thorns, and it is in no way sharp. And the animators even drew it correctly later in the episode, without a thorn in sight, so... what. Maybe they only saw it in photos and mistook the distinctive shape of the plant segments as thorns? They could have chosen pretty much any other cactus if they wanted a plotpoint involving a thorn as evidence, but they accidentally picked the least threatening cactus there is.
The Akaoni Village Fire Festival Murder Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 2)
- First Aired
- November 18, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- Very good episode, with a good mystery and good character dynamics.
The murder in this episode was so gruesome and brutal. The murderer killed this guy, and then put the body into the festival's bonfire. So, not only he killed the guy, but that poor girl who found the body will be probably scarred for life, and he ruined the whole festival because they had to get the body out of the flames, and how will these people be able to do the festival next year remembering that last year someone was found dead in the fire. Like, geez, did he have to ruin everyone's good time? And the reason for the murder ends up being absolutely horrific too, but did he have to do this on top of it?
Then again, this dude seems to really get off on involving people in his murder scheme and just rubbing it in their noses.
The plan hinged on the fact that the culprit hired Kogoro to tail a guy for the past three days. Kogoro does so, and takes photos of this guy during his life over the course of the three days. Easy peasy detective work for a great rate. But then, the guy that Kogoro was tailing turned up dead in the bonfire, in a whole other region, and now Kogoro's photographic evidence proves that the victim was alive and well for those three days, so he must have been killed after that, while his client was having a business trip somewhere else entirely. That proves that Kogoro's client must be innocent... right?
Megure needs Kogoro to come to the station to answer the questions about this asshole's alibi, and the asshole is there all smiles. He and his friend just so happened to each take out a big insurance policy, with the other as the only benefactor, as a sort of bet to see which one would live longer. And the asshole is there all, well, my, it's such a surprise that I ended up outliving him, and in such a short time after we made this quirky bet. He has no sign of sadness or horror over hearing that his friend burned in a bonfire. The culprit from the other episode at least pretended to cry about his dear, dear friend who was murdered. But this asshole specifically got a detective involved to fabricate his alibi, just so that he could laugh at how he fooled the detective and the police, and he flounces out of the police station to go cash his check.
Kogoro takes it as a matter of pride that he must demolish this guy. Understandably. But it's also very commendable of him. The only bad thing about it is that he mostly takes out his frustration on Conan, physically. He hits him on the head at one point, and later he gives him the two side noogies.
One funny thing about this episode is how Kogoro's reaction to the commission changes. Initially he was all, omg, I got such a great commission for this easy peasy task, what a great job, what a great day! Then he learns that his detective work ended up earning the murderer a whopping 5 million yen, and then he's miffed that his commission was so small compared to these ill-gotten gains. Then he's ranting that this guy must be guilty, because no matter how you look at it, he paid him way too much - an obscene amount of money that anyone would say was obviously fishy. And by the end, Kogoro wishes he hadn't taken on the job at all.
While he's reviewing the evidence, Kogoro thinks to himself that it's weird how Conan always seems to give him just the right little hint that he needs to be able to figure out something important, as if he were somehow doing it on purpose...
The primary evidence is the series of photos the asshole took while he was on his business trip. There's a really evident clock in every photo, and a new photo taken like every half hour, just to rub in that this is his totally his alibi and he's totally making it on purpose just to completely rule out any possibility that he hopped on a plane to do the murder.
Megure calls to say that the asshole has cashed the check and is en route to the airport. He's going to flee to Seattle and be well outside the jurisdiction of the Japanese police, and live a life of luxury in the United States. He seems to fully expect that the police will eventually figure out his trick, but he will be long gone by when that happens. Although, lol, he thinks he can just "live a life of luxury" in the United States just like that? That he can just enter at the US border and never leave, and that he can just stay, even if his home country puts a warrant out for his arrest, and he's an illegal alien? He'd be deported in no time. Unless he was planning on bribing anyone who needed bribing.
I guess we need to calculate his money. His motive was that he was broke and 3 million yen in debt. He used the insurance money to pay off the debt, so he has 2 million yen left. Based on the yen to USD exchange rate from 1996 (0.008), that's $16,000 in 1996. Adjusting for inflation, that's $28,468 in 2022. The show makes a point that he also used this money to buy the airfare, which we estimate costing about a thousand dollars. We think his flight would have cost more than usual, especially since it sounds like he showed up at the airport and bought a seat on the very next flight without buying in advance (well, of course, he was broke), so he would have needed to pay top dollar for the ticket. That means he's got about $27,000 left. It's definitely a considerable pile of money, but he's not going to be set for the rest of his fugitive life with that, and certainly not in the lap of luxury. That's not nearly enough to bribe all the people he needs to bribe to not get immediately deported. Let alone to buy a house and retire. Let alone to buy a private jet or any luxurious bullshit. And what if he breaks a leg, and then needs to use the American healthcare system? He's going to be broke again really soon. Maybe this kind of planning and foresight is how he ran out of money the first time around...
But, okay, the numbers and math and logistics are fucked... but let's just go with what the plot wanted us to think, and the point is that this guy is going to literally get away with murder to make more money than god, and then escape to the US and he'll never be seen again. It's Kogoro's last chance to catch this guy!
For the record, Funimation dubbed it that the insurance was for 5 million dollars, and that makes a lot more sense.
Conan solves the case. He calls Kogoro using Megure's voice, telling him that he solved the case, let's meet at the airport. And he calls Megure using Kogoro's voice, telling him that he solved the case, let's meet at the airport. Conan refers to this stunt as "that method", implying that he's done it before in some other offscreen case, but this is the first time this happens onscreen in the anime.
Megure and Kogoro both get to the airport and both go, but what, you called me?! In the meanwhile, Conan cannot find the murderer, so he does the super daring move of having the airport staff page him over the intercom, in the name of the dead guy, saying to go to the parking lot. No wonder the murderer shits his pants.
In the parking lot, Conan meets with the guy, and lays out how the murderer did it, and all the evidence that proves it. (Toggle howdunit...) The culprit hired a guy to pose as the victim for one of the days that Kogoro was tailing him. In the meanwhile, he killed the victim on Friday. Because the body was found in the bonfire during the festival, everyone assumed he died in the bonfire on Sunday, but he was actually murdered well before then, and given that the body was burned, there's no way to actually know that he died two days earlier. The proof is that Kogoro's photos show the victim as being left-handed, but he's actually right-handed. Honestly, that's kinda flimsy as evidence goes. That might be part of why Conan is confronting him like this. Conan ends up recording the guy as he admits that he did it, and then he flaunts the tape recorder.
Conan mentions to the audience that he wanted to give the murderer the chance to turn himself in. But Conan didn't consider the psychological profile of this guy. Back with the case with Ayumi's dentist... (Toggle spoilers about that case...) ...we can think that she surely wouldn't harm a child, and her motive was righteous vengeance, and the whole point was the kidnapping and murder of her brother as a little kid, and surely she wouldn't do the same thing to another little boy...
But this guy is a fucking asshole who has no qualms and no shame. This guy convinced his friend to take out an insurance policy as a friendly bet, and then murdered him in cold blood, and then put him in a bonfire, and ruined the festival, and put a detective's honor into question, and smiled and laughed at the police, and all this monstrous plan was for just some money. Why would this guy be above also murdering a child, if that child is all that stands between him and his escape into what he believes to be a life of luxury? That's just one more crime. Why would he care?
So, yeah, he goes to attack Conan, and in reality, given that Conan was thrown headfirst against a car, he would have gotten a contusion at best and died at worst. But Conan lives, and is able to kick a spare tire into the guy's jaw, knocking him out. Conan leaves the tape player on the guy's chest for Megure to find.
During the interrogation, the murderer kept ranting that he was done in by a kid!! Kogoro muses, but the only kid around was... Conan... but surely... no way...
In this episode, Kogoro suspects that there is something fishy with Conan. We mentioned earlier that he gets suspicious of how Conan seems to feed him hints, but another thing that happens in this episode is that Kogoro asks Ran, hey, what happened to Conan's parents anyway? Weren't they in the hospital? Are they still in the hospital??? Why have they never called once or anything???? And Ran answers that she did indeed ask Dr. Agasa about that, and he said that Conan's parents, uh, did get out of the hospital, yes, yesterday even, yeah, but, uh, they had a job transfer overseas, but they'll surely get in touch with you soon, eheheh.
Poor Agasa wasn't able to come up with a good lie, and was stuck with lying by telling the truth. Then again, it was a good idea for him to say they're so far away as to be completely out of reach. We imagine that if he said that Conan's parents were still in the hospital, Ran would be planning to take Conan to go visit them...
But, yeah, both Kogoro and Ran are besides themselves at how Conan's parents seem to care so little about him. And Kogoro is pissed that they are ungrateful and seem to be just abusing his hospitality. He's got to be thinking that either there's something really wrong with Conan's parents, or this is all some sort of bullshit scam.
...and both answers are correct.
The mystery of this episode #38 is actually the fourth case of the manga, so in the manga there was a much earlier establishment of these plot points. We kinda like it that this happens so much later in the anime. It makes it even more extreme that, hm, it sure has been awhile that your parents have allegedly been in the hospital... It also makes Kogoro more generous, in that he hasn't started asking questions until so much more time has passed. He can even be willing to help a kid whose parents are hospitalized, but he's not completely stupid.
The Wealthy Daughter Murder Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 9-10)
- First Aired
- November 25 and December 2, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- We didn't care much for the mystery. Although, the murder itself is really horrifying. Some very minor characters introduced in these episodes will appear again later.
These episodes kinda blend in our minds with the Bandage Man case because it kinda has the same set-up and the same details:
- There's a group of friends
- They're all from the same club
- They haven't met ever since the incident...
- …the incident where their friend DIED
- There is one obnoxious girl…
- …who is the primary victim…
- …whose murder is quite gruesome
- One of the guys has long hair and is flirty but he's a red herring
- The events take place in a big house in the woods
- …which gets cut off from the rest of the world
- The phone line is cut
- The power goes out
- Ran becomes a target…
- …even though the people involved in this case have never met her before
- People keep going to the kitchen for coffee or whatever
- They should all stick together because it's safer for everyone, but some assholes split to go into their own rooms because they know they aren't the murderer, so they can't trust any of you!
Maybe it wasn't a good idea for the anime to have these two cases so close to each other. They're only four episodes apart, so the Bandage Man case is sure to be fresh in the audience's memory. In the manga, these cases were four volumes apart.
But yeah, we didn't care much about the Bandage Man arc, and we didn't care much about this one either. This one had slightly more impact on us, mainly due to the horrifyingly sadistic and torturous murder method. (Toggle spoilers...)
Let's start from the incident. These people were all in a yacht club, and the Obnoxious Rich Girl went to a shallow island that goes underwater during high tide. There was a storm, and one girl went to rescue her, bringing a spare life vest. But when she got to the island, she found out Obnoxious Rich Girl was having some secret sexytimes with Obnoxious Hot Guy. So, there were three people in total, but only two life vests. Later on, the others find Rich Girl and Hot Guy wearing life vests, and they claim to have never seen Rescue Girl. Her body is found three days later, with no life vest.
Her boyfriend suspects that they stole her life vest and left her for dead. So, in revenge, he drowns Hot Guy in the fountain, and then tapes down Rich Girl in the bathtub while the showerhead slowly fills the bathtub with water to drown her too. That means she got to watch the bathtub slowly fill up until she drowned. As we said, absolutely horrific.
In the meanwhile, everyone decides to have some coffee. The culprit put sleeping pills into one of the cups, without caring who ended up getting the drugged coffee. Whoever won -- or rather, lost -- the drugged coffee roulette would get their head shoved in the kitchen sink, but they wouldn't be killed. The point was to make it so that everyone would be stuck on the idea that the murderer was shoving people's heads into the water to drown them, so that later, when they found Rich Girl drowned in the bathtub, they would think that she was held down in the same way, and they would think that the murder happened while the culprit had a solid alibi.
This is an incredibly convoluted plan. It's so premeditated, yet it relies on drugged coffee roulette, and the culprit would have attacked whoever ended up getting the drugged coffee... So, he would have done this to any of his innocent friends if they just so happened to get the coffee? What if Conan got the coffee, would he nearly drown a little boy? What if the old lady got the coffee? She's the grandmother of his dead girlfriend. Would he nearly drown his girlfriend's grandmother as part of his vengeance? What if the murderer himself got the coffee? He intentionally never drank his coffee, just in case this happened, but that would mean he would be there waiting to see if anyone gets sleepy, and no one ever will since the drugs are in his own cup. What would he have done in this case?
In the manga, it is suggested that the culprit used something like the placement of the spoon to mark which cup was the one that was drugged, to make sure he himself didn't accidentally take the drugged cup. This isn't explicitly mentioned in the anime, creating this extra snarl. However, this plan still involved attacking whoever just so happened to be unlucky enough to pick the drugged cup, and just, he had been plotting this revenge for two whole years, and this is what he came up with?!
In the Bandage Man case, Ran accidentally saw something that she shouldn't have seen, so the murderer felt the need to alter his plan to eliminate her. But in this episode, the culprit planned to attack a random person, and, as it turned out, Ran was the one who lost the drugged coffee roulette. So the culprit attacked her, a complete stranger, who just so happened to get the drugged coffee, for the sake of an alibi.
Also, this whole plan was based on his suspicion that Rich Girl and Hot Guy engaged in foul play to obtain the life vest and leave his girlfriend for dead. When he captured Rich Girl, she did confess, and everything was just as he thought, but what if that wasn't what had happened? At that point, he had already murdered Hot Guy in the fountain upon this unconfirmed suspicion. Oops.
What if it had been that Rescue Girl took off her own life vest and insisted that they take both life vests, because she was just so polite and selfless? What if she just so happened to die from a tragic accident, and they took her life vest and didn't speak of it because it was just too upsetting for them? What if they found life vests floating in the water and they never actually encountered her?
And this made us ponder: what is the right course of action if we were to be in the situation of being short one life vest for the number of people? It's not like the right answer is, welp, I didn't expect this guy to be here, so he should die. The best we can think of is that the two weakest swimmers should get the life vests, and they should try their best to help the third to stay afloat until they can get more help.
The flashback shows that Rescue Girl took a raft to find them. What happened to the raft? Were these people such selfish fucks that they immediately resorted to murdering her for the life vest, and in the process lost the raft somehow?
But there could have been any number of things that happened, and is this really something to seek premeditated murder for? And the plan was really flimsy and convoluted. And in the end, the grandma says that any death causes people to be sad.
And, in the post-credit scene, Ran tells Sonoko that she thought Shinichi arrived to save her from drowning. With her mind altered by the near-death experience and the sleeping pills, she mistook Conan for Shinichi.
The Shredded Championship Flag Case
- Anime Original
- First Aired
- December 9, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- There's another Shinichi lookalike on the baseball team.
In this episode, we meet yet another Shinichi lookalike. How strange that there are so many people in this show who look like Shinichi… But this episode is anime-original, so, maybe this guy doesn't count. If he does though, this makes number three.
But yes, the hotshot high school pitcher Kaji Kenya looks like Shinichi, and Ran says he's hot... because she has a type.
In this episode, Ran, Sonoko, Conan, and Kogoro are watching a high school baseball game. Kogoro is getting drunk in the stands and really cheering his heart out for the underdog team, which makes Conan roll his eyes. Conan thinks, what's the point of cheering when they are losing? Yeah, Shinichi really has zero emotional intelligence. You cheer to help psych them up to do better, you cheer to let them know that people are still there rooting for them… and this is a high school game, and the kids deserve cheering! What would Shinichi do, just leave?!
Funimation instead dubbed Conan to have an absurd rant about how soccer is the superior sport.
We also want to ...we dunno if commend is the right word. But there's a plotpoint around the star hotshot pitcher doing a balk. That's an obscure baseball rule that very, very rarely is ever invoked. It's like... how when Denise was a kid, she read a book on chess and learned about castling, and then she always wanted to do castling because it's the special move, oooo. The writers in this case are pulling out the rulebook and showing off that they know what a balk is, oooo.
But the game is interrupted because someone has snuck into the school during the game and sliced up the championship flag. The principal says that, if the culprit turns out to be one of their own students, the penalty will be steep. But even if the culprit was an outsider, the school was tasked with protecting the championship flag, so, since they failed to protect the flag, they will not go to the championship game… as like, some sort of seppuku. It's simply the administration torturing the student body.
Ran manages to wake Kogoro up from his drunken nap, telling him he has a job to do. He immediately sobers up to take on the case. It consistently happens that Kogoro sobers up super quickly if the situation calls for it. Which makes us think that he isn't actually as drunk as he acts, but rather using the beer as an excuse to let loose. And when it's time to be serious, he can pull it back together again.
The hotshot pitcher says he did it. His mother said she did it. They don't make eye contact with each other. Conan thinks that there's something weird with this family. Pot, meet kettle. (Toggle spoilers...)
It turns out that the son thought his mother did it, and the mother thought her son did it, so they are both trying to cover for each other while also being so ashamed of each other.
But the mother was going to the office to talk with the administrator, to tell him she didn't want her son to play baseball anymore, because he's supposed to become a doctor like his late father. What the fuck bullshit is this?! If his father were still alive, would he still need to become a doctor, or would the father be filling the doctor quota? And, oh no, he's on track to become an incredibly respected and well-paid professional athlete! The shame! ...Why can't he become a pro-baseball player instead of a doctor? Why can't he both study to become a doctor and do a sport?
And the son was going to the office to tell the administrator that he didn't want to do baseball anymore because his mom wants him to become a doctor like his late father. Man, she's done a number on him. Yes, Conan is right, there is something wrong with this family.
But neither of them did it. Conan, as Sleeping Kogoro, says that it was actually someone left-handed who did it! Like that other baseball player who is left-handed!!! Everyone turns to stone this guy, and then Sleeping Kogoro says, …but it wasn't him either because he's too tall. What the fuck, Conan. Did you have to do that??
The culprit was the principal himself, because this private school used to be a religious school, and the administrator doesn't like the idea of his school having a good sports team instead of good grades. You know, Denise went to a private high school that was religious and had the top sports team in like every sport and was known for its good grades. Why not both?
So the administrator was like, blackmailing the principal to somehow prevent the baseball team from going to the championship, but without tarnishing the reputation of the school. If the principal had just withdrawn the team from the championship, that would have tarnished the reputation of the school. So, instead, he cut up the flag and tried to make it look like an outsider did it, so that they can withdraw the team championship as a disgraced school with bad security. That will make the school really shine.
And then someone runs in and says they just got the news that the administrator dropped dead, so it doesn't matter what his opinion is anymore! And the principal falls on his knees on the ground and yowls, what am I fighting foooor?!?!?
And Conan says in Kogoro's voice that you are all fucking assholes. The end.
This is another episode where Conan gives a strange epilogue about how things turn out in the future. He says that six months later, the high school baseball teams worked out all the problems and their school went to the championships! There's a shot of Conan and Ran cheering from the stands. The timeline is fucked, but six months later is supposedly around the point that the plot has reached by, like, episode 1000. This epilogue establishes that Conan is still Conan six months later. Strange that the anime team thought they could slip in something like this. Maybe they shouldn't have gone there (although the show did go on long enough to make this not be wrong, lol).
The Karaoke Box Murder Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 5)
- First Aired
- December 16, 1996
- Our Quick Blip
- There are some important events for Shinichi and Ran.
Sonoko's current crush is the lead singer of a rock band. And because of her affluent connections, she's able to go to a private karaoke session - just her, Ran, and Conan, with the band. Wow, could you imagine, you and your friend going to karaoke with your favorite band, singing a song in front of them?!?! No way, no way! That would be so embarrassing. It's one thing to be singing at a concert in a whole crowd, but something else entirely to be at a karaoke booth with your favorite band, oh my god. The stakes are so high for everyone! You are being vulnerable and embarrassing yourself in front of your idols, and, no matter how bad your singing is, the band has to be polite about it so that this can be a positive experience for you, while still keeping it as genuine as possible...
Or, the alternative is what happens in the episode: the lead singer turns out to be an absolute asshole, and the experience is awkward for everyone. Oddly enough, he makes no negative comments about Ran and Sonoko's singing, but he's non-stop nasty to everyone else. He rags on the waiter who is an old friend, he trash-talks the guitarist for not being good at her job, he's nasty to the manager, and he randomly attacks the poor drummer. This guy is such an asshole that Sonoko quietly discards her crush for him on the spot, and even Conan gets to his feet, perhaps with the intention of power-kicking something at this jerk.
His meanest stunt is to make his manager go sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer while calling her ugly. This is apparently not the first time he's done that. He's horrible.
The manager is trying to get him to prepare for his upcoming interview, but then one of his own songs comes on the karaoke machine, and he's such an arrogant prick that he goes to do his own song at the karaoke place.
And then he drops dead. (Toggle whodunit...)
The culprit was the manager. She used to be in a band with the singer, and the singer tried to express his feelings for her in an indirect way, like, come with me to my new band, I don't care if you sing or if you're just my manager, but come with me. And she thought, great, but I need to look the part. So she went and got a bunch of plastic surgery until she was no longer recognizable, and she went to the singer and said she did it for him.
And, really, could you imagine what that must have done to this guy? He's still an asshole, but like, someone you loved goes and changes their face, and says it was for you. That's like some sort of Stepford Wives bullshit. And what did she know about what he liked or didn't like? And that really raises the stakes on this relationship, doesn't it? So that's why the singer now makes a lot of mean comments about her face, and about how she cares too much about mainstream beauty standards. He can go to hell, but we can see why he's being like that.
But the manager sees his reaction as just pointlessly mean, and she's mad that he never appreciated the wonderful gift she gave him of changing her face for him, so she put poison on his jacket where she knew he would touch during the dance routine, and then waited for him to eat a snack with his poisoned hands and die.
But then it's revealed that he did still love her. When the guitarist confessed her feelings to him, he turned her down, saying that he was waiting for someone to come back. He meant the old manager, before she changed her face. But instead, the manager killed him. And so, she once again made an irreversible destructive decision based on her wild assumptions about things that were never said or implied about what this guy thought.
By the way, in the manga, the difference between the plastic surgery "before and after" is more pronounced than how it is in the anime, because you can compare the two panels side by side and for as long as you would like.
It makes it more evident that the plastic surgery involved reducing the size of her nose. Which explains why he kept making her sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a song about being self-conscious about your nose, but in the end, everyone loves you, maybe even specifically because of your nose. This came out all mean, but the intention was probably somewhat sweet, actually.
Also, in the manga, it's more clear that this guy's assholery is usually fueled by a desire to be nice, in a way. The reason he was being so mean to his other bandmates was because the label was insisting that they break up. This guy's way of dealing with that was to make everyone hate him so that breaking up would be easier. Fucked up, but his heart wasn't in the worst place.
We also really need to talk about the way in which Conan felt the need to solve this case. Only after the police investigation is over, and when the suspects are all at the station, does Conan call Megure as Shinichi, and tell him that he solved the case, and would everyone please return to the crime scene, thanks. There, he has set up a video camera and a speaker, so that Shinichi can talk into the room and see what is going on without being there. Shinichi completely ignores anything Ran says, delivers his deduction through the speaker, and solves the case.
Watching it play out this way in the anime, we're screaming, Shinichi, why?! Why did he feel the need to expose himself and do this as Shinichi? Why couldn't he have done it as Conan, slipping the clues to the cops as always? Why not as Sonoko, who he had already used as a mouthpiece before? Why not even say Conan told Kogoro all about the murder, and then he can be on the phone using Kogoro's voice? We wondered if this had something to do with Shinichi's ego, but then Conan tells Megure not to disclose Shinichi's involvement in this case, so that can't be it. Then, why did he feel such a need to do this as Shinichi???
It turns out that, while the anime is usually very faithful to the manga, this is an episode that has some pretty significant alterations compared to its manga counterpart, which made Conan's decision make less sense.
In the manga, this case takes place right after the Bandage Man case. The Bandage Man case marks Sonoko's first manga appearance, and Conan delivers his deduction by tranquilizing her and speaking in her voice. In the manga, this next case opens with Ran praising Sonoko's brilliance, and Conan is concerned that his cover will be blown if either of them realize that something fishy has happened. Sonoko is a new element to the story, and it's not clear yet how she is going to react and what Conan can expect from her. So, during this Karaoke case, Conan has a reason to be hesitant about using Sonoko to deliver another deduction.
However, in the anime, Sonoko was introduced much earlier, in an anime-original episode, and the order of the cases was switched around, so, by this episode, Conan has used Sonoko as a mouthpiece two times already. At this point in the anime, there isn't any reason for Conan to suddenly be so concerned about Sonoko blowing his cover. Furthermore, the opening scene of this karaoke case had already been adapted as the post-credit scene of the Bandage Man case. Now that the anime team is adapting the karaoke case, they couldn't really do the same scene again, especially since the connection between the two events has been completely lost: the two cases are not consecutive in the anime. But with this plot thread severed, it becomes harder to understand why Conan won't simply use Sonoko's voice in this case, as he's done before.
Also, the anime adaptation of this case is unusually condensed, with scenes and concepts excised here and there. In the manga, there is a whole subplot about rumors of the singer secretly dating a famous actress, adding one more potential suspect to this case. Also, a suicide note is found, which prompts the police to no longer pursue the murder angle. Conan figures out that the suicide note is fake just as Megure is about to give a press conference to the rabid journalists, which is why Conan feels he must act quickly to prevent Megure from making the wrong announcement. All he can think of in that moment is to call as Shinichi, even though this is a terrible idea for someone who is pretending to be dead lest the assassins come after him and everyone he loves. Dead people shouldn't solve high-profile cases, and even if he tells Megure to keep it a secret, this is a major, major risk.
We think that this abridging may have been to fit this Chrismas Eve mystery all into the episode right before the anime went on Christmas break. It wouldn't have been good timing for it to span two weeks in early December, and it probably wasn't really enough material to stretch into two episodes anyway. But maybe it was a bit too much to cram into only one episode like this.
With the removal of the detail of the suicide note, the anime team just had Megure go back to police headquarters, and then Conan decides to call as Shinichi, seemingly out of the blue and without anything compelling him to do so, resulting in our perception of Shinichi as an even bigger asshole than he even was meant to be. Instead, in the manga, Conan's actions make a bit more sense.
After the case's resolution, the anime adaptation once again more closely follows the manga. Because of Shinichi's stunt, now Ran knows that he must be around, so she's waiting in front of Shinichi's house in the snow on Christmas Eve, alone, hoping that she'll catch him when he comes home and that maybe she'll get to talk to him.
And Conan and Dr. Agasa are hiding in the shadows watching her, and Agasa tells Conan, you are a cruel bastard. Why'd you go and use your real name to solve the murder in front of Ran, to make Ran stand in the snow like this, in such desperation? To Agasa, the worst part is that he can't even help her or comfort her in any way: all he can do is stand there and watch her suffer.
We imagine what happened is that Agasa saw Ran waiting in the street, and called Conan so he would come and do something about it, because Agasa couldn't bear to just watch Ran suffer. Meanwhile, Conan didn't even consider that this would happen. As always.
So all that teen genius Shinichi Kudo can come up with… is to turn on the lights in the house so that Ran will think to try going inside, and to then turn off the lights and talk to her as a pair of floating eyeballs and moonlit bangs in the dark.
Then he puts his hand on her hand, and how did that not give him away?? Ran holds Conan's hand all the time, and it's a child's hand.... did he do anything to disguise this? We were half expecting the lights to turn on and we would see Conan standing there with like, some sort of prop hand, but no. Maybe he's just hoping her hands are too cold to feel the shape of his hand properly?
And in this moonlit meeting where he's risking everything to talk with her, he still tells her nothing of importance. He mostly just tells her not to cry. And he says he's glad to see her again... because he gets to see that dumb face of hers! Is this really the right moment, after the whole case earlier that day, to say something mean about her face? But then Shinichi cuts this meeting super short. Oh, whoops, I think I hear the case calling again, bye!!!
And the lights come on, and she's alone, but there's a Christmas present on the stairs, with a note from Shinichi that says, "Here's a Christmas gift, so be thankful!". Wow. Go fuck yourself.
The present is a pair of gloves, by the way. Why did he give her gloves of all things? So that the next time that she's standing in the cold waiting for him outside of his house, she'll at least have gloves to keep her hands warm?
We bet these gloves were just something Agasa had at the ready in his house as an emergency gift in case he ever forgot an occasion where he needed a gift. Or maybe, earlier, Agasa bought them in advance while specifically thinking that they could be a gift for Ran? Or maybe even Agasa rushed to the store to take care of the gift on Shinichi's behalf, and all Agasa could think about in that moment was how cold Ran was as she was standing all alone at the gate, rubbing her hands together. But we definitely headcanon that, one way or the other, Agasa was the one who bought these gloves. We don't believe Conan had even one passing thought about getting a Christmas gift for Ran, and we absolutely do not believe that he preemptively picked out these gloves for her.
Argh, we are so pissed at Shinichi. He risked everything and put together the whole camera set-up and bullshit so that Shinichi could solve the case, but he couldn't be arsed to figure out a way for Shinichi to spend Christmas with Ran. And then there is the passive-aggressive note as the icing on top of his last-minute gift.
Fuck you, Shinichi!
By the way, the note was so mean, that the Funimation dub felt the need to completely change it during the localization. As we view the note with the nasty message written in Japanese, Shinichi's voice reads it aloud as: "To the most amazing girl in the world, Merry Christmas! Love, [Shinichi]". We don't agree with changing this sort of thing, but we can understand the impulse to "correct" something that is just way too mean!
The Conan Edogawa Abduction Case
- Manga Canon (Volume 5-6)
- First Aired
- January 13, 1997
- Our Quick Blip
- Critically important canon episode, including important character introductions.
Just as Ran and Kogoro are starting to get really suspicious about how Conan's parents still have never even called, a lady shows up and says that she's Conan's mom, and she takes him away.
While Conan is alone with her in the car, the lady reveals she knows all about Shinichi's parents and she has deduced that Conan must be Shinichi. Conan realizes that this lady must be a member of the Black Organization, and he manages to escape from the car. He believes it must have been his stupid stunt from last episode that outed him. Which, as we said... yeah.
Shinichi, what did we tell you about being careful!
The lady and her mask-wearing boss deduce that Conan will seek help from Dr. Agasa, so they're able to recapture him near his home. When Conan wakes up, he finds himself tied up in an abandoned house, and he overhears the lady and her boss talk about how his transformation into a child must be a side effect of their new poison, so they'll need to study him. The boss sounds like he'd rather just kill Conan, and he wants to try the poison on more random victims until someone else turns into a child, thereby furnishing them with a new test subject.
Conan manages to escape, and now he has to stop the next murder from happening and retrieve the poison so that Dr. Agasa can study it. He ends up tracking the two Black Organization members down to the hotel, and he even manages to sneak into their closet, but... (Toggle spoilers...)
...the boss finds Conan...
...and shoots him in the head....
...with a suction cup dart.
And then it's revealed that it was Shinichi's dad behind the mask, and the lady was Shinichi's mom in disguise, and the big guy that they were supposedly going to murder was Dr. Agasa in a robot suit.
Apparently, Shinichi's parents came back from the United States to visit Shinichi, and they found the house empty. They ended up getting the full story from Agasa, and they decided to pull this stunt to impress upon Conan that his situation is serious and he should stop fucking around. Shinichi's father says he's going to contact his friends in Interpol and take over the hunt for the Black Organization, and in the meanwhile, Conan can hide in another country in some sort of witness protection program, but Conan insists that this is his case, back off, and he has a reason to stay in Japan...
Ultimately, Shinichi and his parents reach an understanding, and Shinichi's mother disguises herself again as "Conan's mother", and she asks Kogoro to continue taking care of Conan, with a check for ten billion yen to cover the costs.
Which, by the way, how is there no change to their living situation now that Kogoro has been handed ten billion yen? Kogoro must just be putting it away to pay for Conan in the future, and not actually tapping into it. Which is an unexpected level of restraint. Funimation seemed to realize this was just way too much money that we never see any sign of, so they dubbed it as being $10,000. Which would be a very generous amount of money for taking care of Conan, but not as obscene as 10 billion yen. Funimation seems to have been pretty good about adjusting the dollar amounts into things that are more reasonable.
In the post-credits scene, we see that Shinichi got a small revenge on his dad by telling all of his publishers which plane he took, so they can find him on the plane and nag him about his overdue manuscripts.
Now that we've met Shinichi's parents, we finally get a better understanding of why Shinichi is like that. It didn't even cross his mind that it would be strange that Conan's parents never call, because that's perfectly normal for him. His own parents have been gone for three years and they never call him. And upon their return, which happened with no notice, they hatched this plan to make Shinichi shit himself and probably give him nightmares, for no reason. We do agree that Conan does not take his situation seriously enough, and he randomly risks everything because of his compulsive need to solve cases... but there are better ways to confront Shinichi about the situation. For starters, they could have tried to talk with him? Then, maybe, if he doesn't understand, they could have plotted to give him this scare… but they just jumped immediately all the way to making him fear for his life, all the way to pretending to shoot him in the head! And then Shinichi's father has the gall to be all, ohoho, I just wanted to test you. His parents have no empathy, no remorse, no concern. And they are so cruel.
And then, only after all of this goes down, do they finally have the conversation they should have had in the first place, and Shinichi explains his situation, and his father immediately understands. Couldn't they have done this from the beginning?
Shinichi's parents' cruel prank was only possible because Kogoro did indeed believe that the lady was Conan's mom. What if he didn't? After all, Conan's initial reaction was, who the fuck are you, get away from me! It's probably only because Kogoro was so done with babysitting a nasty kid that he didn't have any reason to have any sort of detective lightbulb about this possibly being a kidnapping. Because yeah, Conan has made no effort to endear himself to Kogoro. He's nasty to him all the time, he interferes with his work, he doesn't listen when Kogoro says to not do that and don't touch this and be quiet and go away and stop messing with crime scenes. Conan randomly vanishes and makes Kogoro and Ran fear for his safety, and they have to waste so much time looking for him. Conan has been genuinely nice to Kogoro, like, twice, maybe. And the rest of the time, he's a brat. So, maybe Kogoro was so eager to be done with Conan that he didn't even stop to consider if this lady is his actual mother or not. It's Conan's problem now. Bye!
And then, Shinichi's parents, who did all this supposedly so that Conan would be more aware of how serious the situation is, ultimately decide to just let him do his own thing, and they simply leave the country again. What is wrong with them? There are so many levels between babying him and abandoning him. We don't think a caring parent would leave Conan completely alone in this situation. Couldn't they at least give him the name of the Interpol contact and let him work with that contact on his own terms? Give Conan the possibility of asking them for help when he needs it? Nope, they're gone as if they were never there at all, except for a new set of nightmares for Conan.
We also want to talk a bit more about Shinichi's relationship with his father in particular. We find it interesting that when he takes off his mask, he doesn't say something like, "It's me, your dad!" He says, "It is I, world-famous mystery author, Yusaku Kudo!". He introduces himself to his own son as "world-famous mystery author". Yikes!
We also really need to mention that Shinichi's father disguised himself as the Night Baron, the serial killer villain from his own series of mystery novels. Ego much? And he dares to say that, if only Conan had taken the time to consider that one of the people who were actively trying to kill him was cosplaying as one his father's characters, maybe he could have realized that this was all a trick much sooner! But that's not really a good clue! Who knows, maybe someone in the Black Organization has a cosplay kink! Actually, that doesn't seem so unlikely at all...
It also seems like Shinichi's dad has always been constantly testing Shinichi, to the point that their relationship is entirely based on Shinichi needing to impress him and not fail whatever is the current secret test. So, of course Shinichi doesn't want his father to step-in regarding the Black Organization - because, if he did, it would mean Shinichi failed the test. And can you imagine what his dad would do? He'd just completely take over and send Conan to elementary school in Los Angeles, and while Conan is stuck redoing the times table for the third time, his dad would be off solving the mystery with Interpol and being the cool detective, and hush Conan, you're only a child after all, dohoho. ...Insufferable.
Over the course of the story, Conan will, in a sense, gather a whole new family around himself. Not just Kogoro and Ran, but also Agasa, Megure, Takagi, Sato, and more people that we can't name yet, who look out for him and care about him and actually talk to him and treat him like a person, even though most of them think he's a seven-year-old. Even Kogoro, in all his brutality, still respects Conan as separate person who also happens to be a fucking handful. Not as some sort of Mini-Me to toy with. Because, yeah, his parents see him as a toy. Oo, oo, let's see what he'll do if we make him think he's going to die?? Dohohoho. Yeah, that's called torture!
(Unless he is one of several clones of Mr. Kudo and they are toying with him to see which clone is the best…)
The Funimation dub added a joke that comes with some implications that weren't in the original. When Conan complains that they scared the shit out of him for no reason, his father answers, "It's not easy is it, [Shinichi]? Living undercover and hiding from a dangerous network of assassins is very stressful!" We hadn't considered it before, but are Shinichi's parents also living undercover and hiding from a dangerous network of assassins? Is that why they just went off to the United States for three years without even ever calling their own son back in Japan? If that's the situation, maybe we can understand a bit of their weirdness. But that still wouldn't excuse how cruel they are to Shinichi...
Because, yeah, with all their antics, Shinichi's parents have managed to completely alienate themselves from their only son, to the point that he would rather be in mortal danger from the assassin mafia than deal with them. And, while lots of kids would say the same, in Shinichi's case, we really do understand.
In this arbitrary set of episodes, the Bandage Man case, and the relative timing of the Bandage Man case, is the cornerstone, even though we didn't like it that much, lol. We found ourselves needing to repeatedly refer back to that episode to discuss how the The Wealthy Daughter Murder Case is kinda ruined by being moved too close to it, and how The Karaoke Box Murder Case is kinda ruined by being moved too far from it.
Also in these episodes, we meet the parents! Ran's mom Eri is introduced, as well as Shinichi's parents, and the identity of Conan's mother is created. It's fair to introduce these characters, and it makes sense that they should exist in the narrative. In fact, it's so fair to introduce these characters, that they appear kinda later than we might have expected. But as we said, we think that it's a good thing that the anime waited so long to introduce Shinichi's parents, as the fact that they've been missing for 42 episodes only reinforces that they really are the shittiest parents ever.
- Something that did not exist in real life until around 2007...