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"Case Closed: Dubious Intent" Or, "Rerective Ronan"

by on April 11, 2005

Jimmy Kudo (or Shinichi Kudo, depending on your version preference) was your standard high school genius detective. They’re all over Japan. But when shady criminals drug him, his body is turned into that of an elementary school kid. To protect his loved ones, he keeps this a secret from everyone except one close friend. His gallons of detective skills remain in this pint-sized body, and he’ll need them given the huge murder magnet he appears to have become.

Episode 65- “Gomera / Movie Mayhem” (Labeled “Gomera” in the disc, but “Movie Mayhem” in the case)
Episode 66- “The Three Fingerprints”
Episode 67- “The Crab and Whale”

Case Closed is the most absurd anime to hit Adult Swim.

No, not in a Super Milk-Chan, “Good God, why is this airing?” absurd way, but in a Scooby Doo eye-rolling absurd way. Take Scooby Doo, add some Japanese flair, have the gang constantly run into murders instead of monsters and throw in the worst case of foster care in history, and the result would be Detective Conan (the show’s original title). [That would make Conan who… Scrappy? -Ed]

After being shrunk, Kudo moves in with his girlfriend Rachel and failed detective Richard under the guise of Conan Edogawa, a kid whose parents are on business overseas. 60-odd episodes have passed and the plot has not really moved from that point. But if the show is still going in Japan with the same premise there’s got to be some magic to it.

If you see a little kid in a suit and a red bowtie who isn’t pretending to be Pee Wee Herman, run. Because if that’s Conan, chances are someone near you will have their child kidnapped, their boss decapitated, or their mother pushed off a balcony. The sheer volume of blood that Conan, his friends, and faux-family see everyday would scar anybody. Heck, on this disc someone dies during the credits.

As they exercise.

Think about that. These people can’t even do their daily aerobic workout without a beam or girder landing on them.

The first episode on the disc brings Conan and all his elementary school friends to a movie studio. Naturally, people die. As usual, it’s up to Conan to solve the case while debunking his friends’ misconceptions about their favorite killer Godzilla rip-off. The movie director (who goes by the name of Lisenberg) might just be the first dub character with a Jewish accent. “The Three Fingerprints” is not evidence in the Michael Jackson trial, but actually deals with one of Richard’s old cop friends. “The Crab and Whale” is surprisingly not a murder case, but a kidnapping story in which Conan manages to defy the laws of the physical universe to solve the case. Not that that’s anything out of the ordinary.

And therein lies the problem. Case Closed follows a formula. You begin to start looking for clues before there’s even the inevitable murder, even in the weirdest places (“Was his zipper down?,” “How many drops of water were on the carpet,” etc). When the “crab search” begins in “The Crab and Whale,” I started scouring my brain thinking of any and all possible items that could resemble crabs. It reminded me of having to find some sailors in Shenmue.

No, not that kind of sailor.

They killed my dad or something.

Stop staring at me.

Remember, it was a Sega game? Anyway…

Speaking of the crab episode, Japan must have really crappy child services. That’s the only explanation for why Richard is still allowed to keep custody of Conan. I mean, he leaves Conan alone at a strip mall to go chase down a kidnapper. Essentially, Richard abandons Conan to get kidnapped himself so Richard can further his career. Great plan.

The extras also follow the formula. Character profiles, a guide to Conan’s gadgets, textless songs, the “Crack the Case” Game (and accompanying bloopers), and trailers.

I like the show. I really do. But it does have some gaping flaws that unavoidably remind me of a show I hate passionately, Scooby Doo. The disc is serviceable, though episode count is low, especially considering the length of the series. If you like Case Closed, these are good episodes and are a decent introduction to the series if you’ve been waiting to try it out Just don’t expect it to live up to its reputation as a mature, serious show.

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