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Discover "The Secret Life of Jimmy Kudo" in Great Series

by on August 14, 2004

Jimmy Kudo is Tokyo’s super-sleuth, following in the steps of his hero, Sherlock Holmes. Believe it or not, Jimmy’s just a high school student. Well, he was. After he’s knocked out by two criminals and dosed with an experimental drug, can Jimmy save the day and solve the crime—as elementary school student Conan Edogawa? One truth will prevail.

Case Closed JacketHaving joined Adult Swim in late May, Case Closed (originally known as Detective Conan Japan) has quickly become a fan-favorite. Combining episodic mystery tales with some heart between the main characters, it’s certainly a prized series, having gone on for more than 300 episodes in Japan.

Jimmy Kudo is a teenage soccer ace. While he has a great “is she or isn’t she my girlfriend” relationship with Rachel Moore (Karate Club champ and genuinely sweet girl), his true passion is detective work, and it certainly shows. He’s put many other detectives out of work. Richard Moore, Rachel’s father, was one of those detectives, though that might have also been due to his semi-ineptness. Living on his own next to the eccentric Dr. Agasa, Jimmy was able to solve the cases with no problems.

On a date with Rachel, though, things changed. Having witnessed a crime, he was knocked unconscious and given a mystery drug meant to kill him. While it failed to do that, it did kill any chance of him getting a driver’s license: though his mind is intact, his body has regressed to that of a child; now, he’s even too short to get into his own house. Revealing his problem to Dr. Agasa, he realizes that he must keep his condition a secret from anyone else, both to make sure his friends and family don’t get hurt and to allow him to track down the criminals. Taking the alias of Conan Edogawa and claiming to be one of Dr. Agasa’s relatives, he gets taken in by Rachel and Richard while his parents are supposedly in the hospital.

Of course, keeping a secret from the one you love is hard. Rachel, while never truly showing her affections for Jimmy, definitely opens up to Conan, not knowing the pipsqueak is her lost love. Thanks to the good doctor’s inventions, Conan (managing to recreate his old “Jimmy” voice) lets her believe he’s on a big case and on the run, leaving no missing person reports out there. While Rachel is almost motherly to her boyfriend-in-bowtie, Richard, despite being the patriarch of the group, is no role model. He only gets cases nowadays because Jimmy’s gone; the cases he used to polish off had the words “Budweiser,” “Coors,” and “Amstel Light” on the side.

Case ClosedRichard’s not the brightest detective, and Conan’s sleuth skills can’t be contained. Almost always somehow dragged to the scene of a crime, Conan leads us through the hints. The crimes are definitely a highlight of the show. They’re well thought out, with only one or two problems arising due to the culture barrier. (So if they’re in Japan, why do they have American names, or would Conan look in a French-to-Japanese dictionary when a mysterious word wasn’t in English?) If you’re smart enough, you’ll be able to figure out who the murderer is before Conan does. And if nobody listens to a kid? Conan always figures out a way to pass on his deduction, usually by knocking out Richard and simulating his voice.

This disc contains the first four episodes of the series. “The Big Shrink” and “The Kidnapped Debutante” set up the premise, but each also has its own self-contained murder mystery. “Beware of Idols” is the first self-contained episode dealing with a murder case, and “Fish Marks The Spot” unleashes the greatest horror upon the series: the junior detectives. While Amy’s a sweet kid, George and Mitch are your standard “idiot + fat idiot” friends of Conan. No murder mystery here, this episode seems more like an adventure-mystery story in the vein of The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.

Case Closed has a good balance of fun characters and intriguing cases. It’s much better at mysteries than Scooby Doo (there’s no unmasking at the end) and has much more interesting characters. It’s fun to see Rachel, who nearly karated (yes, I just used “karate” as a verb) Jimmy to death after he accidentally saw up her skirt, become almost a mother to Conan. Richard’s good comedy relief as well, coming close to solving a crime only to get knocked out by Conan.

Given that this is the first volume, I feel it necessary to go over some stuff that won’t change in the course of the series. The dub is good, but hey, I’m a dub fan. The designs and animation are nice, but I know a lot of people are thrown off by the designs, what with the big ears and “stoner eyes,” as someone put it. The video is fine, although the characters were blindingly pale in moments. While the show gives off an older vibe, it’s less than a decade old. No insert is in the case, which itself seems to allow the disc to rattle more.

Case ClosedSince it’s a DVD, extras and packaging count as well. For extras, you get the standard profiles, trailers, and textless songs. Conan’s gadgets are also described, but this volume only has his bowtie voice modifier. A real highlight though is the “Crack the Case” game. Turn this feature on, and when Conan solves a case, you can take a quiz to see if your guess is right. Answer all questions correctly, and you’ll get a code to enter. What’s it unlock? Audio outtakes. While not as funny as the Abenobashi ones, these are more “real,” but do offer some good flubs.

One truth prevails, and it’s that FUNimation has got a good series in its hands here. Case Closed solves any fans desires: it’s a mix of intriguing mysteries, laughs, and soul. One truth prevails, and it’s that this is a must-buy check out show.

Episodes included on Case Closed
Episode 1 “The Big Shrink”
Episode 2 “The Kidnapped Debutante”
Episode 3 “Beware Of Idols”
Episode 4 “Fish Marks The Spot”

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