Case Closed: Case 01 Vol. #02: In Hot Pursuit - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Case Closed (Detective Conan)

Case Closed: Case 01 Vol. #02: In Hot Pursuit

By Chris Beveridge     May 22, 2006
Release Date: May 02, 2006


Case Closed: Case 01 Vol. #02: In Hot Pursuit
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Conan wages even deeper into the seedy depths of the underworld, and he's up to his neck in danger. The darkest corners of the human psyche are wrought with peril, and the skeletons are overflowing from the closet: murder, madness, assassination attempts, kidnapped children, political intrigue, cursed pianos...

Working with Rachel and the Junior Detective League, Detective Conan sees the clues buried beneath the layers of human desperation that others miss. In hot pursuit of the truth, the investigation continues!

Contains episodes 10-15:
Deadly Game
The Moonlight Sonata Murder Case Part 1
The Moonlight Sonata Murder Case Part 2
Kidnapped: Amy
Mystery Mastermind

The Review!
Working through more of the early stories of Shinichi as Conan, this volume serves up some interesting tales before most of the gadgets started to arrive.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a pretty basic stereo mix and not all that much noteworthy in terms of forward soundstage directionality. We didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback. We did sample portions of the English language track and I liked how some of the 5.1 remixing came out, as it punched up the opening sequence a bit and gave a bit more clarity to the voices, but it's a trade-off I don't want to do with the changes made to the English "reversioning."

Video:
Originally airing in 1996, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for Detective Conan looks good but shows signs of its budget and how well the materials have been taken care of since the original airings. The opening and ending sequences, which are done as alternate angles with one being geared towards the Japanese credits and the other with the English credits, show a fair bit of nicks and dirt throughout each segment. The main show itself is relatively clean but the style of animation used allows for some of the darker backgrounds to look a bit shifty and pixilated at times. It avoids outright macroblocking through but the colors are not as solid as they should be when it comes to night scenes with blacks and blues. Cross coloration also shows up here and there throughout the show as does some aliasing, but neither to really bothersome levels for the most part. If you flip back and forth between the angles during the opening and ending, you'll note that the English version looks a bit more full in color and depending on how fast and effective your player is at doing the angle change, there may be a gap between the visuals as well.

Please see our review of Case One Volume One for the list of complaints we have with how the release is setup, something that isn't worth adding to each review but is worth referencing.

Packaging:
The reworked covers continue to look good here with the changes made with the re-released first volume carried over here. The artwork used against the file folder motif here comes from just one episode as it has a pair of shots of the very little seen villain from it but it does have that man in black feel to it that gives you hint to some of Shinichi's original troubles. The back cover keeps to what we saw before for the most part though as it lists the episode numbers and titles on the folder and a summary of what to expect. There's a strip of shots from the show along the right and the bottom portion has a good technical grid of what to expect and the usual other tidbits. No insert is included with the release. Overall, the redesign for the series is spot on and I hope they eventually take the time to clean up the previously released Case's if they get a new pressing. Normally I'd make some complaint about a series not having consistency but with as many volumes as this will eventually take there was no way things would or could stay the same for its entire run.

Menu:
Completely redone from the previous style, the menus here are still a bit dark with its faded nature but it uses the style mostly from the front cover with a shot of Conan in the foreground and the Case Closed logo along the top. The navigation menu is reworked a fair bit, this time around to include which volume it is and for the actual selections which is done in standard text mode instead of the stylized font they were using before. The layout is different and easier to navigate than the old one. In terms of player presets, this is somewhat better but still a problem. Unlike other FUNimation discs there is only one English subtitle track as no close captioned/dubtitle track is included. The problem comes in that the track is simply numbered and not labeled as an English subtitle track so players are unable to recognize it and don't play it.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the re-release of the first volume getting us through the series first nine episodes, this second installment drops off a bit in episode count but still far better than the later seasons have come across as we get six episodes. The mix of stories for this volume feels much better balanced because of it and it didn't feel like it was over in the blink of an eye which some releases have done. With four standalone tales and a two-part "special", we got an enjoyable couple of hours out of this release.

The four standalone stories have a good mix of adventures and capers to them, some more serious than others. The opening one takes a dip in the fascination with soccer as Conan ends up dealing with a woman who claims she's been dating Shinichi and he's gone missing now. It ends up a fair bit twisted in its path to going on about a couple of different soccer teams and a little boy whose been kidnapped in the middle of all of it which really felt just too convoluted to be told smoothly in the shorter timeframe. What made it enjoyable though was just the dealings with Ran still being very interested in finding Shinichi, something that just leveled off after awhile in the later seasons.

The standalone tales do unfortunately take some dips into the kiddie pool as the Detective Boys gets a bit more of an official nod from Conan when they all start wearing transmitter badges. It's actually well timed as one of the kids gets kidnapped as there's been a rash of those going on lately and Conan is able to take to the streets to find her by using a skateboard and creative use of moving fast on it. The kids really do just annoy me to no end which is why I was disappointed that they showed up in another episode on this volume that was far more entertaining as they stumble upon information about an assassination attempt. It's done creatively in that the clues are laid about in a series of numbers and there's some relation to a calculator but the numbers aspect opens up the interpretation greatly. While there's an interesting angle to all of it there is some just plain silly parts to it as well such as the running around trying to match up rivers and street layouts. The good outweighs the laughable though.

The best part of this volume is that there's a two part story which is naturally presented as an hour long special called "Moonlight Sonata." Mori gets himself a letter which talks about a murder that could be taking place at an island nearby Tokyo so he and the others head out to see what the deal is. The island is considerably different than the hustle and bustle of Tokyo but it still has its share of mysteries to it. The person that had sent them the letter turns out to have died in a fire ten years prior in which he had killed his family as well all while playing the Moonlight Sonata. A couple of years ago the Mayor had died in a similar manner related to the Sonata and now a new mayoral race is underway and people are dropping off like flies around Mori and the others. With the two episodes to delve into the mystery and its rather numerous layers to get to the actual core of it all, it's a really solid special that has the time to examine the numerous clues, the motivations of many without seeming forced and overall just provided a well done mystery.

In Summary:
The quiet relaunch of Case Closed in its new format continues to be a very welcome thing and this release just solidifies it even more. With the shorter running times of the episodes, the multi episode arcs as specials and relatively simple animation and pans for a lot of it, bumping up to six episodes doesn't affect the quality of the release in any really noticeable way. The set of episodes for this volume are entertaining overall, especially if you don't mind the kids, with a good diversity to the stories and some amusing and interesting plots.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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