Case Closed: Case 01 Vol. #3: Ill-Fated Imposters - 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: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 150
  • 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. #3: Ill-Fated Imposters

By Chris Beveridge     August 04, 2006
Release Date: July 11, 2006


Case Closed: Case 01 Vol. #3: Ill-Fated Imposters
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Solve the world's most dangerous mysteries with Conan and the Junior Detective League! Find the clues on the pursuit for the ultimate answer... the truth.

Contains episodes 16-21:
The Two-Faced Brother
A Loan Repaid
The Case of the Hi-Jacked Department Store
Wedding Day Blues
Fashion Sense
The Disappearing Act

The Review!
Working through another set of standalone stories, unfortunately filled with the Junior Detectives League, Case Closed showcases a variety of murders and paints Japan as a very bad place to live. .

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.

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 a couple of episodes as it has some imposing looking men from them. 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)
As we go back to see more of these early stories and how the show was working before it got into the later seasons we're more familiar with, the more I keep coming across episode with those gosh darned little Junior Detectives League characters. Characters that I want to smack each time I see them, characters I wish the adults would smack as often as Mori does Conan. They make up a good number of the stories on this volume, which has six standalone episodes, and they definitely affected my enjoyment of the show.

The kids often find themselves getting involved in bad situations rather easily; the opening episode has them doing a really small job in looking for a missing cat, which they do find as it comes out of a window at some random house but the cat is covered in blood. Being kids, they prop up a can and take a look inside to see a dead body floating in the bath tub, so they call the cops only to find out that the body isn't there anymore. It leads to an interesting but very obvious murder where bodies are being switched and a fast one is being pulled but with the kids getting involved in tearing up the house looking for clues, you can imagine the real cops would want to kick them out as quickly as possible, regardless of their past noteworthy achievements.

Another story has the group of kids with a reluctant Conan going to a show at the top of a department store where they have some adults performing in a Yaiba show. Conan hates playing along with this stuff which is amusing in that he's continually dragged to it. The kids are all excited to get their pictures with Yaiba and a signed version as well that when Genta realizes he lost his there after the store closes, they sneak back in to get it from the vendor he left it with. Of course, there's a burglary underway and the kids realize that they have to thwart it if they want to get out alive so it's fairly amusing as they use the store against the thieves. It's a got a bit of layering to it in there being someone overseeing things but like many of these early mysteries and events in the series, it's really easy to figure out what's going on.

That said, there are some good episodes to be had here without the kids. One episode has Kogoro, Ran and Conan at a master swordsman's residence where he's reporting in on a cheating wife case he's working on but it turns into a murder case when the swordsman husband is found dead in his own house by a sword not a few hours later. Naturally, there are a number of people who arrive for appointments who all become suspects in the case but there's some nice deduction work and some interesting twists in how the blame is being shifted from one person to another before the real truth is discovered. While it's not a locked room murder which is my favorite in seeing how it will be solved, it's a standard routine used here and it's worked well as everyone works through their own ideas.

Another episode that was rather good in figuring out how the murder happens is when Ran and Sonoko go to a former teachers wedding with Conan in tow and the woman has a number of people visit her during the fifteen minutes before the service is about to start. Being that she's the police commissioners daughter and that Ran has a video camera on almost everything going on in that room during the fifteen minutes, it's a nice setup that plays out well as we discovery the history that's really there and what went on in the past twenty years ago with some surprising connections. It looked initially to be a cut and dry case but the twists were fun and it's always good to see the villain not only get caught but to have something twisted happen to them as well. This is a case where nobody makes out well which isn't done too often here.

In Summary:
While Case Closed hasn't become a real must-see favorite or anything, it's a show that I do enjoy for what it is and the higher number of episodes per release is one where it works out well. In comparing the seasons, I'm definitely enjoying the later ones more which have less of the Junior Detectives and have Kogoro and the rest of them doing a bit more traveling to various locales and situations. These early episodes are enjoyable but they are mostly by the book and have some elements that just make me want to fast forward through them.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray 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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