Case Closed: Case 03 Vol. #02: Death Wears A Blindfold - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: D
  • 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: 175
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Case Closed (Detective Conan)

Case Closed: Case 03 Vol. #02: Death Wears A Blindfold

By Chris Beveridge     June 06, 2007
Release Date: May 29, 2007


Case Closed: Case 03 Vol. #02: Death Wears A Blindfold
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
It's nice to unwind, but unfortunately for Conan Edogawa, crime never takes a vacation! When murder strikes during a ski trip, the truth can get snowed over. And spending a little time at the pool seems like fun until justice takes a dive under the pale moon. Crack open a good book at the library, but beware the corpse that might be rotting nearby.

Conan plays it cool as the madness swirls around him, even when a rival teen detective starts snooping around hoping to match wits with Jimmy Kudo! Death may wear a mask, but this detective isn't easily deceived.

The Review!
Taking an already generally weak looking transfer and cramming it with more content only serves to make the show less enjoyable for some.

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. While the show has had its issues during the various phases of its release, from the initial volumes that had angle issues and later ones that suffered from the six episodes that they had, none have looked as poor as this volume does. Bringing the count up to seven episodes in order to finish out the third Case, it's just bad looking in general with lots of ugly spots. The majority of the ugly comes in the form of the opening sequences which are very blocky and unstable. Cross coloration and dot crawl are very prevalent there as well as in the episodes themselves. What was really surprising was how jittery the show started to look with this volume as the first several episodes exhibit a lot of this outside of scene changes. While more episodes can be good for getting out a release quick, this volume would have been better off with a two disc release instead of a shoddy looking release that we ended up with.

Packaging:
While the series is still aimed at the market that saw it on Cartoon Network by using the English language logo of Case Closed, the package in general has been nicely worked and fixes things I really didn't like about the previous style. The dark nature of it is gone for the most part as is the strip along the bottom with the volume name again the yellow and black and the Cartoon Network logo. The elimination of those two things and a lighter background format that has the feeling of a case folder works very well. The dark tan used for the folder allows the character artwork to stand out well against it since that's in full color but not quite as murky as the previous series with its black surrounding it. 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.

Menu:
Completely redone from the old 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 Heizo 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 as many episodes as there are on this volume it really warrants being watched in smaller doses. Taking in all seven across a couple of days helped to spread out the enjoyment while diminishing some of the repetition of the series as well as the very straightforward structure it uses. With only one two part episode on here however the majority of it is focused on the quick hit and run style murder mysteries that are usually fairly easy to see through.

The standalone stories have some good episodes to them this time around. The opening tale of a woman who has been murdered by one of three people that came to see her that night has some nice twists to it in the short time it has to play out. Unlike some other episodes where only one person really has any substantial motive to kill the person, this one provides reasons for all three as it unravels itself. Some of them come across as more likely than others but as usual it's coincidences that help to set things up. The involvement of Kogoro once again is an element of pure chance is the bread and butter of any series like this.

Another really enjoyable standalone episode deals with one of my favorite of the premises, the vacation murder. A ski trip has the core group meeting up with an important doctor who is aware of Kogoro from all the pictures of him in the paper. You'd figure that he'd be more away of Kogoro due to the number of bodies that seem to pile up around him over time. A number of other doctors are at the lavish lodge and the group is invited to stay with them since Kogoro lost the keys to their own basic lodge. Naturally, the important doctor is murdered while watching his favorite show and juts about everyone is suspect as motives abound. A doctor like him has made many enemies over the years even among those closest to him. Unlike most other victims though, he's able to scrawl out a message that gives Conan a clue to solve the case that works much better in Japanese than in English.

The best of the volume however comes in the form of the two part storyline. This one kicks off with a special twist as a visitor to Kogoro's office turns out to be the great detective of Kansai, Heizo Hattori. Though he hadn't met Shinichi before he's always regarded him as the great detective of Tokyo and has long hoped to challenge him. Heizo has come in search of him in order to challenge him properly only to end up caught up in a new murder mystery revolving around a diplomat. While the mystery itself is a lot of fun as it deals with a solid locked room mystery, the real fun is in watching a sickly Conan having to deal with a very observant detective. He's been able to get away with a lot due to Kogoro being such a doofus but Heizo is keeping him on his toes. Add in that there's always a chance that Heizo could deduce who Conan is and Conan has quite a time with him.

Between these stories and the others, this is a rather enjoyable set of episodes overall. Conan ends up having some good material in the two part storyline which is made even more fun when he ends up drinking some Chinese alcohol. His relationship with Ran doesn't get put to the test of course but his methods for dealing with her end up under a bit more scrutiny during this and forces him to change how he's been handling her. The other stories pretty much play up the usual things where there isn't much in the way of growth or change but none of that is surprising.

In Summary:
This volume of Case Closed is one of the few releases out there with seven episodes on it. It's also one of those releases that reminds me why so many episodes on a disc isn't a good idea as the quality here really suffers. This is particularly unfortunate since the stories on this volume are very enjoyable and would have benefited from a smoother and less problematic presentation. The best of the disc comes in the two part storyline but just about everything here has something good about it. With this being the last of the backlog releases for Case Closed to be done, I hope that future Case releases will be handled in a better manner than this. It's rare that while watching a DVD I feel like I'm actually watching an nth generation fansub tape in terms of overall video quality.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player, 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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