Case Closed: Case 05 Vol. #2: Knight Baron Mystery - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Case Closed (Detective Conan)

Case Closed: Case 05 Vol. #2: Knight Baron Mystery

By Chris Beveridge     August 02, 2005
Release Date: June 07, 2005


Case Closed: Case 05 Vol. #2: Knight Baron Mystery
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
When Conan, Richard, and Rachel are offered a free stay at a posh hotel on the beach if they join a mystery tour, they jump at the chance. But their accommodations are only paid for in full if they uncover the identity of the tour promoter who is posing as one of the guests. It’s all fun in the sun until one of the tour members is murdered! But which of the other tour members would murder the promoter and why? Could it be the sexy entrepreneur, Heidi Camino? Or perhaps the oddly intimidating computer expert Mark McKean? Or perhaps former Martial Arts Champ Cliff Reed and his fiance, Audra?

The wise, elderly Winston Cadbury and his burly assistant, Miss Bunn, also cast an aura of suspicion. Just when Conan thinks he's close to solving the puzzle the unexpected happens; Knight Baron appears! But if the victim wasn't the tour promoter, then who is? And why has he lured these guests together for a mystery contest only to turn it into his personal game of murder?

The Review!
Promoted as an hour long mystery, three episodes in a row put together one more elaborate length mystery for Conan and friends to solve.

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 starting its airing run back in 1996, the full frame 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 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 mixture of the kiddish looking logo and the darker almost CSI-like backgrounds continue to not mesh that well here. The front cover uses a yellow police sticker along the bottom to provide the volume name and uses the center area to provide some character artwork for the show, this time featuring Conan in his suit investigating something while the Night Baron stands next to him. Even better, it's got a "As Seen on Cartoon Network" block on it. Has nobody heard of burst stickers? The back cover has a small row of shots from the show along the right while the rest of it is made up in a file folder rough style. The "Case" listing is to indicate what season it is and then it provides the volume title and the episode numbers and titles for each of the episodes. The discs features are listed below the fairly detailed summary that uses all the English language names. The discs features are fairly easy to read and it's laid out well enough. As seems to be becoming more common with FUNimation releases, there is no insert with this release.

Menu:
The main menu is another basic Conan shot with him angling his watch gun at the viewer while along the left it has the disc selections on what I guess could be newspaper clippings? It doesn't click with me as to what it's trying to represent. The background looks to be that of a brick wall with some sections covered over in concrete but done in shades of blue and grey. One area I continue to dislike heavily with FUNimation discs is the language selection. When you make a selection, nothing changes to indicate what it's set at. There's no visual representation showing what the disc will play at when it runs. The menus here have decent access times and submenus load quickly but on the downside the disc did not read our players language presets and defaulted to English audio with no subtitles and to angle one.

Extras:
The extras mirror previous volumes in general. The character profiles section, again heavily leaning on the English language version by using names from the dub, provides some small details and artwork on the main cast. There's a section to go to more characters but it does indicate that you'll spoil things before going into it, which is a plus since it reveals kidnappers and other mystery men for the episodes on the disc. Conan's Gadgets section is designed so that when new pieces are introduced they're able to be highlighted, and we get a couple of them on this volume, each with pictures and a quick jump the video section where it occurs; again, only in English language and no subtitles available. The opening and ending songs, which are the clean versions of the opening and endings, allow for instant switching to either of the languages as well as the English 5.1 mix.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We've had a couple of double episode mysteries so far and a whole lot of single episode mysteries, but this is the first released three part story and it comes across well in showing how well the writers are at dangling things in front of the viewer if they're given enough time to lay something out. In a way, it still feels like a single episode mystery though because the show simply does go by so fast and it does play out as normal but just expanded and more time to put up false fronts.

Amusingly, there's already one major discrepancy between the two versions on this disc. In the original, we learn about a character that populates the novels of Shinichi's father named the Night Baron, a villain whose true nature is unknown but he's a major thorn in the side of these stories. In the American translation, for some reason they felt the need to change it from Night Baron to Knight Baron. Not that it truly makes any difference in terms of how the story plays out, at least in these episodes, but it seems like a strange change to make and almost unnecessary.

The storyline itself for this three part arc is pretty fun. Conan, Kogoro and Ran all end up on a mystery tour event after Dr. Agasi and his friend and friends' daughter have to opt out of it. The event takes place at a ritzy hotel but the winner will get out of having to pay their bill if they figure out who among the attendees, ten people in all, is the event organizer. When everyone is going through the check-in phase, they're thrown by the swap-out that's happened and aren't sure what to expect but they're all still game to go through with the game once it gets underway.

Before that happens though, some strange and deadly events happen. Early on, Conan finds himself looking out one of the balconies to the view below only to find someone dressed up as the Night Baron suddenly behind him and pushing him off several stories and down into the pool below. That's the least of the troubles though as later that night after most people have had dinner and Conan has been investigating small clues and links all of the players in the game seem to have, someone is thrown out from a different balcony up on the twenty-first floor. To the surprise of everyone, it's someone dressed up as the Night Baron and it's one of the participants in the game, a rather lecherous man at that.

While four people are easily excluded from the murder investigation, the remaining six have some varied and interesting alibis that they use and a few deceptions along the way. Things linking them all together in the past comes up as well based on the things Conan had investigated but there are some well done red herrings along the way that keeps you guessing until you get closer to the finale. The animation for the episodes was also slightly better than average and used in a few more key scenes than usual such as when the Night Baron does appear or when Ran gets to do some of her karate moves. It makes me really want to see some of the movies if they're better animated but in the same style just to see how they flow.

In Summary:
This was a nice departure from the norm in being able to get a mystery that felt more like a real full episode in the hour long drama format than the mini mysteries we usually get. The expanded time is well used to build up a more intricate plot and to allow for more possible murderers that need to be explored. Add in a bit better animation for it as well and tying the story to something with Shinichi's father and the past was a nice touch and makes me look forward to more of these kinds of stories in the future.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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