Case Closed Vol. #34 (Mania.com)

By:Kate O'Neil
Review Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tensions are running high as Conan gets a lead on a syndicate agent, but incidental murder cases are demanding some attention first.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Gosho Aoyoma
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki

What They Say
The death of a private detective puts Conan back on the trail of the mysterious Syndicate. Now he believes he's identified one of the Men in Black--or, rather, a Woman in Black--as American actress Chris Vineyard. But could the elusive mistress of disguise be closer than Conan realizes? When Conan and Harley Hartwell investigate a suicide in the apartment building of daffy English teacher Jodie Santemillion, they discover more than just foul play. Who is Miss Jodie?

The Review!

The long, ongoing story of the boy detective (68 volumes and counting!) picks up with a conclusion to the previous volume’s story.  Not a great place to jump into a long run series like this, especially since there’s an emphasis on what television would call the series “mythology” in this volume. The Men in Black are the bad guys that Conan has been after from the start, when their attempted murder went wrong and changed teenage Jimmy into little kid Conan. Now Conan has suspicions that an acquaintance of his may be one of the mysterious organization’s members. 
 
The hunt for answers to his own quest is going on quietly in the background during the cases that Conan comes across in the rest of the volume, the first of which looks like a typical suicide but turns out to be more. Conan, Harley, and Miss Jodie take the time to investigate the case while also investigating each other’s hidden motives. The next case involves the murder of an infamous soccer hooligan on a crowded train. Anita is left pondering if anyone can really trust and respect a traitor. The final case is a film director’s sudden death at a business dinner, while Rachel fights off a fever and the memories of a trip to New York that it makes her recall. The volume ends at the beginning of Rachel’s flashback.
 
While each story is well written and full of lively art, it falls into the strange problem serial detective stories share. In each case, Conan and friends are only several feet away when the victims meet their end. With the murder rate so low in the real-life Japan, you’d think the police would have locked up Conan and all his friends by now for being serial killers. 
 
One huge compliant I have about the otherwise solid translation is that I have no idea who is supposed to be Japanese and who isn’t – especially in this volume, part of which takes place in New York. Viz has changed most of the characters’ names to some English equivalent, for whatever reason. Short of checking online, I had to guess the ethnicity of some of the lead cast. Name changing in manga and anime, in this day and age? Aren’t we beyond this, Viz?
 
In Summary
Even though I’m a newcomer to the series, and missing a bunch of backstory, there’s a lot to like in this book. It’s refreshing to see a crime story that takes place in a mostly gunless society. Despite Conan’s few trick gadgets, the solutions to the crimes are simplistic and the approach is good old-fashioned detective intuition and observation. Ongoing readers will probably enjoy the emphasis on the continuing Syndicate storyline and will be frustrated by this volume’s cliffhanger ending.

 



Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: C
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1421528854
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Case Closed