Case Closed: Case 05 Vol. #1: Truth About Revenge (also w/box) (of 5) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, April 15, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2005



What They Say
How can blood from one victim, murdered on the street wind up on the wall of an abandoned building, the railing of a rooftop, and broken glass of an upper apartment window?

Then, Conan joins Richard and Rachel backstage at a prestigious playground plagued by an unknown nemesis weeks before the curtain rises! Finally, a leisurely stroll turns into an encounter with death when Richard, Conan, and Rachel discover a corpse in the street.

Talk about it being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it's just another day on the job for Conan!

The Review!
Three more standalone mysteries this time though we skip a chunk of episodes that form a three part adventure in between.

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 activating his sleeping dart watch while behind him you can see elements from one of the episodes. 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 scratching at his chin a bit in deep thought 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)
With the fourth Case of the series now done, FUNimation barrels forward with the Fifth case much to my disappoint in that they're only releasing one Case at a time. I would have preferred to see both the rest of Case One and Case Five at the same time so that we can get caught up on the earlier material. I really hope they don't pull a GT trick and rebrand them as lost episodes in the future. I'm really more interested in the earlier material, which may still be the same as we get now, but I'd simply like to see more of this in its proper order.

With this volume, we get three episodes; 68, 69 and 73, which means we skip what is presumably a three part storyline in the middle there. With a show like this and the way it's being presented I'm still waffling on my entire must be in proper order mentality because this show is just so episodic. But then again, so is CSI for the most part and I watch those in order in season sets. Regardless, we get three standalone tales in this set and they're quite a bit of fun even if they are all over terribly fast, which is probably to the series advantage. Conan is like a good quick hit of formulaic mysteries but if you chain smoke it, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

The opening tale, Moonless Murder, is a good straightforward tale that has circumstances bringing the gang into a new murder. While out for dinner at a restaurant, the trio encounters a friend of Mori's who manages a hobby shop and he's glad to see him since he's got a bit of a problem. For the past week, there's been a thumping sound outside his apartment on a higher floor and he can't figure out what it is outside that's doing it. While this starts out as a really minor investigation it leads to drunken fun between two friends while Ran and Conan end up going on a food and beer run for them. On their way back though they notice someone outside doing a lot of smoking. So when they hear a crash later on and the window is broken in the apartment, Conan isn't too surprised to find the same man dead outside where he was smoking. Bring in a group of mountain climbers who are all friends of the deceased but all have reasons to hate him, including his abandoning a woman in the mountains that led to her death, and it's a case where, you guessed it, Conan is able to solve it at the last minute with a little footwork.

One episode I liked brought in Mori's old teacher, Hei-san, who is something of a letch and at times fairly clueless like Mori though he's got the goods on both him and the inspector since he's saved their jobs many times in the past. He's come for a visit since the duo are so noteworthy now with the number of cases they're solving thanks to Conan's involvement and the latest is a series of threats against an actress in a play. She's fairly typical in that she's a shrew and very few people like her but she's got a lot of talent. So with the threats, people are taking it seriously enough to bring in Mori. Of course, it doesn't take long before she drops dead and practically the entire cast and crew is under suspicion. It was amusing to see Conan have to utilize someone other than Mori for the voice gig this time and while it's pretty obvious who the killer is from the start, it is layered enough so that you could believe any of them really had a reason.

One part in one of the episodes that truly amused me is where you get another element that could only show up in a Japanese mystery show. Similar to a previous episode where you could determine where someone was by what train they were on since the trains run on schedule all the time, this one features a sport drink bottle with a special seal on it. The bottle is important in the mystery because the seal isn't valid; the promotion for it ended a couple of days earlier and the drinks vendor actually goes out and replaces all the bottles that have the seal with ones without a seal. Can you imagine if that was being done in the US? When the Pepsi Itunes thing is invalid, actually see them removing Pepsi bottles with those caps and seals and replacing them with ones without?

Ah, the Japanese. So precise.

In Summary:
In a way, Conan continues to be more of the same but just like how I enjoy watching mainstream Hollywood mysteries, it's all part of the genre and I'm interested in seeing the quirks of how the Japanese handle them in this format and medium. The show doesn't really hold surprises but it does entertain for about an hour and at the cheap price of it, I'm finding it difficult to really complain. I'd much rather have big seasonal sets in chunks of course but at the same time I'd fear that I'd actually lose interest in the show due to how much of it was in my hands at once. This opening volume of Case Five is basically no different from the end of Four, so if you're enjoying it, you'll like this.

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 with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.




Mania Grade: B-
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: 19.98/29.98
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Case Closed (Detective Conan)