Case Closed Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Release Date: Sunday, August 01, 2004



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Aoyama Gosho
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Ghastly beheadings, bloody murders, and cold-hearted child abductions-
Precocious high school student Jimmy Kudo uses his keen powers of observation and astute intuition to solve mysteries that have left law enforcement officials baffled. Hot on the trail of a suspect, Jimmy is accosted from behind and fed a strange chemical which physically transforms him into a grade schooler! Taking on the pseudonym Conan Edogawa, he attempts to track down the people who did this to him. But until he finds a cure for his bizarre condition, Jimmy continues to help the police solve their toughest cases.
Can you crack the case before Conan does?

The Review
Packaging:
Viz does a decent job with the packaging for this volume. Presented right-to-left in a tall B6, Case Closed uses a mix of existing and original concepts for the cover design. The front cover maintains the character image of Conan Edogawa in a Sherlock Holmes costume. The image is on top of a new picture of Big Ben with Parliament in the foreground (the original picture had Big Ben in the foreground instead). Conan has a spotlight shining on him, the original logo to the left of him and the logo used by Funimation above him partially obstructing covering his head. This is in contrast to the Shonen Sunday version, which does not have the spotlight and has Conan in covering the logo instead. Priorities people! The opposite cover has the volume description on a black background, to the right of a keyhole that has an image of a confident looking Jimmy Kudo in it. They kept the original volume and chapter header and included a cool looking contents page designed to look like a case file. The printing is good but in my opinion is a tad dark. Fortunately, I did not notice any distortion. At the end of the GN Viz includes a short blurb from Aoyama-sensei followed by Aoyama's Detective Library. They have also included ads for Flame of Recca, MegaMan NT Warrior, and RahXephon.

Artwork:
Aoyama's art is very humorous. Younger characters have huge heads; so large they appear like bobble head dolls. Adults are often caricatured with huge chins, large cheekbones, wild facial hair and big teeth. The designs really works in a mystery manga as details play such a vital role in the drama. The background art is okay. Unfortunately Aoyama often uses too many manpu (visual effects) take obstruct or obscure the art, which can be used to support the story. Actually, there were a couple of cases where the scenery was critical to the progression of the plot. At times, the manpu would distract me from the writing, as the art would be over-dramatic and too busy.

SFX/Text:
Okay by now most Conan fans out there know there have been a few name changes:

-Kudo Shinichi - Jimmy Kudo
-Mouri Ran - Rachel Moore
-Mouri Kogoro - Richard Moore
-Inspector Megure - Inspector Meguire.

Personally, I am not a fan of name changes. Actually, after years of manga from Viz I am deeply disappointed, as this takes the media a step backwards.

The rest of the translation looks pretty good. The dialogue flows really well and keeps up with the mood without sounding corny.

SFX are all translated with overlays. Viz has years of retouch experience and it shows as the SFX look clean and tend to resemble the original fonts.

Viz has done a poor job with the retouch in this volume. They were not very consistent with signage. In some pages there are still signs stating the Moore's are the Mouri's. In one page, a message to Richard is addressed to Kogoro. In addition, nameplates are translated and then there are times when they are not.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Jimmy Kudo has an unusual hero. His hero is not politician, sports star, music idol, or civil servant. Kudo's hero comes from the pages of Sir Author Conan Doyle's books - Sherlock Holmes, fictional detective. A master of deduction, studious, artistic and athletic Holmes was a type of renaissance man that would use his talents to solve crime. Kudu has modeled his teens after the character, training his body and his mind to always be a step ahead of the problems he sets out to solve.

Unfortunately Kudo has been almost too enthusiastic about crime lately. In some ways, he has become almost as big a legend as his hero has. Despite only being a high school junior his face is all over the papers and the news. At school, his popularity with the ladies has gone to his head, affecting what little social life he had. Jimmy cannot even go on a date without getting involved in a crime. Blood and death does not faze Kudo, but he could care less how it would bother his date. Moreover, the kid smelling another case would rather leave a friend in the middle of a conversation to follow a hunch.

Eventually his inexperience and large ego would catch up with him. Holmes had his Watson but Kodu was all alone. So when outnumbered by professional criminals, he was way over his head. Caught, beaten and poisoned Kudo was left for dead, because a dead detective is a silent detective. Kudo was lucky the poison did not kill him but Jimmy Kudo high school detective was definitely dead for now. His body haven shrunk from the molecular level, has left him looking like a six year-old. Therefore, from this point on he would be Conan Edogawa... elementary school super-sleuth! Old habits are hard to break, and despite losing his identity, his strength and his credibility Kudo will continue to solve cases until he finds the criminals that took away his old life from him.

Comments
Jimmy Kudo may not have the best personality; the kid is extremely cocky and obnoxious. However, his unique observation skills has made this teenage sleuth a star. His face is on the papers, in the news, and on the minds of many teenage girls. Nevertheless, karma caught up to him and his life, as the savior of the Japanese Police force, as gone. Aoyama has created a character straight out of a teen novel. A character that should be getting everything that he got but in Aoyama's world, his lead's over-zealous nature got him into a lot of trouble. Now instead of changing Kudo's life to fit in with what should be the life of a 6-year-old, Aoyama has Kudo attempt to continue his sleuthing. Obviously, there will be plenty of obstacles to overcome as his body is different and his connections to the police are gone. He will have to re-invent himself as a detective and a person as Conan Edogawa. How he goes about his new style of detective work is full of action, drama and comedy. Aoyama's Kudo may have had some bad luck, but Kudo's misfortune appears to be bringing quite a bit of high quality entertainment.

One of the longer running franchises in manga today Case Closed (better known as Detective Conan) succeeds by creating tension filled stories filled with drama, suspense, action and humor. These stories can captivate audiences of all ages and gender. Best of all these stories can often make the reader be an active part of the story, as they can try to collect the clues on their own to solve the case before Conan does. Good pacing, good humor and some solid drama sets Case Closed apart from most shonen titles in the North American market. Meitantei Conan deserves all the praises it gets for lasting so long and continuing to be a favorite amongst manga readers. Unfortunately, I have a hard time full recommending Case Closed as it is not really Meitantei Conan because of the title and name changes. These name changes may not affect the plot much, but when I can see Richard Moore's office has a sign reading Mouri on the window I feel confused. I start to wonder about Jimmy's background as to why his parents gave him an English first name. I think about how long the Moore family has lived in Japan. Now I know you might not get these crazy ideas, but I do not like having distractions like that when I am enjoying a good murder.

Just keep it simple people - just like people do not want edits, do not change titles or names because they were plenty popular as they were before costly changes (and what I mean by that is retouch and editing needed to keep continuity). Why mess with something that is so good?



Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: C-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.95
Pages: 186
ISBN: 1-59116-327-7
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left