[From July Issue 2013]
Detective Conan (Case Closed)
First published in 1994 in the “Weekly Shonen Sunday,” “Detective Conan (Case Closed)” is an ongoing manga mystery series. It depicts the life of KUDO Shinichi, a high school student and detective, whose body has been shrunk by a mysterious organization. Going by the name of EDOGAWA Conan, Kudo solves difficult cases one after the other. So far, 79 volumes of the comic have been released. The TV animation that began in 1996 is still being broadcast and there have also been animated film versions and TV dramas. It’s a series popular with both children and adults.
One day, Shinichi goes to an amusement park with his childhood friend, MORI Ran. There, he observes the mysterious organization (the Black Organization) making a deal. The members detect his presence and force him to swallow some poison. When he comes to, the poison has taken effect and he has the body of a child. Believing that if this becomes public knowledge, it will put the people around him in danger, he begins to hide his true identity and goes by the name of Edogawa Conan.
In order to gather information about the organization, Conan goes to stay with Ran and her detective father, MORI Kogoro. Helped by inventor AGASA Hiroshi – who knows Conan’s true identity – he uses the tools that Agasa has developed, such as a bowtie-shaped voice changer and a wristwatch-shaped tranquilizing gun, to solve case after case, in Kogoro’s place, in order to get to the heart of the mystery surrounding the Black Organization.
Besides Agasa, Conan’s true identity is also known to: Shinichi’s parents, HATTORI Heiji, a high school student detective from Osaka, and HAIBARA Ai, a former member of the Black Organization, who, just like Shinichi, was transformed into a child after being poisoned. Just like Conan, Haibara was enrolled in the same first-grade class at Teitan Elementary School. She carries out research into antidotes at Agasa’s. She’s the only person with whom Conan shares the same fate.
Sometimes Conan teams up with his classmates to form a five-strong detective team: with the bubbly YOSHIDA Ayumi; TSUBURAYA Mitsuhiko, whose powers of reasoning put adults to shame; KOJIMA Genta, a headstrong muscular guy; and Haibara. When the FBI and the CIA turn up in pursuit of the Black Organization, or interesting characters, such as Conan’s arch enemy, Phantom Thief Kid, appear, things get even more exciting.
Many episodes deal with the love affairs of people close to Conan, including detectives in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. The affair between detectives TAKAGI Wataru and SATO Miwako is a recurring theme. Though Tagaki and Sato are in a relationship, Sato is so popular with male colleagues that they are always trying to get between them. The writer himself describes the series as a “murder mystery romantic comedy manga.”
Detective Conan is so popular that a movie adaptation has been released in theatres every year since 1997. These movies are always big box-office hits. The 17th movie version, “Private Eye in the Distant Sea,” was released in April. Can Conan reveal the true identity of the Black Organization? Will Shinichi return to his normal size? And where is his relationship with Ran going?
Text: YAMASHINA Saori