Well, with Case 1 of Case Closed (known as Detective Conan in Japan) recently released, it’s time to go back and finish off Case 5. After some really good episodes involving Harley, the Knight Baron, and the Phantom Thief Kid, this disc has a lot to live up to. Does it reach the mark?
We start out with Richard playing a game of mahjong with his buddies (for the clueless, mahjong is kind of like a more complicated version of poker). Richard calls up a buddy to join in, but he’s mysteriously poisoned. Even worse, there aren’t any clues to link the killer. After that adventure, Rachel, Conan, and Serena stop off at the bank after a day of bowling, only to get involved in a bank robbery. Just when one of the bank employees tries to stop the robber, a cell phone goes off, and the employee is shot. Now, Conan must try to figure out how the robber managed to slip in, as well as who his accomplice was. Finally, Conan begrudgingly plays baseball with Mitch, Amy, and George, but they accidentally run into an amnesiac hobo. The next day, he goes missing, and later, turns up dead. Conan knows who is to blame, but the culprit has completely cleaned the scene of the crime. Could there be anything the culprit missed that will link that person to the murder? Well, this is Conan Edogawa we’re talking about here.
After the inventive past few episodes, this volume monumentally disappoints. None of the three mysteries are all that interesting, except maybe for the final episode on the disc. The mahjong murder is mildly interesting and not quite as out there as some of the evil plots in past episodes (in fact, it’s actually pretty clever), but the one-timers are even more boring than usual. However, a scene where all three take a bathroom break as they’re being questioned got some funny reactions out of Richard and Conan, while Rachel gets some good mahjong moments in before episode’s end. But regardless, a boring episode is a boring episode, and this one isn’t going to be burned into your brain like previous episodes will be.
The robber episode does get points for being different, as there aren’t many times where our heroes are actually involved in a bank robbery. Unfortunately, it soon delves into the standard killer plotline for this series, and viewers who pay attention will be able to piece everything together well before Conan does, which is very strange for this series. As if that wasn’t enough, the final clue Conan needs to piece everything together I guarentee will induce a groan from anyone watching. Maybe if this episode had been “Conan-vs.-Robber” this episode would’ve been more interesting. As it stands though, the episode is just typical Conan, and is thus easily missed. Oh, before I forget, this episode also has Conan putting Serena to sleep again to solve the case, and once again the magic of animation still can’t make that plot point work (gotta love how Serena manages to twirl around and sit in a “thinking” pose after being drugged).
Finally, we have our dead hobo episode (which I’m sure raised some expectations for those newcomers, if only because the word “hobo” is really, really funny to say). This is another one of those episodes where the killer is revealed almost immediately and the search is on for proof to link the killer to the crime. I didn’t mind these episodes in the past, and this one is actually rather clever by having the culprit completely clean their entire house, removing any fingerprints and hairs that could be linked back to them. However, even with this bit of variety, the episode can’t rise too far above its bretheren on this disc. Yes, it is the best episode on the disc, but for those who have been watching this series since it aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, it’s more of the same old, same old.
Nothing too interesting has been done to the animation this time around either. The opening and ending are still the same as the last few releases, while the animation itself is still nothing special. In fact, one can see that a few corners were cut to create a bigger budget for the episodes on the previous disc. Regardless, big-budget animation has never really been needed for this series, and it’s not nearly as bad as, say, Rave Master. The transfer for the English version is really good, as the colors are bright and vibrant, but the Japanese version, once again, is much more faded. It’s really a shame because I’d like to have the original titles and all that to go with the English dub, but I don’t want to sacrifice the video quality.
Dub-wise, the voices continue to excel. While there’s nothing on this disc to give the voice actors something to chew on, they do perform excellently anyway. Really, if you judge the actors on their own merits (instead of associating them with the localization), then their voices are about as perfect as you can get. As for the Japanese version, that is still the same. I still hate Kogoro Mori’s (Richard’s) voice and continue to wonder how Japanese audiences could stand that voice for 450+ episodes. Once again, nothing changes too much music-wise. I continue to love Stephanie Nadolny’s rendition of the opening theme and Kyle Herbert’s rendition of the ending theme. There aren’t any changes in the music, but the clue for the next episode (aka the first episode of Case 6) is Two-Mix, the J-Pop band most famous for performing the theme songs to Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, as well as the performers of Case Closed’s fifth opening “Truth.” For your information, we’re still on opening three.
Extras are slim pickings once again. You get the usual character bios (though if you read them before watching the episodes you’ll likely spoil the mysteries), clean opening/closing videos, bios on Conan’s gadgets, and a bunch of trailers. Finally, there’s yet another episode of Mr. Stain on Junk Alley, which is also available on Dragonball Z: Uncut Volume 7 and Baki the Grappler Volume 5. This is the fourth episode I’ve seen, and I’m completely sick of this series already. Unfortunately, it won’t be released until the end of March, meaning we’ll have to deal with this torment likely for another wave of releases.
Overall, this disc is purely for those who already have the other four Case 5 volumes. Those who are just getting started are advised to either pick up Volumes 2 or 4 of Case 5, or just to pick up the first Case, which was released on February 21st.
Episodes on Case Closed Case 5, Volume 5:
Episode #77: Murder and Mahjong
Episode #82: The Revengeful Robber
Episode #83: Dead Hobo