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Book Review: Case Closed Volume 34

January 11, 2013

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This must be a lucky week for Detective Conan (Case Closed) fans. Instead of receiving just two episode reviews, a good chunk of the three missing volumes of the manga is finally getting covered. As I said in my review of Detective Conan (Case Closed) Volume 31, I have recently received two more books from my Amazon order. One of those books has already been covered, leaving only one left. Today, I will be reviewing that last book, which called Case Closed Volume 34 by Gosho Aoyama.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Jimmy and the gang the wrap up the case involving the mysterious code, but the information that Jimmy got about the possibility of somebody tailing Richard does not make him feel so easy. After discussing things over with Agasa and Harley, who had just flown in from Osaka, Jimmy and Harley decide to investigate Jodie, suspecting that she might have some connection with the Haido hotel incident. However, before they can find out more about, they see a phone fall to ground, followed by a person who fell their death. Now, Jimmy and Harley must figure out who killed the man, while also trying to figure out who Jodie really is.

Once that is taken care of, Jimmy goes to see a game with the Junior Detective League, but on their way back home, a man from earlier is found dead on the train and the suspects have whittled down to three. Jimmy must now determine which of three did it.

Finally, Jimmy, Richard, and Rachel decide to go to a Chinese restaurant to redeem a certificate and get involved in yet another murder case. However, the case is not the only thing that must dealt with because Rachel is not feeling well and even starts remembering the trip she took with Jimmy when he solved his first few cases.

I really enjoyed one. Unlike most of the volumes, most of these cases had a set timeline. The first case, which was the conclusion of the case that started in volume 33, turned out to not be that interesting until the very end. It was not too uninteresting though. Everyone knows that X's and O's in letters stand for hugs and kisses. At the same time, not everyone knows which one is which. This kind of creates some funny parts in the case. Rachel finds out X means, but when Jimmy asks her, she says it is not nice for little boys. If that really were what it meant, Rachel would not have had some red showing on her face. The case was not that obvious, at least to me, which is certainly good. After all, fans of detective mystery, and crime do not want something that is too obvious, which I have mentioned a lot on my blog. Outside of that though, I could not really thing of anything else great about it. As for the case at Jodie's apartment, that was somewhat interesting, but not as much as the tension between Jodie and Harley and Jimmy. It was funny how Jodie was investigating Harley, when he and Jimmy were investigating her. She is at least not as dense as Richard, which is a nice thing. As for the train case that happened after the game, that was somewhat interesting. Very little was obvious in the case. In fact, I could not really notice anything because of the fact that I do not watch sport that much, especially soccer. I did like how Jimmy told Haibara that one of the players was in the same predicament as her. Like Haibara, who left Black Org, the player also left the original team he played for and considered a traitor. I just found it funny that after Jimmy said that, Haibara did not take her eyes off the game that featured the said. As for the last case in the volume, I was not as interested in that as Rachel starting to remember things that she did not want to, which led into the New York cases featured in volume 35. This is probably where things get the most interesting. Although we are not greeted with cases yet in New York, I really liked what was there. I remember watching the anime version of this part, which will most likely never come because FUNimation stopped at episode 123 (Japanese count) and these events happen in episodes 286-288 (Japanese count), according to Detective Conan World, and thinking that it would be fun to be on the road and drive on the side two tires, while sticking out of the front passenger window. Of course, I doubt my family would want me doing crazy things like that, since the car could tip over and such. I was just as excited about it reading through it here. Rachel's reaction to it was so funny though, especially since Vivian and Jimmy thought nothing of it. I also liked that we got to see how well Sharon Vineyard was able to disguise herself, in order to help Vivian out. It seemed pretty much as good as KID's ability to disguise. Then again, to me, this is not so surprising. It was when I was first acquainted with the New York episodes, but later on, we find out that Vivian learned the art of disguise from Toichi Kuroba, who was both the first KID and the father to Kaito Kuroba, the current KID, as revealed in the series Magic Kaito. Since this New York chapter reveals that Sharon and Vivian studied the art of disguise under the same person, that means Toichi Kuroba also taught her. I know this is kind of a big spoiler, but not too big. After all, Jimmy has two connections with KID through his parent, not just what I revealed. The fact that the tensions between Jimmy and Harley and Jodie were high, as well as the fact that the first of the New York chapters was just as exciting as the anime version and there was actually a bit of a timeline here, made this a great volume.

Although I liked this volume, there were certainly some issues. While most of the cases were really interesting, the case at Jodie's apartment and the train case were the least interesting. In the case of the former, my main interest, and even the main focus was the investigation around Jodie. As this was focused mainly on investigating Jodie though, I can overlook the actual case being not that interesting. As for the train case though, there was nothing really that great about. In fact, the only good parts featured Haibara. I do not really think that something as dull as a murder on a train should be featured just after the tense moments of Jimmy and Harley because the moments with Jodie were quite tense. On the other hand, I guess it is kind of good because the next Black Org encounter does not happen until volumes 37 and 38. Still, those are the only things that I can attribute to Gosho. The other thing that I had a problem with had to do with the first case. At first, it was a much bigger problem, but looking through pages again, it is somewhat minor. In that case, much of the hints are in kanji and things are explained for a bit, but the case still relies too heavily on knowing kanji. Jimmy explains things that could connect Chiba or Takagi to the crime because of 高, the kanji for taka, and and 千, the kanji for chi, but they do not bother explaining any other Kanji. Really, does Viz think that we can figure out how all the kanji pronounced from just two being explained? Most of their audience does not even know how to read or speak Japanese, including myself, who only knows a few Japanese terms and can only count to 99 in Japanese. Of course, I figured out how to count up to 99 after learning the pattern to count to 20. This all just make the case too hard understand. While the fact that some cases are dull is a bit annoying, the thing that does that greatest amount of damage is the fact that one of the cases relies to heavily on understanding kanji.

Despite the heavy reliance on kanji and a few uninteresting cases, the tension of investigating Jodie and the excitement of the first New York chapter more than makes up for the issue, making this worth reading. I recommend this to fans of detective, mystery, and crime, more so the cases that do not rely on kanji, as well as fans of Detective Conan (Case Closed). As for everyone else, this is certainly a good introduction to the series, as well as detective, mystery, and crime fiction in general, especially since there are more interesting cases than volume 31.

What are your thoughts on Case Closed Volume 34? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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