Book Review: Case Closed Volume 38

August 30, 2012


Well, I was going to review another episode from the Detective Conan (Case Closed) anime, but since the rest of my four-book order from Barnes & Noble was to arrive soon, I decided to hold off. Anyway, now that my order has been completed, I have two more books. Today, I will be reviewing one of those books, which is called Case Closed Volume 38 by Gosho Aoyama.

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

After Jimmy deals with the jewel thieves, he finally gets things setup to capture Vodka and get closer to the truth, or so he thinks. Gin, Vodka's superior, notices the trap and the two try to find the detective that came after them. Jimmy must now avoid capture or he really will end up dead. Later, it is Girls' Day and Amy wants Jimmy and the rest of the Junior Detective League to arrange dolls, which somebody promised to give her if she got the arrangement right. When they finish the arrangement, they go out and get stuff to make sweet sake. However, when they come back, there are signs of a burglary but only a valuable scroll has been taken. Now, Jimmy and they must find the scroll and the person who took it. Afterwards, Jimmy, Richard, and Rachel go to watch some wrestling matches because of a promo Richard is doing with a popular wrestler. However, things go badly when one of the wrestlers is found dead and video footage makes the person Richard was doing the promos with the prime suspect. Because Jimmy suspects that person is being framed, he must now determine whether or not the prime suspect was the one who killed the victim. Finally, Harley and Kazuha were supposed to come from Osaka to hang out with Jimmy, Richard, and Rachel, but they seem to be running late. Meanwhile, Harley and Kazuha have been handcuffed and thrown into an attic, where their captors want Harley to decipher a code. Their only hope is that Jimmy breaks the code he was sent and finds them.

I liked this volume. The confrontation with Vodka was as intense as I would have suspected. After all, this is Black Org related. If it were not that way, then the series would really have no draw except for the head-to-head bouts KID. As a testament to this, I have not really found any Black Org cases that I absolutely hated. It was funny though that Jimmy had essentially got Vodka to do what he wanted, but Gin saw through all the tricks which created the tension in the atmosphere. In fact, the tension was so great that I was as surprised as Jimmy when Haibara found him, because I thought either Gin or Vodka came back. As for the jewel thieves from earlier, I could not care less because they seemed to only get as far as they did because their target could not tell the difference between a toy gun and a real gun. On the other hand, as I am no gun expert myself, I doubt I would have been able to tell the difference between a real and fake. Besides, most of the toys guns I came across do not have the same color scheme as a real gun. Again, I am no gun expert, so I acknowledge that I am most likely wrong on this. The thing I did like was that Jimmy used his new gadget for something other than kicking, since the gadget is one of the most used. As for the case of the missing scroll, that was somewhat interesting. Not much was obvious, but this is one of those cases where things are only obvious if one is familiar with Japanese culture. It also misled me quite a bit. Out of the four suspects, I was suspecting the appraiser or the man who wanted the scroll. However, the true culprit was quite surprising, as was the true motive. However, the case was not what I liked a whole lot. Apparently, Mitch asks Jimmy why he asks like a dumb kid around adults, as if trying to kiss up to them. It seemed to me that Mitch was suspicious of the true identity of Conan. Unfortunately, that was not the case but certainly made things very funny. However, the funniest part was when Amy tried to get a group picture of everyone in the sunset. Obviously, Mitch George became jealous because the explanation of the arrangement of the Japanese dolls and the fact that the group was compared to dolls made them think that everyone was inferior to Amy and Jimmy, even though they really are inferior to him. As for the case involving the wrestlers, I cannot say that there was a whole lot that I enjoyed. In fact, there were only two interesting parts. First, the suspected wrestler was in the same situation as Jimmy, where he could not afford to have people to know his true identity. At least, he was not the victim of an experimental poison by a mysterious syndicate like Jimmy was. Second, this was the first case I encountered where two masks were used, but it is not so obvious, at least to those unfamiliar with wrestling. As for the case of Harley and Kazuha's confinement, I found it interesting that it seemed to have taken place the same day as the Red Horse case that occurs in the next volume. I was only clued into this because I read that volume before this one. Another nice change of pace was like anime episode 9 and The Phantom of Baker Street, this case relies on the angle of dramatic irony. However, it is not exactly like the dramatic irony that we see in those instances, since we only see two of their captors at the start of their case. Because of this, not everything is obvious, like one would suspect in the usual set up of dramatic irony, but certainly seemed like it was done well. The humor and the intensity of meeting with Gin & Vodka certainly make this volume look great.

Although I liked the volume, there were some issues. For example in the case of the murdered wrestler, almost everybody jumps to conclusions that the popular wrestler did because only his DNA showed up on the mask seen in the video footage. While that would certainly be enough proof to close a case in real life, there have been numerous cases in the Detective Conan (Case Closed) series where the culprit did something to make it that only the owner's DNA showed up on an item in order to frame somebody. I am quite surprised that none of the cast really took this into consideration. In real life, that would certainly mark somebody as an incompetent investigator. Then again, as far as time goes in Detective Conan, it is like The Simpsons in America, where nobody ages and not all cases or episodes have any bearing on the story, so it is a bit understandable. The other thing that was not so great was the fact that Harley and Kazuha's confinement just started out confusing. It seemed like it was a case that started in a previous volume, which would not make sense because it was the last case. Also, if a parent were looking for something for their child to read because comics, like animated television shows, are thought of as something for kids, they will get the wrong idea about this case from its beginning. Both those instances do not make this case look so good, since Japan targets this series towards children. Outside of those, I cannot really think of anything else bad. While the fact that nobody suspected that somebody was framing the prime suspect through DNA, as well as the confusion of the start of Harley and Kazuha's confinement case, seem bad, they do not really have that much impact on the quality of the volume.

Despite the fact that there is some confusion in one of the case and there is a yet another case where the prime suspect is framed via DNA evidence, the humor of most of the other cases and the intensity from the confrontation with Gin & Vodka sure made this volume worth reading. I recommend this to fans of Detective Conan (Case Closed and fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction. As for everyone else, this is a good place to get introduced to the series, as well as the detective, mystery, and fiction crime fiction genres.

What are your thoughts on Case Closed Volume 38? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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