Book Review: Case Closed Volume 39

August 27, 2012


As I said last post, I got half my order pretty quickly and got two new books. I already covered of them, which means only one remains. Today, I will be reviewing the other book, which is called Case Closed Volume 39 by Gosho Aoyama.

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

There have been a few recent cases of arson and they all seem to have one thing in common. However, just when the case of the serial arsonist seems to have been shut quickly, Jimmy and Harley get a strange feeling that this case is similar to another case. Now, Jimmy and the gang must determine whether or not the man who turned himself in really was the guilty or if he is unknowingly being set up. Later, Jimmy and the Junior Detective League head out for a camp trip. While at the grounds, they meet a bunch of college students who seem friendly. However, when they find one of the students dead in the middle of the road, the remaining three become suspects and it is up to Jimmy to find the one responsible. Finally, a kid who supposedly hates his parents comes to have Richard find his mother. When they narrow the search for her in Atami, they think the case is closed, but somebody ends up dead at the inn they are staying at. According to a photo, the suspect is a woman. Now, Jimmy and the gang must find out which of the three killed the victim.

Even though it has been a while since I read most of these chapters, more so than the early chapters of either Cage of Eden or Bloody Monday, I am not so sure about this volume. About the only case that I enjoyed was the serial arson case. After all, that was the case that made me want to read The A.B.C. Murders. Now, that I visit the case again after having read it, I get the same feeling about this case that Jimmy did. The only other time this has happened recently to me was in the recent chapters of Detective Conan (Case Closed), but unlike this one, I read a book that had a similar setup before reading those chapters. Of course, since I have only been reviewing the official English releases, I cannot say either what case it was or even the title of the said book. On the other hand, I will give you guys a hint and say that it is a book I already reviewed on this blog. At first, I wanted to say that this was a horrible case because so much became obvious part of the way through the case, but I cannot say that now. After all, not much was obvious, aside from where the item found at crime scenes came from. Yes, one would definitely get the impression that whoever made the item was the guilty party, at least if they have not read The A.B.C. Murders, but I only noticed the similarity to Agatha Christie's work when one of the other three suspects gave off a weird facial expression. Besides, the pattern of the targets was the only thing similar prior to that point. In Agatha Christie's work, just as it is mentioned in this volume, somebody was killed at each crime scene. In this case though, only one person was killed. This case also misled me a bit. I did suspect all four suspects, but there would be no reason to wiretap one's own home, so that cleared one suspect for me. The true culprit was a bit surprising, but not too surprising, considering their occupation and motive. While murders were not commited right and left, Gosho Aoyama certainly seemed to pull off a nice case around the idea of Agatha Christie's work. As for the murder case on the camping trip, while it was not a bad case, nor had so many obvious things in it, I cannot really say that I enjoyed it all that much, but there was one part I liked. For example, when the killer was revealed, Haibara bluntly stated that they were not really friends with the culprit because they used her for the money she claimed to have. This is most definitely correct in real life too, because when one gains friends through wealth, they will all leave that person when the funds dry out. After all, there are people in this world who are so lazy that they use government programs that were originally meant for those who truly are less fortunate. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that such people will be the reason we end up in a monarchy again, if that really does happen. As for case with a murder at an inn, that case was a bit better than the last one, but I cannot really say that there was a whole lot that I did like. In fact, the only part that was great was the fact that Jimmy wanted the client to know his mother was not a murderer. For somebody who was jealous of a kid being hugged by Rachel, Jimmy certainly did show concern for the client. I am not too sue how many would do the same thing because envy does eventually lead to hatred, just like trusting people too easily can lead to apathy. Outside of those, I cannot really think of much that I liked. With only one interesting case, and it not even being a Black Org case, and only a few other interesting parts, this volume does not look to be that great.

Speaking of not looking great, there was something that really bugged me. Viz, unlike Kodansha, and Del Rey Manga before it, is not one who usually uses honorifics in their titles. In the case involving the camping ground though, Amy tries to call Haibara Anita chan. That is so dumb of this English translation. I really wanted to read it as Ai chan because that feels more natural to me. In fact, if the translation I looked up is more accurate, that is exactly what Amy does want to call her. It is made even worse when even Jimmy and ever one else calls her Anita. This is most likely why not everything translates over very well to English from Japanese, especially since neither FUNimation nor Viz use the original names of the main cast. FUNimation's case was that Japan wanted the name change, but I am not so sure about Viz. However, in the Japanese version, everyone, except Agasa and the female cast, calls her Haibara, just as I have been doing so for the reviews of the manga and the movies. Whether Viz just decided to use the honorific for only this chapter or not, I just do not think they did a great job here. Another thing that was strange was that Viz's explanation of the chan honorific just seemed weird. They state that chan is only used for kids and not adults. While I think this is somewhat believable, as I have not seen any of the adults in Cage of Eden are mentioned with the chan honorific, Kodansha's definition list states that the honorific is used for kids, girls, pets, and lovers. The latter of which would suggest that it is definitely used for adults, as well as kids. The only other thing that annoyed me, which I mentioned earlier was that most of the cases just did not seem interesting to me. I doubt a fan of mystery and detective fiction would stick around if the cases did not interest them. The fact that the Viz translation does not make as much sense as what the Japanese version supposedly had and a possibly inaccurate explanation of the usage of the chan honorific, as well as the fact that most of the cases seemed uninteresting definitely makes the quality of this volume not look so good.

While the arson case was great, I cannot really say that the volume was worth reading. Recommend this to only fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as well as fans of Detective Conan (Case Closed), more so the former as they will be more familiar with The A.B.C. Murders. If you do fall into the former, the arson case may be the only interesting case anyway, so it might be best to only read that case and skip the rest. For everyone else, I suggest skipping this volume because only one case serves as a good introduction to the series and the detective, mystery, and crime genres.

What are your thoughts on Case Closed Volume 39? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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