Book Review: Case Closed Volume 45

February 22, 2013


Well, it looks like I am going at a pretty decent rate. Recently, I got my order of four books from Barnes & Noble, two of which were either the penultimate or antepenultimate volume of their respective series. One by one, I have covered each of them until one book remains. Today, I will be reviewing the last title from my order, which is called Case Closed Volume 45 by Gosho Aoyama.

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

Jimmy, Rachel, and Serena wrap up the investigation into the ghost of Teitan High. However, things are not going well, when Dr. Araide asks whether or not Vermouth was actually a bad person.

Later, Jimmy and the Junior Detective League go on a fishing trip, thinking that they will have some peace, though Haibara questions why they are going on a fishing trip instead of a camping trip. However, the peaceful atmosphere is ruined when one of the other people at the fishing is just barely found alive after being poisoned. The three suspects are the one driving the boat and the ones who stayed on the island with Jimmy's group and Jimmy must determine which of the three is responsible.

Then, Jimmy, Richard, and Rachel are headed for Okinawa because Richard is supposed to have televised discussion with a famous baseball player. However, the event is called off when the trio finds the man dead and the prime suspect was with them. Now, Jimmy and gang must either crack the suspects alibi or find the one who is actually responsible.

Afterwards, Jimmy and the Junior Detective head out to do some stargazing, though Jimmy spends much of the ride to find out if the culprit from the case before has some kind of connection with Black Org. Even though George thinks that trip will be boring, the group stumbles across a human skeleton and a message left in cigarettes. Little do they know, the case will not end so quickly when the message has been deciphered.

I enjoyed this book. Of course, that could be because I am anxious for the next Black Org case, which starts in volume 48, and, according to Detective Conan World, whose anime counterpart is episode 425 (Japanese Count). It did kind of do a good job though, of bringing up possible hints towards one coming. The ghost case of Teitan High, which started in the previous volume, was certainly surprising and definitely misled me. There was this one guy, whom I thought it was, considering he knew about the rumors and wanted to be alone, but it turned out to be somebody else. The ironic part was the culprit thought the person who died was bullied because his desk was in the storage room and something had the names of his classmates. However, Kazumi said that they wanted to preserve his desk instead. Yet again, we have another situation that could have been avoided if people did not make assumptions based on very little information, like the incident with Yarai in Cage of Eden Volume 8, if the guy asked around, he would have found out the truth sooner or later and avoided making people feel frightened. It was funny though that Serena kept suggesting an actual ghost, then she scolds Jimmy for the same thing. I also liked how it was confirmed that Vermouth is just as good as KID in the art of disguise, via Jodie's thoughts. At this point, however, considering that it has been confirmed in volumes 42 and 78, which is not available outside of Japan, according to Detective Conan World, as far as I can tell from how many volumes they have international covers for, that Chris and Sharon Vineyard are the same person, I am not surprised. After all, I did say that Sharon learned the art of disguise from Toichi Kuroba in my review of volume 34. As for the fishing trip case, I thought it was okay. Since I am not too familiar with fishing, the case was not too obvious, unlike anime episode 6, but aside from that, I cannot really think of much that I liked about it. The baseball player murder case was better than I thought it was, but not by much. As this relies on dramatic irony, just like anime episode 9, I cannot really say that anything was not obvious. Besides, this is a chance to find out just how our cast's abilities are, since we already know who the killer is. I did like how Richard realized who was the true culprit from what Jimmy told him. As most of those following the series should know, even those that only follow the anime, Jimmy normally knocks out Richard and reveals his deductions. It is very rare that Jimmy just gives Richard hints, so that he could solve the case. Having it done here certainly makes Richard seem a little less inept and I really liked that, especially how he explained why the killer would not have achieved a record in baseball. Thing that caught my interest the most though, and probably made it more enjoyable, was why he thought of Vermouth, when he saw the culprit using his phone. He may have heard the sounds of the numbers Vermouth punched on her phone, but he has yet to identify the tone. As for the case during the stargazing trip, it seemed somewhat interesting, but since the volume does not contain the complete case, I cannot really judge this accurately. There were also some funny parts, but nothing really stands out in my mind, unlike those that happened in other volumes. The fact that Black Org members and possible connections were mentioned, as well as the fact that Richard did not seem to be inept, certainly made this enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there are certainly some issues. First, Viz essentially gives a character two names. Back in volume 44, where the Ghost of Teitan High case starts, we are introduced to a karate team member named Kazumi Tsukamoto. It even states the same name at the beginning of this volume. However, when they start talking about suspects, Jimmy calls her Azumi. I thought her name was Kazumi? While this is not as bad as Viz calling APTX 4869 APTX 4969 in volume 42 or FUNimation calling Haibara Shelly instead of Sherry in movie 5, there is no reason to call a character that was introduced twice as Kazumi Azumi. I was wondering whom they were talking about because one case is just too quick for a character to change their name. I sure do not remember anybody having a name change right in the middle of any of the Sherlock stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle or a Poirot story that I have read. Due to that fact, it sure does not make sense here. While there are typos that I can forgive in many other works, this is not one of those that I can overlook. I expect things like this be weeded out before publication, not slapped right into the volume. Fortunately, it does not look like Viz is the only one that messed up with this case. Around the same point where Kazumi is named a suspect, everyone but Jimmy forgets about the third suspect. Throughout most of the manga series, the bubbles are pointing at the correct person, but here, Jimmy is the one who looks like he is making the statement, but the bubble is not pointed towards him. I wanted to say that this was Viz's fault, but apparently that problem is not exclusive to the Viz translation. Now, it could be because of redrawers, but considering that Viz is an official licensor of the manga, I doubt they would only be given copies with the Japanese text in it. Yes, I have nothing to prove that, except for the fact that I had to look up a scanlation of the case, but I would think that the Japanese would have given them the version that contains all blank bubbles, as well as the Japanese versions. Really, for a country known for its comics and animation, I would expect Japan not to have these issues. I would like somebody to confirm whether I am right though that the Japanese are indeed to blame, since I only know a person who has been collecting the Negima! Japanese volumes, nobody that collects the Japanese volumes of Detective Conan (Case Closed). The Ghost of Teitan High case was not the only thing that had problems though. The next thing I had a problem was the murder case in Okinawa. Considering that this uses a bit of dramatic irony, I cannot say that an obvious culprit is entirely bad, but I still did not like it too much. In fact, the culprit did a horrible job of hiding the fact that he was the killer. Yes, criminals often do expose themselves in real life, but it is not always so obvious, which is why people are questioned a countless number of times. In fact, I was surprised that the guy was not carted off immediately, once they discovered the body. Everything he did should have been noticeable to more than just Jimmy, which was not the case unfortunately. While cases that involve dramatic irony do deserve to be judged differently than whodunits, I just cannot really call this one of the best cases out there, no matter how I grade this. Characters that we already know are the culprits should act in a way that should not arouse the suspicions of any of the main cast. That is what makes cases like this interesting. On the other hand, since the criminal here does such a poor job of fulfilling that role, I think that this would have been a bit better if we did not know that the guy was already guilty. Still, I do not think that the improvements of making such a change would be noticeable, considering how horrible he was at hiding the fact that he killed the baseball player. Come on, Gosho! You can make better cases than this. If he could not, then I do not see how Detective Conan (Case Closed) can have the large following that it does. Other than that, the only other thing that I did not like was that the fishing trip case was not that exciting. It was nice that it explained some of the Japanese fishing terms, but nothing really caught my interest in this case. However, considering that things were not too obvious, I can say that this does not make the volume any worse than the Okinawa case did. While Viz, and possibly Japan, did have some errors in one case and another was not interesting, the fact that the bad in the Okinawa murder case outweighed the good did quite a number to this book.

Despite the fact that the Okinawa murder was probably the worst case that uses dramatic irony that I have encountered in the series, things were interesting enough that this was worth reading. I recommend this to fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as well as fans of Detective Conan (Case Closed), though I would strongly recommend skipping the Okinawa murder case. As for everyone else, this seems like it would be a good introduction to the series, as well as the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres in general, so long as the Okinawa murder case is skipped.

What are your thoughts on Case Closed Volume 45? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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