Book Review: Case Closed Volume 61

January 10, 2017

Case Closed Volume 61 cover

This is still kind of surprising, huh?

Towards the end of last year, I had ordered some books from Amazon, most of which were preorders, and the first of those preorders recently arrived, which still surprises me, even if it is possible because of the way I ordered it.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Case Closed Volume 61 by Gosho Aoyama.

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

Jirokichi is up to his old tricks again and decides to issue KID a challenge, which Kaito Kuroba accepts, and Jimmy is determined to bring the elusive thief to justice, but this encounter might end up being the first time the two make contact as their actual selves, as Kaito thinks that he can fool his biggest adversary with his new trick.

However, a battle of wits with Kaito Kuroba is not the only thing that Jimmy has to contend with, as he is reminded of Kir's warning when he finds a new case, and Serena decides to have Jimmy get into a deduction battle with the person that is most likely to be that Black Org member.

While I want to say that I loved this volume, as much as I usually avoid using love in that context, the disappointment that arose in the previous volume did lessen my excitement a bit, so I can only say that I kind of liked it.

I liked how this volume started right off on an entirely new case.

Yes, due to the pattern established over the course of 61 volumes, many of which are out of print in the countries where the Detective Conan volumes are published, especially Germany and Vietnam, which Detective Conan World's wiki has cover images for from volume 90, this is not too surprising.

However, over the course of my time following anime and manga, I have encountered moments where things were not really consistent between releases, but Viz Media has not been as troublesome in this area, with the only big exception being that Harley's way of speaking in volume 59 seemed to be too different from the usual, and I want to give them, as well as the people who originally compiled the chapters found here into this volume, a good round of applause.

After all, if each volume ended with the start of one case and that case ended in the next volume, I do not think that this series would be so easy to jump into, though I would still recommend people that want to transition from the anime to the manga to start right at the first volume.

In fact, with the kind of work that Detective Conan is today, I would have been disappointed if I could not jump right into this series, like I could with many of the stories written by either Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle, the writers behind Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot respectively. Nice job, guys.

I also liked how most of the cases were not that dull.

Even though I have a good feeling that most people will be reading this volume because of one of the cases included, seeing as it is one of those two kinds of cases that fans of Detective Conan enjoy the most, each of the cases were not too obvious and some made me want to solve the case myself, or had a surprising solution.

For example, in the mountain villa case, I was suspecting that the victim's smoking habit started the fire, as he did not seem like a person that would keep his word, but when that did not pan out, I kept wondering what caused him to catch fire.

However, the answer to that mystery made me both thankful that I use public transportation to get around when I must, in addition to good health, and surprised me, mainly because of either my reliance on public transit or the generosity of others, that it had some to do with static electricity.

While it is true that static electricity can kill a person, according to a Q & A column from Cecil Adams on The Straight Dope, I still was not expecting Gosho Aoyama to go this route.

Then again, if he did have a cigarette, I would have been a lot more disappointed because it would have been too similar to the Sherlock Holmes Freaks Murder Case from volumes 12 and 13 of the manga, even though the fire started there was because of something smokers usually have on their person.

Of course, as it is admitted in volume, the method the killer used is not completely guaranteed to work because of simple mathematics involving probability that I remember reading as explanation using a snake in the bed and the probability that it would bite the person sleeping in it, though am having a hard time finding it, which I am pretty sure it was in either Q.E.D. or C.M.B., both of which were created by Motohiro Katou. Much like the snake probability, the chances that the victim would catch fire were roughly fifty percent, give or take a few percentage points, but after repeated attempts the event that killer intended to happen would be practically guaranteed, even though it is not 100% guaranteed because each attempt only has a 50% or so chance of succeeding.

Likewise, the culprit here had to try quite a few times before they successfully killed the victim, and seeing the explanation presented, it really seemed like Gosho Aoyama really did his homework here like he was supposed and delivered such a nice case.

Nice job, Gosho. If this keeps up, Detective Conan might finally get the spark that it had in the early volumes back.

The other case that seemed to be quite interesting was the paper airplane case.

Out of all the cases featured in this volume, this one was the hardest for me to figure out, even with the kind of knowledge I have in various areas, though it would not be enough to make me even remotely qualify as an expert in any field.

At first, the clues seemed to be simple Morse code that many people should be familiar with, like the code for S.O.S., and walks through at least one other message, before using another system of Morse code called Wabun code, which allows the usage of Japanese katakana through short and long signals, or dots and dashes.

Now, some of you guys might be rolling their eyes, thinking that the kidnap victim would obviously know Wabun, especially because Detective Conan takes place in Japan, but from what I could find looking around, Wabun is not really used too much around the world, with one person saying that they tried communicating with somebody in Japan using Wabun, only to receive a reply that they did not know Wabun.

Upon learning this, it is no wonder that I had such a difficult time figuring it out, and just let Jimmy and Okiya sort things out.

Codes are nothing new to the series, but I still liked how I learned that there were different variations of Morse code, much like there is more than American Sign Language that can be used to communicate with deaf people.

Another thing that was quite nice about this volume were the funny scenes that present.

For the longest time, the humor in Detective Conan has grown rather stale because it was nothing but the usual, and while it has had its funny moments, such as the things that made me laugh in the previous volume, things have remained relatively the same.

However, in the mountain villa case, there was one more scene that was quite funny.

During that case, Haibara is a bad mood and starts acting, as Jimmy calls it, a queen, even demanding Jimmy to open the door to Dr. Agasa's car.

Now, my elders and peers say that men should always open doors for women, because that is what a gentleman is supposed to do, but Haibara, who is actually a little older than Jimmy, usually tackles things like that herself and is not a stickler for the false belief of what chivalry is, which I posted links talking about it in my review of Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 6.

Seeing her act like this now reminds me of how funny Haibara was back in volume 29.

Seriously, Haibara has to be one of the funniest characters in this series when she is not in good mood, and I cannot get enough of it, though I do not think that I could trust a woman like her to help me when I need it the most.

Maybe, Gosho is planning to give Haibara her own spinoff series once he finishes Detective Conan, and, if so, I would check out it just to see how much she can make me laugh.

Then again, I am not sure what Gosho plans to do once he finishes Detective Conan, so we will just have to see.

It was also nice how Gosho kept trying to make me think that Okiya was Bourbon, even though, as I said in my review of the previous volume, I already know Bourbon's identity.

Back in the previous volume, when Okiya first appeared, Haibara kept feeling like a Black Org member was present, which initially made me think that he was Bourbon, at least the first time that I read those chapters, and things just go up another level in that department.

This was most prominent in the paper airplane case.

First, when Jimmy tells Rachel not to talk about him in front of Okiya, we see signs that Okiya is just as observant as one would expect Bourbon to be, at least if Kir's intel is correct, and Rachel starts to get weird vibes from Okiya after she stops Serena from bringing up Jimmy's name in conversation with him.

Okiya is supposed to be this mysterious figure, and while his introduction in the last volume was not that great, since things that I know have already been hinted at in that volume, Gosho Aoyama kind of well enough here to make me want to forget Bourbon's identity and start suspecting Okiya once again.

You have not quite made up for the mistake of ruining one of the series biggest mysteries, but now, I am not so troubled by it anymore, and that alone does deserve some praise.

Not only did the interaction between Okiya and the others raise suspicions, but Okiya was also seen drinking Bourbon after the case concludes.

While I am not too impressed with this particular moment, as I will bring up later, it makes me all the more want to suspect that Okiya is Bourbon, instead of who he really is, and, as a result, I think that will give Gosho Aoyama quite a bit of praise, especially considering that there are people out there that think Okiya is Bourbon because they only follow Viz Media's releases.

The think that I liked the most though was the KID case that started off this volume.

Yes, things seem to be at their absolute best whenever the is a Black Org or KID case, but this had to be one of my favorite because Kaito Kuroba was the cockiest that he has ever been, yet still managed to fool a ton of people.

Throughout most of Detective Conan, Kaito Kuroba comes off as an extremely confident boy that thinks that he will succeed against any challenge, which is not part of his façade, as revealed in his own manga, Magic Kaito, but, unfortunately for those people who keep proclaiming that optimism is the holy grail, he does not succeed that often whenever he goes up against Jimmy, who usually takes precautions to avoid outcomes he does not want, and the few that he does succeed, it is because Jimmy either lets him get away or is careless, even though none of the cases ever end with Kaito's arrest.

In this case, after Kaito determines that one of the shoes in fake and says that he will be back the next night for the genuine article, much like he did in his first appearance back in volume 16, or episode 76 of the anime, Kaito Kuroba starts a riot the next night and uses the ensuing chaos to approach Jimmy and talks to Jimmy about Howard Thurston's three taboos of magic, which are the following:

  1. Never reveal the secret behind a trick
  2. Never tell the audience what's about to happen
  3. Never show an audience the same trick twice

KID is supposed to be a mysterious individual that people know almost nothing about, aside from the data that Dr. Agasa gave Jimmy back when Kaito Kuroba first appeared in Detective Conan, and while I cannot find anything that confirms or denies that Thurston did come up with those principles, except for an article by Majeya that I had through Google Translate, which says it has different origins, the fact that Kaito Kuroba discusses these obvious taboos, Jimmy should have been able to determine that he was an illusionist, and that backfired right on Kaito.

If it were not for this little conversation, Kaito would have gotten away, but because he did it, I am starting to wonder whether Kaito Kuroba knowledge of the true identity of Jimmy Kudo is going to become canon soon, not just something that only exists in the movies, and if Jimmy and Kaito will have the same kind of relationship that Ganimard and Lupin have in Leblanc's stories, at least the ones that I have read.

Still, Kaito's mistake did not dampened the excitement case, and seemed to only further my enjoyment of the case and the volume.

Hopefully, these cases remain as interesting as the a battle of wits between Sherlock Holmes and Arsène Lupin sounds, but that is only if Gosho does not take a nose dive as bad as Agatha Christie in Crooked House.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else I particularly liked, especially because I cannot say too much about the case that just started at the end of this volume.

Because this volume did not have any cases that needed to be concluded from the previous volume, which makes it a good place to start exploring the series, and had a few surprises, such as a killing method that the volume acknowledges is not completely guaranteed to work, and made me laugh, as well as made me want to forget what know and even had a great KID case, this volume has to be one of the best volumes yet.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, only one thing bothered me, though it was because of a problem in the previous volume.

Gosho seemed to be trying a bit too hard to make me suspicious of Okiya being Bourbon.

Yes, Okiya is the only suspect right now that fits Kir's intel on who Bourbon is, but after all of those hints from the previous volume, I am not entirely on board with throwing what I know about that has yet to come to pass in this series.

While the things that made me like how Gosho was trying to make Okiya look like Bourbon did play a part in making me like this volume, it also contributes to the reason why I think that he was trying too hard.

For example, before Rachel started getting weird vibes, Haibara becomes scared when Dr. Agasa considers asking Okiya for help during the mountain villa case.

While I do expect her to be acting like this, since she did get Black Org vibes from him in the previous volume, but Gosho also made it clear that Okiya was ally because he had Jimmy allow Okiya to stay in his house, in spite of Haibara's emotional state.

However, things seem to become worse from this point on when the scenes that I liked from the paper airplane case start to play out.

Not only are the hints from the previous volume enough to make me want to list this as both a good aspect and bad aspect about this series, but Okiya Subaru was only recently introduced and new characters being the enemy has been done to death in particularly every genre of fiction.

Really, Gosho? Are you going to go the route of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi and so many other works and make a recently introduced character, let alone the only suspect, evil?

Now, it is true that not all the stories that I like are that unique, and aside from Black Org and Kaito Kuroba, Jimmy does not meet many people that become a major pain in the future or have affected his life as much as Yashiro affected Satoru Fujinuma's life, but that does not change the fact that this kind of development disappoints me, even if I know that there are at least two Bourbon candidates to come.

I was okay with this with Vermouth because she did not seem to be entirely innocent when she came on the scene, but not here.

Unfortunately, this teasing of who is Bourbon is going to occur for a while, so be prepared to be sent back and forth between all the suspects until 2021, unless Viz's release pattern changes up, and I am not going to be too much of a fan of it.

As a result, I want to mark this as a major issue, but because of what I know and not everyone as much as or more than me about what happens in the future, I will only mark this as a minor annoyance.

While the only thing wrong with this volume exists only because of what transpired in the previous volume, the fact that it does not hurt the series too much and this is still the early portion of the Bourbon arc reduces the damage it could have done to just a miniscule amount.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and my only gripe did not hurt the quality of this release too much, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as well as fans of Detective Conan, because they will enjoy this the most, though the latter group may be disappointed if they were able to pick up on all of the hints found in the previous volume.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try because the fact that no cases from other volumes are continued in volume makes it a nice introduction to the series and the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres in general, as well as the fact that the lack of knowledge of previous volumes may make this a bit more enjoyable.

What are your thoughts on Case Closed Volume 61? Did you like it or hate it? Do you think that the suspicion on Okiya is worse than I ultimately judged it to be or do have a different opinion? Was there something that liked or hated? Feel free to comment.

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