I hope that everyone has been having a good week, and are putting up with the monotony of the daily grind.
Things have been going pretty well, though things have been a little dead here because I chose to drop a simulcast and the month is not seeing many new releases, and I can still do what I like.
Towards the end of last year, I received some credit for Barnes & Noble and used it to get some books that I did not expect to receive until February or March, due to how they have shipped things in the past, but, for some reason, they have decided to ship each title from the order as they come, and the penultimate title of that order recently arrived.
Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Case Closed Volume 65 by Gosho Aoyama.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
Everyone is on the hunt for Kaito Kuroba, who is determined to break into the safe for what everyone thinks is another valuable gem, but things do not seem right, and Jimmy is determined to find out why the thief that slips away from him so often is really there.
However, this encounter with the ever-elusive thief is not the only thing to crop up for the child super sleuth, because somebody that was thought to be dead appears in front of an FBI agent and gets wrapped up in a robbery case, along with Jimmy and the Junior Detective League, and some recent acquaintances head off to Tokyo to get Jimmy's help with a baffling case involving a red wall and a friend of those acquaintances is among the suspects.
I must say, this volume was quite intriguing.
As expected from the pattern in that been established of more than 30 volumes, the case that started up in the previous volume, which made it seem like somebody was impersonating Kaito Kuroba or trying to set him up, finally came to a conclusion in this volume.
While Viz might not be releasing every series that I follow, mainly because their main focus is on series that are highly popular, though like DBZ (Dragon Ball Z), probably not worth any high praises that they get, one of things that I have really liked about them was how there is good consistency in maintaining a pattern.
Yes, they do not have that much control over the titles they bring over to my country, as I have mentioned a few times, but they have yet to annoy their fans as much as Yen Press did with a title that I have probably beaten like a dead horse, because they did not give us the content that was important to the flow of the series that fans over in Japan got, and because of that Viz does deserve the support they get, as they deliver what fans want, even if not everyone is happy with how they translate things.
If they had removed the conclusion of the KID case, like how Yen Press never released the complete contents of chapter 28 of Judge in the final volume, I would have berated Viz as much as I berated Yen Press for a book that had problems no fan of manga, let alone other mediums used to tell people fictional stories, and the cases involving Kaito Kuroba seem to be some of best in the series.
Thankfully, that did not happen, which makes me want to give Viz Media good round of applause, though not as much as if they were not so behind either the German, Vietnamese, or, even better, the Japanese releases.
I also liked how well this volume started off.
Even though Detective Conan does not have a terrible track record when it comes to starting or ending its volumes, it is not exactly perfect.
Last year, Viz Media released volumes 61-64 of Detective Conan and, even though most did not start off in a way that were incredibly dull, though one was dull because Viz refuses to release more than 4 volumes a year and the four month wait lessened my interest in the wait, the 63rd volume had one of the worst starts in the series because the cases that started it were dull because either the culprit was obvious or did not succeed to in getting me to suspect anybody other than the person I first guessed to be the culprit, which made it one of the best examples of how to push fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction away, instead of pulling them in and give them reason to read through every case contained in the volume.
Fans of any genre of fiction want to pulled in enough to lose themselves, and even though this can be accomplished through various means, depending on the medium used to present the story or series and kind of work it is, the only way that this could be accomplished in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres is to start out with cases that seem interesting enough that people would want to investigate things on their own, which is something that Gosick, another series I like, did right, though the cases there ended so badly that they would not measure up to the best cases in Detective Conan or Agatha Christie's best works.
Here, that excitement was presented by continuing on with the KID case and things played out in a way that kept making me wonder what Kaito Kuroba was up to, as well as who he was, though I did kind of remember who he disguised himself as from what I remember before reading Viz Media's translation, and things escalated further when Gosho Aoyama tried once again to make us wonder what happened to Akai, by presenting a person that looks like him.
Now, I might not be entirely pleased with this, since it further convinces people that things are not that interesting unless there is a KID case or incident involving Black Org, whose boss may have been revealed in the Japanese releases recently, even though the mystery is still focused on the identity Rum, Black Org's second in command, but I was at least pulled in and wanted to see what was going on, as well as try to figure things out for myself and did not give things away immediately.
If Shogakukan, or whoever had they had compile these chapters into the 65th volume, had not started things off like this back in 2009, which was when this volume was originally published, according to the volume list on Detective Conan World's wiki, I would have been disappointed because this is the first Detective Conan release of 2018 for fans in my country and in the UK and made it look like the start of another bad year for Detective Conan here.
Fortunately, that did not happen, and that has my hopes up a bit, though I will not say that things are not completely back to the way they were when Detective Conan could still be considered great like it was back in the original 26 volumes.
Hopefully, the next three volumes Viz releases this year will be able to start off as well as this one did, but I would not be surprised if the ball is dropped once again.
Another thing that I liked how Richard realized that he was just being dragged along for the ride.
Ever since Jimmy started living with Richard and Rachel, Richard has had an ego that was probably as big as, if not bigger than, Jimmy was before he was given APTX 4869 and was thinking that people were coming to him because he was so good, but the audience knows from the beginning, even if they just jump into the series, as opposed to just those who followed it for years, like me and the people who were following it back when the first volume was released Japan, that the only reason Richard's business took off was because Jimmy solved many of his cases for him, and Richard rarely even suspected that the kid he called Conan was the true brains behind it all, which made him seem much more like a third rate detective.
However, in this volume, sometime after Agasa and Haibara, as well as the audience, were made to believe that the people who helped them were criminals with a grudge against Jimmy, instead of police officers, Richard says that he noticed that the officer really wanted help from Jimmy and had Richard come along just to have the kid on the scene, which we, as we, the audience, knew ever since the conversation that took place while Haibara and Agasa pretended to sleep, though at the time Gosho wanted us to believe that the people who picked up Haibara and Agasa were criminals.
Seeing this play out, I was wondering if there would be another point in time where Richard suspected that the kid he called Conan was no ordinary child like he did back during the murder case featured in volume 2 of the manga, or episode 38 of the anime, because, at this point, I am kind of tired of how Jimmy is able to throw people off his track time and time again, and such an occurrence might make things interesting again, though there have already been over 1000 chapters and Jimmy's secret still seems to have been maintained somehow, aside from Rum deciding to investigate Jimmy Kudo through Bourbon.
If this did not happen, I probably would not have been able to enjoy myself, because things would end up being just as disappointing as how Gosho's explanation for why Kir is Eisuke's sister back in volume 58, and made Richard even more unbelievably than he comes across.
Thankfully, Gosho did not remove any more layers from the somewhat realistic feel that Detective Conan ended up having in recent years with something else that I find kind of hard to believe without having to check even further into things to see if it is even a remote possibility, which makes me want to give him some applause.
Hopefully, things do not end up sounding just as fishy as the explanation for how Kir can be Eisuke's sister, but I highly doubt that I would never encounter another situation where I am left wondering how something could happen.
There were two things that I liked the most though.
First, the hints were easy to understand and figure out in at least one case were easy to figure out.
Back when FUNimation was actively releasing the series over here, one of the major problems people had was that the hints were not preserved because everything was localized, such as how Osaka became Alberta, and the staff working on FUNimation's translations had to find a way to make fit together in spite of how many of the cases relied on knowledge of the Japanese language and/or culture, which probably hurt its chance doing well over here, in addition to the poor marketing treatment it received.
However, Viz, in their translation of the manga, have been pretty good about preserving the hints in Japanese and having the series take place in Japan and even led to me learning a few things, though much of it was from research I did to find out if Gosho was not pulling leg or just made something up out of thin air, rather than the content itself, since fiction must be questioned just as much as our religious and political leaders and peers and elders.
Now, some people would think this is a nice thing, since Detective Conan fans who speak English should be getting see what the Japanese fans when these chapters were new them, but a big problem I had with Viz is that it was still hard to follow because there were instances in which Viz left the kanji in, expecting that their fans would know how to read or pronounce things not written in the Roman alphabet, and that makes it really hard for people like me, who have no knowledge of how to read any of the character in the various Japanese writing systems, except Romaji, so I could not really immerse myself in the case and beat Jimmy Kudo to the punch.
Here, however, Viz was nice enough to remember that English is the vernacular where they release volumes and explained how the characters arrived at the conclusions, though we still do not get enough to truly learn anything about Japan.
If Viz had continued to assume that all the fans of Detective Conan could read even a small amount of Japanese, I would have been made because the enjoyment from works in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction can only come if the audience can piece things together for themselves, as well as see how the detective characters pieces things together, which can only occur if things were translated in a way that everything is at the audience's disposal.
Thankfully, they finally realized that their audience may not be familiar with anything no using the Roman alphabet and provided a way that the same clues the Japanese fans got, though I cannot say that it was exactly the same, and that makes me want to give them more applause.
Hopefully, Viz will continue to do things like this, because that would allow Detective Conan to continue being as accessible as it is to newcomers, and would continue to make their version look better than FUNimation's dub, but knowing that the people working at Viz are only human, I would not be surprised if they start putting kanji back in.
The second thing that I liked was how this volume did not rely entirely on either Black Org or Kaito Kuroba to make this volume seem interesting.
While Detective Conan has been focused from the very beginning of the series on Jimmy's pursuit of Gin and Vodka and getting an antidote to APTX 4869, the thing that made this series great was that many of the cases were actually intriguing and were kind of hard to figure out, whether it was breaking the culprit's alibi or finding out how they committed the crime or it was a true whodunnit, in that the objective was finding the criminal amongst a list of suspects, though I would not say they were so hard that even people who have been fans of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres their whole lives would have a difficult time, which made this series worth following because it actually provided a possibility for readers and viewers to feel elated that they actually beat Jimmy.
Unfortunately, as the series progress, things began to go grow so dull that it became hard for people to even justify following the series any further because the only time that things felt great were when Kaito Kuroba or Black Org was involved, suggesting that Gosho had finally reached his peak, because things were too obvious, or people would end up being lucky too often on guessing the culprit.
However, the final case featured in this volume never had any big hints that it was a Black Org incident, yet it still came across as interesting by making the police officers seem like criminals and even trying to keep making me guess who was the one behind the red wall case.
Seeing how things played out here and how it the volume ended right at what could probably have been the best moment to end it, I want to read go out and read the next volume right now just to see how it ends, though I will have to wait until April, like everybody else here, because Amazon is not allowing me to preorder it in my preferred format and the product page there says it will not be out until then.
If the case had not been presented like it was, I would have been disappointed, because how a book ends is just as important as how it begins, especially if it is an installment in a series as long as Detective Conan, and this series would probably end up losing even more fans.
Thankfully, the people who compiled these chapters into this volume made a good decision to end things where they did, even though I am kind of annoyed by it too, and that makes me want to give them a bit more applause.
Hopefully, things can continue ending on a note as great as this as Viz gets closer to the events of the Rum arc, because that will allow the series to become better, though still not quite what it once was, but that will only happen if we humans ever find a way to stop making the same mistakes over and over.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not stand on its own or spoil things too much.
Because the volume started off with some interesting cases and events, stayed consistent in the pattern, by concluding the case that already began in the last volume, Richard was not as clueless as we all thought, as he recognized that he was not the one being sought for help, Viz realized some of fans of the series might not be familiar with languages that do not use the Roman alphabet, and that the volume ended with a case that seemed interesting, even though it was neither a Black Org or KID case, this volume was a great read.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that can be inferred from what I already said or things that are too minor too talk about, such as typos, the only thing that I can was rather annoyed with probably would have ended up making this volume look worse, instead of better, if things were changed.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was quite a bit to like and the only thing that could possibly be annoying, unless one wanted to be really nitpicky, allowed the volume to end as well as it did, this was definitely worth reading.
I recommend this to fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as well as fans of Detective Conan, as this is one of the few volumes in which something other than a Black Org or KID case actually stood out and did things right.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, as it does serve as a good introduction to the series, and the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres in general, but because it starts of with the conclusion of a case already in progress, I recommend reading the previous volume first, so that this volume could be enjoyed to the fullest.
I you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you like a copy of the reviewed title, purchase a copy of the 65th volume from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries worldwide and also helped me close the gap between volumes 26 and 42 in my Detective Conan manga collection, so that I can continue following a series many us enjoy and possibly find other worthwhile reads for you guys.
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