Book Review: Case Closed Volume 66

April 10, 2018

Case Closed Volume 66 cover

I hope everyone has been having a good week, even if it is the regular monotony of the daily grind.

Aside from the annoyance of having to continually looking for some titles that were supposed to be released this week myself, things have been pretty decent, as I can still do what I like.

A while back, I was able to place a preorder for a series I regularly follow, and the title, which may end up being the last title for the month, has finally arrived, which means that it is time to get things done.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Case Closed Volume 66 by Gosho Aoyama.

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

After wrapping up a case that the Nagano police dragged him into, it seems like Jimmy and the gang might be able to have some peaceful moments, and a normal life.

However, when something happens during a movie screening, Jimmy's life gets even busier with trying to unravel how a suspect could have killed a victim while still in a theater, finding a charm that was mistakenly given away that leads to a case of assault, and the secret of a storehouse that supposedly has nothing, even though people reported seeing something, and he is determined to get to the bottom of things.

While Detective Conan has not always been great, especially now, there are times where it is not too bad, or almost back to where it began, in terms of quality.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked this volume.

From the moment that I opened up this volume and started reading, I was engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading for any reason.

Seeing as the previous volume, ended right near the end of the last case, this one picked up right where that last case left off and brought it to a close, which helped to really start off this volume.

Even though this kind of beginning is a bit annoying in that it should have been added, in my eyes, to the previous volume, as there was practically nothing left to deal with, it did not seem to play out in way that one had to read these immediately after finishing the last installment to be able to get the best experience.

Over the course of my time reading these manga volumes, I have encountered times where things just were not that interesting because too much time had passed between the volumes that my interest in the case wanted enough to make it hard for me to really get into the volume, making me wish that Viz Media would at least consider releasing some of the volumes together, if not speed things up enough to catch up with the German and Vietnamese volume releases, since those cases were actually pretty decent otherwise.

Here, however, things were not really disappointing in that kind of manner, because I was a little excited to find out what this so-called Empty Fort strategy was and my interest had not really waned all that much while waiting for this volume to be released, though people that try to jump into the series with this volume would be quite lost because it is the continuation of an earlier case.

If Gosho had not written things as well as he did in the chapter, I would have been even more disappointed with him for not meeting my expectations, as well as the people that Shogakukan had compile the chapters found in this volume together, because there has already been a volume that had a terrible start from having half the cases being terrible cases that started off the volume, and the volumes released by Viz do not seem to be too different from the Japanese releases, when I compare the volumes I have against the contents listed for various volumes found on Detective Conan World's wiki.

Thankfully, neither Gosho Aoyama nor Shogakukan, or whoever they have put the volumes together for them, made such a terrible mistake, and that makes me want to give them a major round of applause for actually have the volume start off on the right this time.

Hopefully, the future volumes will be able to start off this well, especially when Bourbon's identity and what happened to Akai, the latter of which is not really a mystery, thanks to everything that happened in volume 60, because I do not want to be disappointed by a volume just because of how it started and could not pull me in quickly.

I also liked how most of the cases were actually pretty decent this time around.

While the previous volume did not have any really terrible cases, at least as far as I can recall, since I do not have the volume on me right now, due to some troubles at home that has kept me away for some time and I only purchased in print, there have been times, like in volume 63, where I have encountered cases that were dull because they were the typical whodunnit and did not really make me question the suspects enough to make me want to starting thinking that the other suspects were actually guilty.

In this volumes, even though there were only about two true whodunnits and the rest were uncovering alibi tricks and solving puzzles, with the exception of the last, which I can only guess will be one in which the mystery will be in proving the culprit's guilt, things were executed in a way that I did not feel bored for any reason and had me interested enough to actually try and figure these cases out.

Fans of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres check out many different works because they want to come across intriguing that they want to solve themselves, as part of the fun is trying to beat the detective and get some joy when the detective character confirms the suspicions of the reader, and that means that things need to be presented in a way that the answer is not immediately noticeable, such as having the culprit be not so obvious in a whodunnit, having the method of committing the crime not be obvious, or even trying to making sure that the culprit's airtight alibi actually seem airtight.

If they do not get these moments, and instead given cases where an obvious suspect is guilty, the method of how the culprit committed the crime was obvious, or the alibi that is supposed to be cracked is obviously not as airtight as it should seem, the fans of those genres are going to either stop following the author's work, which would the most peaceful route, or pick up pitch forks and go after the creator, if they heavily dedicated to the series or the author's work.

Here, Gosho wrote each of the cases in a way that nothing that should not be obvious, except for obvious possibilities, seemed to really crop up and kept each of the various cases going.

In fact, there was only once instant where the culprit in a whodunnit case could be said was obvious, but even then his guilt was only obvious near the end and could be attributed to not being familiar with something or attending or watching so many different sporting events that things get messed up, similar to how many people have troubles identifying a penny, even though they have seen one numerous times.

If Gosho had not written the cases as well as he did here, I would not have been able to enjoy this volume as much as I did, and I probably would have dropped this series for an even longer period of time than I already.

Fortunately, that did not happen in this volume, and that makes me feel like giving Gosho a bit more applause.

Hopefully, the cases in the future volumes will be just as good as the ones found here, because fans of Detective Conan want to see some cases that are put together well, instead of ones that are way too simple to figure out, but knowing that this series has many up and down periods, I would not be surprised to seeing some disappointing cases get released by Viz before they reveal Akai's fate.

Another thing that I really liked was how the cops were not completely clueless in the case after the red wall case.

While I would not say that the police are completely incompetent in Detective Conan, whereas they are portrayed to be that way in many works found in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres to make sure that the star detective or, in the case of Lupin, star criminal takes the spotlight, a lot of the cases tend to end by having Jimmy reveal the truth behind the case or point things out, and it gets really boring, as it becomes something that everyone expects to happen.

However, in the second case featured in this volume, Inspector Santos, who goes by the name Ninzaburo Shiratori in the Japanese releases, seems to figure things out pretty much on his own, by having Takagi pick up the trash from the theater where he watched the latest Gomera movie and running other inquiries, and finally having the suspect being taken in to be questioned as a suspect for murder, even though he initially tried defending her.

The police in real life have a lot of work to do, some that would either bore us civilians to tears if had to sit through all of it, when they investigate crimes, which means that they have to be smart, highly observant, and tenacious in order to try and make sure that the guilty party gets put away, even if innocent people do sometimes get convicted for crimes they did not commit, and while it might be fun to see detective in fiction upstage those in the field of law enforcement, it becomes boring because that is what the audience keeps expecting, not mention it undermines the hard work of the people who do their best to keep us safe, which is why some people are pushing for cops to be portrayed better in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres.

Knowing that this has afflicted Detective Conan for quite some time, with the only sign of being competent to some small hints that people are starting to realize Jimmy, whom they now call Conan, is the one possibly behind the scenes solving, it was actually nice seeing a police inspector pretty much figure everything out themselves, and made the whole ending of the case a lot better, even though Jimmy already suspected as much.

If this had not happened in the case at all, I might have still enjoyed it, as nothing seemed to be wrong with it and nobody ignored the possibility that the culprit could have left during the movie, but it certainly not be as memorable as it was for me.

Thankfully, Gosho realized that he probably already introduced too many incompetent police officers and gave us a moment where Jimmy was not the one to shine, which makes me want to give him a good round of applause for doing something a bit different.

The thing that I liked the most though was how irrationality came into play during this volume.

When we read books or watch movies, we sometimes make comments, unless one is kind enough to their fellow viewers to just be quiet, like how we would not do something that the characters are doing because it is a stupid decision, but, like how our elders try to teach us empathy, we make the mistake of not realizing that we are projecting our current selves that are living calm and peaceful lives onto others, who are not experience such great moments, as well as forgetting that we are not exactly rational creatures, and a work of fiction has perfectly rational characters that seem to make the right decision every time, it makes the work seem less believable and realistic, as fiction is supposed to give us a window into human behavior and help us learn things that we probably would not have on our own.

While Gosho has not really had any problems in this area when things began or in minor cases, the series has so far been going in a way in which what the characters seem to always make the right decision, like how Okiya never really touched a hair on Haibara's head after Jimmy let him stay in his house, and it was getting a bit boring.

However, in this volume, when Santos was trying to figure out who his first love was, he tried to defend the women he, Jimmy, and the Junior Detective League met before finding the body, like not revealing what he found in the suspect's house, and even revealed at the end that he was disappointed because he thought she was the girl who gave him the drink with cherry blossoms when he was young, just because she covered his drink in the theater with a flowery design.

Moments afterwards, the woman said that Santos was a fool for thinking that people, more specifically women, according the book itself, would not change, which makes Santos feel so down that he wants the children to leave him be.

Santos was so sure that this woman was the girl that he was looking for that he tried exhausting every possible lead that he could think of to prove her innocence before exposing her , and his feelings felt pretty believable for what he was going through.

If Santos had had no trouble taking the woman in as a suspect for murder, I would have been pretty disappointed, because Gosho has not ignored the possibility of irrationality rearing it's head in his characters before, and that would have made Santos look like a character that is just as bad as Jimmy Kudo, for how he seems to never be wrong.

Fortunately, Gosho did not make Santos look like all of those other famous detectives of fiction who just seem to be way too perfect, and that helped that case, as well as the volume, end on a high note, along with all of the other decent cases.

Outside of those things, I can probably think of maybe only one other thing that I liked, but it did not make a big enough impact on me that I could talk about it quite as much as the other things that I brought up.

Because my attention was grabbed relatively quickly and held throughout the duration of the volume, thanks to things not be written in a way that this volume needed to read immediately after the previous installment, the cases were each pretty decent, and Jimmy was not the one who ultimately solved the case by throwing out hints or knocking people out, as well as show how irrationality can affect even the detectives, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I did like the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and something that did bother me, before I really thought about and realized it was not as bad as what FUNimation did when they initially released their fourth season set, nothing seemed to really bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like about this volume, especially how many the cases were not really that bad, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Detective Conan, as they will be able to enjoy this the most and they would be most likely to have read through everything necessary, though fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction should be able to find some enjoyment too.

As for everyone, this might be worth giving a try, but because it continues a case from the previous volume, thereby breaking a long established pattern, it might be best to read the previous volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or either buy the reviewed title or preorder the next installment from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series many of us enjoy and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys to read.

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