I hope that everyone is having a good week, regardless of whether it is back to the daily grind or being on break.
Things have been going pretty well here, as I can still do what I like.
A while back, I ordered some things, in order to keep up with a few series, and recently, the first of the titles I was expecting for the month finally arrived, which means that it is time to get down to business.
Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Case Closed Volume 67 by Gosho Aoyama.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
Jimmy's life seems to continue its usually course, tackling many case that come his way.
However, when Jimmy hears the Junior Detective League talking about somebody they noticed during a recent bank heist that looked like a person they saw before, Jimmy gets wrapped up in a case of a bomb scare and Black Org has also started to move upon the place with their own plans.
While the previous volume was pretty decent, Detective Conan has had some slumps here and there, whether it because of Gosho Aoyama himself, or Shogakukan, as was the case with volume 60, which I only found out the possibly of from a link I provided in my review of Erased Volume 3, so it is always best to check into things for a bit.
And after reading this, I must say that I kind of liked it.
From the moment that I opened up this volume and started reading the first pages, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading for any reason, though not exactly to the degree that I would have liked.
The thing that is the most important part of a work of fiction, regardless of genre and medium, is that the audience gets swept away into a different world for a brief moment, and the quicker that it happens, it is much more likely that they would be able to overlook some of the more minor flaws, though this is easier to do in some genres than others.
In this volume, things start off kind of well, by starting the investigation of what happened in the last volume, which allowed me to feel like I was not completely missing much and have a fresh perspective on things, rather than wonder what exactly is going on.
While manga does not necessarily have any problems with how things start, as volumes are made up from chapters published in serial publications, one of the things I do not really like about Detective Conan is how many of the volumes start off with cases that began in the previous volume, especially when the cases were practically solved already, or not that interesting to be able to enjoy things on Viz Media's release cycle, because it is really hard to be able to create the quick pull the audience expects, even for regular followers.
Here, however, because the investigation starts up in the first chapter, the problem of the intrigue is somewhat negated.
Now, this kind of things is most likely not anything new, as there are more than sixty volumes in this series, and already surpassed 90 volumes over in Japan, but it is still nice to see that I did not really miss the investigation, so that I would know what kind of mystery the case was, whether it were a whodunnit, cracking the supposedly airtight alibi of the criminal, or seeing how the criminal be proven guilty, which is usually combined with breaking the perfect alibi.
If things did not start off like this, I would have been disappointed, as Shogakukan, or whoever put this volume together for them, would have broken a pattern that has been long established in the run of this series, thereby making readers feel lost.
Thankfully, Shogakukan left things intact, which means that the volume can get off to a good start, though not necessarily one that I would consider to be even close to perfect.
I also liked how Black Org started questioning if Akai is dead and became involved in this volume.
While I am not happy with the way things are right now, in that Akai's fate is no longer the mystery that it was when these chapters were new, no thanks to how many hints Gosho dropped early on and that Shogakukan put so many of those hints into just one volume, I am glad to see how things are progressing here, as the characters in the world of the series all believe Akai is dead, except for Jimmy.
After the events of volume 59, where Gosho Aoyama did a great job of making everyone, including people like me, who know of what is to come in the future chapters, that Kir had killed Akai, and we were led to believe that there was one less ally, at least until the abomination of too many hints that was the volume that immediately followed it, as Gosho has been pretty good at keeping the dead dead.
However, in volume 65, somebody that looked like Akai was seen by an FBI agent, which really started up the whole mystery of whether Akai was really dead, at least around the time those chapters new in Japan, and it really made me wonder how how Black Org would respond.
Here, in this volume, before the case involving Black Org actually starts up and after the Junior Detective League talked about the bank robbery from volume 65 and the bus hijacking from volume 29, we see Gin and Vodka talking about the mysterious person seen during the bank robbery, who Vodka is adamant is somebody other than Akai, and Gin says he wants Kir, noting down everything suspicious that had happened, specifically in Baker and Haido.
Later on, when the bomb case starts up, Gin makes his suspicions known by saying that if the guy really was Akai that he would be killed and Kir would follow him shortly after.
Throughout much of the series run, the only people, other than Kaito Kuroba, that have been giving Jimmy real trouble is Black Org, and if they all believed without a shadow of a doubt that Akai was dead, their threat level would have been greatly diminished from what had been established in the series, even taking into account the greatest event that occurred in the volumes that Viz Media have been releasing.
Fortunately, Gosho remembered that Black Org were supposed to be Jimmy's main enemies, and allowed them to see the possibility that Akai might not be dead.
Another thing that I liked was what Okiya did during the bombing case.
Back when these chapters were new, the events of this case made me think that Okiya was Bourbon by showing his reaction towards the Akai that was in the crowd, as Bourbon was said to have some beef with him, which is mentioned in this volume, and I wholeheartedly believed that he was Bourbon, enough so that I made a post on a blog I had before this one, at least until Bourbon's true identity was revealed.
However, when I read through these chapters now, knowing who Okiya really is, I had about as much enjoyment from this case as I had back then, but for reasons other than thinking that Okiya got confirmed to be Bourbon, which I am sure people will believe while reading this volume without the knowledge I have.
Some time after Okiya notices the person that people believe is Akai himself, Okiya is seen looking out a window, with a smile similar to the one that was seen when he noticed Akai, after noticing Gin's 356A and a sniper looking out a window, and telling a café worker that he would like to give the people outside a refreshment while they wait for their target.
Looking at things now, I really enjoyed this because it seems like Okiya is going to let Black Org continue believing that the person that they saw is really Akai, which makes me interested in finding out what Black Org would do if they found out Akai really was alive, though I kind of doubt that they will any time soon, as Rum's identity is much more important right now in Japan, with one suspect possibly losing their red herring status after the events of the most recent chapters.
Shogakukan may have ruined things back in volume 60, with how many hints that make Okiya's identity obvious, but the way Gosho wrote these chapters and Shogakukan did not put enough chapters together to make things too obvious has let things improve quite a bit, and that makes me want to give them a good round of applause for a job well done.
If Shogakukan had made it obvious who the Akai in this volume was or Gosho put in enough hints to make that obvious, I would have been disappointed, as that would make this too horrible to be considered a great work of either detective, mystery, or crime fiction, which would lead me to wondering how this series could have even gotten me remotely interested in the likes of Sherlock or Agatha Christie.
Thankfully, nothing quite as bad as what was seen in volume 60 happened again, which means that there is something that people who know the future of this series can enjoy.
Hopefully, things like this will continue to crop up in the series, because fans of the series would want to be able to enjoy this series enough to reread it, but considering how there have been quite a few cases that were not that great, many of which can be seen in the episodes Crunchyroll has been releasing, I would not be surprised if things become worse before the half century mark is reached, which will be when Viz will finally be in the Rum arc, as Viz Media's current release pattern says that they will not release volume 95 until the year 2025.
It was also nice how I was able to get some good laughs out of this volume.
While Detective Conan is not really as hilarious as it once was, there have been a few times in recent memory where I was able to get a pretty good laugh, and this volume contained yet another moment.
In the final case of the volume, we see Sato straightening Takagi's tie, and he looks back to see the other people at the MPD staring at him jealously, and they turn to Santos, who no longer seems to care, which leads the others to talking about him supposedly being in a relationship with another woman who looks identical to Sato.
Later on in the case, when the investigation phase starts up, Kobayashi, who was strongly hinted to be the one Santos had a crush on in the previous volume, shows up at the police station for questioning and the officers start calling her Sato, before Santos corrected them.
This was hilarious because it reminded me of how we can see people who have similar appearance to our friends and acquaintances, and seeing everyone act all chummy with Kobayashi, while she felt awkward and did not know the cops too well, just seemed to be quite funny, though not quite as funny as when Takagi found himself partnered with a male detective named Sato, instead of Sato Miwako, who he thought was doing the stakeout.
Not only did it create a funny moment in reminding me of something that could happen in real life, but it had also reminded of something I remember noticing as common in the world of manga, which is how many characters created by mangaka seem to look awfully similar to others they created before, such as the characters in Jun Mochizuki's works and Gosho Aoyama himself, with Jimmy Kudo and Kaito Kuroba.
If Gosho had not taken advantage of how his characters look similar and combined it with something that could actually happen, this moment of the manga would have just gone by the way side, along with other moments of Detective Conan that were supposed to be funny, yet flat, which would have made it harder for me to enjoy things beyond the minor Black Org incident of the volume.
Fortunately, Gosho Aoyama was able to pull out something that could be enjoyed, even a little bit.
Hopefully, the comedy will improve as the series goes on, as this series really needs something other than the cases to capture the audience's attention, but, seeing where the Japanese release is at right now, and how things have been going, I doubt that there will be any major improvements.
The thing that I liked the most was how this volume ended.
While I am not exactly happy about it, because I am getting really tired of seeing volume after volume end in the middle of a case, rather than seeing a volume start off on a completely new case, it seems to do what an ending needs to do, which is give me an incentive to go out and get the next volume right now, though it will not be out until October, according to the product page on Amazon.
The most important thing in a work of fiction, other than how things begin, is how things end, and in a series like this, the purpose of an ending to give readers an incentive to get the next installment, and seeing as this series is a work that fits in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, Shogakukan picked a great place to end the end.
If things had ended any earlier or later than this, I would have been disappointed, because, with only a few exceptions, where it seems like things are being unnecessarily dragged out, Detective Conan volumes usually end off on a good note that has me interested in the next volume, at least at the moment.
Thankfully, the way that the people at Shogakukan did not let me down, and that makes me want to give them another good round of applause.
Hopefully, the people at Shogakukan can continue having these volumes end just as well as the other volumes have, but, depending on how many chapter Detective Conan has when it finally comes to an end, I can see that there might be a few volumes that will be lacking, especially if volumes continue ending by starting up yet another case.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I talked about.
Because my attention was captured quickly and held right up to the end, though not to the degree that I would have liked, Black Org started to make moves in this volume, in order to confirm Akai's fate, Okiya's movement were quite interesting to see, even with my knowledge of what is to come, I was able to get a few laughs, and the ending, while being the kind of ending that I am getting tired of seeing, made me intrigued enough to check out future volume, this was a pretty decent read.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and something that I already noted I wished would not happen for the umpteenth time, there was only one thing that really bothered me.
It was hard for me to really get into the book.
While I did not that was able to become engrossed enough in the book a bit ago, I also noted that it was not to the degree that I would have liked.
If I had to say why, it was because of the cases that started out this volume.
Back in the previous volume, Serena and Rachel get their clothes soiled by ice cream, and Richard tells them to change into the clothes they bought, and the two find one of the women they saw dead.
In this volume, the case starts up its investigation phase, and I had a really hard time getting into it because I could not really remember what happened in the last volume.
Now, some of you guys might not think of this, as things progress much the same way as the other cases found in this series, showing that it certainly is another case where the culprit's must be broken and figure out how the perpetrated the crime, but it felt like something was missing, when almost nothing was, due to the entire investigation being there.
The things that are important in a work of detective, mystery, and crime fiction not only show their heads during an investigation, but also before, as it gives the audience a possible chance in being able to figure out things before the detective character, depending on how observant a reader is, and cases are usually at their best when the audience gets everything in one sitting, and this case was not able to do that because of Viz Media's slow release schedule.
If Viz Media released volumes faster than they do, I would have actually been able to enjoy the case, as it seems to be decent overall, but because this series is not as important to them as the series that were once considered the big three of shonen, though profitable enough to stay on quarterly releases, they end up hurting cases because people do not always get the other installments.
Come on, Viz! Can't I for once get a case I judge fairly by getting volumes in a much more reasonable time than quarterly release? I might get tired of the series quickly or have a hard time getting my hands on the releases if Viz sped things up, but it would be better than risking the possibility that my interest in a case would wane or I forget what happened before.
Unfortunately, unless Viz gets more paying customers in the regions that get their releases, I do not see them speeding things up enough to where what we get is the same content as the German and Vietnamese releases, or even the Japanese release at the same time, so I guess this annoyance will still be present for years to come.
Not only was the case that started the volume off annoying, as Viz Media's release schedule does not capitalize upon the moment a reader's interest is at its highest, but the case following it was not really that eventful.
While this case was more of wondering what is going to happen or going on, thereby leading to this feeling more like a peaceful day for Jimmy and the Junior Detective League, my disappointment with this case lie in the fact that I kept waiting for something to happen, yet nothing did until the very end, when the kids started talking about seeing Akai during the bank robbery.
Overall, the case was okay, as it did show that just because people are optimistic that people would be able to be happy enough to live until their last dying breath, which is not always the case, it did not seem to be that great for where it was in the volume.
In this volume, except for the very first case, which was just a continuation, and the final case, which thankfully has a feeling that things are not over yet, the big thing about this volume is the bombing case and how Black Org was in the middle of it, and by having a case like this this, which ultimately leads into that case, as the second case, while wasting the first two chapters of finishing the last case, my interest was not truly grabbed until the moment where Akai was mentioned.
Seriously, guys? Is this any way to grab the reader's interest? I sure do not think so, because Black Org cases and appearances are supposed the ones that grab the attention of the fans, yet this makes their appearance seem like a blip on the radar.
Yes, Black Org is not involved in the bombing case itself, as their main objective was to take out the person they thought was Akai and they pull out when things do not work in their favor, but this case even went so far as trying to keep people thinking that Okiya is Bourbon and Black Org was at the department store for much of the investigation, so this is not something that is just a minor incident in the series.
Knowing all of this, this volume should have started out with the mundane case that ending with the Junior Detective League talking about Akai, but because it did not, it felt like the volume took a bit longer than it did.
If Shogakukan had the case from the previous volume end in that volume and started this volume with the case that appeared to be mundane, I would have gotten excited to read this volume after only the first chapter, and things would have really started off with a bing.
Unfortunately, Shogakukan just had to have this be the second case, and it led to my interest being picked up a bit too slowly.
Hopefully, things will get better in the future volumes, but I do not really see it happening, unless Shogakukan does not limit volumes to a maximum of 11 chapters, so I guess I will have to put up with this until Detective Conan ends.
Thankfully, this was the only thing truly problematic with this volume, so I can leave Gosho Aoyama the people at Shogakukan some dignity in knowing that they did not completely and utterly fail.
While there was only one problem that was noticeable, that problem was bad enough to make it hard to get myself invested, with questions coming up and case being present as the second case, when it would have been more interesting as the first one, it affected my enjoyment enough that I cannot rate this book too highly.
Despite the fact that there was only one issue, the good balanced things out enough to make it worth reading.
I mainly recommend this to fans of Detective Conan, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.
As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try, but it would be best to only read this volume immediately after the previous installment, so one can get the most enjoyment possible, especially if you are a fan of detective, mystery, and crime fiction.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider donating as little as a $1/month to me on Patreon or either buy the reviewed title or preorder the next installment from Book Depository, who offers free shipping around the world and helped me fill in the gaps of my Detective Conan collection, so that I can continue following a series that many of us enjoy and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys.
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