I hope that everyone is having a good week, even if it is still plagued by the monotony of the daily grind.
Things have been going well here, as I can still do what I like.
Although I have not been too active here, thanks to classes making it so that I could not load myself up too much, I have been able to make sure that I have things to cover, and the first of the two preorders I was expecting this month recently arrived.
Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Case Closed Volume 68 by Gosho Aoyama.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
There is no rest for Jimmy Kudo, the super sleuth, as he is pulled into more cases by the time he finishes one up, such as one with a body mysteriously showing up in the hotel room of Rachel’s mother and a stabbing case at a fair.
However, amid the usual cases, Kaito Kuroba announces that he will be targeting a recently discovered treasure, and, unknown to Jimmy, he and the Junior Detective League have been called to help bring the elusive thief to justice.
While Detective Conan has been a favorite series of mine for quite some time, there have been a few times where things were just okay or not that great, so I am not always excited when I start on something new.
And after reading this volume, I found it to be okay.
From the moment that I opened up and started reading this volume, I found myself so engrossed that I did not want to stop reading for any reason.
As I have said many times before, how a work of fiction begins is very important, as a great beginning is capable of drawing in the reader enough that they get that temporary escape from reality.
While this can be accomplished in many ways, depending on the genre and the medium, manga like Detective Conan are published in serial publications, the way this is accomplished is by picking things up in a way that makes sense, depending on how things ended in the previous installment, and this volume starts off on the right foot, by concluding the case that started up towards the end of the previous volume.
Even though I am not exactly pleased with this turnabout of events, as the ending of the previous volume gave me the impression that something more happen, it did everything else right by reminding me about the case and the hilarity that surrounded the confusion between Sato and Ms. Kobayashi, which helped to ease me back into the case.
If the volume had not started out here, I would have been disappointed, even though I kind of already that we finally got a volume that starts off with a new case, instead of continuing another, because I would have felt like I was missing something.
Thankfully, Shogakukan, or whoever they had put this volume together, chose a pretty good place start this volume, and that makes me want to give them some applause, though not as much as I would have given them for finally starting a volume off with all new cases.
Hopefully, they will be able to continue to choose how to properly start and end volumes, as I, and many other Detective Conan fans would like to see things come to an end on a high note, but because Shogakukan and everyone else involved in bringing our beloved series to the masses are human, like us, I must be prepared for continued disappointment.
I also liked was how there were things to laugh about.
One of the things that I really liked about Detective Conan, aside from the cases that are presented, though I find the ones from the first 26 volumes to be more enjoyable and better than the cases being presented now, was how I could get a good laugh from time to time.
And in this volume, I was able to find a couple of things that were almost as funny as the mix up featured in volume 60.
First, during the KID case featured in this volume, after Kaito Kuroba was unmasked, he tried taking advantage of the weakness everyone believed he had, and after Jimmy realizes who he was disguised as now, Jimmy kicks something at Kaito and exposes the identity of Kid to the officers, who seem to be hot on his trail.
While by now, people should be able to see that Kaito Kuroba manages to evade arrest time after time so often that it should be obvious that Kaito will not be arrested now, this moment was able to make me chuckle quite a bit to the point where I was able to get some enjoyment from the volume at last.
If things did not play out as they did in this case, I would have been really disappointed, because I would have had to write of this volume as a lost cause.
Fortunately, Gosho Aoyama remembered to put in something that I could probably laugh about no matter how many times I read through this case.
The other thing that I got a good chuckle about, and really made the comedy stand out though was something that occurred during the final case of the volume.
After Jimmy and the gang discover which of the three people was the person responsible for the recent stabbing, Jimmy congratulates them for a job well done and that nothing less could be expected of Sleeping Moor and the Deduction Queen.
However, in the next panel, Richard and Serena say in their thoughts that something seems fishy.
While neither Serena nor Richard are anywhere close to figuring out that the boy they call Conan is actually Jimmy Kudo, it was still kind of funny that they noticed that they were being practiced for things they did not do, seeing as Jimmy usually knocks them, and has me wondering if they will begin to become suspicious some time in the future, and it gave me a pretty good laugh.
If Gosho had removed either funny moment, I would have felt bored and disappointed, because this volume would have felt bland, especially now that I am reaching the stuff that I remember reading through the online scans.
Thankfully, Gosho provided more than one moment that was able to give me a few chuckles, and I can at least give him a good round of applause.
Hopefully, there will be more moments to laugh about as the series continues on, but knowing that things have been stale before, I would not be surprised if the humor completely disappears when Detective Conan finally comes to an end.
There were two things that I like the most though.
First, I liked how I was not presented with characters I did not know how to pronounce.
While I have been following this series for quite a while, and know what is currently going on with the Japanese releases, I mainly follow this series via the English releases, and there have been times where I could not do what every fan of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres would like to do, which is get themselves because many of the chapters that Viz has translated kept the kanji around, like they thought their audience knew how to read kanji, when English uses was is now called the Roman alphabet, and that really annoyed me.
However, Viz has become kinder to their English speaking audience, who would have almost no idea how to even pronounce the kanji characters, and have been making translating things as best they can so that people like me can begin to try and pronounce things, as well as pick up on the clues that relying heavily on Japanese culture, and this volume was no different.
Throughout the whole thing, I was able to make the connections that I needed to make and see how things could add up right, instead of being forced to skip over something I do not know how to pronounce, or even have an idea to begin to pronounce, unlike languages like French, where I can try my best to say things right.
If Viz had gone back to leaving kanji characters untranslated, I would have been disappointed enough to where I would only follow the online scans of the Japanese releases, thereby only allowing me to talk about the latest developments, inside of being able to see if a case was good or not.
Fortunately, Viz did not make that kind of blunder and remembered that most of their audience are those who have little, if any, knowledge of the Japanese language, which makes me feel like giving them a good around of applause.
Hopefully, they can continue to find way to incorporate the kinds of clue the Japanese fans get in a way that would not leave their audience scratching their head, but because the people at Viz Media are just as human as any of us, I would not be surprised if they start to slip up, especially considering how hard it can to translate things perfectly from one language to another.
The second and biggest thing that I liked about this volume was how it ended.
Even though I would normally say that how things end is just as important as how they begin, as it can give readers the feeling of satisfaction, if it is a standalone work, give them an incentive to continue reading a series, or give them a reason to check out more of the creators work, and this volume fails to do that in any capacity, there has been a big problem with the volumes of Detective Conan recently, where the only thing giving me an incentive to check out the next volume was to see how a case will end.
Now, some of you guys might being groaning, and saying that it is a good way to end things, and is something that happens a lot in manga, but it only works if a series is heavily focused on its plot or, if we were looking at a work of thriller or suspense, the audience needs to have certain feelings.
Detective Conan, however, is currently a series that would fit under that perfect intersection of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genre that people generally label as mystery, and those kind of series work best when cases begin and end within one installment, but time and time again Shogakukan has been ending a volume in the middle of a case and finishing it in another, only to repeat the process, instead of giving me a volume that starts with new cases after having one that started off with the conclusion of another case, and it was getting really boring, especially because many of the recent cases end up feeling like things should have concluded.
However, in this volume, where I was expecting another to be continue moment, like many of the previous volumes, the case at the end of volume concludes in this volume.
I am not sure about you guys, but right now, I am throwing my arms up and screaming hallelujah, imagining light coming down as a chorus repeats those words over and over.
Yes, this might not have been the perfect way end the volume, in terms of garnering the interesting of any newcomers, but knowing that I will now be able to finally see a volume start of with a new case when 2019 hits.
If Shogakukan had this volume end on another to be continued moment, I would have been mad, because I have grown so tired of not being able to really enjoy the cases being presented, and I would have considered dropping the series again.
Thankfully, Shogakukan, or whoever they had put this volume together, decided that readers did not need to have yet another volume end on some sort of cliffhanger.
Hopefully, more of the future volumes will end like this, but seeing as how there are more major events to come, such as those that will reveal what has already been made obvious in volume 60, I will not be surprised if there is another long string of volumes that will end by starting up another case, though I will be annoyed if it happens any time soon.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out to me as much as what I already talked about.
Because my attention was captured quickly and held right up to the end, there were things to laugh about, like how the police were hot on Kaito Kuroba trail and Richard ans Serena being suspicious about a compliment, Viz remembered that their audience primarily speaks English and uses the Roman alphabet, and that this volume was the first volume to end with the conclusion of a case in quite some time, this was a pretty decent read.
Although there were quite a few things to like about this book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and things that would only be a problem for people for dare rereading it, there was only one thing that really annoyed me, which was how most of the cases present seemed to be boring.
While many of us like a long running series, because we do not want our favorite series to ever end, the thing that plagues many series is that things are not as interesting as they used to be and they grow stale enough that people do not care about what is going on any more, and like many of the other series before, Detective Conan seems to be suffering that same fate.
Back towards the beginning of series, I felt excited and challenged by each new case in a way that made me want to solve each and every case myself, which is how fans of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres get their enjoyment, hence the reason they can either be glad or disappointed about being right.
However, as things went on, I was not always able to find that joy, and, in the case of this volume there was barely any to be had.
If I had to say why, it would have there were two reasons for many of the cases being boring.
First off, the first case presented, which was a continuation from the previous volume, seemed to not add really add enough to really warranted being good enough to start off a volume, as I felt like things ended too quickly.
With the way that case started off in the previous volume, I was expecting to maybe get two chapters worth of content, as the culprit was seen spying on Kobayashi and Santos, but it all ended abruptly with only one chapter.
Now, those that are as familiar with how this series as I am might be saying that this was obviously going to happen and is not new for this series, but there have been times in which I have felt like a case should have just ended, instead of teasing me of more to come, yet Shogakukan, or whoever they have put the volumes together, decided to just have things drag on.
This case was one of those moments, because Shogakukan seems to make it a priority to ensure no volume of Detective Conan has more than 11 chapters.
The case following this case may be worse, but I would not have really felt like my time was wasted as much as knowing that there is another instance in which a case was unnecessarily dragged on.
Really, Shogakukan? Is this is any way to start things off?
If there is something that readers do not like, it is knowing that things have been unnecessarily dragged on, and if they get that feeling at all while reading a work, regardless of what kind of stories or series intrigue them, they will not be happy camprers, and that is what happened here.
Hopefully, things will improve, seeing as volume 69 will start off with an entirely new case, but with the long string of continual cliffhangers, I would not be surprised if I feel like even more stuff is being dragged on.
The other reason that I found most of the cases to be boring is that they do something that no work in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction should do.
While some of you might be groaning that things would be obvious to me, as I already revealed that I read through this content before, that is not really what is going on here, because there is only one case ruined by the obvious.
No, the thing that ruined many of the cases presented in this volume was that they did not really grab my attention.
When fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction decide to give something a try, they want to be presented with cases that seem interesting enough that they would want to solve it themselves, because they like solving puzzles, and when the cases or heists they encounter in fiction do not capture their interest to that kind of extent, they become really bored, even if everything else is done right.
In the case of this volume, many of the cases that Gosho Aoyama presented were very lackluster, and did not have anything going for them, aside from one or two funny moments.
What the heck is going on? Normally, I can find something to enjoy, but this is downright disappointing.
If Gosho Aoyama had worked on things more, the cases themselves would have been much more interesting and helped to make it is so that I could overlook the flaws, but this is just sad.
Hopefully, things will improve as the series goes on, but because I know there are worse things to come when Viz finally brings over the Rum arc chapters, I would not be surprised if I have to be even harsher.
Thankfully, that was the only thing that really bothered me, and I can let Gosho and the people at Shogakukan leave with some dignity.
While there was only one thing that was wrong with this volume, it was a big enough problem that kept it from being considered great.
Considering that there were a few things to like and one thing that readers should not have to put up with, the negative hurt the book enough to make it only good enough to kill time.
I mainly recommend this to fans of Detective Conan, as they will like this the most.
As for everyone else, including fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, this might be worth giving a try, but I do not think that it will show anybody why this series is so popular.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or if you would like to read the reviewed title, to see how you like, buy Case Closed Volume 68 from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can continue following a series that many of us enjoy and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.