Book Review: Case Closed Volume 69

Detective Conan Volume 69 cover

I Hope everyone is everyone is doing well, especially now that a new year is upon us.

Things have been going fairly well here, and now that I am done with my programming class, I hope I can be more active.

After my class came to an end, I have been trying to check out titles, and even verified my preorders, and the first of the preorders I was expecting had arrived this week, so that means I need to get my butt in gear.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Case Closed Volume 69 by Gosho Aoyama.

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

Detectives do not get any breaks, and Jimmy Kudo’s life is no different, as he continues to get pulled into more cases, such as a mystery surrounding the death of a child from 11 years ago that turns into another murder case, and a president of a candy company passing during a celebration.

However, among the numerous cases he must deal with, he has other troubles to deal with, and he might not come out of it unscathed.

While Detective Conan has had its highs and lows, nothing has happened that made me as irritated with it as I am A Certain Magical Index, though I was pretty annoyed with getting so many cases last year that took multiple volume to complete, but I am aware that things will not always remain great, so I am always on guard.

Thankfully, after reading this volume, I am happy to say that I really liked this volume.

From the moment that I opened up this volume and started reading, I found myself so engrossed that I did not want to stop reading.

As I have stated many times before, probably to the point where many of you are sick of it, one of the most important things for a work of fiction is how things begin, as the purpose is to draw the audience in, so they can get the temporary escape they desire, and also be more likely to overlook the most minor of problems.

Even though this can be accomplished in many different ways, depending on the story, genre, and the medium it is presented in, there is really only one, maybe two ways, a work like Detective Conan can really start, as many of things that happen in it blurs the already unnoticeable difference between Detective, mystery, and crime fiction, which is to start things off slowly.

Now, some of you guys might be saying that since Detective Conan is a serialized work, it can also pick up where the previous installment began, and while that is true, one of the things that I really about Detective Conan is how people can just jump into it, like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock books and short story compilations or even many of Agatha Christie’s works, because people do not really need to know what has happened before, unlike many other manga series out there, but for quite a while, each volume being released did not have that luxury because Shogakukan, or whoever they had put these volumes together, decided to keep having cases that went into the next volume, thereby hurting some otherwise great cases for different reasons, in addition to Viz Media’s releases feeling a little slow sometimes.

Yes, there have been quite a few volumes in the past where one case carries into another volume, but at that time, you could guarantee that the volume following the one that concluded one case would start with a completely new case, whereas this recent incident end almost every volume with a case that just started or was practically finished, which made me feeling like those cases were missing something when they did conclude.

However, as I predicted, based on established pattern, in my review of the previous volume, this volume started off with a new case, which felt like a breath of fresh air, as the series has finally brought forth a moment in which newcomers can jump into the series and it also makes for a great start of the new year, much like how the latest episode of Detective Conan on Crunchyroll started off the new year quite well.

If Shogakukan, or whoever they had put this volume together, had not start off the volume where they did, or Gosho Aoyama had done a poor job starting the first case of the volume, I would have been pretty disappointed, especially since things are not yet as terrible as at least one of the cases adapted from the manga that were recently aired on Crunchyroll.

Thankfully, the people over at Shogakukan decided to start things off properly and has me once again raising my arms in the air for the relief it brought me.

Hopefully, more of the future installments will be able to start off with new cases like this one did, but I am well aware that things may get tiresome again when Viz Media gets into the Rum arc, and possibly the end of the arc they are currently working on.

I also liked how I was able to get quite a few laughs out of this volume.

Aside from the cases, which have been a big draw for me in recent years, and even got me interested in checking out works from Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, one of the things that I really liked about this series is how I could get a good laugh from it, even more so in the first 26 volumes, where the series was at its best, at least in my eyes.

However, as time went by, the comedy grew stale, as seeing what happens to the people Jimmy decides to knock unconscious started to grow stale and there was not really anything to laugh at, with maybe the exception of Haibara being in a bad mood, situations that could have been avoided if characters did not make assumptions, a few other things that only people who have been following the series for while would notice.

Here, however, I think this is the first time in a while that I have been able to get a good laugh out of pretty much every case, if not every page.

The funniest moments though happened in the first two cases of the volume.

First, when Inspector Yamamura showed up on the scene, and completed most of the duties that we expect a good police officer to do, at least in the confines of a generic work in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, one of the suspects offers to paint a picture of what Rachel says she saw, claiming it was the Kappa, Yamamura, who chewed Rachel out about believing in the Kappa while they questioned the suspects, saying they are in the modern space age and creatures from myth/folklore do not exist, calls the creature an alien.

Now, aliens may very exist, since there are people who have dedicated to finding life on other planets, and I do think there may be other life out there, but this moment had me laughing because Yamamura was doing the same thing Rachel was doing and came across as one of those UFO believers that many would consider wackos or crazy, and his stories even gave Jimmy a hint to solving the case.

As annoying as the bumbling idiots the police in detective, mystery, and crime fiction can be, it is still nice to be able to laugh about how idiotic the theories from these characters can be, seeing as most of the cases in Detective Conan have answers that can be connect them to human activities and perpetrators.

If this moment was not in here, I would have been a little disappointed, but I would have still been able to live with it as the case itself did not really seem to be that bad.

The other moment that had me laughing quite a bit, though I would not consider it to be quite as funny as Yamamura’s wild theories, is Haibara’s sweet revenge on Jimmy.

Sometime after Jimmy and the Junior Detective League arrive at an inn, so Dr. Agasa can do repairs, the children, along with Jimmy and Haibara, decide to take a bath and Haibara and Amy scream, which has Jimmy running to the women’s bath to see what was going on, obviously leading to the discovery of a corpse.

Later on, when the investigation starts, George and Mitch ask Jimmy what he saw, to which he replies that he saw everything, had a clear view, nude and fully exposed, leading Amy and Haibara to get mad, before revealing he was talking about the corpse, only to make things worse when Jimmy reveals his deduction.

While a lot of this humor falls more along the clichéd side, as it is nothing new for male characters to walk in on female characters at the worst moment, which is what drops it down a peg or two in my book, it still comes off as kind of funny because Jimmy has his butt checked by Agasa and Haibara barges in saying that it is chili pepper and it is no big deal to see a kid naked and the timing just could not have been better.

Of course, another reason I find it hilarious was because it played very much off of the flawed way we go about showing or having empathy, which is brought up in a post on Calm Mind Down, which I originally linked to in my review of Weston Kincade’s Sacrifices.

Now, some of you may be angry at me for saying that the accepted description of empathy is flawed, especially because it helped shape the rules we have now, according to a video on YouTube by Owen Morgan, also known as Telltale Atheist, who tries to present things with as little bias as he can, but that does not change the fact that it leads people to think that others, especially the disabled, are not happy and leads them to doing or say things that make the other individual less happy.

In the context of this case, Haibara put Jimmy in an embarrassing situation, so that he would experience first hand how she and Amy felt and repeated his words back to him, and it just came off as funny.

If Gosho had left this stuff out of the case, I would have been okay with it, because it reminded me of a time when a family member kind of did the same thing, without considering my situation and there were parts that were funnier.

However, because Gosho delivered humor that played upon what we think being empathetic is and used it as a way for Haibara to get some revenge, I actually feel like giving him a good round round of applause for adding enough humor to make this enjoyable.

Hopefully, the series will continue to feature some humorous moments as it progresses, but considering that Japanese fans are close to finding out who Black Org’s number 2, I do not think there will be too many more moments where one can get a good laugh.

Another thing that I liked was how all of the cases were pretty decent in this volume.

Throughout each case, I never really noticed anything obvious that should not have been and each of the cases reeled me in enough that I wanted to actually solve them myself, whether that be how the culprit committed the crime or who the culprit was and how they did it.

Things might not be back to the way they were in the beginning of the series, but I am still glad to finally see a volume where I cannot really complain too much about any of the cases, whether they be just plain bad because the culprit was obvious or the culprit did not put in any effort to throwing Jimmy and the gang off their trail when we, as the audience knew they knew were guilty, at least when only looking at the stuff Gosho Aoyama and Shogakukan are responsible for doing to make things as great as they can be.

If Gosho Aoyama had created any more terrible cases or Shogakukan, or whoever they have put these volumes together, had made terrible decisions like what has happened before, I would have been very disappointed, especially because Viz Media releases are not anywhere close to where some of the worst cases ever are seen.

Thankfully, that did not happen this time around, so I can at least let the people over in Japan that makes it possible for people like me to read this series with a good round of applause.

Hopefully, there will be more volumes that have cases are as good as these ones were, if not better, especially when we find out who the boss of Black Org is, beyond a family name, and learn who the number 2 of Black Org is.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this volume ended.

Just like how the beginning of a work of fiction is important for drawing in an audience, how things end is just as important because it helps to given readers a sense of satisfaction, if the work is standalone or the final installment series, or, if it is the first or a regular installment of a series, an incentive to continue on with the series.

Even though I am not particularly pleased with how this volume ended, due to how annoyed I about getting so many volumes that ended with the start of another case consecutively, the end of the final chapter in this volume did what it was supposed and makes me want to read the next volume right now, though the next volume does not come out until April, according to the product page on Amazon, and I am pretty certain that the case will end in one or two chapters, in addition to the fact that I cannot preorder it in my preferred format yet.

If Shogakukan, or whoever they had put the volume together, had ended things any later, such as at the conclusion of this case, which I would have liked more, with how often I felt like I was being strung along by endings like this, I doubt the volume would have ended as well as it could have, because I would not have the feeling of wanting to know how the case ends and I also do not get the feeling that this case will go on longer than one more chapter.

Fortunately, the best place was chosen for this volume to end, so I can give Shogakukan, or whoever they had put these volumes together a good round of applause.

Hopefully, more volumes will end just as well as this one did as the series progresses, but I am ready to pounce when things become terrible.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything that I particularly liked, at least that could not be shoe horned into what I already talked about.

Because the volume starts off with a new case, instead of continue one from a previous installment, there were quite a few laughs to be found in the volume, and not just one or two moments that only fans of the series would get, the cases were all decent, and the ending was better than the last volume’s, even if I would have preferred to have the volume end with that case’s conclusion, this was a pretty decent book and a good start for the year.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and one thing that I kind of question, but could not find good data on, only one thing bothered me, which was how Viz Media did not bother to translate everything, or at least use Romaji.

When Detective Conan first came to the country where I live, there were complaints about name changes, which ultimately led to the confusion that we have now, where Haibara is known as Vi Graythorn in the movies FUNimation dubbed and Anita Hailey in the Viz translations, and some games, according to her character profile on Detective Conan World’s wiki, and, probably the only one I can agree with, is how clues were changed entirely in cases where knowledge of the Japanese language is important, which has definitely been muddied in a few instances because of the name changes, but, at the time, I was fine with it because I did not know any better and FUNimation used footage that had been altered to fit the clues, which was more noticeable in the later of portion of the 123 episodes they dubbed.

Viz Media, on the other hand, has been good to keep in the same hints the Japanese fans have gotten, so everything has been pretty good so far.

However, time and again, I have noticed that Viz Media has forgotten that the audience they are targeting primarily speaks English and either has not bothered to learn Japanese completely, both in written and spoken form, or even learned it properly, because they think sub provide a better translation, when people who are fluent in both Japanese and English already have a good idea of how accurate the translation was, because Viz leaves in the characters to the various writing systems Japan has, and in this volume Viz left two instance of kanji as kanji.

While these two instance were not that important to case, which does lessen the damage a bit, I still feel like I am missing something because I have no idea how to start pronouncing those kanji characters, no thanks to my inexperience and lack of knowledge of written languages not using the Roman alphabet, I feel like I was missing something because I could not see how Rachel put things together to Kappa.

Yes, I know that space is limited when trying to format things like text in a bubble in comics, due to my own experience in doing formatting for printed materials, and that might be why the kanji was left in, other than the fact that it was not really that important to the case, but the audience should never feel lost, especially when they are reading a work in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, where many people expect to have every detail presented to them, as long as they take notice of it.

If the people at Viz worked on this more, they could have resolved things easily, like putting in little notes on what is being said in kanji, if not put the Romaji right in bubbles with the kanji in parenthesis, just like how they sometimes note how the value of the amount of yen in US dollars, and made it easy for this stuff to be checked.

Sadly, Viz decided to just leave the Kanji be, and just made things a little harder to see, thereby making it harder for me to really enjoy.

Hopefully, Viz Media does a better job when the kanji really does matter to the case, because I really do not want to see people confused because they were not clearly presented the details they needed, but because I know this is not the first time Viz left kanji untranslated or in a way that one that only knows the Roman alphabet, which is the bulk of the audience, can try pronouncing it, I would not be surprised if they do something far worse.

Thankfully, this was the only thing that really bothered me, so I can at least leave the people at Viz Media with the feeling that they did not completely and utterly fail.

While there was only one thing that really bothered, the fact that it only occurred when details that were not important cropped up kept it from hurting the quality of the release too much, if at all.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and the only real negative did not do much damage, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Detective Conan and detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, especially because it starts off with a brand-new case, which should make it easier to jump into, but I would still recommend reading the earlier volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or, if you would like a copy of the reviewed title, buy a copy of Case Closed Volume 69 from Book Depository, who has helped me fill in the gaps of my Detective Conan collection and other free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can continue following the series many of us enjoy and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.

Also, because of the expected closure of Google+, where I have been giving my thoughts on the cases of Detective Conan on Crunchyroll, this year, I have been having troubles finding a decent alternative that would allow the people that come for my Detective Conan posts to be notified of those updates, and I am currently contemplating about starting to talk about them here, but regardless of my decision, if you follow my Detective Conan stuff on Google+ and wish to be updated after the closure, I ask you to do one of two things:

  • Subscribe to the atom feed, which can be accessed through the means specified in the about page.
  • Become a patron on Patreon (this option is not free and will bombard you with my non-DC stuff, but if you would be like to be notified of posts by email, this will allow you to do that without extra effort)

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