Book Review: Case Closed Volume 81

Detective Conan Volume 81 cover

I hope everyone has been doing well, even if the headaches of being
stuck in a pandemic crops up from time to time.

Things here have
been a little busy for me, but I am still able to do what I like.

A while back, I went
looking through Amazon’s catalog and managed to place an order for
a title and that title came recently, which means it is time to get
off my butt.

Today, I will be
reviewing that title, which is called Case
Closed Volume 81
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 involving a deceased pickpocket, Jimmy gets dragged into more
cases.

However, during the
cases, something about recent events seems to be bothering Jimmy as a
new entity crops up that has connections with Sera during these
cases.

While I really
enjoyed the previous
volume
, I still need to be on my toes for when things get really
disappointing, so that I do not end up ignoring them.

After reading this
volume, I have to say that I really liked it.

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

One of the most
important things in a work of fiction is how things begin, as the
beginning is supposed to transport the audience to another world,
thereby allowing them to get the temporary escape that they desire.

While this important
hook can be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on the genre
and the medium used to present the work, Detective Conan, like
many other manga, is published in a serial publication, which means
that things have to begin in a way that makes sense based upon where
the last installment left off.

In the previous
volume, Jimmy found himself visiting a shrine with the junior
detective league and meets Jodie, who is still trouble by the bank
mess from volume
65
, asking her to look into why Bourbon was still around before
coming across the body of a pickpocket.

In this volume, the
first chapter picks up with the investigation phase of the case,
reminding me a little of what had happened and making me interested
in who killed the pickpocket, which helped me ease right into the
volume.

If things had not
started off here, I would have been rather disappointed because I had
been promised by the cliffhanger of the previous volume that I would
get a somewhat full case instead of the finale of a case that was
pretty much over, making it so that there was no other way that this
volume could have started out.

Thankfully,
Shogakukan, or whoever they had put this volume together, made the
right decision in having things start off here, even if I am not that
pleased with having to deal with this particular case as a start of
the volume.

Hopefully, future
volumes will be able to start off just as well as this one did, as
that will help minimize the damage that later cases in the series
will likely do and help keep fans coming back for more, but I have my
doubts about that with how many volumes start up with the conclusion
of another case.

I also liked how
there was quite a bit to laugh about in this volume.

Aside from the cases
that crop up in Detective Conan, one of the things that I
really about this series is the comedic moments that come up, some of
which are enough to make volumes or chapters in themselves worth
reading, even when the cases themselves are rather boring.

In this volume,
there were quite a bit of moments that were rather funny, but only
one thing seems to stand out, which is Richard’s belief in his so
called true self.

After the
pickpocketing case, we follow Richard, who is narrating like a
typical hard boiled detective about being called to investigate a
matter at a bar, which Rachel doubts he is actually doing, and, as
typical for the series by now, another dead body shows up.

In the chapter that
concludes the case, when Jimmy has everything figured out, he speaks
up, with Richard, still in the typical hard boiled detective narrator
mode, noting these moments as his alter ego, thinking he is talking
to himself, since people hear the voice, and he then says it feels
like his alter ego takes over his body, while we see Jimmy do his
usual thing, which gets noted as a pain in his neck and goes to
sleep, with his last words of the moment being that he learned to
enjoy the rest.

After Jimmy reveals
his deduction, which we do not get to see until later, Richard is
awoken by his client who says everyone is gone and explains Jimmy’s
deduction to him.

When the client is
done with the explanation, Richard suddenly decides to interpret it
as this alter ego being his true self and his conscious self
being the fake.

While this was
hilarious enough, as it lets us experience cases from Richard’s
point of view, which helps make these moments in Detective Conan
almost as hilarious as when they first happened, rather than the
stale and predictable moments they have become, it becomes even more
hilarious when Richard, in his thoughts, attributes the closing of
the final case of the volume to his real self.

By having this gag
run through pretty much the entire volume, not counting cases where
Richard was not present, it made itself a real highlight of the
volume above other moments, like Rachel noting that Jimmy knew things
he should not and the now stale joke of Sera being confused for a
guy, even if Serena allowed it to happen just because she wanted to
see a JKD practitioner go again a karate practitioner, and helped me
thoroughly enjoy the volume.

Another thing that I
liked was how there was linear timeline going through this volume.

While I highly doubt
that this is the first time things like this have happened, as I
believe this tends to occur when something important is about to
occur, though I only remember some things that will likely be seen in
the Viz releases towards the end of this year and the beginning of
2023, it can still be nice to have cases that really are back to
back, helping to make joke about almost every work of detective
fiction and/or crime fiction be constantly about murder seem like a
reality in their world.

Even though it is
not bad to have cases randomly happen, since it gives the readers
incentive to keep coming back for more, it can get tiring for people,
so moments like these can feel like a bit of fresh air.

If Gosho Aoyama had
these chapters be random occurrences like usual, I would have been
okay with it, especially because it feels a little soon for the next
major event to happen, but I doubt the volume would have been able to
stand out too much.

Fortunately, he
decided to make these chapters happen back to back, which feels like
these chapters really were intended to be read as a whole, which made
it feel like a nice treat.

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

Aside from how
things begin, another important part of a work of fiction is how
things end, as the ending is supposed to either leave the audience
either feeling satisfied, if the work is a standalone work or the
final installment of series, or craving more, if it is part of a
series.

While many recent
volumes have been disappointing me as of late because the
cliffhangers lead into conclusion that end in just the first chapter
of the volume, turning an otherwise decent enough cliffhanger into a
boring cliffhanger, in comparison to when such volumes were followed
up by volumes that end with the end of the case.

Now, those boring
cliffhangers are not entirely bad, as they do give the reader a
reason to get the next volume and the detective, mystery, and crime
fiction fans reading Detective Conan can get excited for the
moment when they find out if their answer was right or not, but even
those fans can grow weary of moments in which the case is practically
over.

Here, however,
unlike many of the other recent volumes, this volume finally ends
with the conclusion of a case, but it also makes itself stand out by
making the reader ask questions, which itself makes me want to get
the next volume right now, though it does not come out until April,
according to the product
page
on Amazon and I was able to preorder it.

During the volume,
we see Sera communicating with somebody that she says is her brother
and at this time in the series, it is believe that Akai, who has been
conformed to be alive already in these volume releases, is her only
brother but then she says this brother is the middle child and he
also seems to know Jimmy, as he tells her that the kid she sent him
of a picture of can be trusted.

Even though I know
who the middle brother is, thanks to being able to read the chapters
that Viz Media has yet to release, I still found myself wanting to
know who he is and who he was referring to when talking about the
magican which leaves me with other questions, due to not remembering
if the middle brother had met Kaito Kuroba, since Kaito is the only
one I can see fi the magician moniker and Sera did answer in the
affirmative n her thoughts.

This is the kind of
ending I have been dying to see for a while and this volume finally
delivered on being both an ending that concludes a case and one that
gives the audience a reason to want more beyond the See you next
time
feeling that such ending can bring.

If this volume had
ended it bland way, not giving the reader any kind of incentive, I
would have been alright with it just because there have been way too
many volumes back to back with cliffhangers that get resolved in a
single chapter, but I have a feeling that things would likely fizzle
out if it was just an ending that relied on the audience liking
things enough to see what happens next.

Thankfully, the
volume ended the way it did, which makes me want to give Gosho a good
round of applause for creating a great ending for a chapter and some
more good applause for Shogakukan, or whoever they had put this
volume together, for choosing the best moment to end the volume.

Hopefully, more
volumes will end like this in the future, because this kind of ending
is the kind that I would like to see the most and I highly doubt that
I am the only one that would be satisfied with endings like this, but
considering how things can get worse, I would not be surprised if the
endings of future releases are not as good as this.

Outside of those
things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly like, at
least that could stand out as much as what I did talk about.

Because the volume
started off quite well, even though there was no other way this
volume could have started, seeing things happen through Richard’s
point of view made a stale gag feel like new, the cases presented
happened back to back, as if suggesting something important will
happen soon, and the ending delivered in every possible department,
this was a great read for the start of the new year.

Although I
thoroughly enjoyed the volume, there are some issues.

However, aside from
things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, only one
thing seemed to bother me, which was something about the resolution
of one of the cases.

Now, some of you
guys might be puzzled by this because you might think that Gosho got
something incredibly wrong or things were not completely of sound
reasoning, like the moment in Judge
Volume 6
where Hikari reveals why she stabbed her friend in
the back, but it was more so the reactions of the pickpocket prior to
her death and the discussion between Jimmy and one of the suspects
than the deduction itself, as it created questions after the
deduction and the arrest.

When the killer was
revealed and gets taken away, Jimmy asks one of the suspects if their
eye sight is bad because the pickpocket recognized them but they did
not recognize her.

While it does make
sense that he did not recognize her, since it was reveal that he was
not the same guy the pickpocket stole from, it makes me wonder how on
earth things worked out so well for the culprit, since she suffered
at the hands of the victim twice.

Yes, she was not
targeted multiple times in a particular situation, given that the
pickpocket targeted her one year ago, but because the pickpocket
picked up on one person she targeted, fearing retribution, I have
some troubles believing that she would overlook a victim from a year
ago, unless her long term memory is bad.

If Gosho had just
ended the case with the arrest of the killer and not revealed why the
victim had the reaction they did to one of their own victims, I would
have been able to let this slide off into the unknown.

Unfortunately, these
moments were included in the case and it hurt an otherwise decent
enough case with a sound resolution.

Hopefully, this kind
of problem does not rear its head again, or even come up in a worse
way, because this kind of thing takes away from the joy that fans of
detective, mystery, and crime fiction get from knowing they beat the
detective or found out they lost to red herring, giving them the
determination to do better, but considering how there are far more
disappointing cases to come, I would not be surprised if Gosho Aoyama
makes this kind of mistake again.

Thankfully, that was
the only thing that really bothered me, so I can walk away satisfied
that there was nothing worse.

While there was
something that was annoying, it was not bad enough to cause troubles
for more than one moment.

Considering that
there was quite a lot to like and the only negative can be written
off as annoyance, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend
this to fans of Detective Conan, as they will be able to enjoy
this the most, especially being able to get Richard’s point of view
of the gag we have been use to seeing all the time, though fans of
detective, mystery, and crime fiction will be mostly pleased
with what they get.

As for everyone
else, this might be worth giving a try, but it might be best to read
previous volumes first.

If you liked this
review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on
either Patreon
or SubscribeStar,
or if you would like to get your hands on a copy of the reviewed
title while helping to make sure that I can still procure titles to
read and recommend, buy
a copy of Case Closed Volume 81
from Book Depository, who
has helped me close the gap in my Detective Conan collection and
offers free shipping around the world.

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