This volume wraps up the case of the mystery Slasher that began in the previous volume. Conan and the kids have just two clues to go on – a strange symbol imprinted on Amy’s hand, and the same symbol in mud on George’s backside. After studying the symbol, Conan realizes that it’s the hood ornament for a Mazda Infini. With the help of detectives Sato and Takagi, three suspects who drive the same car are rounded up and brought, with their cars, to the police station. Fearing for Amy’s safety if the Slasher wants revenge, the kids hide out in a car with tinted windows to observe the suspects, so Amy can point out the man who bumped into her. And, of course, so Conan can observe and solve the case. Desperate to catch the killer, Amy wants to get directly involved, but Anita convinces her to sit tight. As usual, the detectives and forensic team aren’t quite able to find what they’re supposed to be looking for, so Conan plays his “innocent, curious child” card and reveals the damning evidence himself. Meanwhile, Anita is still trying to decide whether or not to enter the witness protection program. Bolstered by Amy’s courage, Anita decides to finally stop running. Next up, Richard and Conan are spending some “quality time” together while Rachel is out of town at Richard’s favorite restaurant. The regular waitress asks him for a favor. She’s found a strange cell phone and can’t track down its owner. The phone received three strange calls, and was then apparently disconnected. As Conan and Detective Moore try to discover who the owner of the phone might be, Officer Yumi appears with pertinent news. The owner of the phone has been found, but he’s dead. Unfortunately, he had no identification on him, so the mystery cell phone is still the only link to his identity. Conan does his best to feed his own deductions to Richard as they run around town, trying to track down where each of the three phone calls were made. A number code, some deciphering of abbreviations, and some quick thinking by Conan, and Detective Richard Moore has blown open the city’s biggest political scandal in years. Hoping to enjoy a nice relaxing afternoon, Conan picks up the newest volume of one of his favorite detective series, intending to spend his weekend engrossed in the series’ finale. Unfortunately, Kazuha and Harley are visiting, and insist on going out to eat for dinner. They’ve come to invite everyone to a special event – the Takarazuka Revue…or the Koshien baseball finals. Because both events are scheduled on the same day, they can’t attend both, so Richard comes up with a contest to decide, pitting Kazuha, Rachel, and himself against Harley and Conan, to help solve a difficult murder case. The president of a local toy company has been murdered, and there is little evidence to point to the killer. The President seems to have tried to leave a message by putting spilled ink on some toy blocks with characters and animals on them. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t seem to be adding up, so they call in the four main suspects, all employees of President Tsujiya. Harley, who notices Kazuha’s frustration at not being able to solve the mystery, decides to give her a hand and a boost of confidence. Unfortunately, as the pieces fall into place, Harley gets carried away and solves the case on his own. So, of course, the whole gang ends up going to Koshien. What should be a pleasant day watching baseball quickly turns deadly, as a mysterious stranger decides to challenge Harley, Inspector Otaki, and Conan to a twisted game.
Forty-three volumes, and Case Closed is still interesting. If you’re ever able to get over the fact that a teenager in the body of a child is better at solving cases than the entire police department. Given that multiple detectives, inspectors, and officers show up in this volume, it’s particularly noticeable. I’m not saying Jimmy isn’t or shouldn’t be smart – he’s clearly a prodigy, and that’s OK – but it treads close to painting everyone (not just Richard, who is anyway) incompetent, from top inspectors to the lowest traffic cops. It’s fun watching Jimmy/Conan solve cases at lightning speed, don’t get me wrong. And Richard being Richard, watching Conan feed him information and grumble when he misses the mark anyway is humorous. But I can’t deny that I’d like to see the official inspectors do more than simply keep up with Conan (at the best of times). On that note, it was nice to see Kazuha figure out a major clue, even if Harley and Conan had to give her some hints. The rest of the book is more of the same things fans love about this series, though Anita gets a couple nice moments. She’s been struggling over whether or not to stay with Conan and the kids, or leave if it will keep both her and them safe. But if she hides herself away, she can’t help Conan, and she can’t protect her friends. Amy was willing to risk her own safety to put a criminal behind bars; she has a strong sense of justice that gives her courage. Anita takes strength from that and decides to keep pressing forward. If you’ve been wanting to see Conan really panic about a case, keep an eye out for volume 44, because the Koshien Demon means business.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.