Case Closed 34

September 12, 2010

Gosho Aoyama – Viz – 2010 – 69 volumes

Another couple years, and this series will pass Naruto and One Piece as the longest manga in English, even without a sped-up release schedule. On another tangential note, I always thought it was interesting that the photos on the front cover, behind the illustration, are different between the English and Japanese editions. Always the same subject matter, but for every volume I’ve checked, a different photo. It’s kind of cool that the work goes in to change that, but I’ve always wondered why.

But yes, this is still one of my favorites, and it pleases me to no end that it’s kept its 6-volumes-a-year schedule since… yikes, 2004? It must be more popular than I realize. It’s a little gory, but otherwise I always thought this would be good for kids who are advanced readers (like, in the 10-12 range, there is some pretty scary stuff). It’s always rated older, but I’m also one of the last people that should ever decide what to give to an actual kid. I wish I’d thought of this last week, because I could have written it up for the kid-friendly Manga Moveable Feast. Oh well.

What? The actual volume? All right. There is some work on the plot of the series in this volume, with Conan and Harley moving closer and closer to discovering the truth about Miss Jodie, and Miss Jodie suspecting Conan a little more every time they talk and are accidentally involved in cases where her neighbor plummets out of a window (see what I mean about being a bad judge of comics for kids?). The last chapter begins a flashback to a trip that Rachael and Jimmy took to New York with Jimmy’s mom, and Aoyama refers to it as the “New York chapters,” so I assume this will be a major story. Any story with grown-up Jimmy is okay by me, even if it is just a flashback. It calls attention to his situation a little more when that happens, something that’s pretty easy to gloss over otherwise.

The cases are pretty standard stuff. We see the end of the word-game escalator case from last volume (which, ultimately, did involve ways kanji were abbreviated by hand, but still had the neat English XXX puzzle), the aforementioned Conan/Harley/Jodie case where her neighbor falls from a high rise window, a case where a rowdy soccer fan was killed on a packed train (complete with asides about Anita feeling lonely as a traitor to the Black Organization), and a strange case where a man is poisoned in a Chinese restaurant while trying to hire Rachael for an action movie.

I did like the apartment case a lot, even if I do think Miss Jodie is a little creepy. It was the type of case where there wasn’t any elaborate setup or even any evidence, it turned out to be more of a mind game than anything. Also, Harley is easy to like, even when his appearance is too convenient, and he called Miss Jodie out on being creepy, so that’s all right.

The Chinese restaurant murder was, on the other hand, a pretty elaborate mystery involving false evidence and some pretty elaborate tricks. I was sure that at least one person would privately catch on to the fact that Conan was being a little too enthusiastic for his own good, but that didn’t happen, of course. Rachael hints at the New York chapters throughout this case, so we do get to see big Jimmy in little snippets before the New York stuff starts.

And yes, the New York story is one of the most exciting things to happen in awhile. I love reading these volumes, but I rarely actually look forward to the story, it’s more of a sitcom-type enjoyment. I am this time. It looks like it’ll be great, and maybe we’ll get to find out who Miss Jodie is.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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