Case Closed Volume 55 focuses on first grade detective Conan Edogawa, who had previously been a high school detective named Jimmy Kudo. While investigating a case, Jimmy was discovered by a criminal organization and forced to take an experimental poison. Unknown to the criminals, Jimmy survived and shrunk down to his first grade self. He takes on the name Conan Edogawa to hide his identity, goes to live with his friend Rachel and her bumbling private detective father, and receives help and gadgets from his neighbor, Dr. Agasa. Conan’s overall goal is to find a way to return to his regular self again.
Volume 55 opens with a case that began in the previous volume. It’s a locked room murder mystery that features Conan, Harley Hartwell, and another teen detective competing to deduce what happened. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Conan who ultimately cracked the case. But I appreciated the touch that this detective did of psyching out both the characters in the story and the reader when the suspect was revealed. Even though I only jumped into this mystery at this point in the story, I still enjoyed what I read and thought the storytelling was rather clever.
The next three chapters in Case Closed Volume 55 see Conan and the other members of the Junior Detective League encountering an assault case after seeing their favorite soccer team lose in a match. Junior Detective League member George ends up playing a big role in this mystery, which is rather unusual, since he’s usually around for comic relief. In this mystery, I appreciated seeing how Aoyama incorporated the German language into the clue for determining the suspect in the assault case. Since I took German in high school, I was able to understand the German reference.
After this, four chapters in Volume 55 are devoted to telling about a scavenger hunt case that a young Shinichi and young Rachel went on to try to discover the identity of someone suspicious that they encountered in their school library. Dr. Agasa ultimately helps them out, since the kanji being used was too difficult for kids their age to understand. As an American reader, I did have a little trouble following what was going on with the clues when the kanji were utilized in dialogue. Since I don’t have the knowledge of how to read Japanese kanji, I had to rely on what explanations the English translation provided. Outside of that, I liked the various twists that were revealed at the end of the story. But of these twists, I especially enjoyed getting a hint about the origins of the phantom thief, Kaito Kid. I also liked getting to see little Shinichi and little Rachel because they looked so adorable.
The final two chapters in Case Closed Volume 55 see Rachel making another attempt at trying to get her parents to reconcile. Her mother blows her off after getting a phone call and rushes out. When Rachel discovers a picture of her mother with another man, she jumps to conclusions and takes Conan with her to find her mother. Once I saw the location where Rachel’s mother and this man met, I figured out that the situation wasn’t what Rachel thought it was. While this story may not have been along the lines of the “whodunit?” model that most of the mysteries in the Case Closed series utilize, it was a nice character development moment for Rachel’s mother.
When it comes to Aoyama’s art style, he actually includes quite a bit of detail in his drawings. Since Case Closed is a mystery series, it makes a lot of sense for the drawings to be rather detailed, since “the devil is in the details” when it comes to solving some of the mysteries that appear in the series.
I would highly recommend Case Closed to readers who are fans of the mystery genre, whether or not they’re already manga readers. And readers who are familiar with the series should be able to find a mystery that they enjoy in Case Closed Volume 55.
The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media