Case Closed took a week off last week due to the airing of a J League tournament, so the series returns this week with an episode about the J League. For those who don’t know, the J League is Japan’s professional football league (however, in this case, football refers to what Westerners call soccer).
The episode opens with some guys talking in English, saying the Japanese don’t understand gambling and betting, and they reference the upcoming J League tournament. We then go to Japan, where Kogoro and the Detective Boys are at the stadium where the tournament will be held. Kogoro was given the honor of opening the game, and the kids got to tag along with him.
A lot of time is spent showing Kogoro and the kids around the stadium, although Ai is giving out a lot more information about the J League and how things work than their tour guide. In fact, there’s quite an info dump concerning the J League and some of their policies. They are also introduced to a roupeiro and his assistant. A roupeiro is someone who helps make sure the equipment for the team is ready for the players, so they have less to stress about before and after the game.
For quite a while, I found myself wondering if there was actually some kind of mystery in this episode. The mystery starts when Kogoro gets the runs as its time for him to do the kick to open the game. Only Conan and Ai realized that something is amiss, and they use their skills to figure out that something Kogoro had to drink had been tampered with. The two of them quickly find the clues they need, and Conan uses the Sleeping Kogoro trick to get the guilty party to confess.
When all was said and done, the mystery felt secondary to the J League aspect of the episode. While this was very educational in regards to the J League and how it works, the point of Case Closed is supposed to be on the mysteries. Because the mystery played such a minor part of the story and was ultimately resolved in under 10 minutes, this felt like a weaker episode of the series to me. Oh well. At least the preview for the next episode looks like we’ll be returning to the status quo and expectations that are associated with the Case Closed anime.