Case Closed, which is known as Detective Conan in Japan, is based on a detective manga series written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama. The anime began airing in Japan on January 8, 1996; as of this writing, this series is still ongoing.
FUNimation Entertainment held the North American distribution rights for Case Closed. The company released five season DVD box sets and the first six Case Closed films; unfortunately, the series wasn’t selling well enough for FUNimation to continue releasing more than that. In 2018, the company’s license for the property expired without being renewed. In 2014, Crunchyroll had acquired the streaming and simulcast rights for the series, starting with episode 754. Netflix also acquired streaming rights for the series as well, but as of this writing, Netflix is removing the series from its service on January 1, 2019.
Shinichi Kudo (who is known as Jimmy Kudo in the English adaptation) is a high school junior mystery buff who has incredible abilities with both his power of observation and his intuition. In fact, he can solve mysteries that have baffled the Japanese police force.
One day, Shinichi and his friend Ran Mori (who is known as Rachel Moore in the English adaptation), go to a local amusement park. A murder takes place on a roller coaster that they’re riding, and Shinichi solves the crime. While working on the case, two men dressed in black who were among the suspects catch his interest.
Later at the amusement park, Shinichi has a run-in with the mysterious men in black as they’re in the middle of a transaction. One of the men knocks Shinichi out and uses an experimental poison on Shinichi that has not been tested on humans; the men expect that the poison will kill Shinichi. However, instead of killing him, the poison shrinks Shinichi back down to a six or seven-year-old.
As his new younger self, Shinichi takes on the name of Conan Edogawa, and poses as a relative of his neighbor, Dr. Agasa. As Conan, Shinichi ends up living with Ran and her father Kogoro Mori (known as Richard Moore in the English adaptation). Kogoro is a bumbling private investigator who used to be part of the Japanese police force. Shinichi believes that he can use Kogoro’s resources to track down the men in black to try to get an antidote that will return him to his normal size.
While living with Ran and Kogoro, Conan finds himself accompanying Kogoro on his cases. As Conan, Shinichi covertly helps Kogoro solve the cases that come his way.
And since Shinichi has been shrunk back to a kid, he enrolls in Teitan Elementary School as Conan. There, he makes friends with three of kids in his class, and the four of them form the Junior Detective League.
Over the course of the series, a lot of other characters have been introduced. Among them is Ai, who is the scientist behind the poison that shrunk Shinichi. She took some of the poison herself and has shrunk down to her younger self. She also enrolls in Teitan Elementary School, and she stays with Dr. Agasa.
Starting around the episodes that Crunchyroll began streaming, a girl named Sera is introduced. She has some impressive detective skills, but she also has some secrets surrounding her family. In more recent episodes, we have been introduced to three characters that share a similar trait with something that is known about Rum, the leader of the Black Organization. It’s being hinted that one of these three characters could potentially be Rum.
With the introduction of these particular characters, as well as some others, new layers have been added to the series. Unfortunately, due to the number of filler episodes that have appeared in recent months, the progression of the canon storyline from the manga has been slow going.
But after I watched the first episode of the series, I found myself being impressed with Case Closed. I appreciate how the mysteries are presented in a “whodunit” style, as well as how many of the mysteries keep you guessing right until Conan reveals what really happened. As I watch the mysteries, I find myself trying to figure out who committed the crime and how they did it and then seeing if I’m right. This is a series that will make someone think as they watch it.
The mystery angle of this series makes it stand out, since there aren’t very many anime series that fit into the mystery genre.
Overall, I like the storytelling that’s used for Case Closed. The only real complaint I have is that quite a few of the mysteries are murder mysteries. While there are occasionally other kids of mysteries (such as kidnappings, vandalism, and extortion), the vast majority of the mysteries appear to be murder cases.
I also think that Gosho Aoyama did a fantastic job creating the characters for his manga series, and that the anime director did a great job of bringing these characters to life. The combination of the characters and the storytelling work together to make Case Closed an enjoyable series to watch.
It really is a shame that Case Closed didn’t perform as well in North America as FUNimation Entertainment had hoped for. It really is a good series and is worth watching if you enjoy mystery stories. While the episodes FUNimation licensed aren’t available for streaming at the time of this writing, the more recent episodes are readily available on Crunchyroll.
If you’ve never seen Case Closed before, then I would suggest watching some of the episodes that are available on Crunchyroll. This could very well be one of the best anime series that you’re currently not watching.