Case Closed: Episode 997 – “Intrigue at Smile Village”

The episode opens with Conan being driven in a limousine, and being greeted by a smiling couple. It turns out he’s been taken to a retirement community called Smile Village. For some reason, Conan is surprised by where he’s been taken. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, since he was brought in a limo, which, obviously he doesn’t own. Why wouldn’t he have questioned where he was going? I mean, he questions everything since he’s a detective.

When he gets inside, he finds a group of four old women, as well as almost all of the Detective Boys (except for Ai, and it’s never explained why she isn’t there… her existence isn’t even acknowledged). It turns out these women are fans of the Detective Boys. Apparently, while on a bus tour, they saw these four sitting outside and eating, and started snapping pictures of them with their cell phones. I’m sorry, but this is just inappropriate and creepy. Also, how do they know that they are the Detective Boys? That’s never answered. Because of this, the smiling couple that owns Smile Village invites the kids to come to the retirement community. Which again begs the question: why was Conan surprised by where he was taken?

Each of these ladies, who we learn are eccentric and wealthy, take their favorite member of the Detective Boys to their room. Creepy and inappropriate! Each one does something that they wish they could have done with a grandchild. Conan is stuck with a lady who wanted to sing a lullaby, and this woman cannot sing. She puts herself to sleep, though, so Conan can sneak out. Another lady wanted to peel fruit from around the world and feed them to her grandchild, and Mitsuhide ends up with this one. Ayumi ends up with a lady who wants to show off her collection of dentures, and then do a “ventriloquist” act with one set of them. The lady Genta ends up with pinches his butt… and that was EXTREMELY inappropriate. She then follows this up by going outside and taking off on a jet pack, which fails and she has to use a parachute. I’m sorry, but Genta’s “fan” gets a “WTF were you thinking?” award.

The other three manage to get away from their respective fans, and meet up with Conan. They stumble across the couple (named Tango and Waltz), and overhear their plan to use the money they oversee for the old ladies to buy a luxury hotel in Dubai to start a new Smile Village there. They also plan to bilk old people in Dubai so they can build a Smile Village in space. Insert eyeroll here.

Unfortunately, they discover the Detective Boys overhearing their plan, and send their bodyguard, Onda, to chase after them. While there was some bad animation in this episode (which looked a lot like bad flash animation), Onda got some of the absolute worst animation. In many of his scenes, his movements were very unnatural, which almost led me to believe he was a robot or an android or something. In one particular part of this chase, he suddenly stops, turns in a perfect right angle, and then continues his weird and janky walking. Onda’s walk animation here was so bad and unnatural that it made me laugh at how horrible it was.

Basically, three of the kids are captured, and Onda is ordered to lock them in the basement. Kidnapping and imprisonment. Looks like Tango and Waltz want to rack up the charges, huh? Conan is about to rescue them, when he is caught by Onda. Before anything can happen, the story cuts to Tango and Waltz trying to get the old women to sign contracts stating that they will not allow any other retirement center to scout them. Conan and the Detective Boys suddenly show up, and Conan uses his special shoes to kick a soccer ball. While he has done some impressive things using this trick, I think that hitting a table hard enough to make it go flying away for a long distance is more than a little unrealistic. We’re told that the Detective Boys told Onda about the plan, and he has turned on Tango and Waltz because he loves working at Smile Village and taking care of these women.

Oh, Lordy. The writing was bad, the setup was bad, the animation was bad, and there wasn’t an actual mystery in this episode. Case Closed is supposed to be a mystery series, and there was no mystery for Conan and the kids to solve. By the end of this episode, I found myself asking, “WTF did I just watch?”

There was an episode that I had previously declared to be the worst Case Closed episode that I had ever seen, but I think it’s safe to say that this episode was even worse than that one. Hopefully, this is the last episode I can ever give the “Worst. Case. Closed. Episode. Ever.” award to.

From the preview for next week’s episode, it looks like it has promise… and an actual mystery!

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