Case Closed: The Crimson Love Letter is the 21st film released for the Case Closed franchise, which was released to Japanese theaters in 2017.

Case Closed: The Crimson Love Letter
English Publisher: Discotek Media
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: December 29, 2020

The focus of this film is on karuta, a Japanese card game where players have to quickly determine which card out of an array of cards is required and grabbing it before another player does. While there isn’t a lot of focus on the mechanics of playing karuta, I was still glad to have seen the first two seasons of Chihayafuru before watching this film. This gave me some knowledge about the game before going into this film, and I think it helped me to better appreciate and understand the karuta aspects in the film.

Kogoro is in Kyoto for an interview that includes the man behind the Satsuki Cup and the Satsuki school for karuta. He is accompanied by Ran, Conan, Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Genta. Ai decides to stay at home with Professor Agasa, and this fact becomes important when Conan needs help solving the mysteries that present themselves during this film. They are joined by Heiji and Kazuha, who are there to cheer on their classmate from the karuta club who is playing in a tournament against the current Queen (the best female karuta player in Japan). Although I question the inclusion of Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Genta. They really aren’t pivotal to the story and just seem to just be “there.” Honestly, I think this story could have worked without having these three characters being brought along for the ride.

When Heiji and Kazuha run into Momiji Ooka, the current Queen, Momiji says she’s happy to see her future husband. I realized that I recognized this character from some of the later episodes of the Case Closed anime that I’ve seen. It was an “a-ha!” moment to realize that this film serves as Momiji’s introduction into the series. Since I hadn’t seen this film prior to seeing Momiji in some of the episodes, I had assumed that Momiji was a weird rich girl who was stalking Heiji for some reason. When Heiji and Kazuha’s friend breaks her arm during one of the bombings, Kazuha goes into the karuta competitions in her friend’s stead, which leads to a subplot between Kazuha and Momiji. Through this subplot, we learn that Heiji’s mother is a former Queen. I thought this was an interesting fact to learn.

There are ultimately two mysteries involved in this story: who murdered a karuta champion and who is setting off bombs trying to kill particular karuta players. It was interesting to watch this story unfold, even if the scene on the roof of the television studio where Conan makes a rescue attempt to help Heiji and Kazuha came across as a little unrealistic. It was one of those scenes where you have to use your “willing suspension of disbelief” in order to accept that it was happening.

When all is said and done, I enjoyed Case Closed: The Crimson Love Letter. It’s ultimately one of the more important films in the franchise, since it introduces a recurring character who appears off and on in the anime series. Without seeing Momiji’s introduction here, her appearances in the anime series don’t make sense, and you get a very different perception of the character without this introduction.

When it comes to the Blu-ray release, it has 1.77.1 16:9 / 1080p High Definition video. The audio includes English DTS-MA 5.1, Japanese DTS-MA 5.1, and Japanese LPCM 2.0. I had no complaints with either the video or audio quality for this release.

For bonus features, there was a clean ending, a teaser for the film, and two trailers for the film. I was glad to see that there were some kind of bonus features included on this release. Considering how hard it’s been to get anyone to release Case Closed in the west after FUNimation Entertainment lost the rights, I have a hard time nitpicking these Case Closed releases for their bonus features. I feel grateful to be getting any of these releases at all at this point.

It should also be noted that the outer slipcase labels the release as Case Closed: The Crimson Love Letter, but the cover artwork on the Blu-ray box itself and the Blu-ray Disc labels the film as Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter.

If you’re a fan of the Case Closed anime and are trying to acquire home video releases for the series, I would recommend acquiring this release of Case Closed: The Crimson Love Letter for your anime library.

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