Case Closed: Episode 1030 – “The Blank Year (Part One)”

The episode opens with Kogoro wandering the streets of Koneru City, and he sees a man suddenly end up in the road and almost getting hit by a car. Kogoro saves the man, and starts asking him questions, such as whether or not someone has a grudge against him. The man then wonders if perhaps he did something to someone during this “blank year.” Then the man (who we find out is named Ritsuo Esaka) wonders if Kogoro is the famous detective, and then asks Kogoro to help him figure out what happened during his missing year.

Kogoro takes the Ritsuo to his office, and he and Conan hear out what he has to say. It’s revealed that last week, the man slipped down some stairs at the train station, hit his head, and lost consciousness. When he returned to his workplace, he was informed that he had left for a job a year ago and never came back. Since he had been missing for a year, Ritsuo had lost his job and his apartment. Unfortunately, Ritsuo can’t recall where he’s been the past year or what he’d done. Ritsuo shows Kogoro and Conan the usage history for the card he uses on the train, and he always returned to Koneru City. He was actually in Koneru City to wander around and see if anything jogged his memory when he ended up almost being hit by the car. Kogoro offers to go back with Ritsuo to Koneru City to see if they can figure anything out while wandering around. But before the three of them leave, there’s a news report about the body of a missing man being found, and that it appeared he had been buried six months earlier. Conan makes a comment that one year is twice as long as this man went missing. In the end, though, Conan shuts off the television, believing that case has no connection with Ritsuo. However, when I saw this news report show up, I had a pretty strong feeling that there would likely be a connection between the two cases, since in a series like Case Closed, these types of details aren’t thrown out there for no reason. The main question to me at that point was how these two things were connected.

When Kogoro, Ritsuo, and Conan wander through Koneru City, they encounter someone dressed as a police officer who says that he’s the officer who works the police box. The officer says he doesn’t recognize Ritsuo and says he’s in a hurry. However, a little later, after they’ve done some wandering, they see that police officer in the back of a patrol car. It turns out the “police officer” they had talked to was actually a criminal in disguise. When they visit the real officer that works at the police box, he says he recognizes Ritsuo. He learns that a year ago, a man in the community had found him bewildered with memory loss and brought him to the police box. Ritsuo had no identification nor a phone on him. They learn that man, named Takuzo Kinbara, took him in. They get Takuzo’s information and go to visit him.

When they meet Takuzo, they learn that Ritsuo had been given the name of Taro since they didn’t know his real name. Takuzo and his wife are both happy not only to see him, but to learn that he’s regained his memory. They call three people over who had been his friends and helped to take care of him. When they first show up, they look angry, so Ritsuo thinks he did something to them. However, it’s revealed that they were worried about him vanishing and being gone for a week. We are introduced to the three characters: Keisuke Hida (the president of a construction company who gave Ritsuo employment), Toko Mizutani (she works at the credit union and would bring Ritsuo meals she cooked sometimes), and Mamoru Chimura (a cram school student whose parents own an apartment and allowed Ritsuo to live in one of them).

Later, when the group goes out to celebrate Ritsuo regaining his memory, a dog suddenly barks at Ritsuo and spooks him. He says he hates dogs and references the name of a dog he knew during his blank year. While it may have been something small, it shows that Ritsuo is starting to remember something from his missing year. While they drink, there’s some thunder and lightning, and this makes Ritsuo think that there was something in his blank year connecting a thunderstorm and a dog together.

When he returns home, Ritsuo sees another news report about the missing man and he starts thinking about it. He also spends time looking at newspapers about this case. Suddenly, he has some brief flashes of a memory, and one of the last things he sees is the face of the missing man whose body was recently found.

Two days later, Kogoro and Conan go to see how Ritsuo is doing, and they come across the police at the building…

I thought this episode did a great job of setting up the story and the situation, but I hadn’t expected the episode to end like it did. But what happens at the end of this episode sets the stage for the mystery that will need to be solved during the next episode. I think it’s safe to say that everyone we met in Koneru City we met that had a connection with Ritsuo will all be suspects. The questions I have at this point are how, why, and what connection does this person have with the case of the missing man that was found deceased. I’m very curious to see what Conan deduces and how he will explain everything.

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