Case Closed: The Darkest Nightmare is the 20th film released for the franchise.

Case Closed: The Darkest Nightmare
Directed by: Kobun Shizuno
Written by: Takeharu Sakurai
Starring: Minami Takayama, Wakana Yamazaki, Rikiya Koyama, Megumi Hayashibara, Yukiko Iwai, Ikue Ohtani, Wataru Takagi, Kenichi Ogata, Shuichi Ikeda, Toru Furuya, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yukitoshi Hori, Fumihiko Tachiki, Mami Koyama, Tamara Ryan, Kikuko Inoue, Hiroyuki Kinoshita, Miyuki Ichijo, Kiyoyuki Yanada, and Yuki Amami
Run Time: 112 minutes

At the beginning of the film, a Black Organization spy infiltrates the NPA Security Bureau Office, and steals the NOC list of MI6, BND, CSIS, FBI and CIA agents working undercover in the Black Organization. Yuya Kazami, an officer of the Public Security Bureau, catches her red-handed. The spy runs away, and Rei (aka Amuro and Bourbon) goes after her in hot pursuit. This leads to a car chase on a bridge. Akai Shuichi from the FBI joins in on the pursuit, and shoots the tire of the spy’s vehicle. The spy’s car crashes and fall off the bridge. The spy escapes the car as it lands in the water, and she surfaces at the Tohto Aquarium. The aquarium has been recently remodeled and now includes an impressive ferris wheel.

The next day, Professor Agasa takes Conan, Ai, Mitsuhide, Ayumi, and Genta to the aquarium. Conan and Ai encounter the spy there, and she has amnesia. They discover that her cell phone is broken from the car crash. Conan retrieves the broken phone, and also sends photos of the spy to Ran so she can send them to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Conan gives the phone to Dr. Agasa so he can retrieve the data on it. The Detective Boys stay with the spy to try to help her regain her memory. After noticing the spy’s perfect skills while playing darts and her swift act of saving Genta when he falls from a high spot, Ai begins to suspect that the woman is a Black Organization agent. Dr. Agasa discovers while trying to retrieve data from the spy’s phone that she attempted to send the names of known NOC agents to the Black Organization. Meanwhile, Vermouth has discovered the spy’s whereabouts and is keeping an eye on her.

The film culminates with the PSB, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police department, the CIA, and the Black Organization trying to get their hands on the spy. Everything comes back to the aquarium, where the Black Organization has planted bombs as part of their plot to recapture their missing spy. Conan, Rei, and Akai have to work together to disarm the bombs and to take on the Black Organization. Things become complicated when the spy regains her memory during this epic finale for the film.

I was glad to see that one of the Case Closed films has a focus on the Black Organization, since they appear so infrequently during the anime series. And with this focus on the organization, it also allows Ai to get a little more attention in the film, since she is a former member of the organization. Near the end of the film, when the spy encounters Ai and recognizes her, I loved how the spy referred to her as “little Sherry.” It was also nice to see the FBI characters like Jodie Starling, since they show up so little in the anime series. I guess one of the strengths of The Darkest Nightmare is the fact that it utilizes characters who have been introduced in the series, yet don’t show up all that often in the long run.

Another thing that caught my attention was during one of the scenes of Rei when he volunteers to defuse the bombs. He remembers one of his classmates from the academy who was skilled with explosives. Recently, the Case Closed anime series had an episode that showed Rei during his time at the police academy and introducing the friends that he made. Because I saw that episode of the anime series about two or three weeks before watching The Darkest Nightmare, Rei’s flashback had a lot more meaning to me than it would have if I had watched this film before seeing that episode of the anime.

I thought the writing for this film was quite strong. The crux of the story is established with the very first scene, and the writer did a great job of getting Conan and the others involved in what was happening. In this story, the Detective Boys’ involvement didn’t feel forced, which was a nice change of pace from a couple of the other Case Closed anime films that I watched and reviewed over this past year. The pacing of the story felt right, and I thought the writer did a great job of building up both the story and the tension.

When it comes to the animation, the only complaint I have comes from some of the CG animation used in the film, because it stands out a little too much. This was especially true for some of the shots of the ferris wheel.

Overall, I enjoyed The Darkest Nightmare, thanks in large part to seeing it focus on characters that the audience doesn’t get to see as much of, as well as to the strength of the story that it was telling. This film is definitely worth watching at least once if you’re a fan of the Case Closed franchise.

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