Since this is the first episode of the new year, the episode opens with Conan making his yearly remarks. He obviously thanks the fans and wishes them a happy new year, and also mentions that the series is starting its 27th year. But what caught my attention was when he said something along the lines of that it’s been a rough couple of years, but hopefully we’ll be exiting that long tunnel soon. He ends by encouraging the viewers to take care of their health.

After the new opening theme, the episode itself starts with Conan and the other Detective Boys (including Ai) walking down the street. Mitsuhide finds information online about a soccer game that featured Ai’s favorite player, Hide. Meanwhile, Conan has a flashback to a conversation he had with Hattori near the end of the multiple part episode where Momiji had presented a mystery challenge to Hattori and Shinichi (with Conan obviously filling in for Shinichi). Since having that conversation, Conan has been pondering over what he learned about Haneda Shukichi, especially since he knows that he’s the younger brother of Akai and the older brother of Sera. So he’s been looking for any news about shogi, and all that’s come up is a current murder case concerning a shogi player who had been suspected of match fixing.

But who should come along at that point but Haneda Shukichi himself? After a brief conversation with Conan and the Detective Boys, he is on his way. Suddenly, his girlfriend, the police officer named Yumi, is seen trying to follow him because she suspects he’s cheating on her. Poor Conan gets caught up in this when Yumi takes his hand and forces him to come along.

They end up discovering that Haneda is meeting up with a group of shogi players that he’s helping to train. Yumi and Conan come along to the location where they’re all meeting, and it turns out one of the members is already in the location but isn’t answering when they call him or ring the doorbell. After getting inside, the guy is found dead in the kitchen. Conan notices something in the room that seems to connect this case to the murder he read about online, but this isn’t touched on yet because the episode ended with Takagi and Sato just starting their investigation. From the preview, it looks like Conan will bring this fact up in the next episode.

Basically, this episode is the set up for the mystery that Conan will be helping to solve. I understand that Conan had to somehow be brought into the case, but the run-in with Haneda, and then seeing Yumi following him, just felt a little too coincidental. It’s especially even more so when you factor in that Conan had been looking on his phone about the case of the murdered shogi player and he comes by as Ayumi is asking about match fixing. I normally don’t nitpick on how Conan seems to coincidentally run into people, but for some reason, this time it really jumped out at me more than usual.

It’s also interesting to note that when the body was discovered, Haneda was acting in a way where he seemed like he knew more about what was going on than he was letting on. The preview also shows a shot of Haneda talking to a silhouette figure, encouraging whoever they are to tell the truth. This seems to indicate that Haneda may know who the guilty party is, but since this shot is taken out of context, it could also be something in the preview to mislead the viewer. It’s going to be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I’m also curious to see whether this story will be told in two parts or in three parts.

And since this is a story that features someone from Sera’s family, you know that this has to be a canon story from the manga, since in the anime series, it seems that they only ever show up in episodes that use stories from the manga. Outside of the films, I can’t think of a time since I started watching Case Closed as simulcast where Sera or any of her family members appeared in anime only episodes. I could be wrong, though, since there is a good gap of around 600 episodes or so of Case Closed that I have never seen since they’ve never been legally available in the United States.

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