Since this is the first episode of the new year, we get the usual opening of Conan welcoming the audience to a new year and thanking them for their support. But this time, he’s joined by the other Detective Boys (Mitsuhiko, Genta, Ayumi, and Ai). Mitsuhiko plays up that this week’s story is about him, and Genta and Ayumi start arguing and complaining about this. After a moment, Ai calmly says that 2023 is going to be her year, and she has sparkles shining around her. It makes sense that Ai would say this, since this year’s Detective Conan film in Japan will have a focus on her. This was definitely one of the more amusing new year’s greetings we’ve seen for the series.

The actual story itself starts with the Detective Boys at a local pizza place, and Genta is taking part in a promotional contest. He wins, and each of the Detective Boys get a free slice of pizza, which are put into five separate boxes. When the group splits up to go enjoy their pizza, each one has their box of pizza stolen. But it turns out the culprit wasn’t hungry, because after quickly opening up a corner of the box, the box is discarded and the pizza inside isn’t touched. When the kids go back to the pizza place, they see the police are talking with the manager. It’s revealed there was a theft at a jewelry store nearby, and the police were asking if the manager had seen anyone suspicious. The Detective Boys figure out that the thieves used pizza boxes to hide the diamonds they stole and planned to order pizza in order to get the boxes.

When the manager says that there weren’t any signs of a break-in, Conan points out a notebook that could easily be seen through the window with instructions saying that the spare key was in the mailbox. And the kids discovered that the padlock on the mailbox had a very easy to figure out combination. It was kind of amusing to see these kids scolding the manager and the employee for being so lax and careless with such basic security measures.

After learning about three big pizza orders that were placed that day where the customers demanded the boxes from the store’s promotion, the kids go check things out. In the process, they find one of the thieves has been beaten up and left nearby. The police are confident that everything will be solved once this thief regains consciousness, but something nags at Mitsuhiko and he, along with Ayumi and Genta, go to check it out. Let’s just say it leads to these three doing something reckless, and it’s up to Conan and Ai to bail them out of trouble.

Right at the end of the episode, we see Mitsuhiko writing in a notebook and saying that he’s starting a book of “detective notes.” He muses to himself that he hopes he can share more from it one day, and this is leading me to think that this filler episode is serving as a setup for other filler episodes in the future. It’s making me think of “The Case of Ayumi’s Illustrated Diary,” which has seen two episodes utilizing the “illustrated diary” format at the time I’m writing this post, so I could see the series doing a “Mitsuhiko Tsuburaya’s Detective Notes 2” at some point in the future when they need a filler story.

For a Detective Boys’ story, “Mitsuhiko Tsuburaya’s Detective Notes” was actually pretty decent, all things considered. While I wouldn’t rank this among the best Case Closed episodes, it was nowhere near as bad as a lot of the Detective Boys stories I’ve seen in recent years. And I have to applaud the writers for remembering that Ai existed for this Detective Boys story, since she tends to be absent and her absence is ignored in quite a few of them I’ve seen over the past few years. This was definitely a lot better than the previous episode, “The Shopping Center in Love”!

Next week’s episode appears to be another anime exclusive story, and after seeing the preview, I don’t have strong feelings either way about it.

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