Case Closed: The Culprit Hanzawa is an anime based on a gag comedy manga of the same name. Both the manga and the anime are a spin-off of the Case Closed (Detective Conan) franchise. The anime is comprised of 12 shorts, which last around nine or 10 minutes in length. The shorts were directed by Akitaro Daichi and produced by TMS Entertainment. Netflix in Japan began streaming Case Closed: The Culprit Hanzawa on October 4, 2022. Netflix USA began streaming the shorts on February 1, 2023.

The shorts focuses on the black-silhouetted “criminal” that appears in the main Case Closed anime to represent the mystery culprits. As you can tell from the title, this shadow character is named Hanzawa.

The series begins with Hanzawa arriving at Beika City, with the goal of killing a particular person. As someone already familiar with the Case Closed franchise, I had a pretty good idea who Hanzawa was referencing. However, it’s not until around the halfway point that the series begins dropping clues as to who this “particular person” is.

It was kind of amusing when Hanzawa gets off the train in Beika City, because you hear the other passengers telling him he doesn’t want to get off there because he’ll likely die if he stays there. For fans of the Case Closed franchise, they get the fact that this is a reference to all of the crimes (especially murders) that Conan Edogawa has encountered so far over the franchise’s 20+ year history.

The crime rate in Beika City also serves as an important device in this series of shorts when it’s revealed that no one is allowed to leave the city. It also plays an important role in Hanzawa’s search for a place to live, because a lot of the rentals in the area are cheap due to crimes (primarily murders) taking place in them.

The shorts are split into two parts, but both parts fit into the central theme for that particular episode. This series of shorts show such things as Hanzawa’s arrival in Beika City, his struggles to find somewhere to live, his struggle for money after he’s robbed, and Hanzawa trying to get a job. Hanzawa’s main plotline of killing a particular person in Beika City is only truly focused on in the last two shorts in the series.

Over the course of the 12 shorts, fans of Case Closed are treated to cameos from various cast members of the main franchise. The characters you see the most are Conan, Ran, Sonoko, and Kogoro, but quite a few of them show up in one way or another. In a lot of respects, these cameos can be seen as “Easter Eggs” for fans of the main franchise.

When it comes to the animation and the character designs, many of the characters from the main series are given exaggerated looks here. My guess here is that this is how they were depicted in the original manga source material, since it’s a gag comedy manga. While they may look a little strange to fans of the franchise, these exaggerated designs enforce the idea that Case Closed: The Culprit Hanzawa is a gag comedy anime that’s based on the main franchise.

I have to be honest and say that I usually don’t go out of my way to watch gag comedy anime. My main motivation to watch Case Closed: The Culprit Hanzawa was the fact that it’s a spin-off of a franchise that I’ve been following for a long time. For a gag comedy anime, it’s not bad for what it is, but I do feel that the other spin-off anime, Case Closed: Zero’s Tea Time, was the stronger one.

After watching Case Closed: The Culprit Hanzawa, it’s going to have the strongest appeal to fans of the Case Closed franchise who also have an appreciation for gag comedy anime. I have a harder time recommending this anime to viewers who like gag comedy but aren’t familiar with the main franchise, because some of the humor relies on having knowledge of the characters and elements of the main Case Closed franchise.

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