Case Closed, or Detective Conan, is a Japanese anime about a young detective boy who gets poisoned by a secret organization and gets transformed back into his 7-year-old form. With the manga recently turning 20 years old, we analyze the anime and its success.
Case Closed is the typical anime show that we all watched and loved during our childhood but eventually stopped watching. We grew up, changed our habits and started watching other things. Only a small percentage of the people who actually watched the show when they were little are still watching it or even reading the manga. This is a similar case to other anime shows like Pokémon. In case you didn’t watch it, here’s a brief summary:
Shinichi Kudo is a 17 year old detective. Despite being really young, he’s really good at what he does and he’s very popular among the Tokyo police. He’s also secretly in love with his best friend, Ran. During a case, he is attacked by two men who poison him but instead of killing him, the substance transforms him into a 7 year old. After putting on glasses to not get recognised and changing his name to Conan Edogawa, he starts living with Ran and her father (a detective) without them knowing his true identity. Conan travels with them and solves case after case while trying to find out more about those two men and the criminal secret Organization who turned him into a child.
And it’s a shame that people don’t watch it anymore because this is such a GREAT show. So what seems to be the problem with it? Too many episodes. Right now, there are 743 and a lot of them are either fillers or not relevant to the main plot. And there are lots of OVAs and more than 15 movies as well!
However, we have to keep in mind that Case Closed has always been a show about crimes, detectives and justice. It was made to be “the case of the week” type of show so that the general audience could play along with Conan and try to solve the crime for themselves. If the story was only about Shinichi and his fight against the Black Organization, the show could have ended after no more than 200 episodes perfectly. But again, it was never intended to be that kind of show.
Even though the plot is progressing a lot both in the manga and in the anime lately, we’re still far from knowing who’s the big boss of the Black Organization and we don’t know how long it’ll be until Haibara finds a cure for her and Conan to go back to normal. And even though Gosho Aoyama has admitted to having the ending planned, it doesn’t look like the manga is going to end anytime soon.
There are still lots of questions and mysteries in the air, and the fandom (quite big and loyal) really enjoys speculating and coming up with crazy theories. And that’s actually very easy to do because, even though Aoyama hasn’t given much away, the show keeps surprising its fans introducing new characters and storylines, and plot twists are always gonna be there.
However, there’s one big downside: the timeline.
Oh, but this is so important! It’s crazy. According to one mention by Ran in one of the latest manga chapters, it hasn’t even been a year since Shinichi went missing and Conan appeared! How is that even possible? I mean, are we supposed to guess that technology has changed so much in less than a year? From them not having computers or mobile phones to Conan using a smartphone?
Also, just looking at the number of episodes (and considering every episode is a case) and even excluding fillers, OVAs and movies, there should have been about 2.5 crimes per day! We’re not even gonna talk about the fact that everytime Conan leaves the house, someone gets killed. I mean, isn’t anyone in the show freaked out by that? Not even a meta joke? Ok.
So should Case Closed have lasted less? Well, not necessarily. But they should definitely address the timeline better. And the number of episodes is always relevant when thinking about new potential fans. +700 is a scary number! I’ve read a lot of people saying that they want to catch up with the show but they’re too lazy because there are too many episodes.
The show is still huge in Japan. The last movie, Private Eye in the Distant Sea, earned a total of 3,572,987,671 yen (around $35,311,837) and became the 7th highest grossing film of the year in Japan. However, that success isn’t translating to the rest of the world anymore.
The mystery, the challenge of solving difficult cases, Shinichi and Ran’s relationship and really likeable characters like Kaito Kid, Haibara or Conan himself are some of the things that keeps fans hooked. The appearance of the FBI and the CIA also pushed the show to new levels. Case Closed is just the show that keeps giving.
So should you start watching this anime (again)? YES. It’s totally worth it. I started re-watching the series in summer 2013 and I was caught up with the manga a few months later. Right now, Case Closed is in my Top 10 favourite animes. No matter how long it’s been, its episodes are always exciting, clever and funny. And they’re all about characters that will take you back to your childhood.