Saturday, January 29, 2011

Case Closed: The Private Eye's Requiem

Meitantei Conan: Tantei-tachi no Requiem; Animated crime, Japan, 2006; D: Taiichiro Yamamoto, S: Kappei Yamaguchi, Minami Takayama, Akira Kamiya, Wakana Yamazaki, Chafurin, Atsuko Yuya, Megumi Hayashibara

The shrunk detective Shinichi, now presenting himself as kid Conan, was invited together with his "mentor", detective Mouri, Kogoro, Ran, Ayumi, Genta, Mitsuhiko and Haibara are invited in a luxurious hotel. They are all given wristbands and then the kids are sent into the nearby amusement park. Then the mysterious client shows up on the screen and informs Conan and Mouri that they have until 10pm to solve a case or the wristbands will explode. The client gives them only scarce clues, but Conan teams up with two other young detectives, Hattori and Hakuba, and they discover that there was a bank robbery involving Reiko, Ito and Nishio, the latter being assassinated in order to keep quiet. The client is actually Ito, but the assassin was Reiko. After solving the case, Conan deactivates the wristbands.

The tenth "Detective Conan" anime film, based on the eponymous TV show whose running history topped "Santa Barbara" by far, is a standard, but easily watchable detective flick that will please fans of the saga, and thanks to a few refreshing ideas, even non-fans will not be that alienated from it. The story is interesting, though when it gets deconstructed it is revealed to be a routine variation of the typical "Conan" scheme, which on the other hand is just an anime variation of the already recognizable Agatha Christie "whodunit" plot. For every such a detective film, the story must have a clear A-B-C queue of events, with every clue leading to somewhere. However, the clues here are so vague and far fetched that they seem more like the writer resorted to arbitrarily solutions than to a real puzzle. For instance, the mysterious client gives a clue to the case: "You Cry". And Conan is immediately able to decipher that "Y-O-U" stands for "Yokohama Oceanographic University". Good thing he didn't decipher it as "Yugoslav Obesity Union" and decided to search for some diet society. The subplot involving the wristbands that will explode unless the case is solved is suspenseful, though, with the finale in the restaurant almost reaching Hitchcock's caliber. All in all, an easily watchable 'Sherlock-light' anime film.


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