Thursday, January 27, 2011

Case Closed: Strategy Above the Depths

Meitantei Conan: Suiheisenjyou no Sutorateeji; Animated crime, Japan, 2005; D: Yasuichiro Yamamoto, S: Kappei Yamaguchi, Minami Takayama, Akira Kamiya, Wakana Yamazaki, Atsuko Yuya, Megumi Hayashibara

Detective Shinichi, who shrunk back into a kid and now calls himself Conan, takes a yacht vacation with Inspector Mouri, Ran, Professor Agasa and the others. As it turns out, they again stumble upon a crime mystery when Mrs. Yashiro and her father, both rich tycoons, are murdered. Conan suspects screenwriter Kusaka and is right: he tape recorded a 15-minute description of his new draft and played it when he phoned Minako, which gave him an alibi and allowed him to kill them because his father, a captain, was killed 15 years ago when his ship sank because the Yashiro group wanted to get insurance money. However, he activates the bomb and the yacht starts sinking. At the same time, Mouri discovers Minako was an accessory in the crime and arrests her too.

Crime mysteries were always an interesting reading or viewing experience, because readers or viewers have to pay twice as more attention than usual in the story, since every little detail can give insight to solve the puzzle and discover the murderer. However, while the concept was fresh when Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle presented them back in their time, it is getting increasingly schematic and standard in our time when the viewers get the 'hang of it'. Gosho Aoyama's manga "Detecive Conan" spanned an incredibly long anime TV show (with over 600 episodes!), but the author tripped over his own feet when he unnecessarily complicated it in its basic (silly) premise - that Conan was a grown up, but some bad guys caught him spying on them and then gave him some youth potion which turned him into a kid, Shinichi. Does this even need to be de-masked as a ridiculous idea as it is? Wouldn't it be so much more logical to simply have Shinichi be a kid from the start or to simply let him be a teenager? Good thing the bad guys never thought of just shooting him on the spot. But joke aside, the 9th film, "Strategy Above the Depths" works well without the basic premise and gives a solid, though standard detective flick with a good alibi for the bad guy, yet the solution of the hero as well as some moments (Minako disguising herself as Mrs. Yashiro, so that she can get stabbed by the murderer's knife, conveniently in the stomach where she prepared fake blood, so that she can pretend to be dead, and so that she can then kill the real Mrs. Yashiro herself?!) are both far fetched, arbitrary and without any inner logic that need to adorn such a genre.


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