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Case Closed Vol. #41 Manga Review

4 min read

It’s a family affair as the moms step in to help solve a case and Anita searches for clues left by her sister.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Gosho Aoyama
Translation/Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki

What They Say
When Richard Moore flubs a ten-million-yen case, two women step in to save the day: Eva Kaden, crack attorney and Richard’s ex-wife, and Vivian Kudo, brilliant actress and Jimmy Kudo’s mom! But the brainy blond duo is up against a killer who can go anywhere without being seen! Meanwhile, shadowy figures are trailing Anita and Conan, and ditzy American teacher Miss Jodie seems to know far more than she pretends. Have the Men in Black finally caught up to the shrunken sleuth?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With every volume of Case Closed it becomes more difficult to swallow the fact that the police haven’t arrested Conan and associates for being a danger to others. And the body count just keeps rising, without anyone wondering why the murder rate suddenly jumps 400% when Conan is in the area. As absurd as those coincidental murders are, at least the author is having fun by having all of Conan’s friends playing up their own fake detective personas.

The last volume left off with Jimmy and Rachel running into their moms, who stepped in to handle a case far too delicate for Richard Moore to bumble his way through. Richard had been hired to find out who was threatening a wealthy client, but blew his advance before finding out about the lousy evidence. While the women are investigating, the client is killed, and it goes from being a case of a death threat to murder. Jimmy’s mom and Rachel’s mom have a history together as high school rivals and it’s fun watching them play of each other as they go through the process that Conan usually does. The complicated crime is a bit too perfect though, relying on a lot of ifs on the part of it’s perpetrator, all of which just happen to come together perfectly.

Which leads me to a problem with many of the cases in the series, the murders all seem to love having an audience to witness their crimes. However, in the face of this being a story about a teenage detective that was changed by SCIENCE into a child again, my complaint seems absurd.

Beginning at the next case, and continuing throughout the course of the rest of this volume, the Men in Black come back into the picture. The first hint something is amiss is a tail following the kids and Jimmy’s mom as they head off to a surprise early film screening. The kids end up taking up the offer to wait for the film screening at an employee’s apartment, and of course, murder happens. The author takes great pains to set up the background for the murderer, with film processing and dark room work factoring in how the killer could navigate in pitch black. Although it’s hard to imagine a large movie studio using such hands-on and analog processes for color correction after the year 2000, when there was a large shift to digital post production. (This volume originally came out in 2003 in Japan.) The murder set up is contrived, but at least it’s original.

The Men in Black tail Conan and Anita straight into the next set of chapters. Anita comes down with a cold and Conan and Dr. Agasa become worried about her and venture out to take her to a clinic. In the process they end up witnesses to a murder in a mall parking garage. To make matters worse, Miss Jodie is lurking about and dangerously close to realizing Anita’s real identity. The case this time is almost frustrating, a block in the road for the others to make their escape and get Anita to a clinic. The garage crime, a premeditated strangling, is executed in an insane Rube Goldberg-esk way that is both impressive and unbelievable.

After Anita is back on her feet, she heads off with Conan and Dr. Agasa to see an old acquaintance of Anita’s father to find out if they can learn anything about the Men in Black. It turns out her sister might have left a clue hidden in the man’s workshop, but before they can recover it, the workshop owner is murdered. Is it a warning from the Men in Black?

In Summary
The cases take a backseat this time to focus on the ongoing plot with the Men in Black. For the majority of the volume the baddies are shadowing Conan and Anita at every turn, adding an element of tension that the story usually lacks. The cliffhanger ending is particularly frustrating this time, leaving the clue that Akemi left behind tantalizingly out of reach. Unfortunately, the individual cases feel weaker than usual and seem humorously shoehorned in because the series requires it.

Content Grade: B –
Art Grade:A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A –

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: January 10th, 2012
MSRP: $9.99

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