Story/Art: Gosho Aoyama
Translation/Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
The Woman in Black
In their most monstrous case yet, Conan and his friends dress up as famous monsters for a murder mystery game set on a creaky ghost ship. It’s an evening of spooky fun—until a real murder interrupts the game. Then it’s up to Jimmy Kudo to figure out which rubber mask hides the face of a killer! But there’s more than one monster on the loose. Faced with evidence that the Men in Black have discovered their real identities, Conan and Anita have only one hope: find the deadly assassin Vermouth before she finds them. Can they unmask the Syndicate’s top mistress of disguise?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Anita’s plight of trying to stay out of sight of the Men in Black comes into sharp focus in this volume. The tension has slowly been building as Vermouth has slowly been slinking closer to the escaped scientist. Everything coalesces here as the Men in Black finally make a move.
The murder case from the end of the last volume is resolved as the wronged coworker of the artist is revealed. The secret item that was left hidden for Anita turned out to not be classified information, but something far more personal.
Following that is a short case where Rachel tries to keep her friend from being fired for a series of petty thefts at the store she works at. The surprisingly low key case is nothing more than a narrative set up for Rachel and Miss Jodie, who both have roles to play in the feature case of the volume.
Both Richard and Jimmy were invited as special guests to a murder mystery cruise aboard a haunted pirate ship. What follows is a complex game of who’s who, with characters in disguise in two separate locations. In the last several volumes no one has been more suspicious than Miss Jodie, the american english teacher who seems to be fascinated with Conan and Anita. However, the reveal of who she is and what she wants is a misdirected surprise, as is the surprisingly tense outcome of the confrontation with the Men in Black.
I’m not going to spoil the reveals of the complicated game, but I can say that I couldn’t guess the identities of a few key players and I doubt most readers would have either. I’m not so certain that’s a good thing in this case, as so much of it feels so far out there and draws in several characters that you wouldn’t expect to have been involved, that it feels a bit like the author is cheating.
At the close of the volume, Anita still has a tough decision to make about her future, but we’ll have to wait till next time to see what she ultimately decides.
As usual the artwork is still fantastic and the translation remains solid, minus the confusing americanization of some of the character’s names.
An amusing side note about the cover of this volume; I don’t usually give much thought to the photos that are used as backgrounds on the covers of each volume of Case Closed. They’re usually pretty forgetful and the covers aren’t exactly exciting. I did a double-take on this volume because I recognized the boat in the photo as the Mayflower II, the replica of the Pilgrims ship. (I expect I’m the only reader in the world who would notice, as I drive past it once a week on the way to the bank.) Sadly, there are no time traveling murders featuring pilgrims in this volume. It does make a nice stand in for a pirate ship though!
There’s a great payoff for long time readers of Case Closed in this volume. The ongoing plot with the mysterious Vermouth and the Men in Black takes a huge step forward in this chapter arc. The tangle of hidden identities made it impossible for me to guess the truth, but maybe a sharper eyed reader could figure out at least some of it beforehand. The disguises and masks, as well as the leaps in logic, are a bit much to swallow at times but that seems to be the plight of most modern day mystery series when they continuously up the stakes. Still, it’s great to see some of the Vermouth situation resolved for now.
Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B +