Another day, another blatant murder in front of a crowd of children.
Story/Art: Gosho Aoyama
Translation/Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
Season of the Witch
Stranded in the woods, Conan and his friends take shelter at a spooky old house—only to witness a seemingly supernatural murder. The knife-wielding old lady who lives there couldn’t be a witch…or could she? Then Conan finds a lead in his ongoing investigation of Eisuke, Rachel’s suspicious new friend. But by the time he gets there, the source is dead and the information is missing. To get the facts, Conan has to solve the crime!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Officer Yamamura says it best, “You need to call an exorcist or something. This has gotta be a curse.” Conan has a horrible habit of being in the wrong place at the right time, to watch people die all around him. Yes, the cops have noticed this by now, but it remains a freak coincidence. I can’t imagine how jaded everyone in the fictional Japan that these characters live in deal with everyday life in a place where murder seems so commonplace. I’ve complained often about how the murderers in this story don’t change their plans when they suddenly find themselves surrounded by potential witnesses. Instead, they often admit to ridiculous claims thrown at them by people who in any normal circumstance would have been frog-marched away to a police station for questioning.
This volume starts with two benign cases of murder, the first somewhat justified and the second with an equally solid motive. The first case involves the sort of locked room puzzle that has become my most hated of all mysteries. ‘How could the murderer have gotten out, the door was locked!’ Do none of these houses have normal doors? Do doors work differently in Japan? Almost every door I know of can be locked by the person leaving the room, especially rooms in houses. What sort of house has indoor rooms that come with keys? This wasn’t an apartment! The set-up of the locked-room murder ignores logic in pursuit of its amazingly convoluted cover-up.
The second murder is far more interesting in the fact that the suspects all seem suspicious and there’s a second mystery to be solved nestled in the first. The motive and execution of the crime also made a good amount of sense, even if the outcome of the whole thing is tragic for the criminal as well. The unfortunate part is the crime being committed in front of the kids once again.
The salvaging grace of this volume is the investigation into Eisuke’s father and what he’s been up to in general. Harley calls with a hot tip about Eisuke’s father and he more information Conan gathers, the sketchier the man appears. In order to get any information about the man at all Conan follows up on the most tenuous of leads. Why a stranger lets this kid tell him someone broke into his apartment is absurd, the whole situation is super sketchy on the part of our leads. At least the mystery isn’t more murder this time. That one lead isn’t much to go on. Conan follows it up with yet another slightly sketchy lead, this time trying to get to the bottom of why Eisuke is looking for Rena Mizunashi. Everyone knows that Eisuke’s sister resembles the Men in Black operative, but what could it mean? Eisuke ends up being the most interesting subject in this volume, his relationship with the Men in Black a complete mystery. One far more interesting than another murder.
The last case in this volume ends up being a PSA about phone scams and the elderly more than anything else. It’s secondary to the Eisuke mystery, and by the time they get the information they were looking for it only adds to the questions surrounding Eisuke. If Rena isn’t his sister… who is she and what does Eisuke hope to gain by finding her?
A run-of-the-mill first half to this volume of Case Closed gives way to a deeper exploration of Eisuke and what he’s after. My usual complaints about the excessive number of murders and overused mystery plot devices remain. The case happening at the Witch House brings the complicated murders back down to a reasonable level of logic. However, the ongoing plot is the only truly interesting happening here. What role does Eisuke’s family play in the Men in Black? Is he just a student in over his head, or does he know more than he should because his father was one of them?
Content Grade: B –
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 13th, 2015