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Case Closed Season 1 Collection Anime DVD Review

10 min read

Jimmy Kudo has attracted international acclaim for his detective work but not everyone is happy for him.  Forced to live under the persona of a young boy named Conan Edogawa, he continues on his mission to find a cure. Along the way, he’ll continue to solve as many mysteries as it takes while searching for the vile group responsible for his dilemma.

What They Say
The criminal mind is a twisted one and Jimmy Kudo knows the shady corridors of humanity like no other detective in the business. He’s put more scum behind bars than just about anyone on the beat and his skills have earned him plenty of enemies, and he pays the price one dark night: being poisoned and left for dead.

But rather than meeting his end in a shallow grave, Jimmy gets a new beginning. Awakening to find himself transformed, the evil elixir of his faceless foes has changed him into a small boy – the perfect cover! Utilizing his unlikely new persona and cutting-edge technology, Jimmy is hot on the trail of his assailants as Conan Edogawa.

The path to justice will be littered with cruelty and madness; the worst of man on display as this sleuth cuts through the underworld in search of answers, solving one sick crime at a time. Truth is not open to interpretation. There’s no room for error when life and limb are on the line. A detective like no other, Conan is on the case!

Contains episodes 1-26!

The Review!
For the purpose of this review, the English audio track was used.  There were no issues of dialogue being muffled over by the music or sound effects and the track was driven mainly by the front left, front right, and center channels.  The sound effects were nicely done as well, utilizing the left and right speakers to provide directionality.  The English voice actress for Rachael added a large amount of depth to her portrayal.  This, in turn, helped bring a larger sense of realism to the series.  The Japanese track was also checked as well.  Unfortunately, it came off a bit muddled in places.  An example of this would be the opening theme song.  It came out sounding rather flat and a bit hard to understand.

Originally airing back in 1996, this season relied heavily on cel-based animation.  As such, the transfer to digital hasn’t gone as smoothly as one would like. It seemed as if the sources used for certain episodes of this series have undergone a color-shift.  In other situations, there was an acceptable amount of film artifacts such as dust or other matter seen.  Some episodes suffer from slight rainbowing effects, color-block banning, occasional washout, and muted colors.  The rainbowing only seemed noticeable on episodes 1, 16, and 22. In all situations, the rainbowing does not greatly deter from the scene.  In the first episode, it could be seen in some of the white clothing areas during the intro and first few minutes of the episode. During episode 16 it only appears for a short while on a boy’s hair, and on episode 22 it was only noticeable on the male lead actor.  The wash-out was particularly noticeable on episode 2, where it seemed to plague the ultra-bright scenes.  Thankfully, this did not last too long and it occasionally popped up throughout only the first disk.  The muted colors seem to be a constant, but it is in keeping with several other transfers done of series from this time period. The banning was not very distracting as it only occurred during one of the pitch black episode title screens.

The first season of Case Closed comes housed in one small slip-case style box roughly the size of a traditional DVD case. Inside it held a total of four DVDs in two double-hubbed thin pack cases. The box itself is paper thin and features glossy artwork.  Continuing the series’ use of muted color, the front cover featured the kid detective front and center.  Behind him are other prominent figures from the show.  The kids’ detective agency stands to one side while Rachel, her father, the Professor and the Police investigator stand directly behind young Conan.  In the misty background, a faint and almost ghostly image of Jimmy could be seen.  This is all topped off with an eye-catching “Do Not Cross” yellow police tape along the bottom portion of the box. The back of the box is mostly in dark colors, with two suspicious men lurking to the right side.  A small summary written in a ‘typewriter’ font is also included.  Along the bottom portion are a few gruesome Polaroid* snapshots.  This continued the feeling of being ‘behind the scenes’ of a crime scene.  “Polaroids” were a popular type of photograph that produced photographs within minutes without having to spend added time in a darkroom.

Inside of the box were two double hubbed thin pack cases which house the first four volumes of this series. The cover art was reversible. On the first set, the cover art featured a sinister looking pair of people standing behind a frightened Conan.  The back featured an image of a coffee-stained case file.  The volume and it’s corresponding episodes were listed on the back using the same ‘typewriter’ font. The reverse side featured promotional art of Conan playing with a soccer ball while his three new friends looked amazed.  The second case featured Conan and the aforementioned friends dressed up in 19th-century detective clothing. The back cover used the case file method to list the episodes included on volumes 3 and 4. The reverse of the cover art was another piece of promotional art featuring both Jimmy and Conan standing in front of a brick wall.

While the “box” is paper thin, it’s compact shape is greatly appreciated.  This is largely due to the fact of the epic length of this series.

The main menu for all the disks featured a nicely themed static image of manila folders and polaroids.  In the background behind this was a coffee-stained sheet that listed the series name, season number and the disk volume.  Each menu had its’ own theme music as well.  The tabs on the folders were used to select the desired submenu or to just play all the episodes.  The choices were highlighted with what looked like droplets of blood.  The other two submenus were for accessing specific episodes and for set-up options. The polaroids featured people from the episodes on that particular disk.  The music for the main menu was an instrumental tune reminiscent of 70’s police drama music that featured heavy use of a hi-hat along with snares and a guitar. The menus were very easy to use and navigate.

Only the fourth disk included any extras.  These were a <i>Character Spotlight</i>, <i>Conan’s Gadgets</i>, and trailers of other Funimation shows.

The Character spotlight was a short paragraph that focused primarily on Conan Edogawa.  Conan’s gadgets only highlighted his super sneakers, in which only a couple pictures of them were shown.  This was listed alongside of a brief mention on where he got them from and how they worked.

Content: (May contain spoilers)
“With a keen eye for details, one truth will prevail.”  A mystery lurks behind every corner, and the best chance of figuring out the truth lies with the young detective Conan Edogawa.

He was once a promising young detective by the name of Jimmy Kudo.  Jimmy was a very confident fellow who had a small bit of a laissez-faire attitude and was capable of solving even the most complex crimes.  It had garnered him international esteem, respect from the local law enforcement agency, and a fan club as well.  The only problem was that it was only a matter of time before he’d become part of a crime scene investigation himself.  One of his closest friends was a girl named Rachael Moore, who was a very talented martial artist.  Rachael’s father Richard was also a detective, who unfortunately had been in a slump as the police force was heavily relying on Jimmy’s help.  As tends to be the case, there was a bit of romantic tension between the pair of childhood friends.  Unfortunately, by the time Jimmy fully understands this, his situation had completely changed.  Having previously attracted the wrong kind of attention, Jimmy soon found himself a victim of an experimental new drug.  While the henchmen in question thought they were leaving the young man for dead, the drug had a completely different effect on him than planned.  As a result, Jimmy Kudo had now reverted back to a small child.  Choosing the pseudonym “Conan Edogawa,” he became determined to reverse the effects of the drug and restore himself to his proper age.

As Conan Edogawa entered the scene, he quickly found out that most adults would not take the word of a small child seriously.  Fortunately for him, he had the clever inventor Professor Agasa in his corner.  As each new challenge was presented, the professor rose to the occasion with the creation of Bond-style gadgets for the little detective.  The most helpful of these creations would likely be the red bow-tie voice changer.  Oddly enough, Conan’s new situation and usage of the voice changer had the side effect of boosting Richard Moore’s reputation as well.  Quite often the victim of Conan’s sleep-inducing darts, Detective Moore was frequently Conan’s mouthpiece of choice for solving crimes.  In order to maintain the facade of being a normal child, he soon enrolled in a local school.  With all the excitement that seemed to follow him around, he quickly gained three new friends from amongst his classmates.  Briefly introduced in the first episode, Amy, George, and Mitch all had a varying interest in mysteries.  They later went on to form a “Junior Detective League” with Conan.  While George and Mitch tried to take the credit for Conan’s work originally, Amy stood up for him by telling the truth.

The majority of these cases tended to deal with murders.  One of the lighter episodes dealt with an attempted robbery.  It started off with the children going back to a department store at night in order to retrieve George’s misplaced autograph board.  Unfortunately for the kids, they end up getting locked in the large building.  Typically you’d expect that they’d be able to go to security and be able to exit the building with their help.  That was not the case in this situation.  What happened next was a scenario that seemed to come straight out of “Home Alone,” only on a larger scale.  Soon even the most normal of home goods were assimilated into the Jr. Detective Leagues’ arsenal. Donning helmets and riding bikes, the group goaded the thieves into traps.  Futons served to detain some of the would-be robbers, while others were detained in more creative ways.  As a result of foiling the thieves’ plot, the young detectives were granted certificates of bravery.  More than just the typical ‘filler’ episode, these events would also serve to provide legitimacy for the Jr. Detective League.

As previously mentioned, there are some video discrepancies with this box.  However, some of these did actually work well together to bring a slightly nostalgic feel to the series. The slightly muted colors and the occasional dust particle lent to that feeling of the detective stories of yore. While the art style does deviate from what one would typically expect to find in anime, it does quickly grow on the viewer and gives an added bit of charm to the series.  It was disappointing to find out that the original Japanese character introductions were not translated.  At the beginning, I was afraid that the series was going to stick with the formula of having a few people falsely accused before naming the guilty party.  However as the series continued, it deviated from that and instead started to go a bit more into the motives of the people.  Many of these cases were truly bizarre and were interesting to watch as they unraveled. Towards the end of the season, it became harder to find a stopping point.

In Summary:
Originally, my only exposure to this had been a couple glimpsed endings for Case Closed on TV.  The premise had intrigued me, but the artwork I had seen online just wasn’t what I was used to.  I am glad I took the chance though.  This is a clever series that had mysteries at every corner.  As each case was introduced, the scenarios seemed to become even stranger.  The first season of Case Closed was primarily a mystery series that included quite a bit of action into almost every episode.  It was easier to see how a little boy detective managed to endear himself into the hearts of many.  Thankfully none of the perpetrators so far have been guilty of committing their specific crime with a candlestick.

Japanese 2.0 Language , English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 22nd, 2008
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 635 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment
106″ 16×9 DaLite HC Screen, Panasonic PT-AX100U LCD Projector 720p native, AMD 64 x2 4200, Windows x64, NVidia PureVideo, FFDShow, CoreAVC, AC3Filter and Various Media Players DVD Upconversion handled by NVidia software, Sony STR-DE835 500W Receiver DD/DTS,  Klipsch Reference System (RB-61, CS-52 and RS-42) speakers, Sony SA-WMS5 100 Watt powered subwoofer, DVI to HDMI (PC to Projector),  Digital Coaxial Cable (PC to Receiver).

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