Within the genre of detective stories across the globe, there are numerous series that have a kid as a protagonist, who solves murder cases or miscellaneous affairs. However, there are no stories around the world that have a kid detective who is seemingly a first-year elementary school student but is actually a high school detective who has been transformed into a kid by bad guys? except Detective Conan!!
Detective Conan or Case Closed (??????) is the longest Japanese detective manga that has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday (????????). It first appeared in Sunday on January 19, 1994 and has been collected into 94 volumes as of today. Although Gosho Aoyama (????), the author of Conan, has been on medical leave since December in 2017, Aoyama declared his return at a movie premiere on May 3, 2018. Conan is coming back this May!! Yeah!!
Gosho Aoyama at the movie premiere https://www.cinematoday.jp/news/N0099763
It is not just the manga that is long, but the anime version of Conan has been on the air more than 20 years. It is one of the longest animated series of Nippon Television Network. This year, Conan commemorates 22nd anniversary of its animated series by producing the 22nd Conan film, Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer (????????????). The very first thing that I will do when I go back to Japan this May is watching this movie!! Can?t wait!!?????
The official Trailer of Zero the Enforcer in Japanese
Despite its fame and status in Japan, Conan lacks popularity in the United States compared to other East Asian countries. Therefore, I would like to suggest the 5 films of Conan that you should watch in this blog post! I apologize if this blog post include some small spoilers!!
- Detective Conan: Crimson Love Letter (?????? ??????), 2017
The official trailer of Crimson Love Letter
Starting off with the second latest film Crimson Love Letter, which came out on April 15, 2017, this film marked its commercial success with the highest box-office revenue among all the other Japanese films in 2017. According to Eiga.com (??.com, http://eiga.com/etc/best10/result.html), Crimson Love Letter established a box-office record of 6.8 billion yen. The recent Conan?s films have been successively breaking a record of the box-office sales of the previous year, and Crimson Love Letter renewed the record which became the fifth time in a row.
The theme of this film is Hyakunin Isshu ???? (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each). Hyakunin Isshu is a petite anthology of classical Japanese poems, which contains 100 poems written by 100 poets, compiled by Fujiwara no Teika (????) in the 13th century. This collection was turned into a form of competitive karuta game, which Japanese people seasonally play nowadays.
In the film, Conan and Heiji Hattori (????), a Osaka-native high school detective, are dragged into the series of murders surrounding the figures belonging to a competitive karuta organization, the Satsuki-kai (???). While Conan and Heiji engage themselves in the investigation of this case, Kazuha Toyama (????), Heiji?s girlfriend (?), ends up participating in the big karuta tournament. As one might expect, the sequence of murder cases collides with Kazuha?s karuta tournament, and then, ?. ?
2. Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street (??????????????), 2002
If you label yourself as a Sherlockian, you should start with this movie!! There are numerous references to the original stories of Sherlock Holmes in this film that you might enjoy. The Phantom of Baker Street is the 6th film of Conan series. In terms of the box-office sales, this film marked the 7th out of all the Conan films. Considering the fact that this film was released earlier in the 2000s, it received a high reputation and achieved a great commercial success.
Conan and his friends are invited to the prerelease event of the VR game of Cocoon (????). Right after they log into the virtual world, they end up being locked up by the scheme of the computer virus called Noah?s Ark. In order to get out of the game, Conan decides to solve the murder cases that occurred in London during the turn-of-century where the famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper (JTR), gained public notoriety. In this film, the two murder cases in the reality and VR world collide and interact with each other. Whether Conan gets to meet Sherlock Holmes or not, that is the question?
3. Detective Conan: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital (?????? ?????????), 2003
If you would like to immerse yourself in learning Japanese history and the famous anecdotes of Minamoto no Yoshitsune (???), Crossroad in the Ancient Capital is the best one for you to start with. This film is actually my favorite out of all the Conan?s films, and it inspired me to choose to visit a specific shrine in Kyoto during my school trip in my middle school. Crossroad in the Ancient Capital brought a box office income of 3.2 billion in 2003.
Several members of Genji-botaru (???), a band of thieves targeting Japanese antiquities, have been killed by the culprit wearing a Noh mask. While Conan and Heiji are investigating this series of the murder cases hand in hand, the threat of the serial killer approaches to Kazuha. Will Heiji be able to rescue Kazuha successfully? Whenever Heiji involves in any of Conan?s films, it gets extra interesting!
I really love the closing theme song ?Time After Time ~In the City of Whirling Blossoms? ~by Mai Kuraki (????) and its artwork representing the famous places in Kyoto during the theme song. I bet you would feel like visiting Kyoto after watching this movie! Please do not get involved in any crazy murder scenes as Conan and Heiji did in the film though! lol
4. Detective Conan: Countdown to Heaven (???????????), 2001
The 5th film of Conan, Countdown to Heaven, showcases the origin of the craziness that the succeeding Conan movies inherited. Although this Conan film was overshadowed by the worldwide success of Spirited Away (????????) in 2001, Countdown to Heaven achieved great commercial success and obtained a box-office income of 2.9 billion yen.
Conan et al. are invited to visit the highest twin towers in Tokyo, and they get to know the characters in this movie who were also involved in the construction of the twin towers. During his first visit, Conan witnesses a black Porche 356A, which is also owned by Gin (??), a sharp-witted agent of the Black Organization (????). Conan?s suspicion of the relationship between those characters and the Organization increases as the story unfolds and leads to the worst case scenario that he could imagine?
Gin?s beloved Porche 356A and my dream car?
Conan films tend to suddenly become more of an action movie towards the end of the film. You will see a glimpse of this tendency from this old film of Countdown to Heaven. In addition, please do not overlook the most sarcastic and surreal moment of Ai Haibara (???), a scientist who transformed herself into a little girl by drinking a mystic pill in order to escape from the Black Organization!
5. Detective Conan: The Last Wizard of the Century (???????), 1999
The cover photo of the DVD
Last but not the least, The Last Wizard of the Century needs to be recommended here since it is one of the old masterpieces that the Conan series ever had. This film came out in 1999, literally the turn-of-century, and this is the 3rd film of the Conan sequence. Despite the fact that the entire Japanese movie industry went through a recession during this period, The Last Wizard of the Century was able to gain a box-office income of 2.6 billion yen. Furthermore, 10 years later, the dubbed version of this movie was also shown in movie theaters in the United States.
As was mentioned earlier, whenever Heiji gets involved in a Conan film, such films tend to contain more layers of narratives within the main storyline. In addition to this tendency, the Phantom Thief Kid (?????) is also a key character that can potentially enrich the storylines of Conan movies.
The Phantom Thief Kid (?????)
In the case of The Last Wizard of the Century, Conan et al. are asked to protect the priceless artifact of Faberg egg from the Phantom Thief Kid. Kid is able to deceive everybody else but Conan and Heiji and to find a way back home with the egg. Flying back home with his hang glider, Kid was shot down by somebody. Then, the story gets complicated with several murder cases? The last Conan film of the 20th century is worthwhile since it gives you an idea of human relationship in the world of Conan.
Of course, there are more than 5 movies that you should watch! However, these 5 movies are the ones that I think you should start with in order to understand what Detective Conan is all about!! This ranking might be changed since I have not watched the latest Conan film yet. Wait for my review on Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer (2018)!!