Case Closed 1 by Gosho Aoyama: B-

From the back cover:
Precocious high school student Jimmy Kudo uses his keen powers of observation and astute intuition to solve mysteries that have left law enforcement officials baffled. Hot on the trail of a suspect, Jimmy is accosted from behind and fed a strange chemical which physically transforms him into a grade schooler! Taking on the pseudonym Conan Edogawa, he attempts to track down the people who did this to him. But until he finds a cure for his bizarre condition, Jimmy continues to help the police solve their toughest cases.

After reviewing and enjoying two later volumes of this series for Manga Recon, I wanted to go back and start the series properly. Luckily, this is another of those lengthy Viz series that my local library seems poised to carry in its entirety. I should state up front that, although it bugs me that Viz is using dub names for many of the characters, I’m not familiar with their original Japanese names, so I’ll probably just keep using what Viz is using because it’s easier.

Some things are different from later on in the series. Rachel doesn’t have that weird triangle of hair poking out of her head yet—instead her hair resembles camel humps—and the cast of characters is smaller. Conan/Jimmy doesn’t start out with all of his gadgets in tow, but he quickly develops the “solve the mystery, knock out the inane detective, and use the handy bow-tie voice modulator gadget to relay the solution” method that is still in play twenty-five volumes later.

While the cases here were okay (with one shockingly geyser-like beheaded victim), I think the problem is that I can see now that nothing really changes in this series. The characters are likewise okay, but I don’t have any special liking for any of them, and it’s clear things will simply continue on in their episodic fashion. I will probably continue reading a bit longer, if for nothing else than to see how the characters who’re around in those later volumes got introduced, but I’ve now got doubts as to whether this’ll be a series I’m into for the long haul.

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  1. It is always similar, isn’t it?

    I followed this manga in Vietnamese a long time ago, and the English names irk me more than anything… I always have to pause to remember who’s who… And English names on obviously Japanese characters…

    But since I follow in Vietnamese, I can say that big changes plotwise does happened (it takes a heck of a long time for it, but it does come) and it’s done well, I have to say. That’s why, no matter how long it takes, I’m in it for the long-run.

    The first volume is not the best example of the case, honestly speaking. the characters introduced at this point are not interesting, just yet. They develop later, but I think the later characters are much more interesting.

    I get why you might dislike it (it repetitiveness gets irksome after awhile) but the cases are fun (and sometimes great) and the plot is interesting if slow…. And the characters are so endearing I don’t care. lol. A manga and characters followed so long becomes very comforting.

  2. Hi, Miki! Thanks very much for your endorsement of this series. It motivates me to stick with it a while longer.

  3. I don’t think I realized how similar every single chapter was until you pointed out that the same method in volume one is used 25 volumes later. It made me laugh a little ^_^;

    I like Conan and Rachael a lot, which is what kept me reading all this time. Somehow, seeing Jimmy humbled has not lost its novelty after all this time, nor has the tease about Rachael finding him out. If you didn’t wind up caring for the characters, it’s probably not going to be worth it to go through all the volumes. If you liked it well enough, you may be better off just picking up some of the random volumes… off the top of my head, volume 7 has one of the better, longer mysteries, and volume 10 has a really good one that involves Jimmy, as opposed to Conan.

  4. Thanks for the recommendations. I’m gonna try a few more to see if it grows on me. I know I liked volumes 25-26 more than volume 1, but I can’t tell if that was just because I read volume 1 last and had spotted the repetition by then.


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