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Manga Review: Case Closed Volume Five by Gosho Aoyama

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Case Closed Volume Five is a manga by Gosho Aoyama, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2005. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; from what I’ve read of Case Closed so far, I would agree with this rating.

Jimmy Kudo is a teen detective who was shrunk back down to his first grade self after he was caught by members of a crime organization and made to take an experimental poison. The members of the crime organization had left him for dead, so they don’t know what actually happened to him. In order to hide his identity, Jimmy took on the name of Conan Edogawa. Under the guise of being a relative of Dr. Agasa, the younger Jimmy goes to live his friend Rachel Moore and her father, a bumbling detective named Richard Moore. As Conan, Jimmy is able to covertly help Richard solve the cases that happen in the Case Closed series.

There are a total of three mysteries that appear in this volume; however, the third mystery is not resolved at the end. All three of these stories were adapted for the Case Closed anime series, but there are some minor changes in the second mystery between the two mediums.

The first mystery sees Rachel and Conan going to a villa owned by the family of Serena Sebastian; Serena is Rachel’s best friend. As Rachel and Conan approach the villa, they encounter a mysterious man covered in bandages.

At the villa, Serena’s older sister, Ayako, is hosting a reunion with her friends from the film club she had been a part of during college. A mystery develops after the man in bandages attempts to attack Rachel and after one of Ayako’s friends is murdered. Conan must try to solve the mystery before anyone else can be harmed or killed.

The second mystery takes place at a karaoke club. Serena’s wealthy father has pulled some strings for Serena to go to an after party being held for a popular band called Lex; Serena is smitten with the lead singer, Tatsuya Kimura. She invites Rachel and Conan to tag along. At the party, they learn Tatsuya is leaving Lex to pursue a solo career. After Tatsuya has his bandmates and manager sing embarrassing songs in karaoke, Tatsuya hears his song, “Bloody Valentine.” After he sings his song, he grabs a bite to eat; suddenly, he passes out and dies. It’s quickly determined that Tatsuya was poisoned, and Conan must try to figure out who poisoned Tatsuya and what their motive was.

The final mystery sees a mysterious woman coming to the Moore Detective Agency, claiming to be Conan’s mother. Richard and Rachel send Conan on his way with her, since they have no reason to suspect that she isn’t his mother. It appears that Conan is being kidnapped by people affiliated with the crime organization that poisoned him, and Conan must figure out a way to escape.

When Viz Media brought the Case Closed manga over to North America, they chose to Americanize the main characters’ names instead of leaving them with their original Japanese name. However, in the first two mysteries in this volume, a decision was made to retain the guest characters’ Japanese name; the main exception would be Serena’s sister, since her last name had to be changed to match Serena’s. I found this decision to be a baffling one, and this naming inconsistency made this volume a little harder for me to read. Since Viz had already Americanized the main characters’ names, I wish they had also Americanized the guest characters’ names as well.

Even though I already know these stories from the Case Closed anime series, I liked being able to see how they were originally presented in the manga. Case Closed continues to be a great read, and it’s a manga title I would recommend to anyone who has any kind of interest in mystery stories.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.