Case Closed Volume One is a manga by Gosho Aoyama, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2004. The series is rated “T+” for older teens. After reading this first volume, I would have to agree with this rating due to some of the violence included in the story.
Jimmy Kudo is the main character of Case Closed, and he’s a high school junior mystery buff with incredible abilities with both his power of observation and his intuition. In fact, he is able to solve mysteries that have baffled the Japanese police force.
One day, Jimmy and his friend, Rachel Moore, go to a local amusement park, where a murder mystery takes place on the roller coaster that they’re riding on. In addition to Jimmy, Rachel, the victim, and the victim’s friends, two mysterious men in black are also on the coaster. After Jimmy solves the murder, he later has a run-in with the mysterious men in black, who knock him out and use an experimental poison that has not been tested on humans to kill Jimmy. However, instead of killing Jimmy, the poison causes him to shrink back down to a six or seven-year-old.
As his new younger self, Jimmy takes on the name of Conan Edogawa, and he finds himself living with Rachel and her bumbling private investigator father, Richard. Conan hopes that by doing this, he’ll have the resources to track down the men in black and be able to return to his normal size. While living with Rachel and her father, Conan finds himself accompanying Richard on his cases and finding ways to help crack the cases to make it look as if Richard is the one solving them.
My first exposure to Case Closed came through watching some of the episodes of the anime series. As I read this first volume, I discovered that the anime followed this volume rather closely, although a few minor details were changed. The main difference is the fact that there are three characters who appear the anime in this portion of the story, but are nowhere to be seen in the manga. I’m not sure whether those characters were created exclusively for the anime, or if they were introduced in the manga later.
The mysteries that appear in Case Closed are done very much in a “whodunit?” style. Since I had seen the anime episodes that corresponded with these stories already, I knew how they would end. However, my 14-year-old daughter, who hasn’t seen the anime, also read this volume. She commented to me that the mysteries in this volume kept her guessing the whole time, and sometimes the answers to the mysteries weren’t always what she was expecting. I remember feeling a similar way when I saw these stories in the anime series.
The art style that Aoyama uses in Case Closed is actually includes quite a bit of detail in the drawings. There are the occasional panels where Rachel’s face looks a little rushed, but those panels are the exception rather than the rule. Since Case Closed is a mystery series, it does make sense that the drawings would be rather detailed, since “the devil is in the details” when it comes to solving some mysteries.
I would highly recommend Case Closed to readers who are fans of the mystery genre, whether or not they’re already manga readers.