Friday, May 4, 2012

Case Closed, Volume 1

Case Closed, Volume 1
Gosho Aoyama
Originally published in Japan in 1994
Viz Media, 2011
$9.95, Paperback
April 14th, 2012

Genre: Mystery
Age: 12+
Description: Precocious high school junior, Jimmy Kudo, is obsessed with detective stories and uses his own powers of observation and intuition to solve mysteries that baffle the local law enforcement. After solving a murder on a roller coaster ride, Jimmy follows some suspicious men in black and discovers some illegal behavior—all to have his reputation be his downfall as the men drug him with a mysterious chemical. When Jimmy wakes up he discovers he is now trapped in the body of his six-year-old self. Taking on the pseudonym of Conon (after Conan Doyle) Edogama (after Edogawa Rampo) he moves in with his best friend and love interest, Rachel, and with use Rachel’s father’s connections as a former cop and private investigator to hopefully figure out who these men in black were. Until he can find a clue he’ll still try to help solve tough cases.
Opinion: A super popular manga (and anime) that began in Japan in 1994 and is coming up on its 45 volume, Case Closed is a classic series. It might surprise people that the series is actually for older tweens and teens because the covers of a cute elementary student are deceiving—Conan actually deals with some serious crimes that are gruesome (the boy who got killed on the roller coaster ride was decapitated with a piano wire—and we see it in all its gruesomeness—at least 1990s style). New readers might also find the manga art style a little jarring because it is really a solid, classic style—it’s dirty and gritty, there are no big boobed, wide eyed people here. It actually is a little refreshing to me because it reminds me of my favorite manga series by Ben Dunn called Ninja High School, which began in 1986. The stories are engaging and are broken up into one or two crimes a book all while Conan is trying to find clues to his condition. Give this to fans of Sherlock Holmes, mysteries in general, and graphic novels. Each volume also ends with a profile on a famous literary detective.

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