Friday, May 4, 2012

Case Closed, Volume 2

Case Closed, Volume 2
Gosho Aoyama
Originally published in Japan in 1994
Viz Media, 2011
$9.95, Paperback
April 14th, 2012

Genre: Mystery
Age: 12+
Description: Conan tackles two cases in this volume. The first involves the body of a man burned to death whose only suspect is his best friend who stands to gain $5 million yen from an insurance policy taken out on him but this suspect happens to have the perfect alibi. The second case involves a girl who employs Rachel’s dad to help find her missing father but it turns out after the happy reunion dad is found dead and the daughter missing. Lastly, there is a shorter chapter of Conan starting school again as a first grader and getting coerced by his classmates to explore a haunted house. Conan manages to solve an age old murder case.
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. After reading the second volume, I realize that it’s really cool that each volume has more than one case. It’s really like getting more story for your money. A lot of manga series that are published today are very skimpy on the text. For example, We Were There takes me about 30 minutes to an hour to read. Case Closed, on the other hand, is chock full of text and details that it takes much longer to read and feels worth your time. You are really satisfied after reading a volume. It’s fun to see Conan—now a six-year-old no one will pay attention to or take seriously as a detective—utilize his friend Agasa’s gadgets. He’s like Batman now. He’s introduced to a voice modulator and super strong sneakers in this volume. It’s fun to watch Conan solve the mysteries and have to deal with the credit going to Rachel’s inept father. I can’t wait to read more volumes. My teens are also falling in love with it—so much so my director on our last order had to order the next 10 volumes to make them happy.

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