Story & Art by Gosho Aoyama
Translated by Tetsuchiro Miyaki
Touch-up & Lettering by Freeman Wong
Cover & Graphic Design by Andrea Rice
Edited by Shaenon K. Garrity
It’s hard to believe that Case Closed has reached its 74th volume in English. The adventures of Conan Edogawa have continued strong, and it’s still an absolute blast to read. This time around, Conan handles a hostage crisis, stops thievery with the Detective Boys, and tags along with everyone’s favorite Osakan detective.
Continuing from the previous volume, the “Bomber’s Request” case quickly reaches its conclusion. While Conan already knew the identity of Miku Sawaguri’s killer, he had to find a way to de-escalate the hostage situation without any casualties. Conan’s lie to Isao about Miku’s death is quite clever, allowing the police, Rachel, and Sera to disarm Isao without harm. These events demonstrate Conan’s skills are beyond mere deduction, and it gives the case a fresh and satisfying end.
The “Target on Tape” case shifts the manga’s attention to the Detective Boys and Professor Agasa. When Amy is kidnapped and suddenly returned by a pair of unknown thieves, the gang tries to figure out the true motives behind the incident. This is a low-stakes case for Case Closed, but it provides some much needed levity. Seeing the light-hearted antics of the Detective Boys is always a joy, relieving tension after a serious story-line. It also allows us to see Conan’s detective skills outside a traditional murder scenario, which helps mix the formula up some. Beyond the story’s main focus, Aoyama also sprinkles in some critical foreshadowing. Sera seems to have a strange interest in Hailey, and even more bizarre, Okiya is spying on Agasa’s house. The mysteries are continuing to build and it will be exciting to where they go.
The “East vs. West” case is by far the most memorable part of this volume, featuring the amazing Harley Hartwell. This time, Conan and Harley compete against each other to solve a murder at a family restraunt. Interestingly, since the murderer is suspected to be from the Kansai region, this case revolves around the differences between the Kansai and Tokyo dialects. This results in Conan and Harley analyzing the language habits of various suspects in order to identify the killer. Unfortunately, this twist doesn’t perfectly translate into English since the Kansai dialect doesn’t have a perfect equivalent. The series does try to emphasize the language difference by depicting the Kansai accent as a southern English accent, but most of the case’s language clues have to be left in literal Japanese. This causes parts of the story to read awkwardly, but what keeps it entertaining is the relationship dynamic between Conan and Harley. The two detectives’ friendly rivalry is very entertaining, with each of them trying to best the other at every opportunity. This even leads to Conan conducting part of his deduction in a Kansai accent, which is hilarious to read. It’s also worth mentioning Camel and Sera’s presence in this case, which is significant due to Sera seeming awfully familiar to Camel. Sera continues to be a suspicious figure in the story, but signs of her true identity and motives are beginning to reveal themselves.
The volume caps off with the first four chapters of the “EYE” case, where Conan and Harley try to solve a series of murders involving a design company. One of the primary clues in the case is the use of the optical illusion “Crazy Diamond”, which allowed the murderer to hide the original victims dying message. While the previous case showed Conan and Harley at odds, this story demonstrates their strength as partners. That said, even their combined efforts are challenged by this case, as the volume ends with yet another murder. It’s a suspenseful end to the volume, and a great hook for Case Closed’s next installment.
As usual, Aoyama’s artwork is consistent throughout the volume. Case Closed excels at its effective tonal shifts, being able to transition its stories from tranquil peace to horrifying shock in mere panels. Aoyama especially excels at the cast’s reaction to murders, naturally conveying the same shock that’s no doubt experienced by the reader. Aoyama’s decades of experience as an artist are fully evident, and it’s truly praiseworthy.
Case Closed continues to be one of the best mystery manga out there, and its latest volume reminds readers just how entertaining it can be. The series’ fantastic cast and varied stories keep it engaging from start to finish, and it leaves a craving for more by the very end. The length may be intimidating, but you’re really missing out if you aren’t in on this case.