There can only be one truth!
And that truth is that this franchise is awesome. Since I’ve taken it upon myself to bring Detective Conan to Metanorn, I thought it would be kind of pointless start with the 15th movie so I rustled up this little post instead (really I just wanted an excuse to gush about it). While they can be great stand-alones and you don’t nessesarily even need to watch them in order (I saw the 13th one first; granted I was a bit lost at points but I still enjoyed it), it’s nice to have a basis from which to go, and ALL of the movies have their merits so it didn’t seem fair to neglect them, as awesome as the 15th movie is…/shameless plug for future post, AND WE’RE OFF!
With over 600 episodes getting into Detective Conan may seem like too daunting a task (and it is) but for those who detest filler, are put off by long series, or just want to skip to the good bits, we have the movies. There has been a Detective Conan movie released during Golden Week in Japan since 1997, and with the exception of the first one, all have been among the highest-grossing films that year which is pretty damn impressive. Detective Conan is a phenomenon; to have maintained its popularity for so long and had so much commercial success it must be doing something right. The best thing about it is that you don’t even need to watch the decade-spanning series to appreciate the franchise. All of the good stuff is condensed into these movies that I’m going to summarise for you in this post, and hopefully if you ever end up checking them out you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.
Most are a tidy hour and half long and there are 14 of them not counting Quarter of Silence which came out this year. A great feature in each movie for newcomers is that there is a small blurb after the first scene and before the real movie actually starts that explains the premise, characters and gadgets. They introduce all the characters you meet along the way that aren’t regulars (and even some of the regulars) with a tag line telling you their name, age and occupation; which is handy (and saves me doing it!). The music is another thing I want to note. It’s classic 90s cheese. There is some awesome use of saxophones, which are really reminisant of old school detective shows and just adds to the whole vintage chic that DC has going for it. This is going to be a long post, so let’s not waste anymore time and dive straight into…~
Movie 1: The Time-Bombed Skyscraper
Most Epic Moment: The classic “red wire/blue wire?” dilemma in the closing moments of the movie.
Summary: It starts out unassumingly enough with Conan and crew going to a party held by a famous architect. Things quickly take an ominious turn, however, as the next day a report on TV alerts them to the theft of Octogen, the main component of plastic explosives. In disposing of one of the subsequent bombs Conan is injured and spends the majority of the film in hospital, directing the police on how to deal with the bombings from there. He’s inspired to action, though, when his childhood friend Ran is caught by one of the explosions and trapped in the ensuing rubble.
Thoughts: The only problem with this movie, and to be fair it was the first, is that it’s slow. It has it’s moments of pure un-parralled awesomeness like all the others, but they are few and far between. Ultimately though the pay-off is as explosive as in the movies that followed, so it set the template well in that respect. It kind of turns into SPEED at one point, with trains unable to go below a certain speed or they will explode, and because Conan also spends most of this part in hospital it isn’t very exciting. The scenes leading up to the end, however, are incredibly touching and really highlight Ran and Shinichi’s complicated, but ultimately unseverable bond. It’s a good one to watch first if you are trying to ease yourself gently into the franchise, but might require a little more patience to get into.
Theme: [Happy Birthday] by Kyoko
Movie 2: The 14th Target
Most Epic Moment:
Agasa getting shot in the ass with a crossbow Conan shooting Ran, willingly.
Summary: With the fantastic by-play between Ran’s seperated parents, this movie has a subplot explaining the reason they broke up in the first place, and it’s not the reason you are initially led to believe. Ran’s mother, Eri, inflicts her quick wit on everyone and is another strong female presence in the series. The plot circulates around the seemingly random attacks on Cheif Megure, Eri and professor Agasa. After some digging Conan realizes the connection and instructs the police on further action. Now knowing the connection they can anticipate the next victim, and with this knowledge everyone is led to an underwater restaurant where the killer makes their final move.
Thoughts: While the first ten minutes are a bit of a drag, the set up that follows flows very naturally and hints at the underlying emotional drive of this movie. Like the first one the build up is slow to the reveal. It’s pretty much the case with all of them, but I like this one in particular because we get to go into a little more depth about the series’s “bumbling comic foil”, Mouri. He is likeable in his idiocy, but by so often being portrayed as more immature than the children it’s a well done and interesting contrast to see him battle with heavy issues and explore his “adult” reasons behind them. This movie has some great shots in it, kinetically, and there are just points where the animation quality shoots up a few notches and becomes really impressive. The animators on this one are definitely working to hone the Detective Conan style. There are also some particularly strong story points, in the reveal of the culprit there is a fantastic irony, as well as a call back to something that seemed entirely frivolus in the first ten minutes. As is always the way with crime dramas, everything is relevant right down to the tiniest detail…!
Theme: [Like I Was A Young Girl] by ZARD
Movie 3: The Last Wizard of the Century
Most Epic Moment: Conan getting shot IN THE FACE and taking it like a total boss.
Summary: Kaito Kid sends his usual calling card to the police detailing when he is going to steal a rare Fabergé egg and, of course, follows through, managing to pilfer it with ease. During his escape however he is shot out of the sky by an unknown sniper, and with Conan finding nothing but his monacle and the egg, is presumed dead. The next day the DC gang board a boat to Tokyo, but as murder seems to follow Conan like a bad smell, one of the photographers covering the voyage of the egg is shot dead in his room, through the eye like Kid. This shooting people through the eye is revealed to be the trademark of a killer known as Scorpion, who is hunting for the twin of the Fabergé egg they already have. They dock at a castle and in typical Indianna Jones fashion, follow a series of secret underground passage ways to the location of the other hidden egg. Ah, but not without facing some challenging obsticles, of course.
Thoughts: Now we’re talking! This film is where things start really taking a sharp turn into the awesome. With the inclusion of three of the best side characters in the series, this movie stands out to me as one of the most jam-packed with little novelty moments. This is the first movie to feature Kaito KID
the epitome of sexiness the magician turned thief who is the perfect foil to Conan. Far from being enemies though, the two always end up blurring the line and working together, and secretly I think they enjoy the challenge the other one presents. The other two are Haibara Ai (a former member of the Organization that shrunk Shinichi in the first place) and Hattori Heiji, Shinichi’s doppelganger detective from Osaka. What makes these three even more interesting is that they all know Conan’s true identity, and play off it in different ways. Sadly, Haibara is more of a spectator in this movie, and Hattori only really gets a chance to breifly flaunt his amazing motorcycle skills (you still have enough time to fall for that accent, though), but it’s a nice little introduction to them as they turn up with bigger roles in later movies.
Another neat feature of this one is it’s the first time Ran is really shown to be suspicious of Conan. Having her watch his every move darkly from the sidelines is quite cool. It adds some great atmosphere, not to mention sets up for the last 10 minutes where she finally challenges him about it (that would be my second pick for Most Epic Moment, OH THE EMOTION, THE MUSIC, THE DORAMA!). The ending of this movie, while still containing the big visuals and awesome setting is a bit more subtle. It has more of a sentimental climax (before things start catching on fire) that resonates sweetly, rather than being hugely explosive. Depending on what you want this could be considered a weakness, but personally I liked the change of pace.
Theme: [One] by B’z
Movie 4: Captured in Her Eyes
Most Epic Moment: Ran uses her karate to kick a knife… IN HALF.
Summary: Detectives are being murdered, and when Ran is an unexpected casualty things get pesonal. While Conan investigates the murders, finding that they can be linked to a case that’s been cold for years, Ran is targeted by the killer for being a witness. Unbenonced to him she developed amnesia after the attack and doesn’t even remember who her family or friends are, nevermind the face of a killer she only caught a glimpse of. Nevertheless a dramatic chase ensues agains the colourful backdrop of Tropical Land; the place where Ran and Shinichi had their first date the night he was shrunk. The villain of this one is particularly good, teaching us that those who are there to help us might in fact be the ones most out to harm us!
Thoughts: There is some really great direction in this movie. Detective Conan always employs interesting angles and cool ways to light and stage things but this movie really has some incredible scenes, even taking that into account. Haibara also comes back with a vengeance, it’s just once scene but DAYUM, she is fantastic. Conan is also really awesome in this movie. And I mean really awesome. Like, not even hesitating to jump in front of a train for someone he cares about, awesome. Not to mention this movie gives you a great tip for how to shoot someone without getting gunpowder on yourself. Keep that in mind the next time your neighbour decides to play his abnoxious music too loud.
The only downside of this movie is that Ran’s whole amnesia sub-plot is handled in a very cliché way. It’s pretty downplayed until it’s actually important but is just another instance of where they make a really strong female character into just another helpless damsel in distress. Ran suffers from this quite a lot in the movies and series; that is, being perfectly capable one minute then totally ineffectual the next. There’s no getting around it, it just plain sucks.
Back onto the positives though, this is one of the few movies I’ve been able to find on dvd, and on the big screen (or at least a bigger screen than Youtube) you can really see all the little details of the old school way of painting on the back of transparent cells. Nowadays it’s all digital colour, but I love the charm of that old imperfect style. It’s softer and just adds to the already present nostaliga factor with these veteran series. The climax of this movie is spectacular, beyond what even I would have expected by now. It is epic moment after epic moment, and I am probably going to sound like a broken record as we near the top of the spectrum, but it really is a beaute; so much gratuitous use of that turbo-powered scateboard. Unf, I think I just had a techno-gadgetry-gasm.
Theme: [You Were There] by Miho Komatsu
Movie 5: Countdown to Heaven
Most Epic Moment: Freakin’ EVERYTHING in the last 40 minutes
Summary: As a pair of towers in Tokyo are being prepared for their grand opening, the people involved with the towers are being killed. There’s hints that the Black Organization is behind things, not helped when Conan sees one of their cars lurking about outside. With Haibara acting very suspicions as well no one’s too be trusted. Things are further complicated when just as he’s about to relveal the culprit, a series of bombs go off, turning the two buildings into a towering inferno…with everyone still inside!
Thoughts: This movie has kind of an uncomfortable edge to it now. It came out April 2001, and contains a lot of eerie simillarites to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that would occur a few months later. It involves two buildings being bombed by the Black Organization that are even refered to as “twin towers” in the subtitles and the movie title itself, as well as various lines in the movie are almost identical to the famous 80s poster of the World Trade Center Towers, the slogan of which was “The closest some of us will ever get to heaven”. I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything,
the writers of DC are clearly psychic I just thought it was a cool coincidence.
Ignoring that, this movie has to rank in the top 5 for it’s sheer scope and big dramatic visuals. Haibara also plays a major role in the story, which I love. I don’t want to say she’s one of my favorites (because I would be saying it about everyone), but I certainly enjoy her character; she’s sharp and dry, returning Conan’s cheek with wit in a very entertaining way, but at the same time she’s also very tortured and despite outwards appearances, has some really touching moments of humanization.
OH GOD THE SAXOPHONES, IT SO PERFECT. Ahem~ What I mean to say is the music in this film is superb. It also has a climax that just doesn’t stop, churning out badassery to the very end. Oh god this movie is amazing, I just can’t gush about it enough. Everything is just so big, explosive (literally)…(these films are a pyromaniacs wet dream)…and exciting. Basically, if you want to be blown away then watch this movie.
Theme: [Always] by Mai Kuraki
Movie 6: The Phantom of Baker Street
Most Epic Moment: Professor Moriarty referring to Conan as the “mini-Holmes”.
Summary: Hiroki Sawada is a child prodigy, he created a groundbreaking “DNA-tracker” program as well as an A.I known as Noah’s Ark before he taking his own life. Years later his adoptive father debues a new virtual reality game that Conan and co. end up participating in. Hiroki’s artificial intelligence takes over the game, trapping all the participants inside. He explains the different stages of the game and that if everyone gets “Game Over” then a shock will be sent through their brains, killing them. If even one person wins however they will all be let out and returned to their parents. Conan and co. choose the “Old Time London” stage and their goal, in order to survive: find and apprehend Jack the Ripper!
Thoughts: Now here’s a really fun story (something you wouldn’t expect as it starts off with a twelve year old committing suicide) for all you Sherlockian nerds. It’s great whenever the Sherlock Holmes world is referenced in Detective Conan. It brings out Conan/Shinichi’s inner fanboy, which is just hysterically cute, and re-inspires your own love of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle series as well. There’s been episodes where the gang go to London, episodes where Shinichi’s missed out on getting laid because he just can’t shut up about the master detective, his hero and idol. It’s great to see it honor its source material so enthusiastically. The thing is, the idea of a “virtual world” or even “a game that kills you” is so cliché that you’d think this movie would rank pretty low because of it. Oh, no. This movie is pure unbrideled fun. It has what all the other movies have; that being an epic story, interesting characters and touching moments, but when it comes down to it it’s a glorified fanfiction.
Theme: [Everlasting] by B’z
Movie 7: Crossroad in the Ancient Captial
Most Epic Moment: Hattori’s amazing swordplay
Summary: The main characters of this film seem to be Hattori Heiji and his childhood friend Kazuha instead of Conan and co., but you’ll be totally fine with this as Hattori is such a boss. So murders have been happing in Kyoto, so Conan and co. go to investigate and aid the detective of the West, Hattori. It seems the killer is also after him and actually makes several attempts on his life,
but is powerless against his awesome accent. He is critically injured and Conan is forced to temporarily unshrink himself in order to pose as Hattori and save Kazuha who has been kidnapped. He buys Hattori enough time to recover and have an epic kendo battle with the killer. Shinichi escapes into the woods moments away from changing back into Conan where he is confronted by Ran. Seeing him as Shinichi she asks him the impossible question “is he back for good?”.
Thoughts: This is where Detective Conan switched to digital colour, and it really shows. The colours are much harsher and palettes sometimes get confused. It is much cleaner, line-wise. But still…goodbye blemishes, goodbye nostalgia…*sobs*. Nah, it looks okay, and every show that went from painting to digital took a while to find their feet with it. You can’t really hold it against them. Like I said, too, Hattori hijacks things with his awesomeness so you probably won’t even notice! Him and Conan have a really fun rapore, and they are probably the thing I enjoy the most about this movie.
No I don’t ship them They are like brothers in how they bicker, poke fun, look after and support each other. It’s really sweet. The inbetweens of this movie can unfortunately been quite long winded and dull, and the ending isn’t quite as “big” as in previous movies. That being said, it’s a smaller story, and really centers around Hattori and Kazuha’s tsundere friendship/romance, which is both funny and cute. This film might not make your jaw drop but it will definitely make you smile.
Theme: [Time After Time] by Mai Kuraki
Movie 8: Magician of the Silver Sky
Most Epic Moment: Conan chasing Kaito KID… through the sky.
Summary: While on a plane to Hakodate, Conan and co. (and KID in disguise) end up trapped in the air when a murder is commited on-flight that inadvertantly and accidentally incapacitates the pilots. An ensuing storm and fire make landing impossible and with fuel running out it’s up to Conan and KID to take the helm! Circumstances cause KID to bail however and this leaves Ran and her friend to attempt a risky landing with only Shinichi guiding them by phone.
Thoughts: I just love it when Conan and KID have a face-off. They both end up acting so devious; they look like villains! It is fantastic. This might be really sadistic but I think the reason I love seeing these two together so much is because it’s great to see Conan lose. He is second best to this cheeky, grinning maniac, and is always only inches away from catching him. How frustrating that must be! But by the same token KID never hurts anybody, and he always returns what he steals eventually. Really, he’s the perfect enemy. He’s in it for the chase; stealing purely to show that he can. In that sense their relationship is a very complimentary one. KID gets his thrills from a more than worthy adversary, and Conan actually gets a challenge for once (and no body count!).
Theme: [Dream x Dream] by Rina Aiuchi
Movie 9: Strategy Above the Depths
Most Epic Moment: The Titantic-like panic when the ship is sinking. Sometimes it’s shot for shot the same, it’s pretty cool.
Summary: Conan and co. decide to take a vacation! Oi, whut? I thought detectives don’t take vacations because crime never sleeps? Well, case a point, their relaxing stay on board a luxury cruise liner is interupted by a murder! It’s Titanic without the iceburg as bombs go off and the ship begins to sink. With Ran trapped and Mouri engaged in mortal combat with the culprit, it’s all up to Conan. So much for the quiet, relaxing vacation…
Thoughts: The best part of this movie is just how like Titanic it gets. It’s like Titanic minus the love story. Well, it has elements of that towards the end where Ran proves, yet again, just what a useless and feeble twat she can be. Urgh. Seriously, she has her moments of being a really strong character, but they are too few and far between that it just pisses me off. I don’t mind damsels in distress if it’s for the story but when it’s the same character over and over again you really just start to get tired of them. This is probably one of the weaker movies, not because of that, though. It’s just less memorable.
Theme: [Natso wo Matsu Seiru no Youni] by ZARD
Movie 10: The Private Eye’s Requiem
Most Epic Moment: All that GIRL POWAH at the end (it almost makes up for all the annoying damsel in distress moments of the earlier movies)
Summary: We had a story set in Tropical Land; well, meet it’s slightly less awesome cousin Miracle Land. Conan and co. are lured to this amusement park where they are kitted out in ID bracelets that are set to explode if they pass by the entry gates on their way out, (Oh, the Battle Royale flashbacks!). This is all been orchestrated by a mysterious man who sets Mouri and “Shinichi” a mystery to solve; they are the only ones allowed to leave the theme park. Conan informs Haibara of this and she agrees to keep the children inside the park while Mouri and Conan go off to their appointed task. KID gets involved, as does Hattori, and it’s the three
sexiest men in this show most intelligent men in the show against an unseen, merciless advesary! Oh, can you not just smell the awesome?
Thoughts: This movie has so much going for it. It’s the one I often forget about but when I’m reminded I always go “Aw, yeah! That one was really fun!”. Much like The Phantom of Baker Street this movie enjoys throwing certain characters together for no other reason than just to see what happens. It’s experimental and not constrained in the way some of the other movies are. It flows, tries different things, and while the story may not grab you quite as excitedly as the others, it does have that irresistible threesome to keep you entertained. This movie also masters the new digital colouring, and it’s where DC takes a sharp turn in it’s design. And I mean sharp literally. I really notice with this one just how much more angular the faces are, they are no longer round at all, and how much more organized the pallete is. For me this is where the look and feel of the movies that followed is crystalized.
Theme: [Yuruginaimono Hitotsu] by B’z
Movie 11: Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure
Most Epic Moment: The game of “Chicken” at the start
Summery: Yet another boycotted vacation; Conan and co. visit a tropical island to take in the sea, sand and sun. Things go awry when, while out diving, one of the instructors is mauled to death by sharks. Conan finds the incident suspicious and discovers that it was infact murder! Someone had placed a bag of fish blood in the guy’s suit and the deeper they went the more the pressure increased, bursting the bag and luring in the sharks. The investigation begins and Conan and co. become involved in a hunt for sunken treasure where treachery and cut throat behavior is par for the course.
Thoughts: Treasure hunting; it only took them eleven movies but they got there. Pirates. Skullduggery. Avass these scurvy seas-! Okay, I’ll stop. This story is pretty much your classic pirate tale, but with a nice feminine twist to it. Very much a girl power movie, Conan and co. are trying to beat some thugs to the sunken treasure of two famous lady pirates. The ending is worthy of any Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and offers up some really tasty visuals, not to mention some somber moments, too. Not my favorite, and honestly not too memorable say for the cool imagery at the end (all the ones that take place on the sea seem to suffer from this, who knows why) still, it has its merits.
Theme: [Nanatsu no Umi o Wataru Kaze no Yō ni] by Rina Aiuchi & U-ka Saegusa
Movie 12: Full Score of Fear
Most Epic Moment: Conan and a soprano singer harmonising their voices to imitate a dial tone.
Summary: Someone is killing off musicians, and by no coincidence I’m sure, Conan and company have been invited to an opening concert of a music hall built by a pianist. The biggest attraction of this concert is a Stradivarius violin and the special appearance of a singer who has perfect pitch. She seems to be the next target, and her signature song “Amazing Grace” holds a secret meaning, as well as sentimental value to Shinichi and Ran. As usual, it falls to Conan to protect her, but when the entire concert hall is taken hostage can he expose the villain before the full score of fear reaches its fatal cresendo?
Thoughts: You can’t really talk about this movie without mentioning the music, and it is impressive. I am in no way versed with sopranos or any of that stuff, so this is one of those movies where I felt like I was learning a lot, lol. The Most Epic Moment is also something I want to talk about….Okay, it’s either amazingly epic or so fucking silly it will make your head explode. Most of the epic things are kind of borderline silly, to be honest, but this is one of those ones I am never sure of. Detective Conan is one of those shows that is always pushing your suspention of disbelief and sometimes I feel like they went too far on this one. I dunno, I can never decide about that.
This movie is kind of forgettable. It’s in no way bad, but I think that in the many many movies that make up the Detective Conan armory there are ones that leave less of an impression than others. Maybe it’s because I’m not really into the subject matter, but the images and plot points from this story don’t stick with me as much as some other movies. I wouldn’t skip it though, it’s worth it just for that maybe epic, maybe silly, moment.
Theme: [Spread Your Wings] by Zard
Movie 13: The Raven Chaser
Most Epic Moment: Ran dodges a bullet from point blank range
Summary: Shinichi’s double life as Conan might be coming to an end soon, the Black Organisation is fast enclosing on the truth of what happened the night he was given the poison that “killed” him. He learns of Irish, a member of the Organisation, infiltrating the police and working from the inside on a string of serial murders. It’s all a little to close for comfort and they have Conan, not to mention everyone he loves, in their sniper sight.
Thoughts: I’ll just come out and say it; this is one of my favorite DC movies. It’s got the Black Organisation; the coolest, and fucking darkest thing about Detective Conan. They have some of my favorite arcs in the anime. They just bring a real serious tone to the show that it is otherwise lacking. You know that when these guys shows up shit is going to happen, and people are going to fucking die. Characters you love, too. No one is safe. The underlying story is also so good and so small that to spark such a massive event (or events) is just plain brilliant writing. The animation is steller, it captures the scope, the emotion the sheer badassery I honestly can’t say I’ve seen since Movie 5. The Raven Chaser is big. It’s beautiful. It’s kickass. It’s just perfect. If you had to pick one DC movie to watch then pick this one.
Theme: [PUZZLE] by Mai Kuraki
Movie 14: The Lost Ship in the Sky
Most Epic Moment: I’m sorry, I know you should never praise pointless fanservice…but this made me laugh so hard…you don’t even know.
Summary: Kaito KID, the magician/thief extrordinaire, has set his sights on the “Lady of the Sky” jewel, which is being hosted on board the largest airship in the world. He isn’t the only one, either, a terrorist organisation called the Red Siamese Cat has their crooked eye on it as well. They hijack the airship, and with the symptoms of a mysterious illness snake through the cabins Conan is running out of time to catch KID, sabotage the terrorists and save Ran from the deadly plauge!
Thoughts: I found out through stalking some forums that this one isn’t very highly thought of among a lot of fans because they saw it as more of a fanservice movie than anything else. Kaito KID really didn’t have a part in the story, it was like when they put Pyramid Head in Silent Hill: Homecoming; fans thought it unnessesary and just a way to sell the franchise. Would it be shallow to say that that’s exactly why I like it? It is great to see KID and Conan together! Why you guys complaining? It’s not like it happens all that often in the series, and he doesn’t get that big of a role in the movies he does appear in anyway. And even if the story is just a vehicle for getting the two in the same room, so what? You still get some fantastic action scenes out of it. The dialogue they share is always entertaining and KID himself is a fantastic character whose appeal never tires for me. Sure there are KaitoxConan moments, like here and here, but who cares? It might not add anything, but it certainly doesn’t take anything away. And this is one of my favorite movies because of it. Call me a fanservice-whore but Kaito is just too much fun to discount.
Theme: [Over Drive] by Garnet Crow
(I think fans were also pissed because there was no real mystery to this one. There is a twist, but it’s not the same)
Movie 15: Quarter of Silence
What better way to celebrate Christmas than watching a film about a comatosed child and people being crushed in avalances? Expect a post on Quarter of Silence in the new year, it’s the 15th installment in this epic franchise that I hope I’ve inspired you to check out with this massive retrospective.
That’s it for me and this gargantuan post, (I’ve been working on this for weeks you know!) if you do decide to check out any of these movies you can find the majority of them on Youtube – don’t forget the little omake after the credits! And if you are reading this, and have read it all, I congradulate you. It’s hard enough to waffle on so much in text, so I can’t even imagine how tedious it would be to read.
For everyone else in the TL;DR column: these movies are epic, you should go watch them.