Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Case Closed Vol. 1
VIZ LLC, 200 pages $9.95
Cute, hmm yes I think cute is the best way to describe this latest entry to the comics mystery genre.
The series follows high school student Jimmy Kudo, whose intelligence and incredible sense of observation and intuition has made him a great detective. Though only a teenager, he's already become a media darling, and someone the cops have come to rely heavily on to solve their toughest crimes.
It has also made him a bit full of himself too though, which along with the feeling of invincibility that being a teenager can bring. Means he's set himself up for a fall, which he takes when he's blindsided by two "men in black" while investigating a mystery.
Given an experimental poison, instead of killing him it instead literally "cuts him down to size" as he awakens as a kid of 8 or 9. With still the intelligence of his past self, he still feels the need to solve crimes and must try and figure out how to fix what has happened to him.
On the advice of a friend, he moves in with his girlfriend and her father a private investigator, using the pseudonym of Conan Edogwa.(a combination of the names of his two all time favorite detective novelists) He must keep his identity a secret, even from them, for fear of the "men in black" coming back to finish the job.
Yet he hopes that by keeping an ear inside the detective community through them, for word of the "men in black" so he can find a cure.
At first I didn't know really what to make of the book, as some of it seemed so straight forward and even silly in places. I suppose I am more used to the sort of older feel and approach of books like Kindaichi Case Files, that this much lighter approach surprised me.
This is definitely a book meant to appeal greatly to younger kids. Jimmy's struggles to get the adults to pay attention to him as he tries to let them know what he thinks on the cases. Is something every kid has experienced at one point, with the frustration of being dismissed as an almost nonperson with nothing to offer because of age.
Even the murders themselves are done in ways that make them more appropriate for a younger audience, with a real lack of attention on the victim. You don't really feel anything for them, even regret or sadness of their death, as much as just a curiosity as to how their death took place.
I'm not sure how much "fair play" the mysteries are however, as most of the revelations at the end of the two mysteries here are leaps of logic Jimmy makes from a couple of clues, that only really makes sense after the fact.
I do hope, that some of the core elements are strengthened a bit as time goes on. If every volume amounts to Jimmy having to solve the crime, while allowing his girlfriend's father to subtly take the credit. Then things could get old fast.
I do know that I'm already a little tired of him lying to his girlfriend about who he is, if he really does love her as he proclaims.
I can sort of see that appealing to young kids though. For them to be able say "ha the little kid is smarter than the adults!" Or that the character and reader share a secret as well, but as an adult I think they could be themes that could turn my interest off fast.
Yet again the book is just cute, I finished it not really wowed but curious enough to try the next volume when it hits shelves.