If anyone’s familiar with any long-running anime titles, you’ve probably heard of “Detective Conan” (名探偵コナン). Based on the manga that came out two decades ago in 1994, the franchise is still loved by many fans even today. In addition, “Detective Conan” has recently reached its 1,000th episode last month on 13th March and shows no sign of stopping. The anime franchise has also spawned multiple films throughout its serialisation, with the recent one being its 24th movie, “Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet” (名探偵コナン 緋色の弾丸).
For “Detective Conan” novices like us, it was a little bit confusing to understand some of the characters and their connections with previous storylines or setups in “Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet”. If you’re not familiar with the franchise and only read the first few chapters of the manga, then this review of the latest movie will share the sentiment as you do.
“Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet” sets place in Japan, where the country is celebrating the upcoming World Sports Games (WSG), one of the world’s largest sporting events soon to be held in Tokyo. The new ‘Japanese Bullet’ was built to be the world’s first vacuum-tube super-conducting linear train, created with some of Japan’s latest technology. Hence, the train is timed to align with the WSG opening ceremonies.
A peculiar incident happens when a party held by major sponsors is lead into a series of kidnappings involving top executives. That’s when Detective Conan figured out a possible link to the serial abductions in the WSG that had taken place in Boston 15 years earlier, with the FBI being involved in this case as well.
“Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet” is summed up as a standalone story, or what can be described as an episodic arc condensed into a singular film. But going into this movie blindly without any prior knowledge of previous events in the franchise might seem challenging for some newbies to keep up with.
Fortunately, the film doesn’t really follow up from previous content of the franchise that much, as it also introduces a couple of new characters. For those who are long-time fans of “Detective Conan”, some of the familiar elements in the movie could provide them some good material.
We like that the movie was nice enough to explain the background of Conan’s upbringing on how he changed into a child. Since many of his friends and close ones don’t know about his true identity, newcomers will at least understand why he changed his voice when speaking with his friend Ran Mouri.
In terms of presentation, the animation and background shots look visually stunning. Since it’s a theatrical film, the quality of the film might have shifted from its TV series into something more eye-candy, including the action sequences as well. While the movie doesn’t have much fight scenes, we do get to see Masumi Sera and Mary Sera combating against Shuichi Akai.
While it may be hard for most viewers to keep up or understand the conversations each character has revolving around the mystery, it does make you stay intrigued with what may come next. There are times where viewers could try and guess the culprit for themselves. Also, the idea of utilising the Hyperlinear bullet train as the main highlight of the film, makes it much more exciting. You can’t help but feel highly anticipated for the train to show up so we can have some cool sequences.
Despite the movie mainly using most of its prominent pre-existing characters, the voice actors still deserve praise for their performance, especially Minami Takayama (高山みなみ). She’s voiced her role as the titular lead character Conan Edogawa for the longest and always brings dedication to her role as the young detective. The same goes for the rest of the cast such as Wakana Yamazaki (山崎和佳奈) as Ran Mouri, Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ) as Ai Haibara, and Noriko Hidaka (日髙のり子) as Masumi Sera, all of whom are veteran voice actresses and still sound great as ever.
Having said that, there were moments when “Detective Conan” felt a tad predictable. Certain scenes felt too draggy and we started to loose interest. Even when Conan or his friends were in danger on certain occasions, there was no sense of dread or intensity because there wasn’t anything big at stake to begin with.
Also, if you’re not used to the franchise, “Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet” may feel a little incomprehensible at times, even if it’s extremely important for the movie to add those in. Moreover, the endgame for the revealed culprits and villains in the film felt a little anti-climatic, as it does lack the element of ‘show don’t tell’, which felt somewhat disappointing.
Despite feeling confusing at times, the film was genuinely fun and adventurous. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with the storyline prior as it won’t really affect your viewing experience. After watching this though, you may be curious to check out the rest of the material “Detective Conan” has to offer.
“Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet” premieres at GSC Cinemas on 22nd April.