Monday, October 13, 2008

Manga Monday: Case Closed!

Case Closed (Volume 1)
Gosho Aoyama
This is a really fun book. Case Closed follows high schooler Jimmy Kudo, whose superior detective skills make him quite an asset to local law enforcement, and even a celebrity of sorts. Unfortunately for him, his nosy sleuthing gets him into trouble and he's attacked and forced to ingest a mysterious poison. The liquid hasn't been tested on humans before, so it doesn't kill just reverses his age, so he's now a first-grader! Caution that the attackers may still be watching for him forces Jimmy to keep his transformation a secret from everyone around him save for a crazy inventor who lives next door and provides Jimmy with various inventions to help him with his crime-fighting. But the love of his life, Rachel, frets over high-schooler Jimmy's whereabouts, while taking first-grader Jimmy in to her home, where he is forced to adopt another identity (Conan, after the creator of the world's greatest detective Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle). While he can't get law enforcement or Rachel's private investigator father to listen to him now that's a child, Jimmy still plays detective and has to rely on some creative methods to get the adults around him to come to the same conclusions he's already come to. This book is full of action and suspense, and all sorts of complicated murders that need diagrams to solve and whatnot. But it's thoroughly entertaining. Aoyama's cartoony art fits the book perfectly, and he balances the wackiness of some characters with the silly scenarios and serious tender moments masterfully. I understand that this popular series has over 61 volumes in Japan and is still going - quite an undertaking for any potential readers, but based on this debut volume, it could certainly be worth all of the time and money one would have to invest.

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