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September 24, 2013 / TeknoKai

Done to Death!

One of my favorite things in all the world is anime.  I can’t seem to get enough.  I love to watch the pint-sized heroes and heroines (because apparently you have to be of high school age to be a major character in a story – you can’t be too young or too old, or you’ll just be a background character) save the day by spending weeks and weeks of torturous training until they are strong enough to take on their apparent nemesis.  This kind of story flows wonderfully throughout the whole multiverse of anime titles that we see today.  Most anime series derive some sense of history from classics like the Dragonball Z franchise – only retuned, jazzed up a bit and with some extra layers of plot added in.  All in all, I love this media.  It is the one thing I can watch that will always get me out of the torment of my everyday life.   I know, probably subconsciously, all the characters are made of ink and pigments, so anything can be allowed to happen to them and it won’t really matter.  And when I say anything, I mean ANYTHING.  The world of Anime is frequently wrought with the passions of one main character’s quest and how it affects both his or her friends and enemies as it is carried out.  This is the core of a good story.  This is what I yearn for every time I try to immerse myself in the (often laughable) plots of the anime series I watch so stringently.  You have great visuals?  OK.  Your soundtrack is awesome?  I’ll give you that.  You have an actual story that is played out from shocking beginning to climaxing crescendos of finality, fulfillment, and a definite ending? Well, then you have yourself a rabid *fanboi* for life!  This is what I usually expect in most anime series I watch.  Though some may be long, there is a definitive end that each story line progresses toward.  Unless you count Bleach.  Because different seasons of that particular show were branched out into different timelines, and even different realities in some places…so *shudder* we won’t count Bleach.  At least not in this narrative.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the Bleach series – but I have issues with it that will make many other blogposts down the line, and I do kind of have a point to this posting.  So, for now, we’re going to ignore the Bleach factor.  *Ahem.*  Pretend you never heard me mention it.

Now, one of the series that I have been following closely is a very special series indeed.   It isn’t mecha (giant robots), it isn’t fantasy (filled with super powered heroes), it isn’t even mystical (powered but the Supernatural or Occult forces) – it is a plain old mystery series called “Case Closed”.  It is a mystery series with a teen-aged detective, Jimmy Kudo – who is every bit the “Sherlock Holmes” of his time – at the center.  The story takes a huge leap into the overall story arc at the end of the first episode.  Some mysterious men in black who work for an unidentified organization overheard Jimmy solve a case and were worried that he would get too close to something they had planned.  So they attempted to murder him with an experimental poison pill.  Only, the pill didn’t kill him – it made him revert into a younger version of himself.  He went from being a teen to a little kid overnight, but he still had his sharp teen-aged mind.  This set the stage for the overall story; now Jimmy (who renames himself Conan Edogawa after his two favorite mystery authors) moves in with his “almost” girlfriend Rachel and her father, Richard Moore (who just happens to be a Private Investigator-imagine that!) and spends most of the series trying to track down the mysterious men in black who caused his childhood dilemma.  Each episode is pretty much a different case that Richard gets called in to solve, because his solve rates have (mysteriously!) topped out from where they were before Conan entered the picture, and he finds himself as the most consulted detective in the city.  These stories are fun – even when they involve serious themes like murder, because they are created to reflect the intelligence and flair of consulting detectives, like the most venerable Sherlock Holmes.  This is (I believe) the longest running series of anime that has ever come out of Japan, because it has been coming out weekly for more than a decade, and it is still in production now.  We, here in the US, are usually 6 months to a year behind Japan’s anime releases – because of the time it takes to have the shows dubbed over into English.  If you have a series that you love and don’t want to wait for the English voice actors to dub over, you can probably find it on one of the major anime network websites that with a subscription fee allow you to view the original Japanese anime with English translations subtitled across the screen.  I have only watched one anime series that was so compelling that I had to race ahead of the English translations by voice actors and dive into the world of literal subtitle translations just so that I could remain current with the story.  That series is Naruto Shippuden, and it is also too deep of a series for me to try to discuss in one post, so I will keep this post firmly tuned to Case Closed.

Now, for some reason, Case Closed never really caught on with mainstream American viewers – people, who, like me, got their very first tastes of anime from the Cartoon Network Saturday night block of programming.  I remember when the series was first shown on Cartoon Network.  I was hooked by the story from the first episode.  Several episodes were aired, but then this wonderful series just went away (to most American viewers).  Now, around 5 years later, the first 5 seasons have been truly translated and dubbed into English and are now available on iTunes, with promises of more seasons to come.  I feel like a kid in a candy store – this is really all I ever wanted!  A great show with a great overall story arc that I have been infallibly drawn to.  It has been heaven for that last couple of months, of re-watching all of seasons 1- 3 (which I had previously seen, most of which aired on Cartoon Network years ago) and finding fresh new stories in seasons 4 and 5 that I had never had the pleasure of contemplating before!  This was just plain awesome!

And then I actually started noticing *The Fact*.  I had been warned that I would get to a point where I saw  it, by my little brother of all people, and there it was staring me right in the face.  Out of roughly 23 episodes per season, and 5 seasons available on iTunes, that makes well over a hundred episodes I have watched now, in sequence (for some reason they were never really aired in sequence on Cartoon Network) and I cannot deny it.  Though I love this show with all my heart, the writers have one fetish object that they cannot get rid of.  In over a hundred episodes, it is used either as the main murder weapon, or in conjunction with the main murder weapon about 90 % of the time.  What is this abundant murder tool, you ask?  Fishing wire.  In almost every episode of the show, a crime was staged in a way so that the only solution is that the criminal had an unadulterated and nearly infinite supply of fishing wire.  Sure, sometimes the murder weapon was a hacksaw or even a gun, but there was almost always the involvement of fishing wire.  And the more I thought about it, the crazier it got.  Some episodes were purposefully created to allow the “criminal of the week” to stage ever more elaborate crime scenes, and in almost every one there is the introduction of fishing wire!  Not twine, nor yarn, not even thread, but specifically “fishing-wire”!  I never knew it had so many other uses besides catching fish!  Wow! The fishermen must really hate the rest of humanity to have concocted such an all pervasive and evil device! I went back and re-watched some of my favorite episodes to test my theory, and, yep, the fishing wire was there.  I haven’t a clue as to why this is the case.   Maybe some fishing wire manufacturers paid to have it advertised through the show?  I don’t think so, because no specific brand name was ever used.  Maybe it is just the writer’s personal goal – to somehow involve fishing wire in every possible criminal act that can be conceived.

All I know is that as a stage prop, fishing wire has been done to death on this show.  Now, every new episode I watch, I try to think how the fishing wire was used to commit the crime.  Because I know that there’s no use in assuming that fishing wire wasn’t involved in some way, form, or fashion.  And that is one thing that detracts from a story – using the same material over and over again.  I am expecting more seasons of this otherwise great show to have more intellectually placed tools of the criminal trade.  I am just hoping that we can return all the (used) fishing wire to the fishermen so that we can have some tasty seafood for lunch!

One Comment

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  1. torisunanohokori / Sep 24 2013 11:31 pm

    Can’t be a main character if you’re over 30? Somebody should tell Roy Revant from Solty Rei that.

    I’ve only seen the first episode of Conan, and already they’ve used piano wire once. Maybe the men in black are secretly wire manufacturers and that’s the whole plot. It’s a funny quirk to have pointed out.

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