When a series releases its 23rd film in the franchise, suffice it to say it’s a pretty big deal.
That’s exactly the milestone that the Detective Conan anime series is celebrating with
the release of Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire on 13th June.
To put that into perspective, that’s the same number of films in the James Bond franchise, which has been running for 53 years. Unlike the British Secret Service agent, this popular series takes a much more clean-cut approach to solving crimes, but it seems it has a similar formula for success.
Also known as Case Closed, the Japanese manga started in 1994 and has since become one of the world’s best-selling manga series with over 200 million copies sold worldwide. It proved to be so popular, it was also adapted into an anime series, films, video games and even crossed over into another famous anime series.
In the 23rd film, the eponymous hero finds himself in Singapore – making this the first film set outside of Japan. When Conan’s rival Kaito Kid learns of a large gem dubbed the Blue Sapphire, which sank to the bottom of the ocean in the 19th century, he goes to Singapore in search of the jewel, dragging Conan along with him.
When a murder then takes place at the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel and a bloodied note is found, it’s up to Conan to bring the murderer to justice and stop Kid the Phantom Thief.
The fact that Detective Conan is a seven-year-old kid seems to be no obstacle for this experienced first-grade investigator.
He wasn’t always a seven-year-old though. Formerly a high school detective named Shinichi Kudo, the crime-busting teen witnessed illegal activity. Caught in the act, the crime syndicate he was attempting to take down poisoned him and left him to die. But instead of killing him, the poison turned him into a prepubescent child.
Hiding his identity to keep him and his family safe, Shinichi took on the alias of Conan Edogawa, inspired by mystery writers Arthur Conan Doyle and Ranpo Edogawa. Thankfully the poison did nothing to diminish the youngster’s sleuthing skills and he continued to fight crime from his smaller body.
So what makes the series so enduring? Like many detective series, it’s full of twists and turns, foreshadowing, suspense and unanswered questions relating to ongoing, unresolved plots.
Just as James Bond features both new and recurring characters, such as Miss Moneypenny, M and archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the latest Detective Conan instalment will see new names as well as returning ones, like undefeated karate master Makoto and Kaito Kid.
When it was released in Japanese theatres in April, the film earned a whopping ¥422 million (AED 14.34 million) on opening day alone, making it the highest-grossing film in the series and one of the highest-grossing in Japan.
But it’s not just Japanese fans that contribute to the on-going success of the series. While its popularity has somewhat waned in the West, the series continues to be well received in Asia and Europe, and the rising popularity of manga and anime in the Middle East could help contribute to the series and industry’s international success even further, making Detective Conan a force to be reckoned with on the silver screen.
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