This is where the story begins, boys and girls. The story of a high school detective that comes across a problem he'll be tackling for quite some time.
I think that FUNIMATION did a good job with this release Stateside. Although there are things I could pick at, like the change in names for the main characters, I will focus on the positive aspects.
First let's get the presentation out of the way. The DVD packaging and menu design is well done. I think it fits in nicely with the detective theme of the series. Video is mostly the original Japanese video, however depending on your setup, title cards may be displayed in either Japanese or English. This is a little different from the original release of these first few episodes, which also had the edited English video (which mainly just concerns onscreen text). The subtitles are done well. This is a 2-disc set, so you are presented with the first nine episodes of the series, which is a good deal. These are:
1. "The Big Shrink" / "Roller Coaster Murder Case" (English title/ Original Japanese translated title)
2. "The Kidnapped Debutante" / "Company President's Daughter Kidnapping Case"
3. "Beware of Idols" / "An Idol's Locked Room Murder Case"
4. "Fish Marks the Spot" / "The Coded Map of the City Case"
5. "The Time Bomb Express" / "The Shinkansen's Bomb Case"
6. "Tragic Valentine" / "Valentine Murder Case"
7. "The Case of the Mysterious Gifts" / "Once-A-Month Present Threat Case"
8. "The Art Museum Murder Case" / "Art Museum Owner Murder Case"
9. "Festival Fiasco" / "Tenkaichi Night Festival Murder Case"
The story is pretty good, though it may take time to get into it. I would definitely hold off on judging it just from the first episode, as the first two episodes together give you an idea of what the story is really going to be about. A wide range of cases are presented here, from murders, hidden treasure, suicides, and even bombings. They really keep you thinking. The principal cast is all introduced, save some that come in later seasons of course. This is a very long series, and the mysteries typically get more involved as it progresses, but many of those in this set are classics.
In regards to sound: The English dubbing is fine. I think that the voice actors did a good job. What I am more impressed with is FUNIMATION's decision to have the opening and closing songs redone in English. The singers pull it off well. However, I think that the original Japanese audio is the way to view it if you really want to know the story and get an idea of how the characters are intended to be portrayed. Conan's voice actress is simply amazing, and Mouri Kogoro's gives a very spirited and humorous performance, just to cite two. The English doesn't stray in terms of dialouge too often, but there are subtle differences, especially in some cases. The soundtrack is amazing, as Katsuo Ohno delivers a spectacular array of memorable music.
If you are thinking about getting into this series, I highly recommend this DVD. Of course, you could get much more now with the Case Closed: Season One set for a good price, complete with the first 26 episodes. The downside of those is that some edits exist, and the original Japanese title cards and ending credits are not on there at all. Its a mixed bag, but if you don't care about all of that, then those sets would be the better choice. The edits are minor in these episodes. However, if you want a more complete experience, then this is the best way to start. The other starter DVD, Case Closed - The Secret Life of Jimmy Kudo (Season 1 Vol. 1), has a few more extras, but there is no DVD that follows it in that set, unfortunately. Whatever set you choose, I suggest you get into the series quickly, and examine the facts that lead to the one and only prevailing truth!