"Meitantei Conan" or "Detective Conan" ("Case Closed" in the U.S.) has been one of the longest running manga and anime series in Japan. Written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama and featured in Weekly Shonen Sunday since 1994, the anime series which started back in 1996 is well-nearing 600-episodes and 14 movies have been released in Japan.
FUNimation Entertainment has recently released the sixth film of "Case Closed" titled "The Phantom of Baker Street". The film was shown in theaters on April 2002 and is the first film in the series written by Hisashi Nozawa and would once again feature a collaboration with Japanese rock band B'z who would sing the ending theme song "Everlasting".
In the sixth movie, "Case Closed: Phantom of Baker Street", the film begins with a news report about a 10-year-old kid named Hiroki Sawada who is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The child is known for developing the DNA Search Program which can trace ancestors using skin and blood data and now developing a mechanical brain known as "Noah's Ark" which has grown five years old in one year.
We then see the young Hiroki initiate a program on his computer and says goodbye to it, alarms go on and his father and security go to check on him, they then realize that Hiroki has jumped off the building and has killed himself.
We then see Conan and the members of the Junior Detective League, Rachel and many others trying out a new virtual game to test out their detective skills. So, Conan and the Junior Detective League must go to virtual 19th Century London and participate in the game. But suddenly the artificial intelligence behind the game, Noah's Ark, has shut down any possibility for the detectives to exit the game and now the game becomes real. If they don't finish the game, each will die.
Noah's Ark has a goal is to reset society and eliminate children who were born from corrupt politicians and greedy doctors. If anyone tries to rescue them, they will also die.
So, Conan and the Junior Detectives are now in a virtual world where Jack the Ripper lives. Now, they must now try and find out how to catch the serial killer or else they will be killed.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street" is a film that came out back in April 2002. As the "Cased Closed" films move up each year, there is a noticeable difference in animation quality especially compared to the previous five films. Animation is detailed and much more vibrant and even more detail and shading on the surrounding and background artwork. This latest film does use of CG effects work but for the most part, animation and character designs are on par with the last film. Art backgrounds are detailed at times and well-painted, while character designs are similar as they were in previous films.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 English and Japanese Stereo. English audio dialogue is clear from the center and music and sound effects are more front channel driven. Voice acting is well done for the English dub but for those who followed the Japanese series may get confused by the changing of the names. Japanese audio is well-done and for those who have a modern home theater receiver and a 5.1, 7.2 or higher setup, my preference was to have audio set on all channels for a more immerse soundscape.
Subtitles are in English.
"Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street" comes with FUNimation Entertainment trailers only.
I grew up with "Meitantei Conan" and I own several Japanese manga volumes which helped me learn Japanese and have watched the original Japanese anime series including the Japanese drama. But I have never seen any of the animated films before, so it was a pleasure to see FUNimation Entertainment show their dedication in releasing the films in the US.
As for "Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street", I knew one of these days there would be a film based on a virtual reality detective case (ala "Star Trek: The Next Generation" award winning episode "The Big Goodbye") and what best than to take on one of the mot notorious unsolved cases in world's history, the murders caused by Jack the Ripper. Especially how the writers would try to connect Jack the Ripper to modern times but also once again, showing how much Rachel cares about Jimmy and also would go out lengths to protect Conan.
It's important to note that one watching these films do not need to watch the TV series because the films do a good job introducing the characters especially how Jimmy Kudo became Conan. So, pretty much everyone can get into the films quite easily.
Like the previous films on DVD, there are no special features included but the FUNimation Entertainment trailers. I do wish that in future releases of films on DVD, the theatrical and teaser trailers and even the television commercials would be included.
Overall, "Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street" is another enjoyable "Cased Closed" film featuring Conan, Rachel and the Junior Detectives taking on another major case and film once again worth checking out!