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4.0 out of 5 stars Double trouble, 16 May 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Case Closed: Double Feature [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Conan Edogawa is a very unusual detective -- the tiny bespectacled first-grader is actually teenage detective Jimmy Kudo, shrunk by an experimental poison and hiding under an assumed identity. And "Case Closed: Double Feature" brings together the first two movies involving this odd sleuth: one is a more straightforward tale of bombs, terror and cat-and-mouse games, while the second is a classic stuck-in-a-building-with-a-room-of-suspects mystery.

In "The Time Bombed Skyscraper," Conan has just solved a difficult case and going to a tea party held by eminent architect Leo Joel. But he has a problem that even he can't solve -- Rachel is determined to see a movie with Jimmy (Conan's true identity) on his birthday, and she won't take no for an answer. But then a far worse problem arises when a strange man calls Jimmy's phone, and challenges him to find bombs he's set in the city -- one is set near Conan's not-too-bright little friends, and the other in a crowded public square.

But then the ante is upped when bombs are set somewhere in the local train system, and if any of the trains slow down below a certain speed, they'll be blown up. Now only the teeny tiny detective can uncover the madman behind these bombings, and the deep-seated obsessions that are driving him... but will he figure it out before the bomber's last round of explosions causes his biggest bang yet? And even worse, will Rachel blow up with it?

Then "The 14th Target" becomes an issue -- someone is unleashing bizarre attacks on people that Richard knows who are connected to certain numbers (or, if you watch the Japanese dub, have a number in their names) -- with symbols of playing cards left at the scene of the crime. As the crimes pile up (including Dr. Agasa getting shot in the butt), the police unveil a possible suspect -- a recently released convict who Richard shot and put away over ten years ago, injuring Ava in the process.

But the real danger comes when Richard and Maguire try to warn a wealthy magnate at his floating resort, and find themselves with a large number of potential victims -- a model, a sommelier, a photographer, an American businessman, a food writer, a cop and Richard himself. But soon the resort is sealed off, and people start being murdered again. And Jimmy realizes that the suspected man is not the culprit... but one of the guests is.

Honestly I'm not impressed by the quality of many anime movies adapted from a TV series, but "Case Closed: Double Feature" is a pretty satisfying pair of films. The first is more of an explosive thriller with a fairly obvious villain (complete with a wire-snipping climax in a collapsing building), while the second is more of a classic whodunnit peppered with red herrings and clues.

And since these are movies, the writers up the ante a little by adding helicopter crashes, bombs, collapsing buildings and a deadly standoff with guns; unfortunately the Anglicized names make some parts of both plots... contrived to say the least. There are also some cute little romantic moments (including an underwater rescue and a conversation through a steel door) between Jimmy/Conan and Rachel, and a few spatterings of comic relief -- but the real focus is on very deadly mysteries.

Conan himslf is a likeable little guy who gets some high-speed chases, clever deductions and sinister phone calls along the way, while Rachel wrestles with a terrible old memory she apparently repressed for years. And while Richard remains a huge goofball, he does get to shine at times during the second movie, where we see him as a fairly competent cop and detective... not to mention a crack shot.

"Case Closed: Double Feature" brings together two enjoyable anime movies, one a thriller and one a whodunnit. It's a fun way to spend an afternoon, and sticks pretty closely to the television series.
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Case Closed: Double Feature [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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