Beginning in 1996, Case Closed (also known as Detective Conan) has become one of the longest running anime franchises. With over 500 episodes and climbing the series is grandiose by anyone's standards and you have to applaud FUNimation for taking on the task of releasing such a series here in the States. While several seasons have already hit store shelves the leading anime publisher in America has been tackling the films as well. As with the episodes there are several animated features so it's only fitting that FUNimation stagger their release.
Because Case Closed is such a well-known series, it's virtually impossible for an anime lover not to know it. Even so, there might be a segment of the population out there who may know the title only, and not what it's all about.
The series follows the life of a young detective named Jimmy Kudo. He's a high school student who is regarded as a genius and all around top investigative mind. His curiosity gets the better of him while at an amusement park and he unwittingly witnesses a crime. At that very moment he was attacked and fed a poison, but instead of killing him the poison gave him a new life of sorts. When he woke up he discovered he shrunk considerably and his aged reversed to that of a young boy. Donning the alias, Conan Edogawa, Jimmy continues his detective work with the assistance of a scientist who develops gadgets for him, and some of his new classmates. They form the Junior Detective League and solve crimes that stump the local authorities.
In Case Closed: Captured in Her Eyes the premise is somewhat similar to what we've seen in other movies from the series. The plot involves a murder investigation where Conan must figure out who is behind the string of murders in order to keep more bodies from dropping. That's entertaining on a base level, but in all honesty the fact that every Case Closed movie I've seen involves a plot like this it leaves this one feeling a little stale. Where it gets interesting is the involvement of the show's under-used characters and the shift in focus from Conan to others.
From reading the title of this film, one may wonder just who "her" is. In this case it's Rachel, the girl of Conan's/Jimmy's dreams. She witnesses one of the murders and in turn becomes the next targeted victim. Unfortunately for Rachel (and for the film to some extent) she's struck with a case of amnesia due to the trauma from the event. It's an age-old plot device that's been used ad nauseam and it's a shame to see a rather intelligent detective show such as this pull out such an old cliché. Not surprising mind you, just a shame.
In true amnesia-curing fashion Conan and the gang have to bring Rachel to a place she should know very well. With plenty of ties to the start of the series and the very first episode, it was nice to see Conan and Rachel back at the amusement park where everything started. From here events unfold that leave Conan questioning whether or not Rachel would be better off not knowing him. It's familiar territory for anyone who has ever watched a storyline where someone loses their memory. Ultimately the murder mystery plot wins out, but the reveal is kind of a let-down and rather predictable.
Captured in Her Eyes is an entertaining Case Closed film, but it's certainly not the best I've seen. I enjoyed the character interactions and some elements of the plot, but things are just too generic all around. It really makes the movie feel flat in some respects, and merely like an extended episode in others. Overall it's worth picking up for fans of the show, but anyone not a diehard Case Closed fan may find themselves bored somewhere along the way.
Case Closed: Captured in Her Eyes is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio that has been enhanced for anamorphic playback. The film looks very good with high quality animation and solid, attractive designs. Despite this, the movie looks quite aged as it features a nominal amount of grain and somewhat washed out colors. Considering the film was released in 2000 these bits were probably part of the design to retain the look of the series. Overall the film isn't bad looking by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not exactly going to wow the pants off you either. Not that you want your pants to be wowed off while watching a show filled with junior detectives...
English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround and Japanese 2.0 stereo are offered here for selectable audio tracks. The quality of the dubs for both was quite good, though I felt the Japanese cast was the better of the two. As far as the presentation is concerned both tracks were a little flat, though the English offering did have some more channel diversification. The use of the channels was minimal, but effective at times though nothing really stood out as noteworthy.
Some trailers are all you're going to find on this disc for bonus features.
Case Closed: Captured in Her Eyes stands in a long lineup of films from the franchise. The movie is like the others we've seen in the sense that it involves a murder mystery, but it differs in the presentation of that plot. Rachel's amnesia is both a blessing and a curse as it provides good and generic moments for the movie. Ultimately the film feels like an extended episode from the show, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but fans should have that expectation going in. Consider it recommended if you like the show, but everyone else can easily skip it and go on living.
Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!