Case Closed (otherwise known as Detective Conan) is just about the longest running anime franchise in history. The series began in 1996 and since then it's gone on to gather well over 500 episodes and multiple films. The series is still running in Japan and here in the States FUNimation has taken on the daunting task of releasing it all in English. Recently they've been going through the full-length feature adventures of the young detective, and today we're looking at the third film in the franchise.
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: The Last Wizard of the Century, the Romanovs and Russian nobility come into play with a story that involves the Faberge Eggs and murder. A mysterious new egg is discovered in the possession of Sonoko's father and instantly becomes a sought after prize, but it comes at a cost. It draws the attention of the Phantom Theif, Kaito Kid, who makes the bold claim that he will steal the egg and there's basically nothing anyone can do about it. Not only is Kaito after it, but people from Russia and the media are also clamoring for it. Unfortunately there's also someone known as the Scorpion in the mix as well.
The Scorpion has a thing for shooting people in the eye and naturally that doesn't sit well with Conan and the gang. With the hands of the Junior Detective League full one mystery after another pile on top of the egg and murders. Patterns slowly begin to develop and storylines come together in a way that feels very natural. This was one of the better Case Closed adventures I've seen and if you're a fan of the show I don't want to reveal anything. Let's just say there are plenty of surprises and leave it at that.
After watching many episodes of the show, digging into the films has been a real treat. These are so much more than just extended episodes and they really stand out on their own for their own merits. Sure there's virtually no character development for the main cast, but there doesn't have to be. They already grow in the series and merely get caught up in the events surrounding the murders in these films. The Last Wizard of the Century is certainly worth checking out if you're a fan of the show, or even a newcomer. It's welcoming for both and is truly entertaining.
Case Closed: The Last Wizard of the Century 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 1999 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: The Last Wizard of the Century continues the trend of other Case Closed movies by offering a quality adventure from start to finish. It's a blast and presents a mystery that will keep you guessing right until the end. I really enjoyed the direction the creative team took with Romanov storyline and felt they went out of their way to make it feel fresh. Add in a series of murders and one frustrated Conan and you have a solid film that is quite entertaining. This piece is so much more than just an extended episode of the show and should be considered strongly recommended.
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