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Case Closed: Countdown to Heaven (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 15, 2010 by  



Action-packed and filled with suspense! The fifth “Case Closed” (Meitantei Conan) film features the return of the Black Organization.  An enjoyable film!

Image courtesy of © Gosho Aoyama/Shogakukuan-Yomiuri-TV-Universal Music-Sho-Pro-Toho-TMS. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Case Closed: Countdown to Heaven

DURATION: 100 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, Japanese Stereo, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: December 15, 2009

Originally Created by Gosho Aoyama

Directed by Kenji Kodama

Screenplay: Kazunari Kouchi

Storyboard: Kenji Kodama

Music by Katsuo Ono

Character Designs by Masaaki Sudoh

Art Director: Yukihiro Shibutani

Chief Animation Director: Junko Yamanaka, Kei Hyoudou, Masaaki Sudoh, Yoshihiro Shimizu

Animation Director: Makoto Sato

Art Design: Hiroyuki Mitsumoto, Kazunari Roppongi

Producer: Masahito Yoshioka, Michiko Suwa

Anime Production by Kokuichi Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kappei Yamaguchi/Jerry Jewell as Kaitou (Phantom Thief) Kid, Shinichi (Jimmy) Kudou

Minami Takayama/Alison Viktorin as Conan Edogawa

Kaneto Shiozawa/Eric Vale as Inspector Shiratori (Inspector Santos)

Chafurin/Mark Stoddard as Detective Megure (Inspector Joseph Megure)

Akio Ohtsuka as Inui Shoichi

Akira Kamiya/R. Bruce Elliott as Kogoroh Mohri (Richard Moore)

Kenichi Ogata/Bill Flynn as Dr. Agatha (Dr. Agasa)

Megumi Hayashibara as Ai Haibara (Vye Blackthorn)

Mitsuru Miyamoto as Nishino Makoto

As the grand opening of a pair of towers nears, death and mayhem mars the fresh start to the architectural marvels. Conan, suspecting that the mysterious Black Organization that poisoned and left him for dead of being involved, goes to investigate. But soon finds himself in harm’s way, trapped, as the buildings are set to blow.

“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 have released several of the movies on DVD in Dec. 2009. “Cased Closed: Countdown to Heaven” is the ffifth “Meitantei Conan” film that was in theaters in Japan back in April 2001. The film was directed by Kenji Kodama (director for the “City Hunter” films, “Case Closed” TV series, “Tales of the Abyss”, etc.) and a screenplay by Kazunari Kouchi (has written the screenplay for the TV series and all films). Character design is by Masaaki Sudoh (who worked on “Kekko Kamen” OAV and “Momotaro Densetsu”) and music by Katsuo Ono (“Lupin III vs. Detective Conan” special and the “Detective Conan” TV series and films).

For those not familiar with “Case Closed”, the TV series focuses on a popular high school detective named Jimmy Kudo (Shinichi Kudo). One day while going to an amusement park with his friend Rachel Moore (Ran Mohri), Jimmy saw two men, one man from the Black Organization suspiciously dealing something in the dark. Unbeknown to Jimmy, a man behind him had spotted him and hit him with a bat and forced him to ingest a poison capsule. Jimmy survived but the capsule somehow shrunk him to a child. If these thugs found out that Jimmy is still alive, they may hurt the people around him. So, his good friend Dr. Agasa (who helps Jimmy by building him gadgets which include a stun-gun wrist watch, voice changing bow-tie, solar powered skateboard and powerful shoes) suggested he wear a disguise. When Ran began asking who his name was, Jimmy replied Conan Edogawa.

So, in order to find out who the men are, he wound up living with Ran and her detective father, Richard Moore (Kogoro Mori). Only five people know Conan’s true identity: Dr. Agasa, both of Jimmy’s parents, Harley Hartwell (Hattori Heiji), popular detective from the high school in the west and Vye Graythorn (Shiho Miyano), a former member of the Black Organization who betrays the criminal group after the member Gin kills her older sister.

Together with some friends, Jimmy as Conan continues to take down criminals with his detective skills.

In the fifth movie, “Case Closed: Countdown to Heaven”, features the grand opening of Towers in Tokyo.  For some reason, Vye is behaving mysteriously and the Black Organization are now more intent in going after her and eliminating her but also intent in destroying the towers created by Tokiwa Corporation.

Meanwhile, several murders are happening for those who have a close connection to the towers and near each victim is a sake cup.  The investigators plus Conan and the Junior Detective League investigate who may be the culprit not knowing that the Black Organization has set up bombs throughout the whole building.  Can Conan and friends find out who the true murderer is and also escape the building in time?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Case Closed: Countdown to Heaven” is a film that came out back in April 2001. As the films move up each year, there is a noticeable difference in animation quality especially compared to the last four films.   Animation is detailed and much more vibrant and even more detail and shading on the surrounding and background artwork.

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 immersive soundscape.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Case Closed: Countdown in Heaven” 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: Countdown in Heaven”, what I enjoyed about this film is that we see the Black Organization once again but this time, they are really trying to cause some major death and destruction in this film.  From the beginning of the series, we have seen how both Jimmy (Conan) and Vye have been hurt by this criminal organization and both must live their lives as the adults in the body of young children.

Although the story is not yet completed and is still ongoing in Japan, anytime we can see Conan pitted against Gin and the Black Organization makes an exciting film.  Also, you get to see emotions come in to play as members of the Junior Detective start to like other members in the crew and although we know that Jimmy will always have his heart for Rachel, you get that sense that Vye may have something for Jimmy as well.

Similar to the previous films, one can enjoy this film without watching the TV series because the basics are introduced in the beginning of the film.  From how Jimmy became Conan, who the Black Organization is, who the main and supporting characters are and also the gadgets that Conan and the Junior Detective use.

And 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: Countdown to Heaven” is another enjoyable, suspense and action heavy film and if you are curious about the series or characters, this release is perfect as an added addition to your “Case Closed” collection or as a stand-alone film.






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