Saturday, October 31, 2015

Suitable for Framing

『名探偵コナン 業火の向日葵』

"You'll definitely end up in regrets if all you'll do is look at him."
"Detective Conan: Sunflowers of Inferno

A friend told me today that in the Korean version of the anime of Detective Conan, Shinichi is called Doyle. Which would mean that Doyle decided to use Conan as a fake name when he was changed into a kid. Which is like the most stupid name you could ever choose as a secret alias.

Detective Conan manga & movies:
Part 1: Volumes 1 ~ 10
Part 2: Volumes 11~20; The Timebombed Skyscraper (1) / The Fourteenth Target (2)
Part 3: Volumes 21~30; The Last Wizard of the Century (3) / Captured in Her Eyes (4)
Part 4: Volumes 31~40; Countdown to Heaven (5) / The Phantom of Baker Street (6)
Part 5: Volumes 41~50; Crossroad in the Ancient Capital (7) / Magician of the Silver Sky (8) / Strategy Above the Depths (9)
Part 6:  Volumes 51~60; Private Eyes' Requiem (10) / Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure (11)
Part 7: Volumes 61~70; Full Score of Fear (12) / The Raven Chaser (13) / Lost Ship in the Sky (14)
Part 8: Volumes 71~80; Quarter of Silence (15) / The Eleventh Striker (16) / Private Eye in the Distant Sea (17)
(You will find the links to the reviews of volume 70, 72~76, 78, 82~87 and the films Quarter of Silence (15), The Eleventh Striker (16), Private Eye in the Distant Sea (17), Dimensional Sniper (18) in the library)
The series of Sunflowers paintings Dutch painter Van Gogh made are perhaps his most famous works, so it's no wonder Suzuki Jiroukichi, general advisor to the Suzuki Zaibatsu, had to pay a fortune to get his hands on the recently discovered second painting of Sunflowers, which originally was thought to have been lost in a fire in Japan at the end of World War II. The purchase of the painting was the last move he had to make to complete a dream of his: to hold a special exhibit of all seven Sunflowers paintings in Japan. To protect the paintings, Suzuki Jiroukichi has also gathered his own "seven samurai," consisting of art and security experts, including the great "Sleeping Detective" Mouri Kogorou. And security is definitely needed, because the phantom thief KID appears to have an interest in the paintings. Or is it really KID? Because this time, the phantom thief is rather ruthless in his ways and doesn't even hesitate about using explosives... While Edogawa Conan, the brilliant high school student detective turned into a child, is trying to foil KID's attempts at theft, he also needs to figure out what KID's real motives are in the theatrical film Detective Conan: Sunflowers of Inferno (2015).

Trivia: this is the first Detective Conan film in over ten years that doesn't feature an English word in its title.

Detective Conan: Sunflowers of Inferno is the nineteenth film in the Detective Conan film franchise, released in April of this year. It continues the direction the annual Conan films have been taking since 2013's Private Eye in the Distant Sea, which was a break with the films released between 2002 ~ 2012 by featuring a different director and a distinctily different tone. Sakurai Takeharu, scriptwriter of Private Eye in the Distant Sea (and regular Aibou scriptwriter) returns for Sunflowers of Inferno, for a plot that is a lot less political than 2013's Private Eye in the Distant Sea and last year's Dimensional Sniper.

As a big Detective Conan fan, the annual theatrical releases are something I always look forward too, but an appearance by phantom thief KID is always good for bonus points with me, and with a slight Dutch angle through Van Gogh's Sunflowers, I knew I had to see this film. And I was... disappointed.

The film definitely has some good ideas. A mystery story surrounding art (history) was something that hadn't been done yet in Detective Conan films (and even in the manga, it's a topic used seldomly). There's an interesting background yarn about the Sunflowers and the concept of a planned theft of a painting of course has potential of providing an interesting (impossible) heist plot. In a sense, the film also reminds of the third Conan film, The Last Wizard of the Century, with a KID-related plot about a priceless piece of art.

But where does it go wrong? Well, for one, by now, every viewer of Detective Conan knows what kind of character phantom thief KID is, so there's no way anyone would believe that KID would use explosives and willingly endanger other people while stealing something. I'm not even sure whether the film really wants me to believe KID has gone rogue, because it does little to no effort to try to convince me, even though the dialogue apparently assumes we're all trembling in our seats because KID might've become more wild.

And because the film is mostly structured around the actions of KID, it results in a very boring film, because the film wants you to believe KID is a ruthless crook now, but you know it can't be. At the end, the whole mystery about KID's actions in this film is revealed, but this has to be one of the worst mystery plots in a Conan film ever, with basically no hints for the viewer and extremely weak either way. Even the anime original episodes of 25 minutes have better planned mystery plots than this film. And now I think about it, a KID story with a fairly similar reveal has already been done in the manga before.

Oh, and a major, minor gripe I have had for the last ten films or so: Please. Stop. Using. Guest. Voice Actors. I noted in my review of Private Eye in the Distant Sea that "nothing can be as bad as the guest voice acting in Quarter of Silence and The Eleventh Striker" but Sunflowers of Inferno also features an impressively bad performance by actress Eikura Nana. Was she as bad as Quarter of Silence's "" war photographer Watanabe Youichi, The Eleventh Striker's professional J-League soccer players who voiced themselves or The Raven Chaser's DAIGO basically being DAIGO? Perhaps not, but every year, it's incredibly easy to pick out who the guest voice actor is doing because of the immense difference in voice acting skills and it actually distracts.

Oh well, at least the soundtrack featured some nice remixes of the Detective Conan theme...

Anyway, Detective Conan: Sunflowers of Inferno was disappointing. Not only in comparison to the previous two (great) films, but in general as a Detective Conan film, as it features a rather flimsy mystery plot that doesn't work from the fundamentals on. Usually, I'd say that fans of the franchise might appreciate this film, but with Sunflowers of Inferno, it might actually be better if the viewer is less familiar with the series and characters. Ah, as as always, the credits were followed by a short after-credit-scene and a teaser for next year's Detective Conan film. It appears they're going for something big for the twentieth film, because the teaser err... teased Black Organization names, so this might be become a The Raven Chaser-esque film! Which is something I'd LOOOOVE.

Original Japanese title(s):  『名探偵コナン 業火の向日葵』


  1. It's a pity this one was unable to deliver, considering it has KID going after Van Gogh's work, but surely it can't be as bad and boring as Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure. I still haven't progressed pass that movie, after all these years, because I sometimes feel I'm still watching it.

    Just out of curiosity, were there any Dutch (side) characters in the movie?

    1. No Dutch characters strangely enough, just some of the Seven Samurai who studied Van Gogh here.

      Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure is still a horrible film, but there have been great ones after that. I definitely recommend The Raven Chaser (13), Private Eye in the Distant Sea (17) and Dimensional Sniper (18). The Raven Chaser is best seen after vol. 59 (because a character is introduced then), but it's not essential. Dimensional Sniper should really be seen just before vol. 85 though.

  2. what's the point of introducing black org members in the next movie since we all know it's not canon anyway?

    1. The teaser didn't tease _new_ members though. But both Countdown to Heaven and The Raven Chaser rank among my favorite Conan films, so I sure don't have anything against them using the BO again, canon or not.

      And while the films are not really canon, they're not completely independent. Right before The Raven Chaser for example, the manga featured a story that would prove to be of importance to The Raven Chaser, and Dimensional Sniper actually revealed one of the series biggest "open secrets" way before the manga did.

    2. I believe RUM was stated to appear in the 20th film so there's something to wait for the manga also.

    3. Was that already mentioned? I've only seen the post-credits preview of Sunflowers of Inferno and the more recent teaser trailer, but neither of them mentioned Rum. Ah well, considering the timing, an appearance of Rum in any form (visible or not) seems likely.

  3. did you read the manga Gakkyu Hotei?

    1. Nope. I know of the title, but considering it was canceled rather fast and I heard next to nothing positieve about it...

    2. really? I thought it was excellent, 15/20

    3. I haven't read it, so I won't say anything about its qualities, but I know that the series was received very badly in Japan: that's why it was cancelled so incredibly fast (just three volumes, I think?)

    4. It's made by the Death Note duo. Great art and it's Ace Attorney-inspired elementary school series but that's about it. Not that good and nowhere near series like tantei gakuen q.

    Trailer for the next years movie is out.. Looks like Rum will be appearing soon in the story? I'm glad that Amuro gets to be on the big screen finally.

    1. I usually consider the December footage just a short preview, as there's always a full-length trailer released in the early months of the new year. It's got a "The Raven Chaser" feeling at the moment, and that's never a bad thing in my book.