For those who do not know yet, I have always enjoyed anime and manga. While I no longer have the time and attention to devote to newer series (save for one or two strongly recommended by friends), there are those from my younger years that I still keep tabs on, or those I keep on coming back to.
One that covers both criteria is Detective Conan. It has been going on for 22 years, with the manga series is near hitting 1000 chapters, and the anime series already boasts of 800+ episodes — not to mention its 20th movie, a good number of OVA series, and crossover specials. It is an inimitable tour de force, so despite it testing my patience, it is a series I keep coming back to. And so, I write the series this (love) letter…
Dear Detective Conan,
The year was 1997, when I first saw a picture of the first French-translated tankoubon (compilation) in a magazine. Shortly, within that same year, I saw the actual book on a store shelf. It would be easy to say that it was love at first sight. However, back then, as a middle school girl with limited pocket money, my fangirl heart was already committed to a different shounen (young men) series — older, shinier, and strongly appealed to my mahou shoujo (magical girl) preference. I had to leave you behind.
But I had never forgotten you — how could I, when your very name is so catchy, Detective Conan?
It was then around 2000~2001, a surge of anime series burst through the screens of Philippine television, and networks were battling to get the best titles licensed and dubbed in a fight for ratings supremacy. My heart caught as if in a start of an APTX 4869 fit (which did not proceed, thankfully!) when I saw those huge glasses, red bow tie and sneakers, blue jacket, shorts, and a soccer ball being kicked with near supernatural power.
There you were, little Detective Conan — from a colored tankoubon cover, come to life onto my TV screen. It was definitely nice to finally meet you.
Our… relationship felt like a summer vacation — it seemed to last forever while it lasted, and too short when it ended. The network, despite its proclaimed fight for network supremacy, was only willing to spend so much, that only a season or two actually aired.
It was not enough, I was sure of it; it was too short. Meeting you awakened in me a love for the mystery genre — one that I sought to fill with novels found in bargain bookstores. I have also indulged in other series. There were those that fulfilled shorter term longings like one-night stands; there were those that lingered because they left more to be discovered and loved; and then there were those that stayed for a while, only for me to leave them because they tested my patience in terms of translated and subtitled releases.
2006 came along, and translated manga sites became all the more common, and I thought to myself, “I wonder how Detective Conan’s doing?” I confess, I was actually afraid to find you done, and that all I would be left with are spoilers that I had to carefully wade through, like live ammunition in an abandoned battlefield. Imagine my surprise (a mix of pleasure and “… really??”) to find you with 600+ published manga chapters! I did not even bother to check the anime series because I was not very knowledgeable with BitTorrent back then — but the black and white pages more than satisfied me.
It was like meeting you all over again, as I started from Chapter 1, and spent the next few weeks catching up. It was like we never parted ways at all! How can I forget? My right arm was positioned in such a way while navigating the pages, that a nerve or two were pinched along my elbow and forearm, thus resulting in almost a week of pain and medication. Ah~ the things we do for love!
Well — my heart had grown not to be too attached, and I decided to just enjoy the series that came into my life. It was certain that it was not the last time we would see each other, and I certainly will not be the first and the last fan — your 140,000,000+ tankoubon sales can attest to that! I have come across series that made a mark on my life, and lead me to meet friends I would never have been able to, if not for them.
And now, it is 2015 — 18 years after I have first come across you in a French grocery store aisle. When I learned that you were still going strong, I had gone all tsundere, looking for reasons not to see you again: I had other passions, my time were dedicated elsewhere, and besides, it has been 21 years since Shinichi shrunk, and he is still nowhere close to defeating the Black Organization!
All it took was a viewing of the 16th movie…
… and I thought, “Wait — why am I trying to apply real-world logic to this? I mean, Detective Conan does pull from real world elements most of the time, but it remains to be a shounen fantasy series! It ain’t real!”
So, yes, Ran Mouri can wait for Shinichi no matter how long! No, the movies are not considered canon, but there is the joy of the viewers and fans to piece things together as they wish! Mystery plots have already been recycled in some form, but which successful long-running series has not done that? The cast seems to be stuck in a yearly/seasonal Groundhog Day in which the cast is transported forward in time, but move as if they had been part of that world all along. I can choose to be peeved, but instead, I look back at a former love that has done the same to achieve its longevity and cross-generational success: Archie.
At this point, I only wish to be able to follow the main story line — the meat of the series — and be able to see the end as the author wishes to see it end. It has been said that stories, even if fictional, can bring an impact to our lives, aside from simply entertaining us. Few series has done that for me: The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Fullmetal Alchemist…
And so, I am happy to say that Detective Conan is part of that list. I might not be able to start from Chapter/Episode 1 anymore, but I will be glad to browse through chapters/episodes that are key to the plot, and the movies, until I am able to catch up with the current chapters. Regardless, I know that I am in for a fun and engaging ride!
… but seriously, I hope I am still alive to see this series’ ending. 😛 Unlike Ran, I am not very good at waiting!