Detective Conan is a massive, world-famous franchise. Since the manga began in 1994, the franchise has spawned a long-running anime series, a live-action drama, a boat-load of videogames and 23 movies. The 24th Detective Conan movie, Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet, is hitting cinemas in April, making this the perfect time to get re-acquainted with the series. But of the 23 films, which are the best?
Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street
It was only a matter of time before Detective Conan crossed over with Sherlock Holmes, but The Phantom of Baker Street tackles the concept in a very unique way. Hiroki Sawada, a child prodigy, has built an AI called Noah's Ark. However, when he jumps off a building, everyone rules it as a suicide. Two years later, Schindler Inc is showing off their virtual reality game system Cocoon. However, when Conan and some kids test the game, Noah's Ark takes control and threatens to kill the kids in the real world if they don't beat one of the games.
Conan decides to play a Sherlock Holme's themed mystery where he must track down Jack The Ripper. It is so much fun seeing Conan in the traditional London setting, and while the virtual reality setup is a bit silly, the film is an enjoyable romp. And it is also a rare chance to see Conan's father Yusaku Kudo do some solo detective work.
This was the last Detective Conan film to be dubbed by FUNimation Entertainment, so it actually received a dubbed DVD release in America.
Detective Conan: The Raven Chaser
The 13th film in the franchise, The Raven Chaser, sees Conan trying to solve a murder where a man's car's brakes were cut, causing him to crash into a toll booth. However, the man's mysterious last words and the mahjong tile found next to his body suggest something deeper is at work. In fact, it seems that this murder is linked to several others across Tokyo. And, to make matters worse, the evil Black Organization is tangled up in the case.
The film was massively popular when it came out, getting nominated for Best Animated Film at the Japanese Academy Awards, and it isn't hard to see why. The film has a fantastic plot full of mystery, action and drama. It is also a great chance to see Conan's nemesis, the Black Organization, in action.
The movie had a DVD and Blu-ray release in Japan and some European territories in 2009.
Detective Conan: Captured In Her Eyes
The fourth movie, Captured In Her Eyes, sees Conan and his friends become witnesses to murder. When a police officer is gunned down by a man with an umbrella gun, the group has to hunt down the perpetrator. During this, Ran sees another murder and gets a clear view of the killer. But she gets amnesia, leaving her both confused and a target.
This case is much more grounded than those that would come later in the franchise. The mystery is gripping and well thought out, but it's Ran's amnesia that makes this movie so good. The movie's exploration of her relationship with Shinichi Kudo and how him turning into Conan has affected them both is wonderfully done.
Like all of the early Detective Conan movies, this one was dubbed by FUNimation Entertainment and released on DVD in the US.
Detective Conan: The Last Wizard of the Century
1999's The Last Wizard of the Century sees master thief Kaito Kid stealing a Fabergé egg. However, as the police chase the Kaito Kid, someone shoots him in the right eye, causing him to fall to his death. While hunting for the killer, Conan ends up having to track down a second egg and gets involved in a strange historical mystery that stretches back hundreds of years, all while more murders happen.
This movie is an exciting film that adds some fun adventure elements to the show's mystery formula. It is also packed full of twists and turns without becoming silly. Kaito Kid is a fan-favorite character for a reason, and his uneasy dynamic with Conan is always a joy to watch.
Dubbed by FUNimation Entertainment, this movie had a direct-to-DVD release in 2009.
Detective Conan: Countdown to Heaven
Countdown To Heaven was the fifth Detective Conan movie, released in 2009. When Conan, Ai Haibara and the Detective Boys Club tour the new Nishitamashi Twin Towers, things take a turn for the worse when a council member called Iwamatsu Oki is found murdered with a broken sake cup near his body. On top of this, both Gin and Vodka, two agents from the Black Organization, are seen in the tower. Are they involved in the murder, or are they involved in some other sinister plan?
Countdown To Heaven has a fantastic mystery that will keep you guessing the whole time, especially as each suspect has perfectly valid motives. The Black Organization also adds a fun twist to proceedings. They make things even more unpredictable and make the drama even more intense. There is also an interesting subplot that looks at the complex web of feelings and relationships within the main cast, helping flesh out some of the lesser-seen background characters.
This film received an English dub by FUNimation Entertainment that was released in 2010.