Movie 02: “The Fourteenth Target”
Original Japanese Premiere Date: April 18, 1998
Original American Release Date: November 20, 2007
Original Version Written By: Kazunari Kochi
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Mike McFarland
American Version Directed By: Zach Bolton
Detective Conan’s sophomore theatrical effort is structurally better than its first, and I think that’s due to a more personal story. The increased focus on Kogoro, as well as the important Mori family back-story that holds the film together, makes it much easier for the audience to invest in the mystery. The whole thing starts off with a great premise, though it starts to wear thin about halfway through the film. The movie’s at its most enjoyable when the focus is on Kogoro’s past and the various attacks on the main characters, but after Megure, Eri, and Professor Agasa are attacked, we’re expected to place our sympathy with an ensemble of generic possible victims/suspects who we’ve never met before and don’t know anything about. Once this occurs, the whole story becomes less grand in scale and a little more overly familiar for the series.
The scenes focusing on Kogoro and Ran are definitely the movie’s biggest strengths, providing enough emotional depth for the whole production to stand out as something special. The additional main character moments are also a pleasure, such as the obligatory Ran/Conan moments and the dinner scene at the French restaurant. It’s just a shame that the emotional moments take the backseat in favor of another familiar “pick the killer out of a group of random people” plot for the second half of the film. In fact, it’s almost as if the murder cases themselves are a hindrance in this movie, and though the overarching mystery is compelling on its own, any emotional character progression comes to a halt when the main murder plot comes into focus. It all comes together and pays off in spades (pun intended) during the superb climax, but there’s a definite lack of balance between the two plots throughout the overall film.
This is one of the most infamous dubs in the series’ history due to the changes made to make the playing card puzzle understandable with the American version’s name changes. We also get the introduction of an entirely new problem: TMS Entertainment’s video edits. FUNimation luckily received the original, unaltered version of the first Conan film, but this time we’re not as lucky. FUNi was given the altered, international version of the film, which is full of edits to the footage. This film sadly endures the worst of both worlds as TMS’ video edits are combined with FUNi’s Americanization of the script. The result is a dub full of changes, but we’ll get to those later.
Regarding acting, the main cast returns and does a spectacular job as usual (even Julie Mayfield as Eva, who had only voiced her character once before this film was dubbed). I really wish they hadn’t cast Chuck Huber as the main villain since he’s voiced so many jerks throughout this series that you can almost guess his character is the villain just from his voice alone. He does an admirable job trying to live up to Ryusei Nakao’s sinister performance from the Japanese version, but I still wish they had cast someone less recognizable.
All of the film’s vocal songs are faithfully dubbed into English, with one exception (covered below).
Name Conversion Guide
Juzo Megure = Joseph Meguire
Joe Murakami = Jake T. Marano
Eimei Shishido = Emilio Cantore
Minoru Nishina = Mason Norfolk
Nana Osanai = Nina Oliver
Katsuyoshi Asahi = Kristopher Ashton
Hiroki Tsuji = Henry Tish
Kohei Sawaki = Kevin Simms
Towako Okano = Tammy Diez
Toto Bay = North Owen Lake
Yamanashi = Nappa Valley
Peter Ford is lucky enough to keep his already-American name. Eri Kisaki’s secretary is named Jill in the dub. During the motorcycle chase scene, one of the roads is referred to as Hartford Boulevard in the dub. The Ferrari F40 goes unnamed in the American version as well. The name of the photo album that Eimei took pictures of Joe Murakami for is changed from “Portraits of Criminals” to “Portrait of Evil.” Minoru’s “Restaurants in Paris” book is renamed “Parisian Dining.” Lastly, the helicopter that appears in the film’s climax is apparently codenamed “Ashton 4” in the American version.
Conan’s reason for dreading the dinner date with Ran, Eri, and Kogoro is changed. Originally, he didn’t want to go because he can’t stand being around Eri. In the dub, Conan’s lack of excitement towards going to dinner is due to the fact that the Moore family always chooses “the worst restaurants.”
As expected, the film’s title card is changed for the dub.
Unfortunately, since FUNimation only received the edited version of the film from TMS, the original footage can’t be accessed on the DVD like it could be on movie one’s disc.
The area of the film that suffers most from TMS’ edits is the opening credits sequence. In order to remove those pesky Japanese credits, almost every scene in the entire opening is either freeze-framed or zoomed in. So, let’s take a look at which movie-two-exclusive scenes were edited and how they were done.
The scene of Inspector Megure and Officer Shiratori walking away with a female criminal, as well as the following scene of Kogoro waking up and being startled by the cameras, is zoomed in to crop out the Japanese credits.
The scene of Conan giving the “victory” hand symbol and Professor Agasa clearing his throat was originally fully animated. We originally got to see Agasa walk onscreen before turning around and clearing his throat. This is reduced to a simple freeze-frame in the edited version.
The scene where Conan shows the audience how his Stun-Gun Wrist-Watch works is also freeze-framed. The camera slowly pans around Conan, after which Kogoro walks onscreen, only to be shot with the tranquilizer dart. This fully animated sequence is reduced to two freeze-frames: one of Conan holding up his watch and one of Kogoro’s reaction immediately after Conan’s dart hits him.
The scene of Conan running behind the chair as Kogoro falls into it is zoomed in.
The freeze-frame shot of the Voice-Changing Bow-Tie is extended by seven seconds, completely removing a scene of Conan talking into his bow-tie as images of the various characters he imitates with it pass by in the background.
The scene of Conan kicking the soccer ball is zoomed in, as is the scene of him running with the Solar-Powered Skateboard.
The following scene of Conan riding the skateboard is also zoomed in.
Conan takes a few seconds to show us his Elasticity Suspenders, but we barely get to see them in the edited version due to the zoomed-in shot.
The scene of Conan pulling his suspenders tight is freeze-framed, so we don’t get to see him turn around and bend down to attach them to the floor in the following shot. Speaking of that shot, it’s zoomed in as well.
The final scene of the opening is freeze-framed. The edited version freezes right in the middle of Conan’s walking, creating quite an awkward transition when the scene un-freezes and he’s standing in a completely different position with a completely different background behind him.
A gray box is placed over the establishing shot of the Beika Prison to cover up the Japanese text.
A few seconds later, another gray box is placed over Joe Murakami’s information text.
Interestingly, FUNi still decides to change the characters’ names even though the English text boxes use the Japanese names. It’s quite confusing to hear a character’s dub name in the dialogue when there’s a big gray box at the bottom of the screen showing a completely different name.
The results of Ayumi’s fortune-telling game are changed in the dub. Originally, the game flat-out tells her that she and Conan are a perfect match. The dub is more indirect about this, however, with the game only telling Amy that her true love’s name begins with the letter “C.”
Next, when Ayumi puts Conan’s information into the game, it says that his true love is fast approaching. Ayumi, of course, gets excited and assumes the game is talking about her. In the dub, the game tells Amy that Conan’s true love will lead him to the letter “A.”
Since the game later announces that an “A” is in Conan’s future, this change was likely made to transition into that prediction more smoothly. This leads to another dialogue edit…
The kids begin discussing the possible significance of the letter “A.” Mitsuhiko points out that “A” comes before “B,” which leads Genta to make a reference to fried shrimp (“ebi,” which sounds like “A-B”). Ayumi originally thinks that “A” means “kiss,” but throws that belief aside when she hears Genta’s “deduction.” The joke here is that “A” really does mean “kiss,” so Ayumi was right all along.
You see, in Japan, relationships can be defined by letters, similar to how we in America refer to relationship stages by baseball terms (getting to “first base,” etc.). “A” refers to a kiss, while “C” represents going “all the way.” So the “A” is predicting that a kiss is in Conan’s future.
All of that Japanese wordplay is hard to adapt into an English script, so this conversation is changed for the dub. Mitch still points out that “A” comes before “B” and uses this to guess that the letter “B” could represent a “second stage (in life).” George then comments that the “second stage” could be a second helping of food, with Amy finally guessing that it could represent going from first to second base (in dating terms, of course).
The point here is that this is all foreshadowing to the scene when Ran kisses Conan later in the film. This is referenced a few times throughout the movie (like when Ran leans in to wipe food off Conan’s face at the French restaurant), but since the dub never addresses that the fortune is talking about a kiss, this foreshadowing is lost in the American version.
The establishing shot of the Aviation Memorial Museum is edited as well.
In the Japanese version, the kids have to be in the fifth grade or higher to ride the helicopter simulator. In the dub, they have to be in the sixth grade or higher. We learn from Conan’s inner monologue that he “played it to death” when he was in fifth grade, but in the dub, he says he played it when he was in tenth grade. He also calls the simulator “lame” in the dub, whereas in the Japanese version, he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. What pointless changes.
Each Conan movie has a “riddle quiz” scene, filled to the brim with that cuh-razy Japanese wordplay. Movie one’s riddle was adapted very faithfully, but this movie’s quiz is slightly rewritten. The subject of the riddle is the same no matter which version you watch: three people were born on different days and we have to use those dates (as well as the “Pegasus” hint) to find out the name of their group. Also, in both versions, the name of the group is “reindeer.”
In the Japanese version, the people were born on New Year’s Day (January 1st, or 01/01), April Fool’s Day (April 1st, or 04/01), and Children’s Day (May 5th, or 05/05). When you add those days and months up, you get October 7th, or 10/07. The club’s name is the Tonakai (which means “reindeer”). The “to” stands for 10, the “na” stands for 7, and “kai” stands for “club.”
The riddle is simplified for the dub. In the English riddle, the three people were born on December 3rd, December 7th, and December 13th. When you add up the days, you get December 25th (Christmas Day). Reindeer fly through the sky to pull Santa’s sleigh at Christmastime.
Of course, since the Japanese pun is removed from the dub, the “10,” “7,” and Japanese character for “Kai” all seem incredibly random when they pop onscreen in the American version of the movie. Sadly, it couldn’t be helped.
As our suspects are introduced, we get a few more gray info boxes. First up is Eimei Shishido.
Minoru Nishina’s information is also translated.
Up next is Nana Osanai.
Katsuyoshi Asahi’s information is translated next.
Then we take a little break from character names to translate the name of the French restaurant.
Last but not least, Hiroki Tsuji’s information is translated as well.
It’s worth noting that just like with Joe Murakami, all of these characters are renamed in the dub, making these boxes with the Japanese names very awkward and confusing. Couldn’t FUNi have at least put the dub names into the gray boxes, or better yet, ask TMS to give them the unedited Japanese video?
Richard refers to Eva as his ex-wife, even though they never got divorced. This is a common mistake in the dub.
A few seconds later, Kogoro states that Hiroki’s Golf Championship begins “next Thursday” in the original version, but the dub changes this so that it begins “in a couple of weeks.” Also, Hiroki’s goal for the tournament is to finally get into the top ten ranking, but in the dub, Henry’s already ranked tenth (this will play further significance later). Finally, Hiroki plans on taking his helicopter for a ride “next Thursday” in the original version. For whatever reason, Thursday is changed to Sunday in the dub.
Kohei Sawaki gets gray boxed just like the other characters.
Also, I know I’m picking nits, but I can’t stand how the beginning of certain words aren’t capitalized in the English boxes. It just looks so sloppy.
Conan’s “Wow, for once they actually chose a place that has some pretty decent food” line is dub-only. Conan wasn’t saying or thinking anything originally.
The final character information boxes of the film are translated.
Of course, we still have a few more non-character boxes to cover. This one comes right after the scene at the French restaurant.
Then, once we go visit Megure at the hospital…
A few minutes later, right after Eri is poisoned…
After that, we take a trip to Professor Agasa’s house.
Then, after the motorcycle chase scene…
This shot of the Central Hospital is repeated later in the film. By the way, I’m really surprised no dialogue edits popped up between any of these shots. It was quite nice.
Now we come to the biggest change in the entire film: the name puzzle. Each victim’s name is somehow related to the numbers 1-13. This is done easily enough in the Japanese version, but for the dub to make sense, many explanations had to be rewritten. This chart records all of these changes. I kept it separate from the actual comparison because it’s pretty darn long. It might be best to keep it open in a separate browser window while reading the main comparison.
I must admit, the reasons given for the dub names seem to be pretty sloppily thrown together. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of pattern between how any of these characters are linked to their respective numbers. In the Japanese version, they keep it simple: almost everyone’s name has the kanji for their respective number inside it. In the dub, though, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of system. First we’re going by the number of letters in someone’s last name, then we’re talking about how many kids somebody has, then we’re talking about how long one of the people went to a certain school? Where’s the consistency?
With the right amount of thought, I’m sure an intelligent system could have been fabricated to connect each character to their respective number in a consistent fashion, but that thought doesn’t seem to have been put forth here.
The establishing shot of the bar is edited, just like all the others.
This is the final edited location shot, with the exception of the repeated shot of the Central Hospital later in the film after the helicopter crash.
During the phone conversation between Ran and Shinichi, the insert song “Kizuna” (“Bonds” in English) starts playing. Instead of dubbing the song, FUNimation uses an instrumental version in their dub instead. Perhaps they thought the scene in question was too short to bother dubbing the song and didn’t want to spend the time or money.
Ran says that Hiroki Tsuji left for the heliport “30 minutes ago” in the original version, but Rachel says that he left “20 minutes ago” in the dub. Also, Hiroki says that he sent his flight plan to the Aviation Bureau “the day before yesterday.” In the dub, Henry says that he sent it “earlier yesterday afternoon.” How random.
Hiroki also never mentions a country club to Conan while they’re flying in the helicopter like Henry does.
Mitsuhiko suspects that the helicopter’s rotors probably cost about 10 million yen. This is changed to “over a thousand dollars” in the dub.
A reference to famous mystery literature is lost in the dub. When the gang learns that Kohei Sawaki’s special wine is Chateau Pétrus, Conan notes that Hercule Poirot drank the same wine in Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. This reference is excluded from the dub, even though Conan pictures an image of Poirot while he’s thinking.
Nina mentions a “(photo) shoot in Barbados” when she sees Emilio. This was never stated in the Japanese version.
A running gag throughout the scenes inside the Aqua Crystal is that Eimei constantly refers to Conan as “brat,” much to the latter’s annoyance. This isn’t carried over at all in the dub. Each time Conan gets annoyed with Eimei for calling him a brat, the dub has him get annoyed for entirely different reasons.
I have no idea why this would be rewritten. It’s not like it’s a Japanese joke or anything.
When it is revealed that Kevin Simms has Ageusia (Taste Disorder), Emilio says that his cousin has the same condition. Eimei never mentions a cousin in the Japanese version.
During Conan’s explanation of the crime:
Conan (as Richard): “The depression and sadness were taking their toll. To celebrate the enactment of his master plan, he uncorked his prized wine, but it slipped from his shaky hand and shattered when it hit the floor.”
This is completely false. Mr. Sawaki didn’t accidentally drop his bottle of wine; he hurled it towards the floor in a fit of rage. In fact, a few minutes later, during Kohei’s confession, we see a flashback of him throwing and breaking the wine bottle, so I have no idea how this error could have been made.
I love this little exchange.
Richard: “Just how good a shot is Santos with a sidearm?”
Meguire: “He couldn’t hit the side of a barn if he was in it.”
Ouch. Hilarious, though.
Originally, Mr. Sawaki declares that once he kills Hiroki Tsuji, he’s going to kill both himself and Ran. In the dub, Kevin doesn’t say anything about taking his own life. He just states that he will kill Rachel after he kills Henry.
In Conan’s final lines before the end credits, we learn the secret behind the fortune-telling game that Ayumi was playing at the beginning of the film. The “A,” as mentioned before, refers to the kiss that Ran revived Conan with underwater. But the “A” has a double meaning. Ran states that she was saved by an “A,” referring to Shinichi because he was assigned to the Ace of Spades. Conan then states that he was also saved by an “A,” referring to Ran’s kiss.
Since the whole “A = kiss” reference was excluded from the dub, the American version instead chooses to solely focus on the “A = Ace” aspect.
FUNimation repeats what they did with the first movie and places their credits over the final shot of the film.
Sadly, we miss out on some peaceful live-action footage, but FUNi wasn’t provided a credit-less version of the ending, so there wasn’t much they could have done. Plus, since FUNi was given the international version of the film, the original Japanese credits can’t be accessed on their DVD via alternate angles.
Then, at the beginning of the epilogue, we get our final video edit.
Now we can enjoy the final minute of the film without having to worry about anymore gray boxes! Hooray!
The film’s final dialogue change is one of the most annoying because in my eyes, it completely changes the reason why Eri and Kogoro split up. Let’s start with what happens in the Japanese version. Eri cooks dinner for Kogoro despite her injuries. Kogoro gets upset, insults her cooking, and yells at her to get back to bed. Eri takes Kogoro’s reaction to mean that he is an ungrateful jerk, which ends with the two ultimately splitting up as a couple.
Now, I’m sure this is all open to debate, but the way I interpret the scene, it perfectly illustrates how incredibly stubborn and dense both Eri and Kogoro are. Kogoro is so annoyed seeing Eri straining herself by being out of bed that he fails to notice that Eri cooked the meal as a way of thanking him. Eri, on the other hand, hears Kogoro order her to get back to bed and fails to see that he is only doing so out of genuine concern for her recovery.
It’s a very human situation, really. They both obviously love each other, but the way they express themselves leads to a misunderstanding.
The problem with the American version is that it makes the dialogue so straightforward that any potential for interpretation is lost. In the dub, Richard just ridicules Eva’s cooking and that’s it. He doesn’t tell her to get back to bed or anything. He just fires out an insult. I dislike this because instead of portraying both Eri and Kogoro as two stubborn human beings who just misunderstood each other, the scene now does nothing but make Richard look like an ass. Eva is completely without fault, apparently. It’s all so one-dimensional.
Which version do you prefer?
I don’t think you guys need me to point out that this movie turned out far worse than the first. I’ll grant that some changes were unfortunately necessary, but quite a few of these alterations seem to have been made for no reason at all. In fact, I consider the infamous name puzzle fiasco to be one of the more minor changes when compared to some of the other rewrites.
Even with all this in mind, the dub certainly isn’t unwatchable. I wouldn’t even call it “bad.” When compared to the other five Conan movies in FUNi’s possession, this one was changed the most, but the American actors’ performances are still top-notch and there’s a lot to appreciate despite a less-than-perfect script. Still, though, I believe that every fan should watch the Japanese version at least once to witness the original, unaltered mystery. See you next time!