Japanese Episode 003: “The Idol Locked Room Murder Case”
American Episode 003: “Beware Of Idols”
Original Japanese Air Date: January 22, 1996
Original American Air Date: May 26, 2004
Based On Manga: Files 006-009 (Volume 01, Chapters 06-09)
Next Conan’s Hint: Neon Sign
Original Version Written By: Junichi Miyashita
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Christopher Neel, Jared Hedges, & Jeremy Carlile
American Version Directed By: Christopher Bevins & Mike McFarland
Now this is what I’m dad’gum talkin’ about.
I love this episode. This is the story that got me hooked on the series, and it’s a perfect introduction mystery for anyone looking to see what this show is all about. The series’ main formula is established here as we see Conan investigate a crime scene, work around the limitations of his small body, and solve a case using Kogorō for the very first time. The mystery itself is fantastic. We’ve got a real thought-provoking case that lets the audience play along the entire time, some great character interaction, a sympathetic killer with a heartbreaking motive, a new detective gadget (the Bow Tie Voice Changer), good humor, and even some progression for the main plot! I can’t think of a better combination than that.
I’ve heard fans cry “plothole” over how the killer was able to just go out and find a block of ice to use with the murder weapon, and I will admit it’s a tad random, but I don’t see how it creates any sort of continuity error. I mean, it’s not like he couldn’t have gotten his hands on a block of ice. Maybe he purchased it at a nearby store, or perhaps it’s something the staff in Yōko Okino’s apartment complex was able to provide. It’s certainly not impossible. I think what annoys fans is that they assume the killer took the time to stick the knife into water and freeze it into an ice block, but the manga confirms that he just carved a groove into an existing ice block and stuck the handle inside. I certainly buy it.
After improving with the second episode, the dub brings things back down to the accuracy of the first. On one hand, this is the only episode in the entire American dub that keeps the original Japanese names of every one-shot character, so there’s no need for a name conversion guide this time. Yōko Okino, Yūko Ikezawa, Eiichi Yamagishi, and Akiyoshi Fujie all get by unchanged. On the other hand, there are little dialogue changes throughout, though most of them are minor enough to be considered… well, minor. Fortunately, nearly every detail of the mystery itself is kept, not an easy task to accomplish when you’ve got mouth flaps to worry about.
The only dub voice that annoys me here is Yūko Ikezawa’s. Gwendolyn Lau is asked to give her an exaggerated New York accent while spouting off annoying slang like calling Richard “baby doll.” I’m not sure why FUNi had certain characters like Meguire and Vodka talk like people from old gangster movies at the beginning of the series, but it thankfully doesn’t last too much longer. Regardless, it’s interesting to hear an early performance from Lau, who would later return to the series as the American actress for Kazuha Tōyama (Kirsten Thomas in FUNi’s version), a frequently recurring character.
The Kakubeni Corporation, Akiyoshi Fujie’s employer, is merely called “a factory” in the dub. Also, Kōnan High School is renamed Kanon High School in the American version (possibly to eliminate any similarity between the school and our main character?).
Beginning with this episode, the Japanese “Detective Conan” logo appears during Conan’s opening narration. This is removed from every episode of the American dub.
FUNimation accomplishes this by grabbing the corresponding “clean” footage from the episode itself and re-editing it into the opening. They mess this up a few times throughout the dub; I’ll be sure to mention it when it happens.
Let’s take a look at the scene in which Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Genta ask Conan if he wants to walk home from school with them.
|Original Japanese Version||American Dub|
|Ayumi: “Let’s walk home together, Conan-kun! You must feel pretty lonely after just transferring here. So we’ll be your friends!”||Amy: “Why don’t you walk home from school with us, Conan? You’re the first new kid in a while. You must be kinda lonely. We’ll be your friends.”|
|Conan: “No, that’s okay. I… well, I’m…”||Conan: “Uh, thanks, but no. I-I’m busy…”|
|Genta: “Hey, you! Are you saying “no” to Ayumi-chan?!”||George: “So, Mister Bow-Tie thinks he’s too good for us! I guess I need to get out the snob-pounder!”|
|Mitsuhiko: “Don’t be rough, Genta-kun.”||Mitch: “Oh, great, threaten him, George. He’ll really like us now.”|
|Genta: “Shut up! You got a problem, Mitsuhiko?!”||George: “Do I need to get out the geek-pounder, too?!”|
|Ayumi: “Please stop, Genta-kun!”||Amy: “Would you guys cut it out?!”|
There are a few things that I really like about the original version. First and most importantly, Conan learns all three of the children’s names from this conversation (remember that this is their first official meeting in the cartoon). Secondly, Conan accidentally refers to himself as “Ore (“おれ“),” which is a pronoun typically used by Japanese men to say “I.” He immediately catches his mistake and then refers to himself as “Boku (“ぼく“),” which is the way that most Japanese boys say “I.” It’s a subtle way of showing that Shinichi still hasn’t fully adjusted to being a kid again.
In the dub, Conan (and by extension, the audience) only hears George’s name. Speaking of George, he’s way more of a dick in this scene. Originally, he doesn’t call Conan a “snob,” nor does he call Mitsuhiko a “geek.” In fact, if you’ll notice, the only reason he gets mad at anyone in the Japanese version is because he mistakenly thinks that Ayumi is being insulted.
When Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Genta see Yōko Okino get out of her car, they don’t say her name like their dub counterparts do. Instead, we don’t find out who she is until Kogorō does, allowing the audience to feel a little bit of the same surprise that he feels. Since Amy, Mitch, and George spoil it for us, we know her identity much sooner than Richard does.
As the gang walks into Yōko’s apartment building, we find out from Kogorō that she lives on the 25th floor. This information is omitted from the dub.
A dialogue exchange between two unseen cops is added to the shot of the police cars right after the characters discover the murder victim.
|Police Officer #1: “All units to Treetop Tower.”|
|Police Officer #2: “Roger.”|
I’m not sure if “Treetop Tower” is meant to be the dub name for Yōko’s apartment or if they’re just trying to make up some police slang.
Seconds later, Richard tells Meguire that he’s been with Yōko for “the last hour.” While I suspect that’s an accurate window of time, the difference here is that Kogorō never specifies how long he’s been in Yōko’s company.
When explaining to Inspector Megure why Yūko was upset with Yōko, Mr. Yamagishi says that it was because Yōko got a role in a drama series that Yūko wanted. In the dub, the drama series is changed to a feature film.
While Conan is thinking about the victim’s diary, his inner monologue reads an excerpt from it in the dub.
|Conan (Thinking): “I’m going to tell her everything… even if it ruins her fame. We have to be together. I know that she’ll say “yes.””|
There is no excerpt read in the original version.
As Conan and Ran watch Yōko performing on the giant television in the city, Yōko can be seen singing, but only barely heard. You can’t even really call it “singing;” it’s very echoed and only faintly plays in the background. The American version, however, follows the silly dubbing rule of “if the mouth is moving, words MUST be coming out” and adds real singing to this six-second shot of Yōko.
I really wish it hadn’t, though, because Elise Baughman’s vocals aren’t too great. I can’t imagine a pop idol getting famous with a voice like that, or with lyrics like “ya gotta groove to the beat” (Well, I guess there are real singers who’ve gotten famous with worse, but I still don’t like it). Baughman’s a good speaking-Yōko; I just wish they hadn’t asked her to force vocals into such a short, awkward part of the episode.
Conan’s phone call with Ran is different in both versions. The dialogue itself is mostly the same, but it’s rearranged and expanded upon in the American version.
|Original Japanese Version||American Dub|
|Ran: “Yes, Mōri Detective A-”||Rachel: “Moore Detective A-”|
|Shinichi: “Ran. It’s me. Can you hear me?”||Jimmy: “Rachel! Hey! It’s me.”|
|Ran: “Shinichi?!”||Rachel: “Jimmy?”|
|Shinichi: “I figured you’d probably be crying because you were so worried about me.”||Jimmy: “You wouldn’t happen to be sitting alone in your dad’s office crying your eyes out, would you?”|
|Ran: “Dummy. Why would I be crying?! Where are you right now, Shinichi?”||Rachel: “Crying? Don’t be ridiculous, why would I be crying?! Where are you anyway, Jimmy Kudo?”|
|Shinichi: “Well, I was asked to take on a dangerous case, but I’ll come back home once I’ve taken care of it. So don’t you worry about me.”||Jimmy: “Everywhere. I got hooked into a complicated case and it’s got me on the run. But I’ll solve it soon, I hope.”|
|Conan (Thinking): “I’m sorry, Ran.”||Rachel: “What do you mean, you “hope?” Go solve it, Jimmy.”|
|Conan (Thinking): “When I return to my normal body, I’ll let you hear it…”||Jimmy: “Alright, I will. Thanks, Rachel. I needed that. I’ll see you soon, okay?”|
|Conan (Thinking): “My real voice… My real feelings…”||Rachel: “O-Okay, Jimmy… Bye.”|
|*Silence*||Conan (Thinking): “I’m going to get back to normal, Rachel… so I can tell you in my own voice… how I really feel.”|
Conan’s inner thoughts start much, much later in the dub, making room for an extended conversation between Jimmy and Rachel. Despite this, the phone call seems much shorter in the American version. Why did Jimmy feel the need to make Rachel hang up so quickly? In the original Japanese version, it’s implied that Shinichi and Ran continued their conversation for a little while longer (Conan’s inner thoughts begin while the animation still shows him talking on the phone). In the dub, the conversation ends abruptly and we even hear Rachel say “bye,” which all seems unnecessary to me.
This episode suffers from added dialogue/singing and poor casting for a supporting character. Changing George’s lines to make him sound meaner is the biggest offense, though in hindsight, George is a character that the dub never really gets right. It’s a shame, but the rest of the episode is mostly solid. See you next time!