Episode 004 – “The Coded Big City Map Case”

Title Logo

Japanese Episode 004: “The Coded Big City Map Case”
American Episode 004: “Fish Marks The Spot”
Original Japanese Air Date: January 29, 1996
Original American Air Date: May 27, 2004
Based On Manga: Files 036-039 (Volume 04, Chapters 07-10)
Next Conan’s Hint: Mobile Phone
Original Version Written By: Kazunari Kōchi
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Eric Vale
American Version Directed By: Christopher Bevins & Mike McFarland

Episode Thoughts
I sometimes wonder how this episode was received by fans when it first aired in January of ’96. Since its debut, this show had been a reasonably accurate adaption of the Detective Conan manga. Sure, episode 001 had its fair share of padding and episodes 002-003 were reworked a bit, but TMS Entertainment had done a praiseworthy job of taking the first nine chapters of the original comic and faithfully telling their stories in chronological order.

Now imagine picking up an issue of Shōnen Sunday or watching a preview on TV and discovering that this was going to be episode 004. “Huh? That story from chapter 36? Why are they doing that one next?” From then on, nothing was sacred. TMS would adapt the cases from the manga in whatever order they felt like, often shifting important events from story to story or even cutting them altogether. The manga had already been running for two years before this episode aired; fans had never been given any reason to think that these stories could take place in a different order. This episode was a game-changer. After this adaption, the Detective Conan TV series was never the same again.

And the adaption’s not even good. There were so many things removed from this four-chapter caper that, had every plot point been included, this episode could have easily been a two-parter. The anime version presents the mystery as “kids follow map, gangsters follow kids, kids defeat gangsters, happy ending,” which is a very simplified version of the original story. Want to know what was left on the cutting room floor? There’s a sequence with the kids at Teitan Elementary School that sets up the concept of solving codes. There’s almost a full chapter’s worth of material with Conan, Ran, and the kids at the Tōto Tower (a small portion of which was later incorporated into the fourth movie). The kids find the map in a totally different way, and they actually bring supplies to aid them in their treasure hunt. In one chapter, Conan actually finds out that the gangsters are following him and tricks them into getting off his trail. In that same chapter, Conan temporarily separates himself from Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, and Genta while attempting to solve the code on his own. Even one of the symbols on the map is different! I highly recommend reading Gōshō Aoyama’s original comics if you don’t already. If you only watch the cartoon, you’re really missing out.

The Detective Boys are officially formed in this episode (in the manga, this happened in a different story). On FUNimation’s DVDs, both the American dub and Clyde Mandelin’s subtitles refer to the gang as the “Junior Detective League,” even though they’re officially known in English as the “Detective Boys” (something that becomes incredibly obvious once the kids get their DB Badges). To be fair, though, “Junior Detective League” is a perfectly valid translation of “Shōnen Tantei-dan.”

“Shōnen” is a noun meaning “youth” or “juvenile,” usually (but not always) referring to a male.

“Tantei” means “detective.”

“-Dan” is an honorific referring to a group, team, or league.

So really, either name is fine. Had it not been for the English “Detective Boys” written on the DB Badges (confirming the intended name), I’d actually prefer “Junior Detective League,” since Ayumi (and later, Haibara) are both… you know. Girls.

Name Conversion Guide

Minor Characters
Dino Capane = Dino Cabane
Kawada = Kipling

Locations
Nanbu Aquarium = Carpenter Aquarium

Dino Capane’s other two accomplices (who never speak and are never given names) are apparently called Francis and Wong in the dub credits. Also, the river that appears near the end of the episode is called the “Beige River” by Mitch. In FUNimation’s dub of the first feature film, the characters also refer to it as the “Beige River.” I have no idea whether or not the river seen in this episode is the same river seen in the movie, but regardless, I was surprised to see consistency like that from FUNi on such a minor detail.

Dialogue Edit
Almost immediately after the kids stumble across the piece of paper…

Original Japanese Version American Dub
Ayumi: “Hey! Could it be a treasure map?!” Amy: “Wait! What if it’s some kind of treasure map?!”
Genta: “A treasure map…?” George: “A treasure map…?”
Conan: “No way!” Conan: “Yeah, that would be ironic!”
Genta: “What?! Are you saying you don’t believe what Ayumi’s saying?!” George: “Alright, Conan! There’s no need to use that kind of language around a lady!”
Conan: “Uh… But…” Conan: “Uh… Uh… Wha…?”
Mitsuhiko: “But what?” Mitch: “You really should apologize.”
Conan: “Why are you getting so upset?” Conan: “But I didn’t say anything bad.”
Genta: “But what?!” George: “Then what does “ironic” mean?”
Mitsuhiko: “Please let me look at it!” Conan: “It means “a funny coincidence.””

The whole back-and-forth about the definition of “irony” is dub-only. Despite this, the point of the conversation (that Genta and Mitsuhiko are ignorantly jumping to Ayumi’s defense) is more-or-less intact.

Dialogue Edits
Notice how a lot of these script rewrites involve George. How “ironic.”

Original Japanese Version American Dub
Ayumi: “But what do these letters mean? It says O-R-O, but…” Amy: “I wonder what these letters down here mean. It says O-R-O.”
Genta: “O… O… O-Orochi…?” George: “Or maybe the map’s in pictures ’cause he couldn’t spell.”

“Orochi” is Japanese for “giant snake.” This doesn’t really work in English, so I understand why Mr. Vale changed it.

Then, as Mitsuhiko tries to crack the “ORO” code…

Original Japanese Version American Dub
Mitsuhiko: “The first “O” stands for “ookii” (“big”)! The “R” means “rich!” And the last “O” stands for “otakara” (“treasure”)!” Mitch: “The first “O” is for the “o” in the word “oodles,” and the letter “R,” as in the word “rich,” and the second “O” is for the “o” on the word “ore.””

It’s basically the same, but stuff like that is always fun to compare.

A few seconds later, the dub changes what the children want to spend their portion of the treasure on. Genta wants to use his share to buy eel dishes from all over the world. George, however, would rather buy two pizzas from “every pizza joint in town.” Ayumi wants to take 100 trips around the world, while Amy would rather have an airplane. Mitsuhiko’s wish (a space shuttle) is the same in both versions. Lastly, Dub-Conan makes a sarcastic remark about wanting taller shoes in the American version.

Dialogue Edits
We learn a few things from the news report that aren’t mentioned in the dub
. First of all, the stolen coins are worth roughly 600 million yen. Secondly, only one of Dino Capane’s accomplices is Japanese (which explains why only one of the three men speaks throughout the episode). In the dub, all we learn is that Cabane’s accomplices are “armed and extremely dangerous.”

In response to the anchorwoman, Richard makes a confusing comment.

American Dub
Richard: “What a dumb broad. Thinks Dino Cabane is a burglar?”

I don’t really get what the dub is going for here. Is the joke that Richard is picky about semantics and doesn’t think the term “burglar” suits the situation? Or is the joke that Richard is saying strange things because he’s been drinking?

Seconds later…

American Dub
Richard: “So where’s the little runt that keeps sneaking looks at my files?”

Kogorō asks about Conan in the original version as well, but he doesn’t mention the part about Conan looking through his files. Granted, that certainly sounds like something Conan would do, so… at least this bit of added dialogue is in-character?

Dialogue Edit
When Ayumi/Amy points out that the symbols on the map look like store signs, Genta/George responds by saying…

Original Japanese Version American Dub
Genta: “T-That’s true…” George: “I’m getting lost here…”

Mr. Vale could have easily kept this line as-is, but I guess doing the complete opposite of that works, too…

Dialogue Edit
Originally, Capane and his accomplices took the gold coins from an Italian bank “one year ago.” In the dub, they stole the coins “about three weeks ago.”

Dialogue Edit
The “next episode” previews in Detective Conan are never accompanied by narration. Instead, sound bites from the episode itself are edited together to give the audience a plot synopsis. For some reason, though, Jimmy narrates this episode’s preview in the dub.

American Dub
Jimmy: “A pleasure trip on a high-speed express train turns into a dangerous race against the clock when I learn that a bomb is only moments away from detonating. With dozens of lives hanging in the balance, I’ll have to think fast… and act even faster. If only I could tell Rachel my big secret… Then she would know that I’m not just crying wolf!”

This never happens again, so I’m not sure why FUNi decided to change things for this one episode.

Final Thoughts
These curious little rewrites keep holding the dub back from being everything it could be. Why change “one year” to “three weeks?” Why omit important exposition from the news report despite having plenty of room to include it? Why not just leave Kogorō and Genta’s dialogue alone? FUNi’s writers should be using these early episodes as practice for the more complicated mysteries ahead. They won’t be able to get away with little changes like these without severely harming the show, and I hope they realize that before it’s too late. See you next time!

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  1. #1 by Sushiconan on October 27, 2011 - 8:04 PM

    This art director is awful.

    • #2 by MagicBox on October 28, 2011 - 2:46 AM

      I actually think this episode features the best work Ogawara ever did for the series. The designs are still pretty weak, but at least he made an attempt to keep the characters in-proportion for this outing (Conan’s doesn’t have an oversized head and undersized hair like he does in other Ogawara episodes, for example). He got worse and worse with each episode he did, though.

      • #3 by Sushiconan on October 28, 2011 - 3:28 PM

        I know, this one is okay, but the rest he did makes them look like they were all silly putty that began to melt XD.

  2. #4 by Nekokoneko on December 18, 2013 - 11:59 AM

    I’m a native Japanese speaker and let me point out one mistake. Toto Tower is actually Toto Tower in the Japanese version, too, and is not short for Tokyo Tower. It’s a fictional tower which appears only in Detective Conan.

    Toto is not a slang word for Tokyo (I’ve never seen anyone call Tokyo Toto.) but a name made up by the author, Gosho Aoyama, to make the readers to realize the show is only a fiction. He seems to like using the name; in the first movie, the bomber set the bombs on the Toto Roop Line, whose model is Yamanote Line. In Eleventh Stricker, conan and his friends go to Toto Stadium. Toto tower appears in other episodes, such as The Raven Chaser and With a Bang, too, and its shape is slightly different from that of Tokyo Tower.

    • #5 by MagicBox on December 19, 2013 - 12:45 AM

      Wow, thank you very much for this. To be honest, I always had a feeling that I was wrong about that Tokyo/Toto thing. I wrote this comparison years ago, but I specifically remember doing a ton of research because I really had no idea what the “Toto” thing was about. I think I finally came across a blog entry that led me to believe/assume the whole “slang” thing, and the result was what I had written above.

      Seriously, thank you for this correction. I’m embarrassed for making such a big blunder, but very grateful that you were kind enough to inform me. I’ll go take that paragraph out. Thank you so much!

      • #6 by Nekokoneko on December 19, 2013 - 10:10 AM

        Thank you for replying. I’m very glad I could help. Your comparison is just what I needed. I really wanna read more entries. I’ll be waiting for new ones.

  3. #7 by SmashTheOni on June 30, 2016 - 10:10 PM

    Wait, Clyde Mandelin? As in, Tomato, the guy who translated Mother 3?

    • #8 by MagicBox on July 15, 2016 - 10:09 PM

      Yep! He’s translated many shows for FUNimation.

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