Episode 005 – “The Great Bullet Train Explosion Case”

Japanese Episode 005: “The Great Bullet Train Explosion Case”
American Episode 005: “The Time Bomb Express”
Original Japanese Air Date: February 05, 1996
Original American Air Date: May 31, 2004
Based On Manga: Files 033-035 (Volume 04, Chapters 04-06)
Next Conan’s Hint: Chocolate
Original Version Written By: Junichi Miyashita
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Jared Hedges
American Version Directed By: Christopher Bevins & Mike McFarland

Episode Thoughts
That “fake organization members” thing was so stupid.

TMS’ fear of Gin and Vodka begins with this episode, and the TV series’ writers will succeed in completely removing every appearance these characters made in the manga until we get well past the hundredth-episode mark.  This results in a bunch of little “screw you, audience” moments like the “they look like Gin and Vodka, but they’re really not!” absurdity presented here.  It’s a pretty lousy thing to do, and stuff like this is the main reason why people criticize the animated series for almost never addressing the overarching plot.  This particular instance also results in a major plothole later on, as this was originally the case in which Conan learned Gin and Vodka’s code names.

It’s not just that big change, either.  Other little plotholes and out-of-character moments pop up within this episode due to the writers’ tinkering.  For example, Conan tried to stay in the dining car for a longer period of time in the manga because he wanted to actually see the person Gin and Vodka were going there to meet.  I mean, that’s kind of important, right?  In the anime, though, he sees Fake-Gin and Fake-Vodka sit down and then just… walks away.  That’s one of the most out-of-character things I’ve ever seen the anime writers make Conan do.  Why wouldn’t he want to see who the Men in Black were meeting?

Dialogue edits abound in this episode’s dub (along with two errors), though most of them are minor.  Conan spouting off multiplication problems to cover up the fact that he heard the gangsters talking is more or less the same in both versions, without picking nits.  Part of me wishes the changes were more major (because minor ones can often be boring to read), but for the episode’s benefit, I’m glad that’s not the case.

Lastly, this episode contains Chuck Huber’s first villain role in the series (as Fake-Gin), but it’s far, far, far from his last, which will soon become the butt of an inside joke among dub fans that if Mr. Huber is voicing a character, you can be certain he’s either the culprit or a grade-A douchebag.

Chuck Huber Villain / Murderer / Douchebag Count: 01.

Name Conversion Guide

Locations
Mt. Fuji = Mt. Fincher

In the original version, Kogorō’s friend’s wedding is taking place in Kyōto.  It isn’t specified where the wedding’s going to be in the dub.

The dub also gives a name to the station in Nagoya that the train stops at when the Organization member lookalikes get off.  The only problem is… I can’t tell what that name is.  Because of the voice filter they use for the intercom, I can’t hear what the lady’s saying.  I think I hear “Wyoma Station,” but I really have no idea.  Times like these make me wish FUNi still released their DVDs with alternate dubtitle tracks.

Dialogue Edit
In the dub, Doctor Agasa says that the Power-Enhancing Kick Shoes will make Conan “twice as strong.”  As far as I know, Professor Agasa has never mentioned exactly how much power the shoes give Conan in the original version, but considering he has been seen kicking soccer balls hard enough to break through metal bars, I would assume they do more than merely double his strength.

After all, twice the power of a seven-year-old isn’t exactly helpful when capturing criminals.

Side Note
When the two gangsters are talking, the Vodka-lookalike calls the Gin-lookalike “aniki” in the Japanese version.  This is an informal term commonly used to refer to an older sibling or one’s superior (though it depends on the profession).  In this context, Fake-Vodka is using the term because Fake-Gin holds a higher rank than him, not because of any family relationship between the two.

Although they don’t appear in this episode, the real Vodka also uses this term when referring to the real Gin.

The dub handles this by having Fake-Vodka call Fake-Gin “bro,” which is a perfectly acceptable translation of “aniki,” my only concern being that this could inadvertently cause fans to believe that the two are actually brothers.  Considering the context of the scene itself, I think using “boss” or “chief” would have been more fitting, but again, there’s technically nothing wrong with “bro.”

Money Edit
The amount paid for the briefcase is changed from 100 million yen to four million dollars.  Oddly enough, the amount of money the gold information could be worth is changed from 100 million yen to 100 million dollars.  I wonder why the “100 million” part was changed one time but not the other.

Dialogue Edits
After being told about the bomb, the train’s staff decides to mess around with Conan instead of heeding his warning, sarcastically assuring him that they’ll call
Anpanman for help.  Because general American audiences have no idea who Anpanman even is, the dub changes this line so that the staff merely says they’ll call for some superheroes.

Also, Conan never makes a reference to the Titanic in the original version like Dub-Conan does.

Dialogue Edit
In one of Mitch’s lines, the dub neglects to mention that out of all sixteen of the train’s cars, there are only three reserved for first-class passengers.

Dialogue Edits
After the businessman yells at Conan to leave him alone, the businesswoman behind him makes a dub-only comment about how the man’s been grumpy all day.  She never talks about the businessman in the original version.

Later, when Conan asks the senile old man if he’s been to the diner car, the old man confirms that he has, indeed, been to Disneyland, and that he still has fun every time he goes.  The dub removes the park’s name, instead having the old man say that he loves amusement parks in general.  Maybe FUNi was afraid of using the mouse house’s name?  Who knows?

Dialogue Edits
There are quite a few of these in the last stretch of the episode.  Here we go…

When George complains about missing his chance to see the ocean, Amy tells him that it’s his own fault for going to the bathroom at the wrong time.  Genta, on the other hand, wasn’t in the bathroom at all.  He was just looking away from the window, not paying attention.

During Dub-Conan’s deduction, he states that the businesswoman couldn’t have seen Mt. Fincher from her own seat on the train because the drapes on the mountain side of her car were all down.  This is never mentioned in the Japanese version and is actually an error, since we can plainly see that the window drapes in her car are open on both sides.

The kids’ food orders to Ran are also changed.  Amy wants caviar on crackers instead of sushi, and Mitch wants escargot with pickle relish instead of a full order of French cuisine.

Later on, Dub-Conan says that because of the delay with the investigation, they completely missed the wedding.  Originally, Conan, Kogorō, and Ran still made it to the wedding, but they were very late.

Lastly, when the men in black coats are captured, Conan’s monologue says they were located at a hotel suite in the dub.  The original version doesn’t say where the men were found.

Final Thoughts
I can tolerate the pointless (yet admittedly minor) changes to silly things like the kids’ food orders and removing a reference to Disneyland, but the actual errors regarding the power of Conan’s shoes and the drapes on the train are much harder to forgive.  Neither of those mistakes would have been made if Mr. Hedges had been paying closer attention while writing the script.  You’d think the dub writers would follow their own catchphrase and work with a “keen eye for details.”  Oh, well.  See you next time!

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