Japanese Episode 006: “The Valentine Murder Case”
American Episode 006: “Tragic Valentine”
Original Japanese Air Date: February 12, 1996
Original American Air Date: June 01, 2004
Based On Manga: No
Next Conan’s Hint: Barcode
Original Version Written By: Toshiki Inōe
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Eric Vale
American Version Directed By: Christopher Sabat
So here we are at our first episode not based on a story from the manga. That would usually mean I could write this episode off as filler, but I can’t do that because both a main character and a new gadget make their anime debuts here. The Stun-Gun Wrist-Watch is a fun tool that will soon become one of the most abused gadgets in the series, though it’s always hilarious to see Conan knock Kogorō out (and the animation that accompanies it). Sonoko Suzuki is a favorite character of mine, despite the fact that her personality is fueled by a single gag (her love of men). She eventually learns that it’s best to only pursue one guy, but it’s a lesson she has to re-learn many times throughout the series and one which she never fully grasps. Nonetheless, she’s zany and entertaining, a perfect contrast to Ran’s reserved and innocent personality.
The case itself is great, definitely one of the simplest mysteries this show has ever crafted. I think simple works best, though. It’s a fun little Valentine’s Day murder story that doesn’t really try to be grand or epic. There’s a good amount of comedy in here, too. For instance, I love how Kogorō just randomly pops out of nowhere, inside this house full of people he’s never met, to offer a deduction.
This humble little episode gets a pretty decent dub. Aside from the name changes, there were only a few alterations. Laura Bailey is a great casting choice for Serena, bringing over all her zaniness from Kodocha to make the character very funny and over the top. It also helps that she’s written well. I’m very glad that, unlike many supporting characters in the Conan world, Serena will be making frequent appearances.
Minor character-wise, FUNimation veteran Christopher Sabat doesn’t really do anything to make Tommy Walker sound different from Kuwabara, but I tend to not dwell on one-shot character voices since they’ll never be seen again after the case ends. I do, however, have a problem with the way the character is written. Originally, Toshihide’s just a kind, shy, seemingly well-meaning guy who’s just a little too enthusiastic for his own good. I could easily see him being a main or supporting character in a decent spin-off series. The dub tries to turn him into a… I’m not even sure what the dub tries to turn him into. A moron? A stereotypical jock? A frat boy? He’s constantly spouting out lines about how Rachel “likes it rough” and sounds incredibly insensitive during the whole episode. I think it’s a real shame that FUNi took such a likeable character and turned him into the complete opposite of what he was supposed to be.
Chuck Huber Villain / Murderer / Douchebag Count: 02.
Name Conversion Guide
Sonoko Suzuki = Serena Sebastian
Katsuhiko Minagawa = Keenan Morris
Toshihide Wakamatsu = Tommy Walker
Kaori Sekiya = Kari Simmons
Naomichi = Norman
Yoshimi Watanabe = Katie Watson
Mrs. Minagawa = Mrs. Morris
Susumu Minagawa = Sammy Morris
Tommy tells Rachel that he’ll pick her up at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Toshihide, on the other hand, doesn’t specify a time for Ran (which isn’t very smart when planning a date).
Kogorō’s sleep mumbling is changed for the dub. Originally, he’s just calling himself an amazing detective, but in the dub, Richard is mumbling about how he’s sure he “gave his math homework to the pink monkey in the golf cart.”
I’ll admit the dub line makes me chuckle, so I have no problems with this change. Besides, the subject of Kogorō’s mumbling has no relevance to the plot (he’s onscreen for maybe five seconds), so it’s a perfectly harmless alteration. Not that I’m encouraging those kinds of changes, mind you.
In the original version, the guests at the party are all members of the Beika University Tennis Club. In the dub, they’re members of the Rugby Team.
Seconds later, while the guests at the party are introducing themselves, Sonoko tells Ran that she thinks Kaori is really pretty. In the dub, however, Serena tells Rachel that Kari “looks like a man.” Unlike the instance mentioned above regarding Richard’s sleep mumbling, this is an example of added “humor” that I don’t approve of, because not only is it mean-spirited, but it makes Serena’s character less likeable.
Inspector Meguire says that there was enough poison given to Keenan to kill “a dozen men.” No such statement is made in the original version.
A few details about Katsuhiko’s connection to Mrs. Minagawa are left unexplained in the dub. The American version neglects to mention that the accident that killed Katsuhiko’s real parents occurred seven years prior. The dub also never states that Mrs. Minagawa is really the sister of Katsuhiko’s real father.
To be honest, I’m surprised this episode wasn’t rewritten anymore than it already was. After all, the mystery is so simple to explain, which would have given Eric Vale more of a chance to play with the dialogue. I’m very thankful and impressed that he didn’t, though, because the existing rewrites were more than enough. See you next time!