Japanese Episode 008: “The Art Museum Owner Murder Case”
American Episode 008: “The Art Museum Murder Case”
Original Japanese Air Date: February 26, 1996
Original American Air Date: June 03, 2004
Based On Manga: Files 030-032 (Volume 04, Chapters 01-03)
Next Conan’s Hint: Disposable Camera
Original Version Written By: Kazunari Kōchi
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Eric Vale & Andrew Rye
American Version Directed By: Christopher Sabat
This is an episode that’s grown on me over time. Originally, this story about an art museum director turned killer seemed entirely forgettable to me, and I would struggle to remember how the events played out in this episode as early as a day or two after viewing it. Upon revisiting it for these comparisons, though, I’ve noticed just how much this mystery has going for it and discovered that it’s far more unique than I initially gave it credit for.
First and most importantly, this is one of the series’ few mysteries in which Conan and Kogorō are able to see the entire crime committed on tape. There’s no speculation as to what or how anything occurred; everything’s right in front of them for all to see. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for storytelling. Instead of trying to speculate how the murder was committed, Conan (and the audience) must look closer at the situation at hand and utilize an entirely different level of critical thinking. Everything, from the expression on the victim’s face at a given point in time to the physical actions of both the victim and the killer during the heat of a life-or-death struggle, is fair game for analysis, which makes this episode a ton of fun to watch and pick apart. I really wish Aoyama relied on this formula a tad more often.
I also like how both Kogorō and Megure contribute to the deductions here, since it’s a rare treat to see a case in which people who aren’t Conan get to be useful.
The dub’s way more playful with dialogue than in previous episodes, which is sad because the American version seemed to have finally settled into its groove until now. Little, tiny rewrites pop up all throughout the episode (most of which are minor enough to not affect the story as a whole, but just major enough so that I annoyingly have to mention them). The mystery itself is completely unaltered, but anytime the characters are talking about something not related to the murder, Eric Vale and Andrew Rye jump at the chance to change something. Also, FUNi’s complete lack of old man voice actors is on display here; Mr. O’Donnell sounds like a middle-aged dude trying to sound eighty. The character really does sound like he’s about to fall over and die at any moment in the dub.
Name Conversion Guide
Mr. Ochiai = Mr. O’Donnell
Mr. Iijima = Isaac
Kubota keeps his original name in the dub, but FUNi’s ending credits call him “Kowalski.” I guess his name was originally going to be Americanized and then for whatever reason, the writers changed their minds. The same applies to Mr. Manaka, who also keeps his Japanese name in the dub even though FUNi’s credits call him “Morrison.” Strangely, I think I hear Mr. O’Donnell refer to Mr. Manaka as “Bruce” in one line, so I guess they gave him a first name, too.
The Hell Gallery is referred to in the dub as “The Chamber of Hades.” The painting “Divine Punishment” is renamed “Heaven’s Punishment” in the dub.
The opening scene with the museum’s security guards contains two little dialogue edits. First and most importantly, the dub foreshadows the fact that the museum is going to be closing soon, a detail that isn’t originally revealed until later in the story. Secondly, the dub guards acknowledge that the noises they hear from the suit of armor sound metallic (it’s a suit of armor, after all), which I assume was added because the writers needed to fill up a few more mouth flaps in the animation.
The rest of the episode’s first act is sprinkled with a bunch of little dialogue changes.
In the dub, O’Donnell reminds Rachel to stop by the gift shop before leaving the museum. Doesn’t that line seem pretty out-of-character considering it’s later revealed that O’Donnell cares more about art than profit? In the original version, all Ochiai said was that he hoped Ran was having a good time looking at the paintings.
Later, Mr. Manaka states that he plans on turning the art museum into a hotel, but in the dub, he wants to turn the museum into a casino. This results in some added dialogue of Dub-Manaka telling Kubota that he can work at one of the casino’s card tables. I guess the writers didn’t think turning the museum into a hotel was very malicious, so they gave Manaka a more stereotypically greedy goal? Or something?
Rachel states the following when she discovers the “Do not enter” sign in front of the Hell Gallery:
|Rachel: “Now that’s weird. This is a brand new exhibit; it opened two months ago.”|
In the Japanese version, the gallery’s age is never mentioned. It’s not a “new exhibit” or anything.
Also, when viewing the Hell Gallery, Richard claims that Heaven’s Punishment reminds him of Rachel’s mother. Kogorō makes no mention of his wife in the Japanese version. Rachel also states that Heaven’s Punishment depicts a knight merely “imprisoning” a demon, but after looking at the painting, it’s very obvious that the demon has been murdered.
These occasional death cover-ups in a series about murder mysteries continue to baffle me.
Lastly, once Ran and the others notice a dead man in the Hell Gallery, Conan correctly identifies him as Mr. Manaka. In the dub, Conan just screams “It’s a dead body,” which doesn’t really give the audience any new information.
These changes occur immediately after the police arrive at the museum to investigate.
Upon seeing Meguire, Richard excitedly states:
|Richard: “Private Richard Moore, reporting in for active duty, Inspector!”|
Originally, Kogorō tells Megure that he has not allowed anyone to touch the body, which is kind of an important detail for the audience to know if they’re trying to solve the mystery themselves.
Later, Kubota’s potential motive is changed. In the original version, Manaka was threatening to sue Kubota for selling pieces of artwork. In the dub, Manaka was pressuring Kubota into giving him some of the profits from the sold exhibits.
More script changes occur once the characters discover the pen at the crime scene. Mr. Ochiai informs Inspector Megure that the museum’s 50th anniversary pens were made “this year.” The dub instead has O’Donnell say that they were made “very recently.”
The American version also makes a very strange assumption when talking about the pen. When Mr. O’Donnell tells Meguire that everyone who works at the museum owns one of the 50th anniversary pens, Meguire says:
|Meguire: “So then, these pens were never made available to the public!”|
Wait… what? How did you get that from that? It’s a collectable pen made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the museum! Why wouldn’t it be available for the public to own? This assumption is never made in the Japanese version. Megure merely deduces that somebody (employee or not) must have accidentally left the pen on the desk, where Manaka found it before he was murdered.
As the officers are leaving the security video room, some pointless dialogue is added of them wondering when they’ll get their own police car.
Once Mr. O’Donnell admits to committing the murderer, he claims that he was unable to deceive the “pure eyes of a young detective,” referring to Conan. Thinking that O’Donnell is talking about him, Richard gives us this line.
|Richard: “Actually, I’m 43, but thanks.”|
Kogorō doesn’t state his age in the original version. Besides, Japanese guidebooks for the series confirm Kogorō’s age to be roughly 37-38 years old, so this is also a dub error.
In the epilogue, Amy calls George “Georgey,” which annoys him. Ayumi, on the other hand, just calls him “Genta-kun” like she normally does. I suppose calling George “Georgey” is a decent adaption of the “-kun” honorific, but the main difference is that Genta isn’t angered by it like George is.
Wow, this was probably the most changed episode yet. Kogorō’s age, Kubota’s possible motive, Meguire’s silly assumption, and the many other alterations are all very annoying. Thankfully, dub scripts like these are the exception rather than the rule with this series (well, sort of). That sadly doesn’t make this episode’s script any better, though, even if the case itself was adapted perfectly. See you next time!