Episode 010 – “The Pro Soccer Player Blackmailing Case”

Japanese Episode 010: “The Pro Soccer Player Blackmailing Case”
American Episode 010: “Deadly Game”
Original Japanese Air Date: March 11, 1996
Original American Air Date: June 08, 2004
Based On Manga: Files 068-071 (Volume 07, Chapter 08 – Volume 08, Chapter 01)
Next Conan’s Hint: Music Score
Original Version Written By: Toshiki Inōe
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Eric Vale & Matt Chaney
American Version Directed By: Eric Vale

Episode Thoughts
I.  Hate.  This.  Episode.  If you don’t want to deal with multiple paragraphs of complaining, please skip down to the Name Conversion Guide.  You have been warned.

To be fair, the manga version is leagues better because it actually takes time to explain everything, but this is still one of my least favorite stories.  For starters, Naoki’s motive is about as lame as it can get.  “Yeah, that guy injured me at soccer practice, so I semi-kidnapped his brother and threatened to kill him if the guy who hurt me doesn’t throw the big game, but I wasn’t REALLY gonna do it, lol.”  The whole episode is just a big waste of time for everybody.  Naoki isn’t punished for his actions, Mamoru ends up with a completely ransacked room for no reason, and life goes on just perfectly for everybody else.  The Portable Bento Fax Machine is by far the stupidest of Conan’s gadgets (though he thankfully and hilariously acknowledges this), and I still question why Aoyama thought it was necessary to have Conan play fax tag when he could have easily just had the character look at the fax machine in Ryoko’s apartment.

Ran is particularly annoying in this story.  Nowadays, she has more consistent character traits, but back in these early cases she won the award for “most interchangeable personality depending on the author’s mood.”  Sometimes she’s a girly girl; sometimes she’s a tomboy.  Sometimes she’s a complete coward; sometimes she’s a brave heroine.  Sometimes she’s really smart and observant; sometimes she’s a complete idiot.  Well… I guess some of those things still haven’t changed, but at least they’re handled better now.  In this case, she’s changed from a normally calm and understanding person into a dense jerk with a one-track mind who breaks into people’s homes, kicks down their doors, and was willing to punch down another person’s door for no reason other than to see her friend whom she’s already keeping in contact with via phone to begin with.  Ran may not have an entirely consistent personality, but she’s never acted like this before (or since).  I know it’s all done for the sake of comedy, but doesn’t character-based comedy work better when it comes from the actual personality of the character?

Even the Shinichi-Ran conversation at the end is completely ridiculous due to its transparently contrived setup.  Why is the only thing in the alleyway a cinder block that Conan can conveniently stand on?  Why did Ran not simply take four steps and look around the corner of the alleyway to see Shinichi?  Why does she not question why Professor Agasa is just randomly sitting in his car in an alleyway facing a wall?  She’s just all “Oh, hi there,” and runs off.  How can viewers sympathize with Ran in this episode when she’s being this much of an idiot?

And when will I stop overanalyzing an episode of a mid-90s family show from Japan?

This already subpar mystery is made even worse by its manga-to-anime adaption, as nearly every detail that holds this story together was left on the cutting room floor.  Think about it.  How many plot points in this episode go entirely unexplained?  Why is Conan wasting time by calling Ryoko, asking her to write a detailed essay about a little boy’s kidnapping, telling her to fax it over to him, and then hanging up and waiting?  Why didn’t he just ask her what he needed to know while he was on the phone with her?  Why is Mamoru’s video game character already at level 40 despite the game only going on sale the previous day?  Why does Professor Agasa randomly show up in the alleyway at the end of the story without any explanation?  All of these questions were answered in the manga, but apparently the TMS staff decided that it would be okay to adapt all of this story’s major events from the original comics, but none of the details that support them.

I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to talk about regarding the dub.  Monica Rial does little to distinguish her Matthias voice from Amy’s, but everybody else is cast appropriately.  The American script is decent, though it suffers by not mentioning various minor details present in the original version.  To be fair, they’re not nearly as vital as the information eliminated during the manga-to-anime adaption, but it’s always a shame to lose important dialogue in favor of pointless rewrites (one which even results in an out-of-character line from Conan).  Other than that, the series receives its very first cut (*gasp!*), we get another instance of a video problem that will unfortunately resurface occasionally as the dub continues, and (I think) an ADR mixing error pops up.  Put on your bow-ties, because this is going to be a good one.

Name Conversion Guide

Minor Characters
Hideo Akagi = Harrison Acres

Mamoru Akagi = Matthias Acres
Ryoko = Riana
Naoki Uemura = Nicholas Underwood
Takeda = Vasquez

The Tokyo Spirits soccer team is renamed The Southside Spirits, and Ramus’ Big Osaka team is renamed The Scorpions.  Mamoru’s video game is changed from “Onimaru Quest” to “Hero’s Quest,” covering up yet another reference to creator Gōshō Aoyama’s previous manga.

Dialogue Edits
The dub never mentions that Hideo is only 19 years old, nor does it bring up the fact that Genta idolizes Hideo because he’s scored goals in 17 consecutive games.

Also, as George, Amy, and Mitch discuss their favorite soccer players and teams, Conan’s inner monologue gives us a very out-of-character remark.

American Dub
Conan: “Ugh, soccer overload…”

Doesn’t that seem kind of strange to say, considering Conan loves soccer?  Originally, Conan didn’t complain about the topic of conversation.

Dialogue Edits
Conan is able to deduce that Hideo and Mamoru are brothers because 1.) They both have the same last name (Akagi), and 2.) Hideo looks the same on television as he does in Mamoru’ photo.  In the dub, Conan never acknowledges that Harrison and Matthias have the same last name, instead only focusing on the visual similarities between the television and Matthias’ photo.

The dub also neglects to mention that the accident that killed Harrison’s and Matthias’ parents occurred two years prior.

Dialogue Edit
After Conan opens Professor Agasa’s Portable Bento Fax Machine, he originally comments on how absurd the idea is, and that sticking a miniature fax machine inside a lunch box doesn’t really count as an “invention.”  In the dub, Conan seems almost impressed with the device, though still displaying a slight hint of sarcasm.  It’s not a huge change, but I prefer the original (funnier) dialogue.

Dialogue Edit
Mamoru is confirmed to be a third grade student in the original version, which the dub never states.

Side Note
So how many of you were confused when you popped in FUNi’s DVDs and heard lines like this…

American Dub
Conan: “If the letter before “brother” was an “I…””

… Paired with footage like this?

You see, the ransom note scene becomes incredibly hard to understand once the English audio is synced with the Japanese video like they are on FUNimation’s DVD releases.

The dub’s audio has Conan speculating what the message would be if it were written in English because FUNimation originally had their paint editors translate the ransom note for the Cartoon Network television airing.  The episodes on FUNi’s DVDs mostly feature the original Japanese footage, though, so Conan’s speculation of “what if this letter was an “I?” makes no sense when there’s nothing but Japanese text on-screen.  FUNimation never redubbed any of this dialogue for the home video releases of the series, which is why scenes like these are now impossible to understand in the American version.

Dialogue Edit
During the epilogue, Conan’s narration tells us that it took Ran three full days to understand Ryoko’s explanation of the case.  I guess Rachel’s a little smarter than Ran, because the dub says that she understood the situation after only three different explanations from Riana.

Side Note
Is it just me, or does one of Conan’s lines completely cut off in mid-sentence during the epilogue?  This is what I think I hear in the very last line of the episode:

American Dub
Conan (Thinking): “Hopefully, for at least a little while, I– *complete silence* –Jimmy will be on her good side.”

Does anybody else hear that?  I assume the missing word is supposed to be “hope,” but the sudden shift to silence just sounds so awkward when the episode is playing.  You’d think this issue would have been mentioned among the fandom before, but I’ve never heard anybody bring it up.  So, am I the only one who hears this?

Cut – 05 Seconds
You might have noticed that this episode is missing its “Next Conan’s Hint” segment.

Why?  Your guess is as good as mine.  There isn’t any objectionable material in this lone image, nor is there anything that could cause rights issues.  Its exclusion seems to merely be a mistake, either by the staff at TMS who sends the episodes to FUNi, or by FUNi’s own DVD authoring staff.  Whatever the reason, it has not appeared on either of FUNimation’s DVD releases for episode 010.

Get used to this now, though, because it’ll unfortunately become a recurring edit once we get to “season” four.

For reference, this episode’s hint is “music score.”

Final Thoughts
I will admit, the side notes and cuts do keep these comparisons interesting by adding some variety (as opposed to just listing dialogue edits over and over again), but I would gladly take the boredom that comes with reporting script rewrites if it meant that this series could be free from cuts and audio mixing goofs.  I wish I could say that this was the only episode in which certain elements didn’t make sense due to the combination of the English audio and Japanese video, but this is sadly only one episode out of many in which this occurs.  See you next time!

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  1. #1 by Sushiconan on January 7, 2012 - 6:28 PM

    I really wonder why FUNimation cuts out the video edits. It makes no sense.

  2. #2 by Gyt Kaliba on January 8, 2012 - 4:26 PM

    Sorry for a non-Case Closed response of sorts, but this was the only way I could find to get in contact with you.

    This is Gyt Kaliba. You know, from FUNimation Forums? …Well, hopefully you remember me at any rate. ^_^;

    It’s been a long time, and I was just wondering how things were going on your end and such. The newer FUNimation Forums aren’t the same without you, and it’s definitely not near as well organized without you there as a moderator. This isn’t a plea for you to come back though, as I’m not even sure whether they offered you the moderatorship you once had or not.

    So…yeah, how’re things going on your end and all?

  3. #3 by MagicBox on January 8, 2012 - 9:55 PM

    SushiConan: Do you mean the Cartoon Network TV edits? I’m glad those are gone. When FUNi decided that they would no longer include alternate video angles on their DVDs, we knew we’d either be getting the dub video or the original Japanese footage. I’m beyond thankful that we got (most of) the latter. I’m just annoyed that FUNi never went back and redubbed anything.

    Gyt_Kaliba: Hey, dude! Of course I remember you! I haven’t forgotten about anybody on the FUNi forums. It’s really great to hear from you again, man. I’ve severely cut down on my online activity in the past year, which is why I’m never on any of my favorite message boards anymore. I felt bad leaving the forums so quietly, and I keep telling myself to get off my lazy butt and go back to post! Things have been going great, but I really miss the Digimon discussions. There’s so much to talk about and I haven’t been able to share my thoughts! Please stay in touch, though. It’s been great hearing from the people who drop by from the forums to leave comments.

    • #4 by Sushiconan on January 9, 2012 - 7:48 AM

      I do, somewhat. In later episodes, things like this happen. A woman is knocked unconscious and wakes up to find something on her hand. Somebody says “Einstein’s theory of relativity!?”. The animation shows Kanji. FUNi really should redub it. That way the original Japanese fanbase will like it, too.

      • #5 by MagicBox on January 9, 2012 - 1:03 PM

        If I had to choose between having the edited video or the original video, I’d always choose having the unaltered footage. It just sucks that it has to be one over the other, since having to choose results in a batch of incomprehensible episodes for an entire section of the fanbase. FUNi finally got it right and started keeping the Japanese puzzles in the later movies, but if they were never planning on redubbing the Americanized lines, they should have included seamless branching for the footage on the DVDs. I’d argue that Case Closed is FUNi’s worst series when it comes to marketing and home video releases.

        To be honest, I’m not dreading the “Theory of Relativity” two-parter. If I had to pick one story that I’m most scared of writing up a comparison for, it’d be “The Mystery of Bludcraven Manor.” I just know I’m going to want to hurl my computer out the window. >_<

      • #6 by Sushiconan on January 9, 2012 - 4:42 PM

        Blucraven Manor is also annoying. Richard mentions that he took Japanese in college. Wow.

      • #7 by MagicBox on January 11, 2012 - 1:36 PM

        Not to mention EVERY SINGLE LINE was rewritten. I do not exaggerate. I’m honestly worried those episodes will kill me, since I’ll essentially be transcribing the whole two-parter. :(

      • #8 by Sushiconan on January 15, 2012 - 12:59 AM

        Actually, in every episode in “season” 5, pretty much every line was rewritten, sooooooo. so I guess it’ll be Hell.

  4. #9 by gytkaliba on January 9, 2012 - 12:32 PM

    Glad to hear things are going good man, And don’t worry about it too much, real life comes first – I wish I had the fortitude to cut down on my online time, but I’m pretty much addicted at this point heh. I’ll definitely try to keep in touch though, I’ve got this place bookmarked and followed now, so that should be a little easier. Feel free to drop me a line at my e-mail anytime you want to though, so discussion here won’t get too off-topic. gyt_kaliba@yahoo.com as always. :P

    It’s nice to see this site still going too, even if you had to make a move. I originally had my I”s site on Webs as well and ran into the exact same problem you did, so I ended up making a switch to Yola. It’s a bit more complicated but I’ve liked it so far. It comes with the option to buy the space too, so it’d be just your URL, which I may do eventually…but that’s far off into the future. ^_^;

    As for subbed stuff, I can’t remember if I’d started it while you were still around on FUNi or not, but I’m still trucking away on my journey through Japanese DB. Got through all of Dragon Ball and it’s movies, and I’m on the last batch of DBZ episodes with just a few features to cover there. That still leaves GT and possibly Kai eventually but I’m essentially almost done.

    On Case Closed, I’ve considered poking into some of it’s Japanese stuff oon too, and this site will make it a lot easier probably, keep up the good work!

    • #10 by MagicBox on January 9, 2012 - 1:09 PM

      I think you were making your way through the Saiyan Arc of DBZ when the old forums were shut down, so yeah, I definitely remember. I still visit the new FUNi Forums often and read posts (even if I never make time to reply to anything), and I’ve seen your reviews. You’re doing a great job! I’m on the last two discs of my FUNiBoxes, so I’m almost done with Japanese Z, too. If I ever speed up and finish comparing the dub/sub of Case Closed, I’ll make another blog and upload all of the Dragon Ball Kai and Dragon Ball GT comparisons I did.

      Thanks for bookmarking the site! I’ll be sure to shoot you an e-mail or get off my lazy butt and post back at the FUNi Forums. I miss everyone. Glad to hear you’ll be checking in at the Detective Agency more frequently. Any feedback you have on any of the comparisons or guides would be very much appreciated. :)

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