Episode 017 – “The Department Store Hijacking Case”

Japanese Episode 017: “The Department Store Hijacking Case”
American Episode 018: “The Case Of The Hi-Jacked Department Store”
Original Japanese Air Date: May 27, 1996
Original American Air Date: June 22, 2004
Based On Manga: No
Next Conan’s Hint: Medicine Capsule
Original Version Written By: Junichi Miyashita
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Eric Vale
American Version Directed By: Christopher Sabat

Episode 017 01

Episode Thoughts
As a Scooby-Doo fan, I gotta say I love this filler episode in the campiest way possible.  Everything you could love about classic 70’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons is here in spades: the villains in disguise, a group of kids outwitting professional criminals, the heroes disguising themselves to fool the bad guys, multiple chase scenes with insert songs playing in the background, and just an overall cartoony feel to it.  It’s fun if you like stuff that’s so corny it’s good, but if you’re trying to take the whole thing seriously, you’re not enjoying it the way you should be.

With not much to say about the episode itself, I’d rather talk about an aspect of the dub that deserves mention.  A little known fact about the series is that Amy, George, and Mitch also have English last names (Yeager, Kaminski, and Tennison, respectively), first shown in the short-lived Case Closed trading card game.  Each of the three characters confirms these names in future episodes, proving that they are legit.  Strangely, though, when Rachel calls each of the children’s parents in this episode, she refers to them by their original Japanese family names.  So even though the characters have official English family names, Eric Vale chose to use their Japanese family names for this case.  Strange.

The dub itself is okay.  Colleen Clinkenbeard and Alison Viktorin really stand out here; their acting is superb.  I mean, just listen to Conan when he’s yelling at the kids to get out of the elevator.  It gave me goosebumps the first time I watched it.

Name Conversion Guide

Marutan Department Store = Martin’s Department Store

Dialogue Edit
In the dub, the mall’s intercom comes on and tells everyone that the store will be closing in five minutes.  No time is specified in the original version, but it’s pretty safe to say that more than five minutes went by before the store closed, seeing as how it’s evening when the intercom says this and nighttime when the kids come back to get Genta’s autograph.  This is a minor goof on the dub’s part.

Dialogue Edit
All of the department store’s business hours are dub-only.  Exciting changes, huh?

Dialogue Edit
Ran and Kogor
ō’s conversation with Inspector Megure is almost completely rewritten in the dub.  In the original version, Megure just says that he’s put out a bulletin and that they should turn up soon.  They don’t talk about a possible kidnapping at all, nor does Kogorō ask Megure for a burger like Richard does.

As a side-note, why call Inspector Megure anyway?  He’s in charge of the homicide division of the police department.  Nobody’s died.  He even mentions to Ran in the Japanese version that he’s busy with another case, so I can’t think of any reason to call him other than the “friend of the family” excuse.

Dialogue Edit
Upon reading the newspaper headline about the department store thieves, this dialogue exchange takes place in the dub.

American Dub
Rachel: “Wait!  I think that’s it!”
Richard: “Those kids aren’t burglars!”

Kogorō doesn’t assume that Ran is implying that Conan and the gang are burglars like Richard does.  He originally just tells Ran to calm down.

Music Edit
“Happy End,” the insert song that plays during the “Scooby-Doo chase scene” montage, as I like to call it, is dubbed into English.  As a cool bonus, the singer who performs the English version is the same man who sings the ending song, “Step By Step,” which is a nice touch because these songs are both performed by Ziggy in the Japanese version.

Dialogue Edit
To cover up the fact that Mitsuhiko and the thieves are obviously passing out from swallowing too much alcohol, the dub has them each state that they’re tired just before they collapse in an attempt to cover up the fact that they’re inebriated.  These alcohol cover-ups lead me to believe that FUNi probably dubbed the series with a Toonami airing in mind, but that failed and the show ended up on [adult swim].

Dialogue Edit
Conan gives us one last campy line to go out on once he captures the elevator girl.

American Dub
Conan: “Truth always prevails!”

I love it from a “so bad it’s good” standpoint, but if I look at it any other way, it’s just… ugh…

Dialogue Edit
One last change occurs in the very last dialogue exchange before the end credits.

American Dub
Rachel: “They’re the best detectives I know!”
Richard: “Gee, thanks…”

Originally, Ran just said that they were all a bunch of silly kids, to which Inspector Megure agrees.

Final Thoughts
I’d say an imperfect dub for an imperfect episode is quite fitting, but in all honesty, this “no brains required” story really isn’t damaged at all from the dialogue changes, so there’s not much for even a nitpicker like me to complain about.  The alcohol cover-up is annoying, but seeing as it isn’t a recurring problem, I’m willing to let it slide here.  See you next time!


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