Episode 020 – “The Haunted House Murder Case”

Japanese Episode 020: “The Haunted House Murder Case”
American Episode 021: “The Disappearing Act”
Original Japanese Air Date: June 17, 1996
Original American Air Date: June 28, 2004
Based On Manga: Files 017-019 (Volume 02, Chapters 08-10)
Next Conan’s Hint: Fu Dog (Dub Hint: “Shrine God”)
Original Version Organized By: Kuchiru Kazehara
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Eric Vale & Matt Chaney
American Version Directed By: Eric Vale

Episode 020 01

Episode Thoughts
I really like this episode and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.  I guess it’s because, unlike most of the fanbase, I really do like the Detective Boys and most of the episodes that focus on them.  This particular story covers everything that makes stories centered around these kid detectives so awesome.  It also helps that this is just as much of a character episode as it is a mystery, something that’s not too common in the earlier episodes because most of the character-oriented scenes from the manga are usually cut to make room for the cases themselves.  Seeing all of the intended scenes make their way into an episode for once is a real treat, since we have a perfect balance of mystery and character spotlight.

This is one of the best cases adapted from the manga in the entire show.  There are no scenes cut at all and the pacing is still fantastic.  The animation director in charge of this episode captured Gōshō Aoyama’s distinct art style perfectly, and there is so much attention to layout and detail that almost every shot of this episode looks almost exactly like its manga counterpart.  This is fantastic work.

I’m not even sure where to start with the dub.  There are a ton of script changes here, and you’ll get to read all of those in a little bit.  The Detective Boys cases tend to have more fluff in their scripts, which makes it easier for the English writers to play with the dialogue and change things, which is a shame.  My main beef with this episode is the voice direction.  Eric Vale was the English ADR director for this episode, and it’s very obvious that he and our main actors need to learn about a little thing called “subtlety.”  These characters are trespassing in a mansion that isn’t even theirs, and they’re supposed to be trying not to get caught, so logically, the characters in the Japanese version are all whispering.  The dub decides not to worry about this at all and just has every member of the cast either talk normally or scream their lines.  How these characters didn’t get caught when their yelling is echoing through the entire house I have no clue.

Name Conversion Guide

Minor Characters
Akio = Abraham

Eto Family = Bruté Family

Akio’s/Abraham’s parents remain unnamed regardless of which language you choose to watch.

Side Note
Why the heck is Ayumi out by herself getting bread in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm?  How horrible of a mother does this poor girl have?!

I should note that this scene, while mentioned in the manga, is mostly filler.  We see Ayumi walk by the house for one panel, and she is holding her groceries, but there’s no thunderstorm.

Dialogue Edit
There are a few changes made to Ayumi’s explanation of the haunted house to Conan.  Amy fails to mention that the murder took place five years ago in the dub.  Ayumi tells us that stray dogs wonder into the house and turn up the next day as skeletons, a rumor that Amy doesn’t mention.

In the very next dialogue exchange, George’s response to Mitch’s disbelief of ghosts and fantasy creatures is rewritten.  Here’s what they said in the dub.

American Dub
George: “Look who’s talking!  I’ve seen you in your wizard robe!”
Mitch: “I don’t know how to respond to that…”

Wow, neither do I.  Originally, Genta got furious because he thought Mitsuhiko was calling Ayumi a liar.

Dialogue Edit
When the kids get onto Conan for not bringing any supplies, Conan’s inner monologue sarcastically asks if these kids think they’re entering a devil’s castle (like in an RPG).  In the dub, Conan thinks about how badly George is going to hurt himself with his bat.

Yes, because George is stupid.  We get it, FUNi…

Dialogue Edit
Originally, when Ayumi gets scared about going into the haunted house, Genta tells her that if she’s scared, she should just go home by herself.  In the dub, George practically forces Amy to stay.  I think it’s more in Genta’s character to act brave and try to impress Ayumi by going inside without her than making her stay and do something she doesn’t want to do, but what do I know?

Dialogue Edit
We get a completely rewritten conversation once our heroes enter the house.  Here’s a comparison chart.  The Japanese dialogue is on the left, while the English lines are on the right.

Original Japanese Version American Dub
Genta: “Walking around with you guys like this, it’s almost like we’re in a role-playing game!” George: *laughs* “When I find this ghost, I’m gonna totally wallop him, unless you guys want a crack at him!”
Ayumi: “Yeah!  We’re in a party!” Amy: “Nah, we’ll leave the walloping up to you.”
Genta: “I’m a brave fighter, of course!” George: “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!”
Ayumi: “I’m a cute girl warrior!” Amy: “But aren’t you scared at all, George?”
Mitsuhiko: “I’m a gifted magician!” Mitch: “Or are you hiding your fear in aggression?”
Conan: “I guess I’m a-” Conan: “My guess is yes!”
Genta: “You’re a villager!” George: “You better watch your mouth.”
Conan: “But villagers aren’t party members!” Conan: “Huh?  But it’s a physical impossibility for me to watch my mouth.”
Ayumi: “But you’re an important character – you give us information!” Amy: “Cut it out, you guys!  We’re here to find some ghosts, remember?”
Mitsuhiko: “Yeah!  It’s the perfect role for you!” Mitch: “… Or to prove they don’t exist.”
Conan (Thinking): “Bah! Don’t patronize me!” Conan (Thinking): “Let’s get it over with…”

I really like the original version for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s funnier, and secondly, I like how Conan actually tries to play along with the kids’ game here.  The scene also gives different implications depending on which version you’re watching.  In the original version, Conan is played as the straight man, which really makes the scene work since the audience is meant to identify with him, not the kids.  Genta, Mitsuhiko, and Ayumi are supposed to come off as annoying here, so it makes sense for all three of them to be irritating.

The dub has all of the kids giving George a hard time, not Conan, which means Conan gets annoyed at the end of the scene for no reason.  It makes less sense.  And what’s up with Conan’s “physical impossibility” line?  That’s something I’d expect out of Mitch.  I think the dub was trying to make Conan act stupid in an attempt to annoy George, but it’s not really fitting because trying to annoy the kids is something Conan never really does or even tries to do, so that whole line is out-of-character for him.

Two paragraphs of rambling enough for everybody?

Oh, there’s one last thing to mention regarding this scene.  Because of this conversation, the kids refer to Conan as “villager” for the rest of the episode (something I find hilarious simply because it’s so degrading to Conan).  Since this conversation was changed for the dub, they simply refer to Conan by name.

Dialogue Edit
When Mitch splits up from the gang to use the restroom, Amy asks him if he’ll be okay.  Mitch assures Amy that he’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t get lost.  Originally, Mitsuhiko told Ayumi that he’ll be fine because “I have science and logic on my side!”

In all honesty, it’s not a big change at all, but I feel like mentioning it because this is kind of an iconic line for Mitsuhiko.  This is one of his most famous quotes, and I know a lot of fans who instantly recall this line when thinking of the character.  I suppose if it weren’t so iconic, I wouldn’t care at all, but it is a shame to have a line that describes Mitsuhiko so well changed for the dub.

Sound Edit
I call this a sound edit because I can’t really file it under a dialogue change.  In the Japanese version, the screaming that Mitsuhiko hears is enhanced so that it sounds like a ghost moaning.  In the dub, no enhance effect is used, so Mitch just hears a normal man’s screaming.

Side Note
Okay, I know I already mentioned the dub’s voice direction, but I need to vent again.  When Conan and Ayumi are watching the old lady walk down the hall with the food cart from their hiding place, they’re whispering to each other.  In the dub, though, Conan is talking in his normal voice and I swear Amy is screaming the entire time.  The dub also gives their voices an echo effect.  How does this lady not hear them?!

Dialogue Edit
Doctor Agasa doesn’t warn Conan that the elasticity suspenders could give him “one heck of a wedgie” in the original Japanese version.

Side Note
How the heck did Conan and Ayumi beat the old lady down the stairs and to her son’s prison cell if they were following her?

Dialogue Edit
Conan’s explanation of the crime in the dub leaves out the fact that he knew the man in the cage was Abraham because of the mole on his cheek.  Conan also doesn’t give his deductions game-names like “show and tell” and “what’s weird” in the original version.  Finally, Conan actually knows that it was Akio who committed the murder in the original version, but in the dub, we’re not sure if Conan has deduced that or not.  He just tells both Abraham and his mother to turn themselves in.

Dialogue Edit
In the flashback, Abraham’s father says that he wants Abraham out of his house, but Akio’s father never says anything about throwing him out.

Dialogue Edit
Here’s our very last change of the episode.  In the epilogue, the name of the family that Ayumi thinks owns Shinichi’s house is the Eto family.  As you already read in the name conversion chart, this is changed to the Bruté family in the dub.  With that name change, the explanation of how Amy came to her conclusion about the “second ghost house” had to be rewritten.  In Japanese, the name “Eto” is written with the katakana character for “E” and the kanji character for “TO.”  Ayumi can’t quite tell her katakana from her kanji, though, so she fails to realize that what she thinks is the katakana for “E” is really the kanji for “KU.”  This is why she thinks the name of the owner is “Eto” when it’s really “Kudo.”

In the dub, though, this is simplified a great deal.  Amy just gets the family name wrong for no reason.  Oh Amy, you careless scamp, you.

Final Thoughts
My goodness, what a chore!  This might possibly be the most changed episode yet.  There are a lot of changes that I dislike here, but I think I typed up my thoughts well enough already in the comparison itself, so I guess there’s no point in repeating my sentiments here.  See you next time!


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  1. #1 by KID1412 on January 6, 2014 - 6:40 PM

    That line Conan gives about not being able to watch his mouth always annoyed me. You would think that the great Jimmy Kudo would know about mirrors. I always had the impression that it was the writers genuinely trying to write something intelligent for Conan to say (and I still think that’s most likely) so I’ve always had to really facepalm at that. I wonder if the reason the RPG dialogue was changed to begin with was because they were afraid that a general western audience wouldn’t know enough about RPGs.

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