Episode 021 – “The TV Drama Set Murder Case”

Japanese Episode 021: “The TV Drama Set Murder Case”
American Episode 022: “Lights, Camera… Murder”
Original Japanese Air Date: June 24, 1996
Original American Air Date: June 29, 2004
Based On Manga: No
Next Conan’s Hint: Bread Crumbs
Original Version Written By: Kōjin Ochi
Original Version Directed By: Kenji Kodama
American Version Written By: Matt Chaney
American Version Directed By: Mike McFarland

Episode 021 01

Episode Thoughts
Remember the third episode when Y
ōko Okino was introduced?  Those of you with good memories might remember how it was mentioned that Yōko received a role in a TV drama series.  Apparently the anime writers liked that idea and decided to expand on it, and the result is this very entertaining filler episode.  I really like word puzzles and wordplay in general, so this episode is easily a winner in my book.  I like the idea of spending an entire case trying to figure out how a dying message can be tampered with, and I wish this happened more often in the series.  It was a very entertaining possibility to expand on.

This episode is also noteworthy for being Officer Takagi’s official debut (later on in the dub, he’ll be known as Officer Wilder).  Well, it’s not technically him, but this is the character that eventually evolves into Takagi with a few future design changes.  It’s interesting to note that this character made his debut in the anime, but the creator later made him an official character in the manga.  This rarely ever happens, so when it does, it deserves mention.  The character is named after his voice actor, Wataru Takagi, who also voices Genta (George in the dub).

Unfortunately, this is one of a handful of episodes where you need both the English dialogue AND the edited English video to understand FUNi’s dub.  One’s understanding of this episode depends solely on the viewer being able to read the dying message that the victim left behind, so on FUNimation’s DVDs for the series, where only the original Japanese video is used, the English version of the episode makes no sense.  It’s incredibly confusing to see a bunch of Japanese written on the ground with characters saying “wait, what if this letter was changed?” and “oh, okay, “Ringo” spells “Tina” when you change these letters.”  This episode’s English script was written with edits to the video in mind, so seeing the dub without these edits makes the episode impossible to understand.

Name Conversion Guide

Minor Characters
Shingo Nachi = Ringo Norris

Taketoshi Gondo = Gregor
Taeko Mamegaki = Tina Fontana
Yuji Shimazaki = Jeremiah
Morio Anzai = Mario
Kyusaku Mamegaki = Constatine Fontana
Mr. Sugiyama = Mr. Stoddard

The name of the production that Yōko and crew are acting for is called The Blackmailers Who Scoff in the Darkness.  It goes unnamed in the dub.  Also, when Mr. Gondo refers to Kogorō as the modern-day Kogorō Akechi, the dub doesn’t come up with an English mystery reference to replace it with, so they just remove the line altogether.  Finally, Ritsuko Hagiyama, the woman who was having an affair with Shingo, is referred to in the dub as “that lady from the movie with the hurricanes.”  Wow, that’s helpful…

Dialogue Edit
The TV drama is changed to a movie in the dub, most likely to fit with the same change that was made in the dub of episode three.

Dialogue Edit
When Y
ōko and Ringo stop filming their scene, the dub has them share a friendly conversation about how they can quit acting like their characters since filming has stopped.  Originally, they weren’t even talking to each other.  Yōko was thanking everybody for their praise and Shingo was dismissing it, saying that it was common knowledge that he was going to do a great job.

Dialogue Edit
Richard apparently wrote the movie’s entire script in the dub, but originally, Kogor
ō only supervised the writing of the TV drama.  He didn’t write the entire thing.

Sound Edit
Wow, we certainly don’t get these very often.  The creepy skull wristwatch makes a completely different sound effect depending on which version you’re watching.  In the dub, it plays a digitized version of a classic piece of horror music.  In the original version, the watch lets out a devilish, sinister sounding laugh.

Dialogue Edit
When Morio talks about his creepy wristwatch, he said that he picked it up while he was on vacation in America.  In the dub, Mario doesn’t mention where he went on his trip; he just says he was on vacation.

Dialogue Edit
When Kogor
ō accepts Mr. Gondo’s offer to stay with the film crew and party, Ran comments on how wild her father is.  This is the same in both versions, but Yuji’s response to Ran is different in the dub.

American Dub
Jeremiah: “If you think he’s embarrassing, you should see my dad.”

Originally, Yuji doesn’t comment about his own father.  Instead, he invited Ran and Conan to stay for the party as well.

Dialogue Edit
The party scene has a few changes.  In the dub, Mario doesn’t tell us why he’s leaving the party, whereas in the original version, he was going to tune the video camera.  Funnily enough, the exact opposite happens with Taeko/Tina.  Tina actually tells us where she’s going in the dub, but in the Japanese version, Taeko doesn’t mention why she’s leaving.  She just says that she’s going to go take care of something.  Finally, when Yuji leaves, Mr. Gondo tells him to pick up some cigarettes, while in the dub, Gregor tells Jeremiah to pick up something to treat headaches.

Dialogue Edit
ōko’s comment about how she sometimes likes to wear a mustache when she goes out in public was dub-only.  Also, when Yōko, Ran, and Conan leave the convenience store, they were originally talking about how well Yōko’s disguise worked, but in the dub, they talk about some sugar candy that the store had.

Dialogue Edit
Okay, as interesting as these minor edits are, you’re really here to see how the mystery itself was altered, aren’t you?  Well, let’s see.

Morio’s dying message was originally “Mame” (as in Taeko Mamegaki), but then it was altered to the characters for “leading man,” and then one last time to the characters for “Shinto Statue.”  In the dub, Mario’s dying message was “Tina,” which was then altered to “Ringo,” which was lastly altered to “Shrine God.”

Because the original version is dealing with Japanese characters and the English version is dealing with letters of the alphabet, all of the explanations for why the Japanese characters look weird are naturally changed to equivalent explanations for why the English letters look strange.

Dialogue Edit
When Kogor
ō is trying to connect Morio’s dying message to Shingo, Kogorō asks Shingo if “Shinto Statue” is a nickname of his.  In the dub, Richard tries to link Ringo to the dying message by pointing out that Ringo played a monk in one of his former movie roles.  No matter which language you’re watching, Kogorō/Richard still comes off as an idiot here, so this aspect was retained in the dub, despite the change.

Dialogue Edit
Originally, Taeko stole an expensive statue from the shrine storehouse.  In the dub, Tina stole a bunch of instruments, not a statue.

Dialogue Edit
This last alteration is perhaps the biggest change of the episode aside from the “Japanese characters to English alphabet” switch.  Here’s what Tina says in the dub when she finishes her explanation of why she killed Mario.

American Dub
Tina: “I’ve caused too much death in my life!”

Originally, Taeko’s line was “I never meant to kill him!”  Think about it for a second.  Does that line sound familiar?  It should, because that is the very same thing Yōko Okino’s TV drama character says in the very first line of the episode.  You see, the twisted irony of this entire episode is that the actual murder that took place is exactly like the fictional TV drama episode that these characters were filming at the beginning of the story.  That’s why the script’s name was The Blackmailers Who Scoff in the Darkness.  Because of this line change, this irony is completely lost from the English dub.  T’is a shame.

Final Thoughts
To be honest, I can understand the reasoning behind changing the mystery to revolve around wordplay with the English alphabet instead of wordplay with Japanese characters.  The main disappointment is that the English altered video isn’t included on FUNi’s DVDs as a viewing option, so the episode makes no sense in English anymore.  As it stands, the only time this episode was ever presented in English in a way that made sense was the [adult swim] television airing years ago.  It’s sad that those days are long gone.  See you next time!


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  1. #1 by Shalamar on August 10, 2016 - 5:08 PM

    Do you have any pictures of the edited message left at the crime scene from the original English volume dvd release? It’s a shame funimation didn’t even make an alternate subtitle track to at least “translate” the Japanese text to what it should have said in English.

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