For his 25th animated film, Detective Conan steps out of his comfort zone, but struggles to offer us the explosive ending we expected.
Shinichi Kudo returns for a new investigation. Less than a year later The Scarlet BulletDetective Conan is back in theaters with The Bride of Shibuya, a new adventure never before seen in France, against a backdrop of a secret society and a relentless serial killer. A twenty-fifth feature film by Susumu Mitsunaka, which shines with its good ideas, but struggles to find its conclusion. Critical.
Conan for young and old
With 25 feature films and more than 1000 episodes on the clock, Detective Conan carries with it a Dantesque heritage. To avoid losing its audience from the first minutes of the film, The Bride of Shibuya bets on security, and breaks the fourth wall to offer us a booster shot on the universe of Gosho Aoyama. The exercise could have been boring, but it was without counting on the mastery of Susumu Mitsunaka: in addition to being necessary, the sequence intended to introduce the characters and their backstory one by one shines with its narrative and graphic biases . The opportunity for novices to (re)discover Ran, Inspector Megure and the whole clique of junior detectives, while the most observant will have fun with the meta references to the original work.
Because there are characters in Detective Conan. In addition to the recurring faces that accompany Shinichi in the anime series, The Bride of Shibuya is also an opportunity to meet Rei Furuya, one of the members of the secret police infiltrated among the Men in Black under the pseudonym of Bourbon. The most assiduous fans will have had to wait for episode 667 to discover it for the first time; for those who would have been content with the first seasons available on SVOD platforms, it’s a safe bet that the policeman is a complete stranger. Helped by the investigation office of the Tokyo metropolitan police department, Conan and his friends will once again risk their lives to elucidate a series of deadly attacks.
As Halloween decorations took over the streets of the city, Conan assists Detective Sato in the preparations for a heavily guarded wedding. A series of attacks will however compromise the ceremony, and revive the painful memory of a deadly attack that occurred three years earlier. We won’t say more so as not to spoil the plot. Once again, the little detective finds himself at the heart of a new nightmarish investigation. This time, however, he will have to move forward with his face uncovered to unmask a mysterious bomber known as Plamya. Deprived of Kogoro, Conan can happily count on the support of Rei Furuya, but also on the always willing help of Genta, Mitsuhiko and Ayumi.
Dark Halloween for Conan
While The Scarlett Bullet offered Hollywood action movie tunes, The Bride of Shibuya opts for a radically different atmosphere, much more dark and heavy. It must be said that despite a release in May in French cinemas, it is on Halloween that the story of the twenty-fifth feature film takes place. In the script, we find a regular of the genre. In addition to having worked on several episodes of the animated series and two feature films (The Blue Sapphire and The Purple Love Letter), Takahiro Okura is also a successful author of detective novels on the Japanese archipelago.
At the realization, Susumu Mitsunaka also does wonders. Without equaling the brilliance of Mappa studios on the recent Jujutsu Kaisen 0, TMS Entertainment manages to play on the movements and surprise effects throughout the film. We expected no less from the man behind the sports shonen adaptation Haikyū.
Visually, The Bride of Shibuya stands out as a heavy and dark psychological drama, with controlled rhythm. The tone is more mature, and we do not sulk our pleasure. With Plamya, Conan finally seems to have found an adversary worthy of him. The bomber is terrifying, relentless, and always seems to be one step ahead of the police. Associated with a mysterious secret Russian organization with nebulous objectives, the big bad had all the cards in hand to establish himself as one of the most charismatic antagonists of the franchise.
The shadow of Plamya
Plamya had everything to allow this twenty-fifth film to explode at the box office. For more than an hour, the bomber instills the clues and promises us a very high-flying outcome. Too bad, the fall is only harder. Despite very good starting ingredients, Plamya’s charisma flies away once her identity is revealed. Without saying too much, the explosive ending we were hoping for is finally quite agreed, and comes up with a final deus ex machina that is visually very beautiful, but scriptwriting weak.
It’s all the more frustrating that Plamya had enormous potential. Beneath his mask inspired by 17th century Europe, the villain is ultimately revealed to be quite empty. His identity revealed in a hurry and its lack of depth have the effect of a wet firecracker. The character has neither a past nor even a motivation capable of justifying his actions. If most of the secondary characters offer a rather effective backstory, he completely escapes it. The film fortunately finds its accuracy in the character of Yelenika. The young woman offers us a dramatic dimension that we no longer expected, and alone carries a good part of the emotion of the anime. A masterstroke, especially for a new character in the lore Detective Conan.
Let the fans be reassured: despite his odds, The Bride of Shibuya is far from a nightmare. By breaking away from the traditional fan service to attempt a more original rereading, Susumu Mitsunaka assumes a strong bias, even if it means making a few mistakes. Despite its cruel lack of depth, the film retains the DNA of the original sagaand remains a very good entertainment, to which one ends up forgiving the clumsiness.
Detective Conan: Bride of Shibuya will come out on May 18, 2022 at the cinema. In the meantime, the first seasons of the animated series are already available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.