I am not going to be embarrassed to admin that I do not know Hajime Kindaichi, or his hit series in the 90s and 2000s. I was more of a mainstream anime fan. Ah yeah, the author of Kindaich Case Files has different pen names. With these different pen names, he authored GetBackers and even Detective School Q. Okay, those anime, I know.
Detective Conan, ahh what can I say. I consider Conan as the standard of the detective genre in the manga world. Yes, a lot has appeared before it. And some anime-only episodes are bad. But the manga? Superb. If I am Japanese and understood even the littlest of detail….oh well, the translations are good as well.
Moving forward to Detective Conan vs Kindaichi Case Files.
(again please don’t bitch about fan translations being a grey area etc. I have discussed that before and won’t discuss my views on it again)
I came across this Nintendo DS game from DCTP, the Detective Conan Translation Project, a community with people who love the series. How many movies have these folks translated? I believe most of them. Unfortunately, Viz Media slapped them with a cease and desist order, forcing them to stop translating the manga and the anime.
The good thing that happened because of that, is the speeding-up of the game’s translation. And it has been years since they started this project. Detective Conan and Kindaici Case Files DS is the best Detective Conan game, according to DCTP. Because of that, they chose to pick that game to translate.
Conan and friends set on a journey to Twilight Island, where mysterious disappearance of people have become a problem. Aboard the same ship is Hajime Kindaichi, together with his uncle and childhood friend. They receive a letter from their high school classmate, asking them to solve the mysterious disappearances that are happening in the island. Conan and Kindaichi had a brief encounter in this ship, and both of them quietly acknowledged each other’s keen eye for observation.
The game is divided into seven chapters. Some chapters will be focused on Conan while the others on Kindaichi. Right after they stepped foot on an island, Kindaichi’s classmate who sent him the letter has died, while Kindaichi himself was “spirited away”, adding to all the people that have mysteriously disappeared. Conan sets off to investigate the case.
Kindaichi, however, wakes up on another island, an island very similar to Twilight Island, but only abandoned and there are no people around. It seemed Twilight Island was involved in a tragedy 25 years ago, where its most influential persons (called VIPs) have died. Kindaichi investigates the cases in that “other island”. What’s peculiar is that the cases seem to mimic the tragedy that happened 25 years ago. On Conan’s Twilight Island, a new series of murders are occuring. This time, it involves the current VIPs, who also die or went missing one by one.
Conan and Kindaichi work together to solve the cases, often giving hints they found on the island where they are currently in. Soon, both detectives unravel the mystery of the 2 islands and the horrifying truth (yeaps very horrfying ) that happened 25 years ago.
Conan And Kindaichi Case Files: A Chance Encounter of the 2 Great Detectives (From this point on, we’ll call it ConanKindaichi), plays very much like an Ace Attorney game. Understandable, as the game talks about murders here and there. The standards are in this game, from crime scene investigation, to questioning, and even cross examination of the murderers.
What sets it apart from Ace Attorney is the incorporation of different game mechanics to keep the game fresh. There is the testimony inspection, which lets you point out the contradiction in a statement. There’s the keyword mixing, which mixes two keywords from the case to bring up another one. Then there are some puzzles. At one point, a door in front of you is locked, and you have to play a puzzle in order to unlock it.
Then there’s the bomb disposal, arguably the most irritating minigame of all. This always comes in two subsequent games. In the first game, you have to move a certain token from one point in the bomb to another. You must be aware not to touch the walls or the time limit gets decreased. If the timer hits zero, the bomb will explode and it’s game over. In the second game, there will be two markers that move fast. You have to stop the markers on a certain location in the bomb. Again if you miss, the timer gets decreased, and if it hits zero the bomb explodes.
Also, there’s the Flow Chart. The Flow Chart represents the entire murder case. You place in the chart the characters, the events, and the keywords in accordance to how they relate to one another. It is at this point that you will decide who the murderer is. There’s no penalty if you do it wrong here.
Lastly, there’s the confrontation scene. In usual Conan fashion. Conan will put Kogorou Mouri into sleep and then exposes the murderer with his deduction. All the evidences are with you at this point. You job is to present this evidences at the right moment in order to make the murderer confess to his crime. Of course Kindaichi will not need anyone to put to sleep. He explains the deductions himself.
ConanKindaichi meshes both detective series in such a unique way that no one is very much out of place. It seems it is just natural for the two of them to meet at one point in their lives. This is very much unlike, say a Shohoku vs Seirin match. Slam Dunk’s realistic approach to the basketball genre is very much unlike Kuroko no Basket’s. It would be quite a work of imagination should those two teams finally got a crossover match. Conan and Kindaich Case Files do not need that. Everything in them is realistic (except maybe for the fact that Shinichi Kudou was transformed to a kid), thus the crossover works so naturally.
Also, the game did not mess with any known cannons, or even the personalities of everyone. Kogorou Mouri is still as hopeless as ever. There is, as always, a moment between Conan and Ran, with Ran thinking of Shinichi. The Detective Boys are as cute as ever, even going as far as “saving the day” for Kindaichi (It’s my favorite part of the game. Kindaichi and his uncle thought everything was lost. But then Genta, Mitsuhiko, and Ayumi came along encouraging them to move forward. )
The crime, or rather this complex series of crimes plays like that of a Detective Conan movie, or a 5-episode special. Every case contributes to the ultimate case. Every case brings them to the ultimate truth. The finale is a rich moral lesson to all, and I recommend people who play this to continue playing until the end. Do take note that in 7th chapter, you get to choose as either Kindaichi or Conan. I recommend, you pick one, then after the game, you start on your last save to proceed with the other character. They play differently so it’s worth playing both.
As I have said, this game introduces me to Hajime Kindaichi and the universe of Kindaichi Case Files. It seems there are many similarities with the Conan series, only that Kindaichi has a dependable uncle…
The game is such a rewarding experience to play. The translations are superb and the minimal errors are nothing compared to the experience of playing it. Thank you DCTP for translating this wonderful game. And since you will not translate games anymore, I hope I will be able to play Detective Conan games on my own.