By Gosho Aoyama • Viz Media • Mystery • Older Teen • $9.99
Conan and his friends have more cases to solve, though only one murder in this volume. First he gets dragged into disrupting a date that ends up involving a drug deal, a suicide that looks suspicious, and a search for Dr. Asaga’s first love.
After reading so many shonen, shojo and thriller titles lately, I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the chase of a good mystery manga, so it was great to get back into a volume of Case Closed. The cases in this volume are mostly light fare, involving the relationships of supporting characters Sato and Takagi and Dr. Asaga. The mysteries involve solving puzzles and reading people. It’s a lot of fun watching the deduction process with Conan and the Junior Detective League. The one murder is fairly obvious about who the culprit is, it’s the way the murder is committed that is the mystery.
This was a fun, light read, with three complete cases, and the last chapter being the hook for the next volume. If you need a mystery fix, Case Closed is sadly your only option at the moment, but at least it’s a good one.
By Takehiko Inoue • Viz Media • Sports/Shonen • Teen • $9.99
Shohoku is in the midst of another game that will decide if they go on in the tournament. But lots of things are working against them; Akagi’s injured ankle and having to play without Coach Anzai has the team seeming to fall apart. Sakuragi has to prove he’s not all talk.
This volume of Slam Dunk takes place in the first half of Shohoku’s game against Ryonan. Much like a previous volume I reviewed, the action all takes place on the court, but it was a much more frustrating read. Once again, it’s just as much about what’s going on in the player’s heads as it is about what’s going on the court. We really see how much team captain Akagi affects the other players, and until Sakuragi is able to get through to him, Shohoku’s game is off.
I guess it’s really to Takehiko’s credit that I felt so much frustration reading this volume. It’s not frustration with the story though. It more a sympathetic frustration I felt with Shohoku, as they get routed at every turn by Ryonan. It’s especially intense with Sakuragi. Even with all his big talk, he does have some natural skills that have carried him this far, and has really grown as a character, as has his love for the game. But his deficiencies really come to light as he faces off again Ryonan ace Fukuda. It seems like all of Sakuragi’s best efforts are easily shot down, and there seems to be nothing he can do this time. Every block and every smack talk that hits home just makes you really sympathize with Sakuragi until you’re fists are balled up and you shaking this frustration as well.
While Slam Dunk continues to have lots of basketball action, it is really so much more than guys sweating on a basketball court, throwing a ball around. There’s a real emotional impact that shows why this is one of the best-selling manga titles ever.