Things That Are Nice: Day 13

I've been keeping myself occupied with large amounts of 『名探偵コナン』, ("Detective Conan" in translation; "Case Closed" in the unexpectedly good dub). It follows the cases of high school detective Kudou Shinichi, after he is given an experimental drug by a group of bad guys known only as the "Black Organizatoin" and de-aged into a boy of about six. They seemed to think the stuff killed him and he does his best to keep it that way, pretending to be the grade-schooler "Edogawa Conan" and staying with his best friend/might as well be girlfriend Mouri Ran and her father Kogoro, who works as a private detective. Shinichi/Conan helps (well, "helps") Kogoro solve cases with the aid of gadgets provided by his friend and next-door neighbor Professor Agasa, and occasionally a gang of kid detectives who latched onto him in school.

The most pleasing thing about this series is that nobody in it is stupid. I am easily irritated by mystery series in which the detective operates entirely via ass-pulls, the police are useless, and the criminals do things that make no sense. It's stated in-universe that the reason all of Kogoro's cases are so goddamn bizarre is that the cops are fully capable of solving the normal stuff without help. And, in fact, there are several groups of police detectives -- a main group in Tokyo, and others they know in Osaka, Nagano, Hokkaido, and other regions -- who are perfectly competent people and only get stumped when someone puts together the kind of intricate scheme one normally only finds in Agatha Christie novels. Conan solves most of Kogoro's cases for him, but more because Kogoro is lazy, impatient, and frequently drunk than from any inherent deficiency in his detecting skills. (On the rare occasions that Kogoro steps up and does his job properly, he is scary-competent.) Ran has come frighteningly close to figuring out that he's secretly Shinichi quite a number of times, and is only stopped by the fact that she has no idea re-kid-ification is even a thing.

The English dub, as mentioned above, is actually very good. This is especially impressive given how many of the puzzles rely on puns, phonetic tricks, written ambiguities, or alternate kanji readings. Apparently when someone told Aoyama Gosho that they wanted to translate his series into other languages, he just kind of looked at them and went, "Good luck."