a.k.a. Meitantei Conan: Hitomi no Naka no Ansatsusha
Company: TOHO/Shogakukan Productions
Format: 1 movie
Two policemen are murdered in close succession, and the Tokyo police are strangely reluctant to share any information about the murders. Suspecting a connection, Edogawa Conan begins to investigate. His deduction proves right: a third police officer is shot a short time later, and this time, Conan’s beloved Ran is witness to the crime. Unfortunately, the shock proves too much for her and she loses her memory. Now the murderer is willing to kill her too before she remembers his face…
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Intriguing setup; well-placed false leads; many personal moments for main cast
Lows: Murder plot flawed in many respects; outlandish action sequences
Detective Conan movies normally have a plot that’s so large that it takes the big ol’ silver screen to host it. Not so with Captured In Her Eyes. This murder mystery isn’t about exploding skyscrapers, crashing planes or ancient riddles. It’s a story of much smaller proportions this time and is a delightful change from the usual “bigger is better.” The first 30 minutes are among the best I’ve ever seen in Detective Conan movies, simply because they manage to surprise you with events you’ve never seen before. The police refusing Mori’s help? Conan arriving too late to get a glimpse of the killer? An action sequence that doesn’t lead into a chase? It’s all here, timed perfectly and just how a good thriller should start.
The number of possible suspects is also at an all-time high, adding more suspense to an already tricky mystery. This time, the killer’s identity is the absolute center of attention. Virtually everybody has a motive, and the sheer number of false leads will keep you guessing. Add to that the drama that comes from Ran’s memory loss and the many personal moments between her, Mori, Sonoko and Conan, and you have essentially a flawless setup for a great movie.
And what does the script make of it all? It combines them into a plot where almost none of the events turn out logical in the end. The behavior of the murderer, for example, is in total contrast to his identity; he sneaks and hides where he could just walk around in the open without arising any suspicion and skips a few obvious chances at killing Ran in a way he’s skilled at in favor of attacking her at a place with possibly thousands of witnesses. Faced with a multitude of suspects, Conan is able to determine the correct one by the fact that this is the one person he hadn’t thought of before, and even though he is able to understand the murderer’s mode of killing (a detail, by the way, that the average viewer will have understood before him), he has absolutely no evidence against him in the end.
To top it all off, the “grand finale” of Captured In Her Eyes is everything this movie promised not to be: a collection of outlandish action sequences more befitting Batman than Conan. Had the producers kept the final confrontation at the same personal level as the setup, this movie would at least have retained some style. But as it stands, the fourth Detective Conan movie is anime as I don’t like it: lacking logic, lacking elegance and absolutely too pompous for its own good. The slow, personal moments and the intriguing setup are the only things that make it worth watching. The rest is disappointing, whether you like the series or not.