a.k.a. Meitantei Conan: Meikyuu no Crossroad
A series of murders within a hidden criminal organization brings Tokyo’s Edogawa Conan and Osaka’s Hattori Heiji together in a single investigation. Travelling to the former Japanese capital Kyoto, they follow the trails of the legendary historical figures Yoshitsune and Benkei to solve a riddle the murder victims were apparently concerned with just before their deaths. But then another, seemingly impossible murder occurs, and suddenly, the lives of both detectives are under assault, as well…
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Both educational and entertaining; great animation; well-constructed mystery riddle
Lows: Murder plot pales in comparison; too many convenient coincidences
All Detective Conan movies are educational to some extent, but it’s probably this one that takes the education to the extreme. After the movie is over, not only are you an expert on Kyoto’s history and architecture but probably also know all about the legend of Yoshitsune and Benkei, the two most well-known figures of the Japanese Heian era. And during all this time, you’re still entertained perfectly by a well-paced plot and extremely aptly timed action sequences with above-average choreography and state-of-the-art animation well worthy of a cinematic production.
The main part of the plot about the riddle the two detectives have to solve is also constructed extremely well. Combining Kyoto’s history and Japanese linguistics makes it probably unsolvable by anyone not of Japanese origin, but the explanation is easy enough to understand once you know it. Theoretically, you could even solve said riddle before our two detectives manage to, which is a good sign for a nicely written mystery plot.
Unfortunately, the actual “whodunit”… the murders… do not fall in this category. One important detail to the murderer’s modus operandi is never mentioned before Conan and Heiji reveal it, and it’s also rather disappointingly plain for the final missing puzzle piece. The identity of the murderer is not the issue here but rather the way he committed his final crime; it appears totally out of the blue and thus is unsolvable by the audience. If there’s one detail about Crossroad in the Ancient Capital that’s a little annoying, though, it’s the sheer number of convenient coincidences that help solve the mystery. A childhood experience of Heiji’s proves to be the most important hint towards the background of the riddle. Incidentally, one of the professor’s inventions is just around when Conan needs it. And one of his friends gets lost exactly at the right time to have him understand a part of the whodunit. Since when do the combined reasoning skills of Tokyo and Osaka need help from the script writers?
All in all, the seventh Detective Conan movie is one of the most entertaining. Highly educational and without a boring minute, it’s good entertainment for fans of detective mysteries and Japanese history alike. Plus, if you ever have the opportunity to visit Kyoto, you’re sure not to get lost any longer. Isn’t that alone reason enough to give this movie a try?