Kudo Shinchi wrote:I want to preface by making two points:
The Detective Conan movies have always had some degree of influence on the manga and anime. Most significantly, Shiratori was introduced as a movie-original character before being upgraded to a full-fledged canon character in his introductory case (chapter 208-210/episodes 146-147). More recently, Sanada from the sixteenth movie was upgraded to a manga-canon character as well, albeit only one that is mentioned by others.
Secondly, the main shtick of the DC movies is that they do things the manga can’t. This ability usually manifests itself in massive explosions and chaotic action sequences that are so outlandish as to actively break the laws of physics. The movies revel in their own ridiculousness, because such antics have no place in a manga as grounded in reality (mostly) as DC. More so, the movies are made on a relatively higher budget, and they take advantage of that to deliver outrageous set pieces with great animation and art. Finally, since DC movies are non-canon, they have little limits on what they can show or do. As long as the plot is not involved and no recurring characters die (basically, as long as the status quo is maintained by the movie’s end), literally anything can happen, whether its Conan shooting at Ran atop a collapsing building, Ran getting amnesia, Conan/Shinichi confessing his love, Ran piloting an airplane, the Organization shooting up Tokyo Tower in a military jet, or Conan and Kaitou Kid having silly hijinks on a blip with fake terrorists, etc. The list goes on. The movies are larger and more epic in scale than the relatively restrained main series, and that’s where their main appeal lies.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:Now, recently, I’ve begun to feel that the previously mentioned movies’ influence has expanded enough to become detrimental to the actual plot/characters of the manga. That is, it feels like the manga’s plot has become subservient to the need to create movie “events.” The first major case of this occurred with movie 18, The Sniper from Another Dimension, which revealed Aka’s survival. Its release was timed to coincide with the reveal of Akai’s survival in the manga, and the two in turn were carefully situated to occur in the year of the manga’s twentieth anniversary. Now, remember that the Mystery Train case, which basically confirmed Akai’s survival, occurred in 2012, while the explicit reveal occurred in Scarlet Showdown in 2014, on the manga’s twentieth anniversary. Between those two years the plot basically consisted of the much-scorned “Akai family arc,” which was essentially the final third of the Bourbon arc. Now, unfortunately, the mystery of the middle brother and of the Mystery Girl that dominated those two years had little to do with Bourbon, and recent events have revealed them to be connected to the Rum arc, not the Bourbon arc. The actual meat of the Bourbon arc involving Bourbon’s investigation of Akai’s death and Conan’s true identity essentially vanished, not returning until the buildup to Scarlet Showdown in 2014. Instead of the clean, well-planned writing that has characterized all of Gosho’s previous arcs, where there would be clear beginnings, middles, and endings and where the relevancy of various subplots would be clear, the Bourbon arc’s final segment suffered from an awkward structure, where characters and subplots from a different arc intruded to create a messy final two years.
The impression that I get of the last two Bourbon-less years of the Bourbon arc is that of padding; that is, it feels like the events that would transpire in Scarlet Showdown were unnecessarily delayed for the specific purpose of occurring in the twentieth year. This, in turn, allowed the anime staff to produce a special event “movie” commemorating the manga’s twentieth anniversary. The financial reward of such a scheme is obvious. Movie 18’s inclusion of plot characters is justified by the year of its release, and their inclusion builds more hype than the average movie would be capable of. This profit came at the cost of coherent plot progression in the manga during those two years.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:However, its beginning to feel that Gosho and co. are taking the idea of “movies can do things manga can’t” too far. I say this mostly in reaction to the contents of the twentieth movie, “The Nightmare from Darkness.”
Like movie 18, movie 20 is very much an “event” movie. Its one by virtue of its own number, but also because it doubles as a celebration of the DC anime’s twentieth anniversary. Just like movie 18, movie 20 resorts to plot characters to establish the specialness of its status. Now, some minor spoilers for movie 20 (though really nothing the trailers haven’t revealed): it teases the current Rum plotline from the manga while focusing on the Organization’s chase of spies, which naturally puts Bourbon and Kir in danger. Now all of this sounds very exciting, except for one thing: it’s the exact sort of plot that the Rum arc has advertised itself to be. More specifically, it’s the plot that the Scarlet Showdown set up and hinted that the Rum arc would be.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:Let’s take a moment to talk about the Scarlet Showdown. I’m on record as a defender of the Bourbon arc’s conclusion, and suffice to say I liked it more (a lot more) than most people on this forum. However, even I have to admit the slight sense of anti-climax that surrounds its end. The epic confrontation between Bourbon and Akai that the entire arc had been building towards never quite materialized. Instead it was put on-hold, as Conan/Akai and Bourbon formed an uneasy (and likely temporary) alliance. In hindsight, its plain that Scarlet Showdown ended the way it did to set up a new status quo, and it’s that status quo which allows movie 20 to take place. In this new status quo, Amuro is aware that Akai is alive but is not aware that he is Subaru. More so, he is working with Akai and Conan and is a part of the latter’s daily life, as a worker in the café below the Mouri Detective Agency.
Amuro is a new type of character created by the Bourbon arc, a type he shares with Sera and Subaru. This new character type is that of a person simultaneously involved with the plot while also maintaining a constant presence in Conan’s normal life. [...] Now that all three have basically been neutralized as threats, they can exist in a new status quo without losing their relevancy to the plot. They are hybrids: characters that exist in both the realm of plot and ordinary life.
Both movies 18 and 20 take place in this new status quo, hence their easy inclusion of Sera, Subaru, and Amuro. The events of movie 20 especially could not have occurred without the set-up of Scarlet Showdown. Far more important, though, is the way movie 20 delivers scenes that readers could have rightfully expected would have occurred in the manga. First and foremost is that movie 20 includes an actual confrontation between Akai and Amuro, an action-packed brawl that while over-the-top, offers more of a concrete clash between the two than the one featured in Scarlet Showdown. More so, the movie shows the Organization dealing with spies, which Vermouth foreshadowed would happen in the last chapter of Scarlet Showdown. Couple all of the above with Gosho’s comments that the movies are a better medium for action scenes than the manga (or something to that effect) and how much he loved the movie fight scene between Bourbon and Akai, and I get the strong impression that the canon climax of the Bourbon arc was adjusted to accommodate the non-canon movie 20.
Instead of having a traditional climax conclude the Bourbon arc in the manga (as was the case with the Vermouth and Kir arc), the action was saved for the movie, where it could be animated in all its glory with a high budget on the big screen. Same goes for all the Organization action in the movie. While that definitely makes for a more epic showing in a manner that the manga could never achieve, it detrimentally interferes with the actual content of the manga, the primary canon of the series. Movies can influence the manga in relatively harmless or even beneficial ways (as was the case with Shiratori), but the moment they begin to affect how the actual plot is written and structured is the moment they’ve crossed a line. Relegating stuff that we should have seen in the manga to movies for the sake of better spectacle does more harm than good, because it undercuts the gravitas of what occurs. Viewers know that nothing that happens in the movies ultimately matter. They can be entertaining and fun, but they are not substitutes for the canon, and movie scenes will never quite carry the same weight as those from the manga. Bourbon vs. Akai on the big screen looks awesome, but in the end it’s pure spectacle that would have made for more compelling viewing if placed in the context of the manga’s lore. Sure, an actual cathartic showdown between Amuro and Akai will probably occur in the manga someday, but the damage to the Bourbon arc’s climax has already been done.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:In conclusion, the manga of recent years seems to have been written specifically with the movies in mind, and the trend unfortunately shows no sign of relenting. Next year’s movie is one that centers on Heiji and Kazuha, and I’m willing to bet that it will coincide with the long-awaited confession in the manga, just as was the case with the reveal of Akai’s survival. Heiji and Kazuha’s confession has been dragged out for literally years, and even though the recent Nue case seemed promising, it ultimately ended with a troll move as Heiji’s confession is interrupted. Bizarrely, the case ended with an introduction of an apparent love rival for Heiji’s affections. Anything said about the purpose of this character would be mere speculation at this point, but it’s worth noting that her existence is a marked departure from how Gosho does things. Simply put, he doesn’t like too much drama in his love stories. With the exception of the whole Shiratori-Takagi-Sato thing, Gosho prefers relatively painless love stories. If there is drama (as is the case in the Shinichi/Ran romance) it is almost never from an antagonistic third party. Some can say this approach to romance is boring, but it is what it is. So introducing a character like this is already uncharacteristic for Gosho, but all the more because of how late in the game it is. She possibly might have something to do with the upcoming movie, as a sort of final obstacle before the confession finally occurs, or perhaps as a catalyst for it. If that were the case, though, this would be yet another example of the movies actually intruding on the manga’s territory, bending the story for their sake.
This emerging pattern, assuming it’s not a figment of my imagination, is distressing, and an arrangement which produces great profits at the cost of the manga’s storytelling doesn’t sound good. I don’t know how coherent all of the above was, but I would be interested in other people’s thoughts.
Movies or not, he would've ended Scarlet Showdown like he did.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:@DCUniverseAficionado Thanks for the reply!
Just some responses to your key points:
1. My argument here is that in recent years that order has been somewhat inverted, in the sense that the manga has to be adjusted to line up with certain movie events... my argument is far more limited in scope than you seem to have understood it to be; I'm simply making the observation that certain parts of the manga's story and specific events that occur in it (like Bourbon vs Akai) are either delayed or written differently to accommodate movie "events" and maximize their capacity for generating hype (and in turn revenue). I think Filipino_4869 has a point when he says that recently the manga has felt like more of an advertisement for the movies rather than the other way around, which is how it should be.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:2. I think you're extrapolating from my argument a claim that I never made nor suggested: that the movies are responsible for the Bourbon arc's flaws. Of course they're not; the Bourbon arc began all the way back in 2007. [...] I'm speaking only of the last two years of the Bourbon arc, when movie 18 and movie 20 were released. Everything before that had nothing to do with it.
For the record, I love the Bourbon arc, even with its uneven pacing and messy final two years. It's my second favorite plot arc. It featured some of the best cases the manga has ever seen and the three main characters it introduced (Subaru, Sera, and Amuro) are some of my personal favorites in DC. I'm a lot more positive on post-2007 DC than most people around here, so I'm not trying to make some sweeping argument diagnosing the fall of current DC's or its "woes," simply because I don't believe DC's (inevitable, really) slight decline in quality has been anywhere serious enough to warrant that. So no, I'm not accusing the movies of ruining the manga's story in any ways.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:I just think that recently (and I do mean very very recently) that they've been exerting more influence on how Gosho writes his original material more than they should. Again, I point to Gosho's comments about movie 20 (can't find an exact link for them at the moment) where he basically says that movies do action better than the manga, which suggests that he'd rather relegate action-y scenes he could have written in the manga to the movies. Taken to its logical conclusion, this could mean that actual action of the sort witnessed in the Vermouth and Kir arc could be purged from the manga, saved instead for the big screen. My worry is that this becomes a consistent trend, and that Gosho treats movie scenes like Akai vs. Bourbon as valid substitutes for seeing a similar confrontation in the main series (though as I said, we'll likely see it in some shape or form there eventually). If that were to happen, the plot of the manga would not change. Rather, the way it's written may. That is, it may be written in a manner that eschews action with the reasoning that such sequences can be made for the movies. DC is a relatively subdued series with little action, but that's exactly what makes their presence in BO confrontations so striking.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:3. The pacing. I should have clarified this point more. Of course Gosho drags things out; this is DC. The pacing has always been excruciatingly slow, not since 2007 or 2003, but since the very beginning. If anything, I feel like the manga's pacing since Sera's intro (around 2010) has been among the speediest in DC. The Bourbon arc's second half had regular bursts of plot and the trend has continued into the Rum arc....so I'm not sure I'd agree with the notion that the pacing has gotten slower. In my initial post, I just focused on the messy two years that concluded the Bourbon arc, because they are such a marked departure from Gosho's usual clean-cut style. The Akai family seems to be more relevant to the Rum arc then the Bourbon arc, and yet they dominated the last two years of the latter. I know "Bourbon arc" and "Rum arc" are fan constructs and Gosho never officially labeled his arcs that way, but fans have been able to do so for so long because of how distinct each plot arc is from the other. Each has a clear beginning and ending, but the Bourbon arc's is very muddled. Gosho wasn't stretching out Bourbon's investigation of Akai's death so much as he put it on the back-burner while focusing on other stuff, almost as if specifically waiting for the manga's twentieth anniversary to do the joint "Akai survival" reveal with the movie. I don't think this was Gosho's intention from the start of the Bourbon arc, which itself seems to have last much longer than he originally intended (his editor asked him to insert Sera into the plot and he seems to have done a lot of rewriting to accommodate her addition, hence the sudden stop of plot for a year and a half after the Red Shirts case). Things just worked out this way in the end. Now this admittedly borders on pure speculation, as does much of what I've said so far. I don't claim to have a bulletproof argument here.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:DCUniverseAficionado wrote:Movies or not, he would've ended Scarlet Showdown like he did.
But would he have? We can't really know that. This is as speculative as anything I've said. For me, at least, it feels that while the major beats of Scarlet Showdown would have remained intact, the specific way it unfolded might have differed if not for the promise of including certain sequences in movie 20.
Kudo Shinchi wrote:4. Don't worry, I'm not claiming that the Kazuha-Heiji confession being dragged out was for the purpose of movie 21. I just think the movie staff saw an opportunity, just like they did with movie 18 and 20, to time a movie release with a significant event from the manga and that Gosho agreed. It is a very effective way of creating hype.
Ultimately I could be seeing patterns where none exist, or perhaps the trend I'm seeing will end with movie 21 and that'll be that. Time will tell.
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