FoxxFireArt (Level 25)

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Some of the fun that I'd get out of reading DETECTIVE CONAN was piecing together and working out the mystery as the chapters were released. My proficiency in a forum dedicated to workout out murder mysteries was high enough that people started calling me "Kristantei". I easily had a 95% success rate with my theories.

I've been absent from the series for a few years, without any options for the newest chapters. This is my first experience with Masumi Sera. I notice she's not in the wiki -- yet. With Crunchyroll simulcasting the series' latest episodes, I thought I would give this new murder mystery a try.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my deductions from this first part.

Tragedy of the Red Woman [Steam] (赤い女の惨劇 [湯煙], Akai Onna no Sengeki [Yukemuri])

All the of current events are surrounded by a murder from 15 years ago. The "Red Woman" story. She was never captured and still at large. Three years following, a high school Sotoko went missing for one week, and was found at the bottom of a wet quicksand pit. She was only found because her shoes were found nearby. Although, was she drowned or stabbed? They never mention her cause of death.

The Red Woman is being blamed, because of the knife that was located near where the body was found. How do they know this was the same knife from the event three years prior? when the Red Woman first killed, they were crimes of sudden rage and impulse. Even the death of the officer could be attributed to an act of panic. What would be her motive to attack a random person in the woods? I think she's being set up as perpetrator of a planned murder. Someone needs to be looking for another killer, so the police don't look too hard at those present with better motive. A crazy woman missing in the woods for years is a good option.

Victim

Masaie Hakuya (薄谷 昌家, Hakuya Masaie)

  • Age: 28
  • Status: Deceased
  • Cause of Death: Possible Drowning
  • Points of Interest: Bath Salts

Notes-

The points of interest about Masaie are that he has a rather adept interest in bath salts and he seemed to be the most shaken by the discussion of "The Red Woman". He was also found in the swamp by Jinsuke earlier in the day.

He's sort of a larger fellow, so overpowering him to kill him seems difficult. We'll need to wait for a cause of death before going too far. Just because he was found in the hot water doesn't mean that's how he died.

What are the possible motives for his death? Does he know something about the earlier death of Sotoko and was silenced from ever talking, or was he some how responsible for Sotoko's death -- either on purpose or accidental --, and his murder is revenge based.

Suspects

It seems that every character has a potentially shaky alibi. At the moment, they all could have killed Masaie.

Tamami Minegishi (峰岸 珠美, Minegishi Tamami)

  • Age: 28
  • Status: Suspect
  • Points of Interest: Called for detectives and a talented cook

Notes-

Tamami seems to be the most interested in having the recent string of strange events looked into. She even asked for photographs to be brought. The content of those are still unknown. However, she doesn't have a solid alibi. She is only heard calling out from the kitchen asking what Ran and Sonoko wanted to eat for dinner. They gave no answer, and Tamami declined any assistance. Did she not want anyone in the kitchen to know she wasn't really there the whole time.

At the moment, she seems unlikely to be the killer. Why invite a well known detective if you're planning an elaborate murder? Although, she wouldn't be the first killer to think she could manipulate a detective.

I'd want to look in the kitchen to see the status of the meals being prepared. Even if there is food there, is it hot or cold? She could have prepared dinner ahead of time to create her alibi.

Sumika Kawana (河名 澄香, Kawana Sumika)

  • Age: 28
  • Status: Suspect
  • Points of Interest: Brought photos, and controlled Ran and Sokono's movements in the rental home.

Notes-

Sumika is an interesting suspect. She engaged Ran and Sonoko to help her clean up. However, that could be used to control where they were in the house while she was elsewhere in the house killing Masaie. She gave them specific tasks to be in one room to know where they were.

A point of interest is the commotion Ran and Sonoko heard upstairs with the vacuum running. Was the loud vacuum sound being used to mask the screams of Masaie being killed, to create an alibi for her location, or a bit of both?

Jinsuke Ninda (任田 甚輔, Ninda Jinsuke)

  • Age: 29
  • Status: Suspect
  • Points of Interest: Carries a thin bat with him everywhere to ward off "them(??)".

Notes-

The thing that's odd about him is how he made the point of saying that the store he was walking to is 1 kilometer away to get the drinks. Who brings up the distance they're going to walk? To that point, why wouldn't he get the drinks they need on the way there to begin with? The house was already so well stocked with food that a rather elaborate dinner could be made to feed everyone present. Why didn't it have enough drinks?

If he's the killer, he could have been building his alibi by giving the impression that he was a distance away when Masaie was murdered. When in reality, he had the drinks ahead of time in the woods, killed Masaie, and returned around dinner time, when everyone in the house was preparing for dinner and someone would be taking a bath to find the body before his return.

I'd be interested in seeing if he has a receipt from the store, which would have a time of purchase; and to count either the number or content of the drinks. Conan is a wild card. If Jinsuke's the killer and this was planned, he wouldn't be likely to know the age of the people visiting. He already thought that Masumi Sera was a male. If he doesn't have drinks appropriate for people underage, that's very telling.

Deductions

Being the first part of the case, I don't want to get too far ahead of the evidence. What is beyond question is that the murder of Masaie was long in planning. This was in no way a crime of opportunity. It was well known among the whole group that Masaie had an interest in bath salts. It's likely that tending to the bath is always his duty when they visit the cabin yearly. The killer would be able to plan his murder and how to hide the body.

I suspect that the reoccurring incidents with red objects was building suspicion on the Red Woman for a crime that would happen at a later date. Plant the seed in everyone's mind.

What I have to ask, why was Masaie lurking in the swamp? They come there yearly since high school. He would know where it's unsafe, so I don't buy that he was lost. I suspect he was looking for something. Something related to the death of Sotoko.

I'm a bit unclear about where the bath is located in the house right now. That's a pretty important factor to this event.

Given the current situation, Sumika is the best suspect for the killer. The way she drew Ran and Sonoko into the bath, and the body was found some time later there. It was as if she was showing them it was empty, but was it really? The bath was mostly covered and was tinted green from bath salts. Sumika removed one side of the heated bath cover, was Masaie's body underneath the other half? (This trick was used once before in this series)

With Sumika walking around the house and bringing others along with her, it shortens any window for another killer to set up the bizarre situation in which the body was found.

The word "Steam" in the title could be a clue. Heat can be used to manipulate estimate TOD (Time of Death) and make it appear a person died at a different time. It could make him appear as if he died sooner than he actually did.

Lastly, who is the wild woman we see as they talk about the Red Woman? It's possible that she is actually the actual Red Woman, who's been in hiding. Being alone in the woods for 15 years is suspicious enough. It would explain her ragged appearance. Her current interest in the house could be that she's seen something in the woods recently, but too afraid to come forward due to fear of facing her crimes.

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Is Satsuki poised to become the Vegeta of KILL LA KILL...only better?

Anime and manga in general is pretty well filled with powerful villains turned either good or morally ambiguous rivals. Toriyama's DRAGON BALL did this on several occasions. First with Piccolo, Vegeta, Android 18, and Buu. That can even be extended to various other franchises. That's a difficult premise to pull off and keep the character's motivations. Vegeta just stands out to us, because even though he came to the side of the Z-Fighters, he never lost his rivalry with Goku.

As I began watching Trigger's KILL LA KILL series in early October, I went in with a single view of Satsuki Kiryuin. She's dominating, head strong, ruthless, and thought little of humanity that doesn't conform to her ways. That seems to be the impression we have of her for the first few episodes, then Episode 3 "Junketsu" comes along. Slowly cracks in my preconceptions started to develop. Back when Satsuki challenged the friendship between Ryuko and Mako, she walked away smiling as she seemingly failed to break the pair apart and prove the point that humanity are "pigs in human clothing" that are blinded by greed and need taming by force.

I've read some complaints that several of the story flashbacks didn't add much to developing the members of the Elite Four, but was that even their purpose? I actually thought that we learned more about Satsuki. Just through the eyes of others. From her position, she saw people from privilege exploiting others or depending on their parent's influence to avoid the consequences of being a delinquent. Is she wrong that greed corrupts humanity?

When Ryuko lost control of herself as she fought against Nui. Satsuki tried to get through to her with words before she attacked. Even when she was ready to put Ryuko down, she held Nui off to allow Mako to save her. Several days later, she was straight forward to Ryuko and admitted that it was on her orders that Nui went after her father.

With Senketsu's destruction, I'm once again left confused. Satsuki has rescued Ryuko again, but she also took away the scraps of Senketsu. Although, the closing shot shows a single shred is left in her hand, and Aikuro found her carefully covered. As I was thinking back, I started to wonder if that piece was always in Ryuko's hand.

I went back and watched the episode once more. In all the scenes showing a vulnerable Ryuko, nothing is seen in her right hand until Aikuro finds her. Only then is the piece rather obvious. This is a series that pays attention to the little details. Just look at the episode with the PULP FICTION cameo.

It could be very likely that the piece was always in her hand, and it just wasn't illustrated. Although, if Satsuki is the sort of person who would cover an enemy, isn't it just as likely that she could have left that piece with her on purpose? I'm not making the claim that she's doing this as some sort of fondness for Ryuko, but she seems to want to keep her around. Likely for some purpose of her own.

Other recent events have also suggested that Satsuki may not be the good little soldier of her mother's organization that earlier episodes had suggested. Even Vegeta played along with Frieza until he had the chance to turn. The biggest difference, Satsuki is far more competent. Think about this. For as much as Ryuko has been fighting, in the end it's only helped to make Satsuki stronger.

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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The above image is from the Aqua City Odaiba Shopping Mall in Tokyo, Japan. Seems they added something far better than just some run-of-the-mill Christmas tree. They have a huge Godzilla tree decorated with lights, and it even fires out a plume of smoke.

It's a shame we never seen awesome stuff like this in the US. You know if someone did, Fox News would be screaming about the War on Christmas.

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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On November 21, 2013, the NEW YORK TIMES, one of the best selling newspapers in the U.S., hosted an ad for the blockbuster selling manga series, ONE PIECE. This full page ad can be found on Page A15.

This was apparently partially to celebrate ONE PIECE selling over 300 Million copies of Eiichiro Oda's creation. 130 Million of these having been sold since 2009. In every sense of the word, nothing in manga or comics sells quite like this series.

To give a little perspective. Last year, Shueisha published four collected volumes of ONE PIECE and those sold over 23 Million units. It's closest competitor KUROKO NO BASUKE's five volumes of the same year sold just over 8 Million copies. That doesn't even calculate in back issue sales.

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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The man who brought us Son Goku has a new story about an alien here to defend the planet.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman
Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

Akira Toriyama is considered a legend among manga creators. He's the man who brought us Son Goku, Vegeta, and Piccolo. It was his DRAGON BALL series that inspired many of the biggest manga writers and artists of the modern era. If it hadn't been for him, we'd likely have never had characters such as Naruto Uzumaki or Monkey D. Luffy. Toriyama has been mainly out of the game since DRAGON BALL closed back in 1995. He's occasionally published some one-shots, but nothing coming near a regular serialized story. That seems that it may be about to change this July.

In the same week that Shueisha's WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP magazine celebrates 45 years in publication, WSJ will be publishing Toriyama's latest series, JACO THE GALACTIC PATROLMAN (銀河パトロール ジャコ, Ginga Patorōru Jako). The only plot details we know so far is that the story revolves around a powerful alien police officer that is stranded on Earth.

It's unknown just how long this series will be lasting. Not ever manga series is a 50+ volume epic. Some can be remarkably shorter. I've done some reaching out to some people "in the know", and the only thing they've been able to tell me is that this is not a one-shot.

Chapter one of JACO THE GALACTIC PATROLMAN will be publishing in WSJ on July 15, 2013. What's really exciting is that this will also be published in the official digital edition that's released to the U.S. audience, which is on same day release with Japan. Adding to all the fun is the news that this week Japan's WSJ also expanded its same day digital publication to the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Much of the world is going to get to enjoy this latest manga series about an alien defending the planet.

If you want to join in on this new adventure, be sure to look into downloading the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP App for your iOS or other devices.I'm reading on the VIZ Media app for my Kindle Fire. The U.S. has a year's subscription to the weekly series for $25.99, and a monthly subscription for all the other regions (UK £1.99 / IRL 2,69€ / AU $2.99 AUD / NZ $4.19 NZD). Single issue sales are also available.

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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