I normally avoid talking about my favorite manga series Detective Conan
on this site. I wont even submit any information to those pages. Not after the way the US publisher VIZ
butchered the story. They seemed intent on removing as much Japanese culture from the series as possible. I got to thinking about the idea and decided to show just one example of just how important Japanese is to this series and why names can actually mean something.
Now, I used to go to one website to see the real Detective Conan manga. It was a really nice site. They would post RAWs and I could work on deduction based on nothing more then my observations of the crime scenes shown. It was also good practice to try and learn Japanese. Seeing it in use and translating. I would talk with other users about out theories on the current cases and we would challenge each other in trivia of the series. My ability to solve each new case that came across eventually earned me a nickname among the other users. They started calling me "Kristantei". Since my real first name is Kristoffer. The name basically translates into "Detective Kris". Of all the cases that have been presented in the manga series. I have at best a 95% success rate in solving the cases. I was pretty flattered when the users started to call me by that name. I was eventually invited to be a lead moderator on a forum site where we would discuss the latest Detective Conan cases, as well as other manga and anime that involved mysteries.
The case I'm going to show you is from Chapters 664-666 (Episode 542-543)
. Normally, it had been difficult for me to crack codes that depended on knowledge of Japanese, but I had been doing some studying of the language and this was one of the first cases where it really paid off. I'm not worried about spoilers, because at this rate. This story will never been seen properly in the US. (FYI: When I originally wrote this deduction theory. The solution chapter had not yet been published in Japan. This was based entirely on the information from the first two chapters of the manga.)
Ikkaku Rock's Disappearing Fish (魚が消える一角岩)
In this case Conan and the rest of the kids; Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, Genta, and Ai; are out on a fishing trip out at the ocean where they once had a murder attempt case. In fact, the adult watching over them was the very man Conan saved from that case. The sun is setting at the boat comes to pick them up. The captain of the fishing vessel takes the children to see Ikkaku Rock ("One Horn" Rock)
. It is named that, because it looks like the horn of a giant dragon coming out of the water. It's rumored that children who visit the rock will be strong swimmers. While there they plan to have a picture taken when they noticed a strange message had been freshly carved into the rock.
The carvings were the names of four different kind of fish. Saba(Mackerel), Koi(Carp), Tai(Sea Bream), and Hirame(Flounder). They also discovered a divers flipper stuck into the rock. This alerted Conan. He rushed around to the other side of the rock and discovered the dead body of a young woman, later identified as Akemine Hikari. She was in a pink divers suit and had what seemed to be an empty oxygen tank. Judging form the condition of the body and the state of rigor mortis. Conan deduced that she had only been dead for around five hours. The cause of death was dehydration. Seems she slowly died on this lonely, isolated rock. What everyone thought to be an accident, Conan realized was murder. Hikari's lips still had smudged lipstick, but there was no sign of any lipstick on the regulator of her air tank. Someone had been to this rock earlier and switch out the regulator after she had died.
Conan realized that the fresh carvings in the rock was her dying message. Most likely to identify the person who had left her there to die. Upon further searching Conan found a divers watch that perfectly matched the tan line on Hikari's left wrist. The damage on the side showed that this was the tool used to carve into the rock, but the engraving on the back was odd. It said "Akamine Angel( ) Club"
. Part of the name was struck out.
The case was shown to have three suspects that all had connections to Hikari. They arrived claiming to of been in search of her for some time. Suspects
Ooto Rokusuke 大戸 六輔 (25)
Aosato Shuuhei 青里 周平 (23)
Kaita Yasuji 開田 康次 (24)
One of these three was her killer. She couldn't just write their name. If this person had returned and saw their name on the rock. They could of destroyed it. Since it was a list of fish names. It would be mistaken as some odd list a fisherman would of left. Problem is that you can't catch carp in those waters. Upon questioning the suspects it is discovered that all three of these men have a watch similar to Hikari's. The back should say "Akamine AngelFish Club".
When solving a code. Unless you have the key. All you are doing is guessing. Guessing doesn't cut it in deduction. I realized that Hikari's watch is the key to this code. First I broke down her code. I decided to examine the use of her lettering and breaking it down into all it's components. Most likely she wrote the fish names in the Katakana writing system, because it was easier to carve into the rock.
|Saba(Mackerel)||サバ ||さば ||鯖 |
|Koi(Carp) ||コイ ||こい ||鯉 |
|Tai(Sea Bream)||タイ ||たい ||鯛 |
|Hirame(Flounder)||ヒラメ ||ひらめ ||鮃 |
| || || || |
As I was examining the kanji I noticed that each one was a combination of two separate kanji. Each started with the kanji sakana 魚. I then considered the key Hikari had left. Notice in the name AngelFish, she had marked out the "Fish" portion. She was saying to remove the "fish". Apply this key to the kanji and remove the sakana what you have left is ao青 / sato里 / shuu周 / hei平. That is the proof that Hikari points to Aosato Shuuhei as her killer.
This is why I enjoy this series so much. You really get the chance to not just read the cases, but to try and solve them yourself before they show the solution.