When I first started watching Conan, I switched to the manga eventually and raced ahead. I watched a few episodes a bit later and the London Arc was what I watched. I watched it because finally after decades, it had actual romantic development between Kudo and Ran. And while I was super happy about that, I came away with incredible admiration for one particular case character.
Now, as I hit the episodes on my current watch (617-621), and got into the case, a sudden anticipation hit me when the final tennis match started. I was shaking with excitement, for what awaited me at the end of this arc were the Herculean feats of Minerva Glass, the Grass Court Queen.
Note: Spoilers so go watch those episodes/read the corresponding chapters.
Except for the main cast and the reoccurring side characters (such as the police and the FBI), most Detective Conan characters are one shot characters who are only present for one case and don’t really make an appearance again. Minverva Glass is one such character, but she sticks out as arguably my favorite one shot character.
Despite Conan’s seemingly impossible kicks, Ran’s superhuman karate and other similar feats of strength, the show’s mostly grounded in reality. It’s a show about solving mysteries with your head after all, so that’s why Minerva’s feats at Wimbledon stand out so much.
After being threatened by a criminal, Minerva tries to spell out a cry for a help the only way she can without alerting the criminal. She does it by spelling out a message…in braille…by ball placement. Yeah, she lands the ball with pinpoint accuracy serve after serve. She spells out HELP before spelling out a longer more involved message. The show does not make light of this achievement, calling attention to her focus. It is one thing to land the serves exactly where she wanted, but another to do it time and time again.
Then during the tie breaker, she skillfully maintains the tie (never letting her opponent beat her twice but never winning twice either) before following it up with an intense 30 hit+ rally that’s no doubt the climax and most intense scene of the entire arc. She then finally closes the case with a tennis ball to the culprit’s face (and a rebound by Conan). I can’t really give the moment justice and I have no real commentary to add, but Minerva continues the Detective Conan trend of characters that are just totally cool.
While this London arc is excellent because of the fun scavenger hunt, the romance (FINALLY) and the suspense driven timing, it is Minerva Glass who really shines. It is rare for a one shot character to get such a spotlight, but it’s incredible to see and it works really well. That tennis match is one of the most thrilling moments in this show. You can’t look away. Even put under pressure by a sadistic criminal, the Glass Court Queen utterly dominates and it is a moment of sheer admiration and human triumph.