Apologies for writing nothing but Detective Conan posts (have even more in store possibly), but it’s literally all I’ve been watching recently.
I recently caught up to Detective Conan (yes, I did it, but it was an unbelievably self-destructive exercise given how fast I did it).I’ve been pondering how it will end for quite some time. I do this often for a lot of long lived series, but this particular series has confused me a bit more than usual.
Note: This is just hypothetical question asking, I won’t mention recent spoilers or anything.
I often think about a series is going to end long before it actually does. With many series, the ending is rather obvious and it is the execution and finer points that are fun to think about.
In Naruto for example, assuming a happy ending, it is rather obvious that Naruto would end up Hokage. In One Piece, the crews dreams will probably come true and the series will likely end with One Piece being found. In Bleach…okay, that one is weird. Let’s not talk about it.
In many series, the end goal is obvious and the development progressive. Luffy starts as a no name pirate, but will hopefully end up the King of Pirates. Naruto started as a loser but ended as a Hokage.
Detective Conan is a strange series because while the end goal is obvious, a return to his normal body and the fall of the Black organization, the development is almost regressive. Ignoring the downfall of the organization, the characters goal is almost to regress to a previous state than to advance forward.
I think the future Kudo envisions goes like: “He turns back into Kudo, marries Ran, Conan disappears and is never heard from again”. But that’s a simplistic naive fantasy Kudo will no doubt struggle against someday.
You see, Kudo Shinichi may very well have had a life before the anime started, but to us, the viewers, and to most of the characters in the show, he has only existed as Edogawa Conan.
I like to think of this as follows: if Kudo faked his death, the only people who’d be sad would be Ran, Sonoko, maybe his classmates (though he didn’t seem especially close to any) and perhaps the police who he’s helped now and then.
If Conan ‘faked his death’, all of the above would grieve as well as the Detective Boys, the FBI/CIA and countless other minor characters he has encountered over the years.
Conan’s existence within Detective Conan carries far more weight than Kudo’s, at least with respect to not-family/Ran. This is an interesting conundrum! Kudo’s end goal in the show is to effectively go back to square 1, but in some ways, that negates everything that’s happened since the first episode.
There are some obvious solutions to this. The most obvious and boring one would be for Kudo’s identity to be revealed to all of his important people and thus resolve the plot before closing. This works, but it is also rather tepid and a bit unsatisfying.
Revealing Conan=Kudo feels rude to those who interacted with Conan everyday. I especially feel sorry for the Detective Boys who’d end up very confused and possibly angry. Poor Ran has been tricked into thinking Conan is not Kudo so many times, telling her otherwise just feels like a slap in the face (though I’m sure she’ll confirm it on her own soon).
Despite what I implied earlier, I think there is a greater romance in Conan being that little kid who came and solved a kajillion cases over the year then totally vanished. Sure he’d leave behind a lot of broken hearts and unanswered phone calls, but there is beauty in bittersweet goodbyes.
An other option would be for Kudo to throw in the towel and give up on his high school self. I don’t see that happening because he is very insistent on going back and his relationship with Ran demands he does so.
The worst possibly case would be for there to be no ending and the manga ending with ‘hey, I’ll continue to keep fighting the organization as Conan! Thanks for reading’. Hopefully it won’t come to that.
Conan could in theory change back, claim to have moved away and then send mail every now and then. This is also a little bit of a tepid ending, but a likely one. Maybe they’ll perfect a reverse drug, so he often switches from adult to child, but I don’t see this option going that far.
There’s also the sad ending (Conan/Kudo dying) which is very unlikely, but fun to ponder. If Kudo died, would he die as Conan and leave his friends to convince everyone of Shinichi’s death as well? Would he die as Kudo instead and Agasa/Hattori would have to convince others of Conan’s death? Would friends of both show up at his funeral?
The resolution of Conan’s identity is, in my opinion, one of the biggest writing hurdles this series will face, but it is far from the only ‘HOW WILL THIS END’ question the series has asked. The other big one is of course the love triangle.
There is a love triangle in Detective Conan, or rather a square if you count Sera, but I don’t count her. As things are going at the moment, the resolution of the love part of this triangle is seemingly obvious.
If there is no tragic goodbye to poor Ran (the girl is way too sweet to deserve anything of the sort), Ran and Shinichi will get together. Both of them have feelings for one another. Both know of the others feelings and the show hammers in their melancholy every chance it gets (aside: the movies take this hammering to an extreme amount).
I don’t see the show ever going the ‘I need to leave her for her own good’ route and entirely abandoning this relationship. Or, at least I hope not. That would be painful. But, if Ran and Shinichi get together (99% chance I’d say), that really does leave poor Haibara out in the cold.
Realistically I don’t think all triangles, harems or what have you, require a perfect resolution. Not everyone needs to find their perfect romantic partner. It is nice when it happens of course and all threads are neatly tied, but it is not absolutely necessary.
The thing is though Haibara’s interactions with Conan are the best in the show. I’m not kidding I absolutely love seeing the two interact. The sarcastic banter, the equal footing intelligence, the shifty eyes Haibara uses, all of it is fantastic. Haibara is Conan’s best not-detective partner.
As far as partners go, romantic or otherwise, there is really no better match for Kudo. Haibara is about as smart as him, but not a detective freak, so unique and different. Haibara and Conan trust one another and are almost always capable of predicting the other’s moves.
There was a short period of time where I actually shipped Haibara and Kudo. But then I realized just how sweet Ran is. And it sounds silly reducing this character to one word ‘sweet’ but there is no better descriptor for her. She’s such a good person who is far above and beyond what Kudo or anyone else deserves. And Haibara knows that too.
God, the above moment killed me. Ran is so good.
That’s why I ship Ran with Kudo, because that’s what Ran wants and deserves, because that’s what Kudo wants, but it really does feel like Haibara deserves better, hence my anguish.
I suppose you don’t have to to be romantic partners to have an excellent relationship, but this is idealistic anime land. The relationship ends up even more complicated if Conan decides to become Kudo and Haibara decides to stay as Haibara (I think this is pretty likely).
Normally long running series like this have alternative relationship options, but no one else’s relationship with Haibara comes close to being this good. This relationship conundrum is so painful, also really good, but mostly painful.
I can’t wait to see how the relationships get sorted out, but for now, I’m really enjoying all of it from Ran’s super sweet romance with Shinichi to Haibara & Conan’s biting sarcasm fueled interactions.
It’s all good. I love series that inspire head-canons and Detective Conan has been doing that like little else. I really should write some fan-fiction for this series.