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Murderous Intent: Jimmy vs Hajime

Posted by Niki K. F. on July 15, 2008

I love mystery manga. And if it’s made into an anime, all the better. Even my mother, who’s always telling me not to waste my money on “that manga junk,” is constantly on my case to get me to give her my mystery manga so she can read it. But being an anime-manga obsessor has its cons, one of which is a lack of “hanging out with millions of friends.” So I have a good deal of time on my hands, and with a good deal of time comes coredom.

The result of that boredom? The quest to discover the greatest manga detective.

When it comes right down to it there’s only a real contest between Jimmy Kudo (Shinichi Kudo) from Case Closed (Detective Conan) and Hajime Kindaichi from the Kindaichi Case Files (Young Kindaichi’s Criminal Cases). Both are high schoolers with the uncanny ability to solve extreme cases. But while Jimmy Kudo is practically famous in his series, Kindaichi is not so much – but his grandfather is. And just because Hajime himself isn’t famous doesn’t mean he’s any less brilliant a detective.

Jimmy takes on some supernatural elements as well as mysteries: he’s been shrunk down to the size of a grade schooler by a mysterious blonde man who’s part of a deadly organization. Hajime doesn’t have to deal with out-of-the-ordinary things along those lines, but don’t think he has it easy: Hajime only gets murder mysteries, and they’re all very dark with sinister slaughters and shady characters. Jimmy certainly gets his share of murder cases, but they’re a good deal lighter than what Hajime has to see. And since Hajime’s cases get an entire volume to themselves (unlike Jimmy, who usually has multiple cases per volume) these cases are brutal, with murderers doing all sorts of tricks to prevent being caught and other characters with (usually albeit suspicious) backstories. You sometimes even can’t but wonder whether or not it’s even possible for real people to pull off such complicated and unbelievably well-thought-out murders – but they can. And all of the evidence of whodunnit is there in the comic, so you always have the opportunity to try and solve the case yourself.

Of course, the Case Closed mysteries are all solvable as well, but they’re so much lighter in nature and a great deal of them are so short-lived that when compared to Hajime’s cases you can’t help but say, “Wow, there was so much detail put into this it’s unbelievable!” But if you’re into lighter cases then Case Closed is the perfect choice: just because they’re not as dark doesn’t mean that they’re boring, and the characters are usually very intriguing. And the Kindaichi Case Files has some funny moments for sure, but usually only in the small time before and after a case, while Case Closed has laugh-out-loud humor around almost every corner.

The verdict? For me, Hajime Kindaichi has to be the greatest anime/manga detective. The cases he’s presented with are extrordinary, and his skill in cracking them is even more so. Well, what do you think? Please leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree, and please say why! And don’t think I’m hating on Conan – his cases never get old, and they always cheer me up when I need a good laugh (ironic for a mystery manga, huh?) But for me, when I need a good mystery, I’ll always look to Hajime Kindaichi.


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