“Ladies and Gentlemen! I bring you marvelous illusions that make this town sparkle at night.”
Kaito Kid; Magic Kaito 1412
Today's topic is author Gosho Aoyama's first popular manga series Magic Kaito which has been running on Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine very irregularly since 1988, and what's surprising is that it's still on-going. In other words as of 2020 it's been over 32 years since this series started running and while it hasn't been progressing much due to Aoyama having been focusing on Detective Conan for most of his time as mangaka, it also hasn't had much downtime. You see, usually mangaka get their series axed or just stop the series when they can't work on it, but Aoyama was quite different as this series has been in the back burner for decades on end, giving us couple of chapters every decade. (Even Aoyama has managed to create and finish up this 24 volume long action shounen manga named Yaiba.) This has made Magic Kaito one of the most intriguing series to follow in its special way, as basically each of its volumes are relics showcasing in which ways the author has evolved as an artist and storyteller, and that also means that the story structuring and character writing are also entertainingly varied throughout the volumes, which is why I'll be talking about every single story in this series rather than just talk about a single story or a single volume which is how I'd normally write these posts. I also want to do this full series review of what we've got of Magic Kaito up to this point in time because Detective Conan is also getting its monumental 100th volume release sometime next year. I think that's something to celebrate about. Let's hope the animaton studio decides to give us amazing specials like Episode ONE for that event.
Magic Kaito tells the story of a phantom thief, a modern age gentleman thief much like Arsene Lupin called Kaito 1412, or better yet, Kaito Kid (it's explained in Detective Conan where this 'Kid' comes from and who gave such a name to him) who is looking to entertain any audience as well as look for a certain group of people who assumedly took his father's life. Kaito Kid's modus operandi however doesn't consist merely of stealing precious gems (and then often returning them, though I must note that Kid actually doesn't return all of what he attempts to steal in Magic Kaito), but he also puts up an act for the large audience to be wow'd by - and to do this, he always sends what is known as a calling card consisting of Kaito Kid's logo and a time and place announcing what he'll be stealing next. This card has become known as Kid Card over the years. While Kaito Kid often mugs people, lies and steals their identities, he never wants to emotionally harm anyone, he just wants to put up a good show while trying to get to his goal. He's a magician after all.
But beneath the white silky clothes and a top hat with a monocle, this phantom thief is actually Kaito Kuroba, a high schooler and best friends with Aoko Nakamori whose father is one of the people actively trying to catch Kid. Aside from that the series also introduces us to other types of rivals to Kaito, some overarching such as the surprisingly entertaining personality in teenage detective Hakuba Saguru, and some not.
We've seen Kaito Kid many times in Detective Conan related media. He has bunch of cases and movies to his name at this point and he's basically the antagonist that Conan has most of his 'deduction battles' with, he's also gotten a 12 episode long special adaptation by Conan's animation studio TMS as well as a 24 episode adaptation by A-1 Pictures which consists of some Kaito Kid cases from Detective Conan and most of the stories (but not all) in the Magic Kaito manga. However while Magic Kaito consists of the same characters in both MK and DC, the worlds are a bit different as the existence of magic and devil summoning etc. exists in Magic Kaito but not in Conan. The structure of the Magic Kaito manga also differs from Detective Conan in the volumes. While Conan usually has cases that end mid-way at the end of a volume, Magic Kaito has no cases that go over to the next volume, in other words the volumes only consist of full stories.
Interesting thing about Magic Kaito is also how the story progresses. For the first two volumes Kaito takes up the mantle of Kid that his father left behind, but he actually doesn't really know why. He starts stealing anything of value and making up as big of a show as he can so he could potentially get information on his father's death. In the third volume Kaito however gets a more coherent end-goal. The goal of finding a certain large jewel that he'll hold up towards the moonlight. This gem contains a smaller gem named Pandora that's visible through that light. There is a legend of a comet which passes earth that Pandora reacts to, and when that happens it starts to bleed certain liquid that turns the one who drinks it immortal. The organization that assumedly took Kaito's father's life is now after Pandora and aims to steal all large jewels before a certain time-limit of a one-in-a-millenia comet passes by Earth, and Kaito's plan is to stop the organization by finding this jewel of immortality first and destroying it.
Ah, by the way, not many know this but Kaito Kid and the Magic Kaito series as a whole actually has a prototype in Nonchalant Lupin (さりげなくルパン Sarigenaku Rupan) which is a standalone short-story (could be called a one-shot) Aoyama created before he came up with Magic Kaito. It's been printed in a single volume in Gosho Aoyama's Collection of Short Stories with Aoyama's numerous other standalone stories. The story starrs a high school boy by the name of Kaito Lupin and his childhood friend Aoko Holmes. Even the names are pretty much the same, but the plot of Nonhcalant Lupin is about crashing a wedding instead of stealing gems.
Volume 1 - Released April 15, 1988
The first volume tells us the first six one-chapter length stories that this manga has to offer. Over the years the author Gosho Aoyama has crafted most of his chapters as 16 page long in length, which means that more chapters fit into a single volume. Unlike most mangaka however Aoyama has perfected the way he inserts / condenses information in every page. Because of this skill he's been able to tell more normal length stories in a single volume than he used to in the past, even though honestly he's always been pretty good at being on point about the subject he's talking about in each of his stories - that takes a lot of effort to keep up with for 30+ years but he's managed to do it.
This volume for example has a whopping six stories in it. They're all just one chapter in length, but with page count ranging from 30 to 39, which is quite surprising as rarely any weekly series consists of over 30 pages for every chapter the way this volume does. In page count these chapters are about twice the length of Detective Conan's.
"Return of the Phantom Thief" (蘇る怪盗, Yomigaeru Kaitō) is the first story in this manga and volume of Magic Kaito and is very familiar with most of Conan fans as it's been adapted multiple times by now as the very first story introducing us to the world of this phantom thief. The story opens up with one of Kaito's familiar lines from an opening sequence especially from the 24 episode long A-1 adaptation, "Ladies and gentlemen!" and goes on to the first chapter cover of this series, and I really like the covers in Kaito I must say. This one looks really good for a '88 manga as we have this previously mentioned character named Aoko Nakamori (means 'blue') wear a white magician suit and pull a mini-Kaito out of a top hat.
Anyway, the actual story begins with an introduction of a masked thief that gets announced on the news as someone who steals jewels but for some reason the thief has no lower body aside from his head, arms and the white cape he wears on his back.
The rumours about this mysterious phantom thief start circling around the school where fans - mostly girls - of this thief keep talking about the crimes he's committed. (By the way, I like how in Detective Conan we get to see the fangirl's perspective towards Kaito Kid from one of our recurring characters Suzuki Sonoko.) But there is a person who isn't impressed by Kid's sudden emergence - high schooler Kaito Kuroba isn't, that is. Kaito is an interesting main character. As a magician who takes after his deceased father, he's learned many ways to divert people's attention and manipulate them. He's able to even smooth down the hearts of anyone - even his female teacher - by acting both gentlemanly and flirtatiously.
Kaito's childhood friend Aoko however isn't impressed by Kaito's tricks and basically tells him that Kaito Kid is a superior magician to Kaito himself - there's no way for Kaito to catch him, is what she thought, but it doesn't take long for Kaito to take up in arms and announce that he'll definitely be the one to catch Kid the Phantom Thief (Kaito Kid) as Kid has announced that he'll be stealing the Moonlight Eye gem at around midnight.
But Kid has other adversaries than just Kaito coming up as Aoko's father, inspector Ginzo Nakamori is absolutely exhilarated by the sudden news of Kid's appearance. Ginzo even goes as far as to claim that he couldn't care less about solving murders and other serious at this moment as he's been waiting for eight long years for the return of Kid to finally be able to catch him.
The way how Gosho Aoyama manages to present the page in which Kaito reminisces his late father and mentor Kuroba Touichi, is quite well crafted. It's basically the heart and soul of this manga - the greatest magician Kaito knew of was his father who also taught him everything he knew of, which was why Kaito wants to catch Kid, to show Aoko that now he's the greatest magician in the world... but as Kaito reminisces too deeply about his father's words regarding never showing his poker face, Kaito manages to fall through a hidden wall mechanism behind his father's portrait. And behind that portrait on the other side of that wall is another picture - of a man wearing a white suit with a monocle, a top hat and a large cape while facing away from a crescent moon.
After Kaito puts up the white clothes he finds in his father's basement he decides to go and meet up with Kaito Kid as Kid steals the gem in front of the police's nose. It's funny how inspector Nakamori is crying after seeing Kid again... Anyway, the showdown itself with Kaito vs Kid isn't that special, and it's quickly over. But it does remind the reader of couple of basic tricks used in magic. However we do get to learn that the person pretending to be Kid is actually Kaito's father's assistant, the now rather aged Jii-chan. Jii's been waiting for eight years and decided to act as Kid in order to "lure out Touichi's murderers" as according to him Kaito's father was murdered after a certain magic show eight years prior - this was why Kid went missing. As Jii tells Kaito that his father was indeed the legendary thief, Kaito decides to take up the identity of Kid the Phantom Thief to figure out just what happened to his fathers all those years ago.
I completely forgot that we also get introduced to Kaito's mother in this chapter who seems to realize that he's now in his father's Kaito Kid hideout, and this chapter also introduces us the concept of a certain weird weakness that Kaito has.
"The Police are Everywhere" (警官がいっぱい, Keikan ga Ippai) is the second story. The young princess Anne has arrived to Japan and brought some souvenirs with her, even to the hailed Kaito Kid who's been all over the news lately. Notably, the princess carries with her a pet cat named Belmonde and a large jewel, in fact it's the largest jewel in Europe, named the Sun of Paris. The antagonist of this story is a man named Delon, self-proclaimed Europe's #1 detective who has no qualms pulling up a revolver and shooting any fleeing criminals with it.
Due to his failures against Kaito and the arrival of detective Delon, inspector Nakamori is in a pickle of potentially getting thrown out of the investigation team that's after Kid. And that's quite a big problem as catching Kid's been pretty much his purpose for living apparently, of course aside from caring for his daughter Aoko. While Kaito himself is usually kind of arrogant / annoying towards Nakamori as an inspector, he's still a good-hearted person. In this story we get to see Kaito teach Nakamori one of the basics of magic: a trick with cards and the theme of drawing away the audience's attention by letting them focus on one hand as the other hand is preparing a trick in the meanwhile. And this moment where Kaito teaches Nakamori this is actually used to develop the inspector's perception towards what Kaito could be doing in the future heists as well.
I really like the moment where Kaito explains Nakamori that magic isn't real as there's always a way to explain it - for until the witch Akako makes her appearance, at least.
In this "heist" Kaito disguises as an old pervert and names himself Count Groper. That was so stupid it actually got a laugh out of me. At the same time as Kaito's fooling around both inspectors from Europe (Delon) and Japan (Ginzo) close in on him. It's quite a simple story in the end and having it be around 30 pages kind of makes me want to see more of the princess and Kaito together as they had some combo moments during the scene. Delon was quite unimpressive though ridiculous with his shooting.
"A Clockwork Heart" (時計仕掛けのハート, Tokei Jikake no Hāto) is the third heist. The story opens up surprisingly quite brutally as an android dressed up in Kid's clothes decides to murder its creator professor with its bare hands. Later, we learn that Kaito wasn't in school a day prior but now he's timidly talking about loving Aoko (which he never would say in such a way). Of course, this Kaito is actually just the android and the real Kaito's been tied up in the laboratory as the doctor had kidnapped Kaito on his way home from school due to being a "healthy, young lad" and had tried to re-create Kaito as the android. But things went south as the robot decided to "break" its creator.
The android works by using the data of the person whose brain its been linked with, which was why it became Kid and decided to "do the work for him", but for some reason the doctor got very upset about the android doing that. And what's more, the android doesn't seem to be able to understand why it has to pretend to be Kaito; it has quite an identity crisis. But as it collects remaining memories of Kaito it decides to blow up the lab along with anyone in it, and claims to have become Kuroba Kaito, which is the identity he'll use to take over the world as.
This one had quite an intriguing premise but ultimately fell off into more standard fare. I did like the ending with Aoko being too embarassed to talk with Kaito due to the android Kaito telling her that he loves her. The entire class is celebrating Aoko's and Kaito's supposed wedding...
I'd be very intrigued to see the hints of psychological writing that were in this story in Conan.
"Kaito Kid's Busy Weekend" (怪盗キッドの忙しい休日, Kaitō Kiddo no Isogashii Kyūjitsu) is the fourth heist and Kaito is busy nabbing the Angel's Crown - a crown consisting of dozens of jewels. This story has yet another clever cover page to it. As Kaito attempts to grab the crown, the police including inspector Nakamori surround him with flashlights in the dark room, which is what causes the main problem Kaito has to solve this time as Nakamori seems to recognize Kid's face as his daughter's childhood friend Kaito Kuroba's face.
Things at school are seemingly weird as Aoko's asking Kaito out instead of arguing with him as they usually tend to do. Kaito decides to give in and agrees to go out with her but there's a surprise as Aoko tells Kaito that next sunday they'll both be going to Tropical Land (the famous setting in the first chapter of Detective Conan), at the same time as when Kaito had announced that he'd be stealing the Angel's Crown. The reason for Aoko's actions is his father's adamant suspicion that Kaito is truly Kid.
This is a very entertaining chapter when it comes to the focuse on Kaito's and Aoko's relationship as they spend time in Tropical Land. The heist portion itself is really quick and not focused on, and it's just meant to be entertaining to follow as Kaito tries to rush back to Aoko until a set time limit runs out so that she won't find out his identity as Kid. The chapter also ends with a nice moment between Aoko and Kaito.
"The Underwater Pirate Ship" (海賊船浮上せず, Kaizokusen Fujōsezu) is the fifth story; I don't think this one's ever been adapted. The story takes us diving, or is supposed to at least, but as Kaito has a phobia towards fish, only Aoko's been spending a lot of time underwater. This story is kind of weird. In its core Aoko and Kaito meet a dark-skinned diver named Silver who loves to make things explode without thinking twice. Silver is revealed to be the son of a famous pirate and Aoko shows him the way to a sunken ship where Silver grew up during his childhood. The ship is filled with jewelry and skulls of people, and the air is thin. But outside, there are sharks that want to grab a bite of the three people (Aoko, Kaito and Silver) who entered the ship so there is no way to dive back ashore. This problem causes Kaito and Silver to work together to get the ship to get above the shores despite having been in the depths of the ocean for decades. After the ship gets working for a little bit and does get up, Kaito and Silver continue their bout, but the ship is about to sink again. Kaito escapes the ship with Aoko while Silver stays behind and sinks with the ship.
This is the hardest story to rate so far; its core ideas are very interesting when it comes to just telling an emotional story as it could easily have been a replacement idea for Detective Conan movie 11: Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure, which also told a similar themed story, but ultimately the journey and flip-flopping as enemies and allies with Silver is way too fast paced as it's told in mere 30 pages, and seems sort of haphazard because of that. But I must say the animators have missed the mark not animating this one as it'd clearly come across better with a soundtrack and if slightly modified to fit a 24 minute long episode's run time.
"The Scarlet Temptress" (緋色の誘惑, Hiiro no Yūwaku) is the sixth and final story of volume one of Magic Kaito. We get introduced to a new overarching character in Akako who is honestly one of the funniest characters Aoyama has created. I recently re-read the latest and last released story of this series (Sun Halo which is the last story of volume 5 of Magic Kaito) and I got a good laugh at reading about her antics.
The story opens up with a girl - Akako - laughing in a room where she's talking with a mirror that claims that every male in the world is a slave to her, well, everyone except for one: Kaito Kid.
It's February 14th, in other words the Valentine's day. Aoko is at school and trying to offer Kaito some chocolate but he just thinks it's about trying to trick him to eat sweets so that he gets hurt by his cavities. Aoko's friend Keiko then tells her that it's neat that she has someone to give chocolate to, as you know, all the other boys in the school have already been taken by that one new transfer student. Every male in the school flocks over to Koizumi Akako and begs for her to give them chocolate (as Feb 14th is when the girls apparently give the chocolate to boys). Then Kaito comes back to class after getting bunch of chocolate from girls himself and then he asks Akako to give him some but she decides to slap Kaito and tells him to throw all other chocolate away if he wants any from her. The entire class has gone crazy and even calls Kaito rude for having taken anyone else's choc, but Kaito decides to tell Akako that he doesn't need any from her in that case.
Kaito's declination of Akako's "good will" caused her to realize that Kaito is indeed Kaito Kid - the only male in the world unable to bow to her. This is the crux of the issue as Akako decides to expose Kid's identity to the world as revenge for not doing what she says.
To do this deed Akako as the sole successor to the Scarlet Arts, in other words magic, will use magic circles and voodoo dolls to try to take control of Kaito and we get this neat scene where Kaito with his illusionary tricks manages to tuggle the heart strings of a real witch a bit. It's interesting as this story also gives Akako an interesting weakness: While Kaito has severe phobia towards fish, Akako is not allowed to ever cry as if she does, she'd lose her magic powers...
The first volume ends with an omake where the entire story is basically shown from another perspective: it's all an act that the author Gosho Aoyama is directing and the cast is basically acting for a television series. We go over all of the stories in this volume in quick succession to reveal how Gosho would have casted the characters and how good they're at "acting" and getting these scenes through. It's like how we get those failed shots in some of the Jackie Chan films at the end of the movies. Pretty neat.
The first volume of Magic Kaito definitely shows where Gosho has come from. The character relationships and their everyday life acts are quite enjoyable to follow. The story structuring is very condensed and there are certain aspects that haven't changed about how he tells his story. However the 30 page long stories do manage to often feel jumbled, they need to be fleshed out more. If Aoyama ever wants to remake these stories in his current more down-to-earth style, they might come across as better crafted and more enjoyable to follow. Honestly the biggest flaw I feel the stories in this volume had were how Aoyama had certain ideas that should've been built up throughout a longer arc, but because they weren't they just jumped too quickly from one thing to another without feeling coherent enough. One of the pros of proper pacing I guess. I'd like to see how these stories would come across if they were stretched for a one-hour special.
Volume 2 - Released October 15, 1988
Stay Away From Me (彼から手をひいて, Kare kara te o hiite) is the seventh story in this series. Kaito decided to hit the road with his class and go skiing during the snowy winter and Aoko joined him, but there's a problem - Aoko doesn't seem to be able to ski and because of that she just keeps falling and hurting herself and the people she crashes into. At the ski slope the scarlet witch Akako from volume 1's final story has also joined them as she still wants to brainwash Kaito into her slave. There's a little bit of more serious tension here as Akako thinks of Aoko as an eyesore who always gets in between her and Kaito, but as she mentions that she likes Kaito to Aoko we get to see how Aoko handles someone whom she deems much better and more beautiful than her claim that they like the same person she does. Also the name of this chapter has to do with Kaito trying to push Akako away all the time.
The class will be holding a costumed ski contest in which they'll be going down the slopes as a pair - no pairs of the same sex allowed. Damn that teacher. Anyway, as there is a 'great price' for the best pair, the students start to plan for their attack. The main point of this story is to have a romantic bout with Aoko and Kaito but with Akako mixing it up a bit and of course the story ended with Kaito pulling off a win. While the story in Tropical Land in volume 1 had really neat moments, I think overall this is the most solid romance story so far between Aoko and Kaito.
Japan's Most Irresponsible Leader (日本一の無責任総理, Nippon'ichi no Musekinin Sōri) introduces us to the eighth story of Magic Kaito. I don't think this story has ever been adapted either despite Kaito pulling off a great "Ladies and Gentlemen! -moment in this one.
As Kaito and Aoko are playing a co-oop video game, the news announce that Japan's prime minister Uemoto has been stolen during an international conference by Kaito Kid, and it's all on tape as the PM disappears during smoke and a large message announcing the crime had been left on the scene that claims to have been left by Kaito Kid. I like how Aoko wants to record the moments when her father inspector Ginzo Nakamori is on the news announcing that he'll catch Kid.
At school the girls are fangasming over Kid's potential motives for world domination or something, and this motive for the crime is the main aspect of this story. The answer is actually easy to think about and shouldn't be hard to come by but it does tie nicely to yet another basic magic trick you'd see on Penn & Teller show. Even the name of the chapter hints at the answer so it's no surprise that it's not presented as some grand reveal at the end. I actually really like this story, it's one of the most consistent ones if not the most consistent one so far. It has a lot of comedy that might make some people really laugh but that comedy deals with an interesting subject - politics. This chapter consists of Gosho's take on governmental leadership, political warfare and how much of a farce both of those actually are. The ending here on Kaito's part was awesome when it comes to showcasing a gesture of good will. That, along with the nice slice of life bits with Kaito and Aoko learning to defeat a powerful boss fight in a console game, makes this story the best one so far when it comes to consistency.
I Am The Master (わたしが主人だ, Watashi ga Masutā Da) is number nine in the list of Magic Kaito stories. A professor has created a small robot by the model of RZ-04 named Granpapa for inspector Nakamori. The one special thing about this robot is that it only needs to see someone once and it'll never forget them.
Kaito arrives at the top of a skyscraper and heads to steal a jewel named Cleopatra's Vanity which resides on the forty-eighth floor. Seeing Kaito count down the floors as he's on a free-fall from the roof as he reaches 48th floor and then smashes through the window is quite a nice addition, as it shows just how miraculously Kaito pulls off his heists. As Kaito arrives to steal the case holding the jewel, he notices the tiny robot which then opens up its single large eye and starts to analyze Kid's face. Next up inspector Nakamori decides to try to catch Kid but he throws himself out of the window on the 48th floor. This seems to be before Kaito got the hangglider to fly away with, so we see a pretty cool scene where Kaito falls downwards all those floors of the skyscraper until he eventually escapes the helicopters and cops following him - but he could not manage to escape the gaze of a single miniature robot that seems to be impossible to escape from.
Throughout this story Kaito has to escape the gaze of numerous robots who watch him and the 'master' robot which controls the rest and gives orders to them. It's basically just a fun little story that has this similar idea as those movies where a government is looking at you constantly through satellites and stuff like that. I don't have much to say about this one as it doesn't really do anything, so a filler story through and through.
Adults Don't Understand (大人とわかってくれない, Otona to Wakattekurenai) is the tenth Magic Kaito story. Kaito is at school and pays attention to a bandage that's been wrapped around Aoko's left wrist. Aoko explains that it's not because of an injury but because it's a good-luck charm from none other than the witch classmate Akako. Akako claims that Aoko is just way too childish and needs to grow up, so she wrote ADULT on Aoko's wrist and wrapped it up to leave for four days. At the same time Akako is now absolutely furious about Kaito - she can't get him out of her mind as all the men in the world are meant to be her slaves, but Kaito just won't do what she tells him to... so Akako decides that maybe it's just better to erase Kaito from this world so then that'd mean that every man in the world would be her slave...
At her creepy home which is an old manor Akako decides to do none other than summon Lucifer himself. Lucifer gives Akako hints at how Kaito will meet his doom, apparently atop a crimson tower this time, and after getting that information Akako just rips the paper she summoned Lucifer with and tells him to get back to hell. In the future chapters there's also another really hilarious scene where Lucifer is summoned again in similar way.
During the full moon night of Kaito Kid's next heist, Akako goes and makes inspector Nakamori wear an amuler which completely brainwashes him into trying to kill Kid, but it's not just him as Akako herself is also trying to hunt him down for a bit. The ending of this story is pretty decent with Akako showing more emotions.
On The Ball (ボールにかける少年, Bōru ni Kakeru Shōnen) is the eleventh story. The author Gosho Aoyama is known to be a sports lover especially of baseball and soccer so this story's theme being baseball isn't a big surprise.
The news are printing Kaito Kid's smug everywhere. "The stylish thief", "This week's best man", "Kaito Kid Strikes Again", "Exclusive! This is Kid!" - front papers are filled with articles about the mysterious phantom thief. This phenomenon where everyone is entranced by a thief has caused little children to see Kid as either evil or as an ally of justice. I notice that Kamen Rider is also referenced in this story (Kamen Rider is a superhero TV character often also seen in Detective Conan). Anyway, bunch of kids get into an argument and one of them calls the Metropolitan Police Department to announce that they'll be stealing Nagashima Kazushige's home run ball from the Tokyo Dome the next day as a baseball game is being held there.
It doesn't take long for the news to catch up on this information, and soon all of Japan knows of it. This brings Kaito pressure, as he is a magician. Magicians never let their audience down. Now, here comes the interesting part: As Kid has announced he'll be stealing Kazushige's home run ball, Kazushige has yet to even score a hit, let alone a home run, and how's one even supposed to catch a home run ball in the first place?
Everything however is handled just by coincidence random stuff instead of logic, but there's something really cool about this story, and that's its atmosphere. The baseball match is excellently presented here to contrast the huge crowd: it's its own moment that kind of draws one in. It's not drawn in detail, but has a style that's quite original and I think the animators for Detective Conan's baseball special episode #383 ("Miracle at Koshien Ball Park! The Defiants Face the Dark Demon" case) might've used this chapter as inspiration to do the opening sequence for that episode.
Ghost Game (ゴースト・ゲーム, Gōsuto Gēmu) is of course the twelfth story and we deal with a ghost story. Aoko's friend Keiko studied in the school library the previous night and came across a 'monster' which scared the living crap out of her. Now, Kaito and Aoko are in class where a new blonde biology teacher by the name of Asou Keiji is teaching them. This time the new character's a male, however, so all the girls in the class are drawn to him...
Aoko pushes Kaito to pretty much break in their school with her the next night to get rid of this 'monster' Keiko saw and got horrified by, but on their journey they also meet up with this new teacher Keiji wandering around the hallways during dark, but he quickly leaves the place. As Kaito and Aoko try to find this mysterious monster, they come across a staircase that's soaked in some red liquid, and a cat that's seemingly kind of monstrous or something. It's as if someone was trying to scare them away from the school.
There's not much to say about this story. It's a basic comedic type 'horror story in school' meant to give some scenes to Aoko and Kaito. But this case also has some foundations to Aoyama's Detective Conan career as In this story Kaito does some slight detective work by checking out clues like how there's a damp cigarette in the room. Even the ending of this story has some logic behind it, even if it's very weird logic.
The Hustler VS. The Magician (ハスラーvs.マジシャン, Hasurā vs Majishan) is the thirteenth Kaito story and the final tale to close the second volume with, but there's more to it than that as it actually has never been published before the volume release, but it was adapted in the Magic Kaito 1412 anime's 3rd episode. In this one we get introduced to Jii-chan, the elder man who was Kaito's father's, Touichi Kuroba's, assistant when Touichi was working as the original Kaito Kid. Now Jii also helps Kaito here and there to pull off heists, but we're reintroduced to Jii by his "Blue Parrot" bar. A place with a billiards hall. Though right now Kaito and Aoko are trying to play billiards while Jii is snoring it out as there are no customers around. I must note that this story interestingly enough brings some other overarching aspects back in slight ways, like how Kaito tries to see Aoko's panties but they're filled with fish symbols which makes Kaito scared due to his phobia towads fishies.
At the same time as Aoko is chasing Kaito to scare him, a tough-looking man arrives to tell the two to leave elsewhere, but as the man was starting to get violent Jii wakes up to tell him to dip. Apparently Jii is having problems with money and he had to get a loan from the tough guy's boss who owns a much bigger and more popular billiards bar 'American' that's by the nearby train station. The bar steals all of Jii's customers.
A long time ago, even before Jii met Kaito's father, Jii used to be the owner of a legendary cue - a billiards stick consisting of diamonds and emeralds. However one day he was challenged by a hustler, Hasura Tsuujirou, and lost the game where the cue was the bet. As Jii-chan is the person most looking for Kaito's well-being, Kaito decides to get the cue back by beating the legendary hustler at his own game. But there are a few problems. First of all, Kaito can't even hustle. Second of all, you need to be over 18 to enter the bar, and third of all, you need to be dressed up properly. Well, that third isn't going to be a problem for the moonlight magician...
At 'American' the owner, Tsuujirou, got a calling card from Kaito Kid, declaring that he'll be coming to take the legendary cue at 10 P.M., which is exactly what he does as he 'infiltrates' the place with Jii and Aoko. At the same time as Aoko is drinking Martini (by thinking it's juice..) with her father who doesn't recognize her, Kaito and Jii go face to face with Tsuujirou at the billiards table. $100 per game, nine-ball rules in which the first player to down the ball number nine is the winner. As Kaito keeps getting his ass whooped by Tsuujirou in billiards, so much so that Jii's money has ran out as Kaito has spent $1000 trying to win the cue, the last game is a bet with Jii's "Blue Parrot" bar at stake. This is not a bad story to end the second volume with. I like how we had some combo moments with Jii and Kaito at the end as we haven't really seen that so far in the series. The mere idea of a billiards bar heist is enough to sell it for many and I think this worked quite well in the 24 episode anime Magic Kaito 1412.
The second volume ends with "Kaito-kun's Theater" which tells a comedic advertisement story in which Aoko is the only one in her class who doesn't know of a very popular book series that's being sold right now. The series goes by the name of Magic Kaito and it has two volumes out with extra bonus pages to boot. However as Aoko goes from shop to shop to try to find a copy, they're all sold out. Kaito Kid then makes his appearance at one shop and drops the first volume of Magic Kaito to Aoko, and then she follows the first volume which runs away to another shop to find the second volume of Magic Kaito on the shelves as well.
Volume 3 - Released September 15, 1994
We're officially on the third volume now, released almost six years after the second one. This is the last volume released before Gosho went to work on Detective Conan. Between volumes 2 and 3 he worked on the long-running shounen action series Yaiba. So far we've gotten to know the basics of how the plot and its characters in Magic Kaito work but it's been mostly about episodic stories with very little that connect them to each other (other than some overarching characters and, like, Kaito's fear towards fishes which is used as comedic relief now and then).
Star Wars (スターウォーズ, Sutā Wōzu) is the fourteenth story in this series and the first of volume three. Inspector Nakamori saw a dream that could as well be a nightmare to him. In his dream the phantom thief Kaito Kid disappeared and while Nakamori was trying to catch him, he himself fell off somewhere into the darkness. But there's a good foundation for Nakamori's nightmare as Kid's really been gone for three months already without any prior warning. The reason for Kid's disappearance's a stong seasonal flu.
However as it's Christmas Eve it seems that Kid's making a comeback as he announces to steal the Giant's Star which resides on top of a christmas tree in Toufuu Department Store. The star consists of jewels, both diamonds and emeralds, and is worth billions of yen. But it doesn't take long for the reader to be notified that the department store is merely playing a publicity stunt to get more customers, and it doesn't help that the owner wants to get the insure money from the jewels by blaming the theft on Kid.
Overall this is an alright story. For over half of the 30 pages it consist of, Kaito doesn't even know that everyone thinks Kid is going to steal the christmas star. The ending of this story is quite different from what we've seen so far as Kaito just uses explosives to punish the store owner for his crimes (though I don't think the owner ever got arrested or anything...)
Enter the Great Detective!! (名探偵登場!!, Meitantei Tōjō!!) is the fifteenth Kaito Kid story and it finally introduces us to a new but actually somewhat formidable rival character to work as the antithesis to Kaito's antics. A blonde male appears dressed up in that stereotypical Sherlock Holmes outfit and announces out-loud the identity of a 'culprit'. After the 'culprit' gets caught the news print everywhere about how this 'famous detective' had just returned from London and solved yet another case. This new detective character has quite a lame but effective signature question to the perps he catches; simply put, it's: "Why did you do it?" The Magic Kaito 1412 anime's 4th episode does this story excellently as it also adds the next Hakuba heist in the same episode. I definitely suggest people to watch that episode to get introduced to Hakuba and his quirks.
Basically all of Japan is expecting some kind of showdown with our new character and Kid. Well, everyone except inspector Nakamori, of course, as Nakamori tends to be more... annoyed by the fact that someone other with actual skill is expected to catch the gentleman thief.
Adam's Smile is a 400 million yen worth painting that Kaito's after this time, and to gather data on where it'll be taken, Kaito is at an ice skating ring nearby the Big Pecasso Exhibit. There's a problem though - Kaito might be great at skiing, but he just can't stay on his feet when ice skating... yet another weakness added to the legendary phantom thief's list.
As the exhibit is filled with cops along with inspector Nakamori, our new detective from London makes his appearance - Hakuba Saguru right back from London, but what's more Hakuba's also the son of the highest authority in Nakamori's police department. He's the type of character to tell exactly what time it is right down to like .01 seconds. Hakuba also likes to collect data on the people he's after, like what their favourite food is, what sports they like, etc. Basically Hakuba is a show-off who looks at everything with pinpoint accuracy. He even tells girls he likes things like his height, date of birth, blood type, horoscope, weight...
Anyway, Kaito disguises himself as one of the cops and it doesn't take long for Hakuba to be on his trails. Kaito of course manages to complete the heist and get away but at the end Hakuba also joins Kaito's and Aoko's class as the new transfer student. It's an alright story that doesn't do much else other than introducing this new detective to the team.
Nearby Enemy (眼下の怪盗, Ganka no Kaitō) is the sixteenth story so far. There is going to be a monumental moment for Kid as the TV channels have announced to perform his next heist live on the spot. So when Aoko asks Kaito to join a concert as she won couple of tickets, it's no surprise Kaito first declines this offer as he has other things on his mind. Our new transfer student, the famous cocky teenage detective Hakuba Saguru is all too willing to take up on Aoko's offer however, but Aoko doesn't necessarily want to leave Kaito out of the concert. It all ends up in a bet in which Hakuba promises to catch Kid during his next heist, and if he manages to do so, Aoko has to allow him to join her to the concert instead of Kaito. On the other hand Kaito will go with Aoko if Hakuba isn't able to catch Kid. I notice that apparently all the girls in the school have started to go after Hakuba; guess they got tired of that biology teacher from the second volume.
So with a date with Aoko as the bet in mind, the heist Kid has promised to pull off during night is the theft of a large statue in Ekoda Museum. However with helicopters filling the skies and hundreds of laser sensors underground as well as police forces in the building, it doesn't seem very possible for anyone to even get near the thing let alone steal it.
This was a pretty cool little story. Had this been at least two-parter it would've been the best story so far, but right now I'm not too sure. The highlight of this to me was the skirmish with Hakuba and Kid as they battle for a gas mask. The ending is simple but kind of clever as it subverts the expectations of how the first two volumes have presented these stories as (they tend to end in a certain way). This shows how Aoyama is starting to lean more towards building up these mystery plot twist stories where the ending isn't going to completely be what you expect.
Akako's Delivery Service (紅子の宅配便, Akako no Takuhaibin) is story number seventeen, and as the title should give out, it's a reference on a famous animated movie "Kiki's Delivery Service" by director Hayao Miyazaki. In her home manor in the middle of some woods, Akako is again doing her magic things, this time on a crystal ball. In the first volume Akako asked a mirror about who's the most beautiful woman on Earth - of course it's supposed to be her - and how every male in the world is her slave, except for Kaito Kid. Then Akako decided to break the magic mirror for saying such a hing. This time she does the exact same thing with a crystal ball, except the ball manages to give Akako some good information this time around, so Akako decides to not break it: the crystal ball claims that even though Kaito will never be Akako's slave, all the men around her will as Kaito will surely 'disappear' soon enough. The reason for this is because the crystal sees in some near future a sight of teenage detective Hakuba Saguru having caught and handcuffed Kaito Kid.
Kaito Kid's been quite active lately as he's been stealing jewels for three days in a row. This time he manages to escape inspector Nakamori once more as he announces to come by and steal another piece of materia the next day. However as the inspector curses his luck for not catching Kid again, Hakuba arrives and tells the inspector that Kid's days are counted as he'd left an important piece of evidence that leads his identity behind on the crime scene: his hair.
Hakuba takes the inspector to his grandfather's active research facility in which the young detective has collected a lot of data on Kid. I think this is worth noting:
Hakuba's Data on Kaito Kid: Height 174 cm, weight 58 kilograms, 2.0 eyesight in each eye, an IQ of whopping 400, the ability to use many different voices, good at every physical sport except ice skating (aha! we saw Hakuba collect this data in that ice skating heist, good to see it come back)...
The research facility manages to analyze the hair at their lab. It belonds to a Japanese male with blood type B and surprisingly enough his age is around 15-17, even though the police assumed Kid to be in his mid 30's due to stealing stuff since inspector Nakamori was only 20 years old. Nakamori thus doesn't believe the data and dips from the lab, but Hakuba has other things in mind as he starts to go through the data on every single high schooler in Japan. Hakuba's so into it that he won't even be sleeping through the night.
The next morning as Hakuba arrives to the school, he's absolutely beat with dark eyes for not sleeping a wink, but he has come to a certain realization overnight so he decides to invite Kaito to the Ochima Art Museum where Kid has announced his next heist to happen at. Kaito decides to accept Hakuba's invitation thinking that it'll make it easier for him to complete the theft, but Akako butts in and warns him not to go due to the vision she saw. We see that Kaito still doesn't tell of his secret identity to Akako even though she knows of it, and Akako's attempts to warn the thief ring to deaf ears as Kaito still decides to go with Aoko to the museum as it's a direct challenge from Hakuba - he'd never back down from it. We also get to see Hakuba have a slight crush on Akako, though not as crazy as the other men in the school.
I think this story was over a bit too quick after it finished building up. Hakuba is fast on Kaito's tracks but kind of disappeared out of the picture for some of the pages he could've been used here to try to outsmart Kid, you know, to get some tension going. It's basically a story that builds up to Hakuba realizing Kaito is Kid. It's not a bad story or anything for a mere chapter-length tale but the ending isn't that great as our heroes use magic to get out of a pickle.
Yaiba VS. Kaito Kid! (〈番外編〉刃vs.快斗!, (Bangaihen) Yaiba vs. Kaito!) is the eighteenth Magic Kaito story. Looking at the art, it might be a chapter that didn't make it to the first any volumes as the art is sort of similar as in the late 80's Magic Kaito stories. Of course since this is a Yaiba story as well it must've been created after those first Magic Kaito volumes came out... I dunno. In this story inspector Nakamori visits the household where Yaiba resides. Yaiba is the first long-running manga Gosho Aoyama has managed to finish (we'll see if Magic Kaito and Detective Conan get on that list one day) and as I mentioned before it has a 24 volume long manga series and a 52 episode long animated TV series by the name of Legendary Brave Swordsman Yaiba (Kenyuu Densetsu Yaiba). Aoyama has this tendency to include other series in his other works - including characters and settings from one-shots. Be it the police department or the tropical land, these are settings included in other works this author does, and it creates this odd mixed universe of different ideas. Anyway, it's cool to actually get to see Yaiba himself in this story.
Kaito is attempting to steal the sacred sword from the large household but comes across many obstacles that seem quite unnatural, like a weird turtle creature... I like how the secondary main character of Yaiba, Sayaka Mine, as well as her mother and grandmother, get entranced by Kid's flirting... The entire story is basically a fanservice crossover showing off Kaito and Yaiba duke it out. It's at least pretty comedic. I believe this story part was actually used in the OVA episode "Conan vs. Kid vs. Yaiba - The Grand Battle for the Treasure Sword!! Japanese Title: コナンvsキッドvsヤイバ 宝刀争奪大決戦!!"
Blue Birthday (ブルーバースデー, Burū Bāsudē) is the nineteenth tale. For some reason this is one of the titles I remember the most. After Kid has completed yet another heist in the middle of the night, a phone at a booth starts to ring. A person answers and tells Kaito that it's been a real long time since they last talked, and in the past they'd even warned Kid not to touch "that jewel" and that Kid is lucky that the jewel Kaito stole wasn't "the one they're looking for". Before hanging up this mysterious person on the phone warns Kid that if he ever gets in their way, it's his life that'll be at risk.
Not paying any heed to the warning Kid sends yet another message to the police, claiming that he'll be going after "the world's larges sapphire from India" that's on display now. As Kaito grins with his successful heists, Aoko gets angry at him as Kid's already stolen five things - jewels and such - this month, so Aoko's father, inspector Ginzo Nakamori, can't even get any sleep. It's also Aoko's 17th birthday this very day but his father is still just after Kid. Kaito then promises to arrive at Aoko's birthday party, albeit he'll be a bit late, and then he asks if Aoko wants something special as a present.
Things get interesting as Aoko asks Kaito to bring his Kid as a present, in other words she wants Kaito to catch Kid, which obviously won't happen, but then Aoko also asks another question: "Why does kid have to be a thief, anyways? What exactly is Kid's reason for stealing things?" Sometimes Kid throws the items he steals away, sometimes he returns them. Does he just enjoy the act of stealing or becoming popular for doing such stunts? Aoko herself really hates Kid as she believes that Kid simply enjoys making fun of her father who never manages to catch him. We get this cool inner monologue from Kaito where he thinks how he's actually always respected inspector Nakamori.
This story is basically a soft boot back to the main storyline of the series which was introduced in chapter one. Here, Kaito once again starts to think about how his motive for stealing things is because he wants to find out who killed his father and mentor, the most famous magician in the world, Touichi Kuroba eight years prior. Kaito wears the white robes and a monocle to lure out the people who killed his father.
The Blue Birthday gem itself is protected by numerous invisible lasers, but this time the lasers instantly destroy anything that touches them. Around the gem itseld is a special steel cage and a high-electric voltage door. Kaito just tricks the cops with a dummy and steals the game, however the inspector reveals that just being part of the plan as the jewel Kid just stole contains a microtransmitter that can't be removed.
At the rooftop Kaito checks his watch and realizes that it's time to hit the road as Aoko's birthday party is being held. Kaito decides to fly over to Aoko's house with the hangglider, as Aoko wanted Kaito to bring Kid to the party, but as he's about to jump off, someone shoots a gun at him. breaking the glider. Kaito notes that there is a large group of people on the roof, and the person holding the gun has the same voice as the person who spoke with him on the phone the other day. What's more, this group of people even think Kid is Kuroba Touichi, in other words they know of the original Kid's identity...
Kaito questions this weird organization's motives for taking the jewel, but even they say that they don't know what's so special about the jewel - but what they do know is that with it, they can have "Eternity", whatever that means. Things escalate to a point where Kaito throws the Blue Birthday to the crooks and the group's ringleader shoots him down the building.
As Kaito fell off the building, we see Aoko have her 17th birthday party with bunch of her classmates, but it's not looking like Kaito's coming. The scene then goes over to a place with a Yaiba-like japanese mansion or whatever it is, a large wide-area place with buildings surrounding it. Over there a bossy man gets the "Blue Birthday" gem from the ringleader of the gang, who the bossy man calls 'Snake'. After getting his hands on Blue Birthday, this bossy man then says how he'll be telling about the gem to 'that person' (assumedly the boss of the bosses in this organization).
The reason why the boss of the organization wants the Blue Birthday is because it might be the gem that holds the key to immortality. The organization members talk something about a comet named "Volley" that comes close to Earth every millenia. There's a legend about that comet which talks about how one should take the "holy gem" underneath the shadow of a moon, and when one does that, special "tears" will start to flow and drip out of the jewel. Anyone who drinks those tears will then become immortal. Apparently there's a large jewel which holds that power but no one knows which it is.
The organization has a grand plan in mind: steal all the large jewels they can find in order to get their hands on the legendary gem, and their time limit is the day when the comet comes. The way to find out which gem is the right one is that if the jewel is held up towards moonlight, there'll be another, small red gem glowing inside of it. That small gem is known as 'Pandora' and is the source of these 'Tears of Immortality'.
Kaito then makes his grand appearance at the place where the organization's been talking, and he heard everything they said. Apparently 'Snake' had shot Kaito to the heart but that place was protected by the Blue Birthday. And this is when Kaito realizes that he has a new goal in mind: he'll find the jewel housing the Pandora gem, and when he does that he'll destroy it like how Frodo destroyed the cursed ring. The ending of the chapter has to do with Kaito celebrating Aoko's birthday his own special way.
This is the most impressive story so far in the series and is the first case to truly have some of that complexity often found even in the early stories of Conan. This was very packed with its own twists and turns to it. I can't say I'm particularly intrigued by the organization members like Snake, but the idea of giving Kaito a more interesting goal (finding Pandora and destroying it) was a good choice.
Green Dream (グリーンドリーム, Gurīn Dorīmu) is the twentieth story of this series and the closing heist in the third Magic Kaito volume. The art in this case is pretty much what early DC looks like. Kaito Kid had sent a message to a musical theatre "Mars & Rosa" and claims to arrive and steal the world's largest emerald, the "Green Dream", that'll be on the stage the next day. However Kaito has already infiltrated the place to plan for different ways on how to steal the gem.
At the musical stage a number of different people have gathered and one of them, the lead actress and daughter of the musical's owner Reiko is making up a ruckus by talking down on other actors, especially the young Megumi, for supposedly ruining the show. It doesn't seem like anyone around really likes Reiko as she's not just incredibly rude but she apparently used her father's authority to get the leading role. The other workers on the theater even want Kaito Kid to blow the entire place up to get rid of Reiko. If this was a Conan case, she'd basically be the victim.
As Kaito's doing his preparations at the threater later in the evening after the actors have left, he comes across the young Megumi who's practicing acting on the stage, and she's pretty incredible at that, despite everyone saying she's terrible at acting. The reason for that is her nerves are far too weak: when she's in front of a crowd Megumi's legs start to shake and she can't keep her calm with everyone's staring eyes all on her. Kaito then gives her a pep talk and tells her to imagine the audience as just mere garden of pumpkins.
The next day, the day of the heist. Aoko and Kaito arrive at Mars & Rosa. It seems that here Gosho basically sets up some foreshadowing as Aoko notices a retractable roof on the theatre. There're also bunch of celebrities around the place.
We get to see the stage play itself play out a bit as the actors show off the Green Dream emerald. There's this cool trick by Kaito that's build through dialogue from other characters; throughout this story Gosho uses the inspector as a fakeout as he claims that Kid will definitely aim to shut down the lights and weasel his way through the darkness. The story and the volume end with Kaito helping Megumi play out a big role. I think this story would work well if animated properly. It definitely had the feel of a Conan case at the beginning with how the sub-plot of the stage play was handled. Pretty cool. In general this volume felt quite packed, what with it having seven stories to tell. Some of them had some neat things going for them, but nothing actually monumental. The last few stories had a bit more professionally crafted feel to them with how the pacing allowed to tell a larger, more crowded story more coherently than before. I guess Gosho's gotten used to planning his stories out by now.
Volume 4 - Released February 16, 2007
So, the third volume which was released in -94 finally gave us some plot progression as Kaito learned of the Pandora gem which is rumored to give immortality to anyone who drinks its tears. Pandora is a small ruby-like object that exists inside an unknown larger gem, and it can be seen through the gem holding it if one looks through the large gem by pointing it at moonlight. This fourth Magic Kaito volume was released nearly 13 years after the third one, so I'm interested in seeing what kind of stories we'll get in this 2000-2010 era of Aoyama's career.
Crystal Mother (クリスタル・マザー, Kurisutaru mazā) is the twenty-first story and the first story we read in volume four. Queen of Ingram, Selizabeth, had decided to board the Royal Express which is one of Japan's most luxurious trains. The story immediately begins with a surprise as the Queen says the phantom thief had come into her room to steal the treasure of Ingram, the largest topaz in Europe "Crystal Mother" which is hanging on the Queen's neck as an amulet... or at least it should have, as Kid immediately noticed that gem was nothing but a replica. The real one's location is unknown for anyone except the royal highness herself. Kaito is in the backgrounds listening on the police's and the queen's verbal exchange to try to get any information on the whereabouts of the jewel but what he hears is the Queen's proclamation about the train trip being a one-on-one with Kid vs. the Queen. With two and a half hours remaining until the train arrives at Osaka, it will be a direct showdown.
The Queen is not on the train just with her royal army but also her two years old pet cat Caesar and her little son Prince Philip Maximilian Ingram. Philip is the son of King Henry who died two years prior to a sickness. Selizabeth is very strict towards the Prince however as she orders him to call her 'Your Majesty the Queen' rather than mother. Aoko and Kaito are also on the train. Kaito always finds clever ways to get unnoticed to these thieving scenes as 'Kaito'. This time around he'd asked Aoko to get him a ticket to join the luxury train that Aoko's father inspector Nakamori is also riding. Aoko reveals that she's going to personally go and meet up with the Queen and say hello. That didn't even come to Kaito's mind as he tends to want to avoid being seen.
On the same train the overarching villain group's member 'Snake' has also infiltrated and is talking on the phone in a bathroom. The organization's of course after the jewel as it may be the hailed Pandora, but because of Kid the police reinforcements on the train are bigger than ever. The organization thus plans to take the jewel directly from Kid after he steals it.
I'm actually quite surprised by the quality of this heist story compared to what we've seen before in this series - there's a lot of thinking from Kaito's part for a one-chapter story. He checks all these suspicious things like the cat's eyes and the Prince's teddybear for whether or not they contain the jewel. The Prince also sees through Kaito and notices that he's actually Kid - and the Prince even knows the location of the gem but won't be the one revealing it. It's actually quite a surprising place as I also forgot where it was despite having seen this story before. This story has a deeper story to tell with the relationship of the Queen and her son however, and Kaito gets a pretty epic scene near the end regarding it, as well as the showdown with the mysterious organization's member Snake. I like how everything here was presented by Gosho but the way Snake survived that one scene with a comedic fashion was definitely to not make Kaito into a killer. The ending of this story actually kind of made me feel some emotions and it's nice to see Kaito be a bit more daring here, like how he drugged Aoko to keep his identity safe. I think the manga did this better than the anime, but I'd have to rewatch the Crystal Mother episodes.
Red Tear (レッド・ティアー, Reddo Tiā) opens up the twenty-second story. This time around Kid is going after the world's greatest ruby, Red Tear, a ruby that's somehow blue in color, owned by a magician troupe led by a woman named Jody Hopper who seems to want to see Kid's magic unfold. Akako the scarlet witch arrives to class however and tells Kaito to not go after it as the ruby has a supernatural story surrounding it: it's a demonic stone that will cause calamity to anyone who touches it.
At the Minato Police Station yet another announcement from Kaito Kid has arrived... this time however the message says that Kid has changed his mind about stealing the ruby. Included with the letter is Kid's apology.
On the streets Kaito and Aoko walk about and head towards a movie theatre as a man walks by and seemingly accidentally hits Aoko. Kaito immediately realizes that this guy snatched Aoko's purse during the impact and starts to chase the man, but something surprising happens as a woman bumps into the man and steals the purse that he stole. This woman is introduced to us as the famous magician of the Hopper Troupe, Jody Hopper, the granddaughter of James Hopper who was the greatest magician of England.
There's this neat little scene where Aoko talks to Jody and praises Kaito's father as the number one in Japan but Kaito is annoyed by that and thinks to himself how his father must've been the best magician in the entire world instead. Jody seems to recognize Kaito's father as apparently he and Jody's grandfather used to be part of the same pick-pocket squad. A cool little detail to take in. Anyway, Jody tells the two that magicians are nothing but swindlers deceiving people. It's been two years since her grandfather died and she decided to put an end to the troupe after tonight. She also invites Kaito and Aoko to join her last show.
At Minato Hotel, Nakamori is still waiting for Kid despite the announcement that he withdrew from the heist. The hotel is packed with undercover cops on every floor from top to bottom. This time however Nakamori is off-duty as Aoko had invited her father to join to see the troupe's dinner show, since Kaito had better things to do, so to say. At the same time as Aoko and Nakamori spend their evening, the mysterious evil organization that's after Pandora, is checking out the place and will execute their theft plan in 10 minutes. Nakamori himself notes that Jody always wears the trademark jewel on her, but there's never any programs for Jody herself in these shows, so they question whether or not she can't do any magic tricks herself, but apparently that's not true; since her infancy she's gotten training from her master magician parents who died in an accidents during a show 10 years prior. Jody herself is apparently the greatest magician in the troupe right now. The ruby she holds with her is a memento left by her parents as the gem was found on top of them after their bodies were found burned-up, and due to their death it got the name Devil's Stone. So, despite Jody being a great magician, she began despising magic due to her parents' deaths.
At the same time as Kid appears during the show, the organization also attacks the troupe guns blazing. It's mostly about escaping the organisation and dealing with them. We also get to see a little bit of Jody and Kid combo in this one as magicians as well as the last magic trick left behind by Jody's grandfather...
This story is pretty good in the anime version especially as the ending moment is supposed to pull the emotional heartstrings of the reader. I notice that this 4th volume seems to focus on this type of storytelling in general.
Black Star (ブラック・スタ(Burakku Sutā) is story number twenty-three. Despite of its name, it's actually a flashback that happens before the real Black Star heist. Kaito and Jii are planning on their next heist, but Jii's got a pretty ominous feeling about it all and he wants to ask Kaito to just dip instead of going through with it as the previous heist they pulled of was a "very close call". This story, Black Star, tells that story in which Kaito almost got caught by a surprising enemy. It's been since the Hustler story that Jii's been a part of this. I really like this story in the 6th episode of Magic Kaito 1412 as it's a very entertaining cat-and-mouse game with Kaito and a certain character from Detective Conan. In fact there's also a familiar inspector in the house this time, along with inspector Nakamori.
Kid's female fanbase's been rising lately and Kaito's quite happy. But Kid's next plan is to somehow steal the clock tower that's being moved soon. The scarlet witch Akako has another ominous warning for Kid as she wants Kid not to steal anything right now (even though Kaito never acknowledges to Akako that he's Kid, Akako being a witch just automatically knows of it). Akako's warning is a prophecy from Lucifer the Devil, and it goes as follows: "When the bells of the old clock tower ring out for the 20 000th time, the magus of light will come flying from the east to destroy the sinner in white."
Anyway, Kaito doesn't care a bit about warnings like that and decides to prepare for the next heist that's going down on the night of a full moon. Although news claim Kid'll go after the clocktower itself, he's going after the hour hand filled with diamonds while dressed up as one of the guarding officers.
There's another side to this story as well as the mayor seems to have already sold the diamonds on the tower. The reason why the clocktower itself is planned to be moved is because of a nearby amusement park, so the city is planning to sell the tower to the highest bidder. With Kid targeting the tower, it's of course the best time to sell it as it gets such large media presence - and also even if the people buying it realize it's a fake, it doesn't matter as the mayor can always blame Kid for swapping the diamonds with fakes... but even then, the main plan is for mayor to not let the replicas ever even be found out.
At the scene of heist a mysterious new clever antagonist to Kaito has began to set up traps for him. This character basically organizes the police's stand-off against Kid from a helicopter that's flying over the place. How will Kid steal the massive clock hand and escape while this massive danger draws in?
This story is basically the closest you can get to a Death Note's L vs. Light type of cat-and-mouse game in Magic Kaito, and when it comes to that type of storytelling, this is definitely one of my favourites in this series. It's an excellent fanservice tale that works not only as a crossover between these two franchises, but also works to tell a story that feels like a quick but real intellectual battle where Kaito is at danger of getting caught as our crossover character gives the police orders on how to cach him by understanding the mind of a thief and his actions. The clocktower also holds something of a deeper meaning for Kaito and Aoko, which was a neat little added detail.
Golden Eye (ゴールデン・アイ, Gōruden Ai) is twenty-fourth heist. This story has also been adapted in the Magic Kaito special episodes by TMS in 2012 by the name of The Reminiscent Golden Eye. Inspector Nakamori along with the police force are all after Kaito on helicopters etc. As Kaito's escaping, a self-proclaimed "Chat Noir" guy in a creepy pilot's suit appears next to Kaito with a parachute and tells him that he could've stolen the item Kid had just stolen except in half the time, and then he offers Kaito to have a match with him, a contest between two thieves at Hotel Ocean, 9 PM sunday. We learn that this Chat Noir guy is actually a famous French thief.
As the object Chat Noir is after is just a ring, in other words a small jewel at best, it's not going to contain the Pandora that Kaito's looking for. However, Kaito still wants to have this duel regardless to show he's the greatest thief around.
Kaito is after a ring of the same name as the episode this time around. Apparently the ring is the final accessory that 'Antoinette' had gathered in order to ward away evil, and all the six other objects had already been stolen by Chat Noir in the past. In fact, Chat Noir's never stolen anything else. And after stealing these items he returns fakes that seem to be made from the same plans as the originals are. The Golden Eye is being held at a large hotel in an exhibit where French officers attempt to lure out Chat Noir. This is similar to how Nakamori wants to always lure out Kid. This time around the cops are planning to catch both of the thieves.
The hotel's windows are covered by special titanium that can withstand even 10 tonne blasts, and during the heist all the lifts will be stopped and all the stairways guarded so Kid and Noir won't be able to use those either. It's easier to get in than out. But the biggest defense mechanism here is the ring itself, as it will be held by inspector Nakamori who'll sit on the case clenching his fist while wearing the ring, gas mask and a transmitter during the announced time of the heist.
An insurance company investigator from America, Ruby Jones, had come to also check out the place as they're suspicious on whether Chat Noir is actually an accomplice of the owner of the ring. There's also this problem of Chat Noir potentially cutting off Nakamori's finger to get the ring...
So... this is probably the best heist in the series so far when it comes to interesting ideas. Although I'm not sure. The identity of Chat Noir isn't that surprising - and it's not for Kaito either - but there's just something this story does really well. I suggest people to watch the 10th episode of Magic Kaito specials by TMS and judge for themselves though. In of itself this is yet another cool showdown heist that this fourth volume offers us, and the ending is really awesome with Chat Noir's and Kaito's motives both sort of aligning. Hmm, maybe I should note that it seems Hakuba's gone overseas in this story, seemingly to France.
Dark Knight (ダーク・ナイト, Dāku Naito) is the twenty-fifth Magic Kaito story. I've seen this one quite a few times in the twelfth episode of the Magic Kaito special episodes by TMS as it's an excellent episode when it comes to atmosphere, and it's also one of the most emotional endings to a story that Gosho Aoyama's created.
Kaito, as Kid, is again escaping the police who've cornered him up in an alleyway. Kaito was unable to use the hanglider due to heavy rain and is thus close to getting caught. Next to him he finds a radiophone with a person named Nightmare speaking through it. In this story we get introduced to officer Chaki, seemingly inspector Nakamori's superior at the police HQ, who tells us that Nightmare helped Kid escape. The police HQ had gotten a fax from Nightmare claiming to have become allies with Kid and they're already planning on the next heist together.
Nightmare is a man with a strange mask, who's been joining hands with many kinds of thieves around the world. Nightmare's reward for making up the escape plans and helping to steal stuff is half of whatever is being stolen, and Nightmare's never failed at his crimes. But there's something different about Nightmare compared to other thieves: every time he gets tired of his allies, they'll get arrested and they're practically destined to die. Because Nightmare's an international criminal this causes a surprising "ally" to arrive at Japan: the ICPO (International Crime Police Organization), led by Jack Connery.
Nakamori had called Kaito to check out the traps he'd made for Kid, making things easier for Kaito. The ICPO's already working with the Japanese police as they don't have authority to arrest over Japan's ground. As Kaito is checking up the scene of the next heist, the Shuho Art Museum, to prepare, he and Aoko run up to Kenta Connery, the son of Jack Connery from Interpol. Kenta's mother died three years prior and Kenta's being held at an orphanage instead of living with his father.
Nightmare has an impressively strong presence in this one despite his sort of silly disguise. The episode hammers in this serious atmosphere caused by Nightmare knowing of Touichi Kuroba's death and about Jii-chan being the current Kid's assistant. The threat of Nightmare using this information against him is the catalyst for why Kaito decided to join up forces with Nightmare to steal two earrings with black opals named the 'Dark Knights'. The opals are hidden in a tough glass case with water in it as the opals are very sensitive to dryness.
This story is basically about three things: Kid stealing the opals, trying to deal with Nightmare, as well as the young Kenta's personal problems with surgery. I think overall Kenta's one of the most tragic characters created with his problem, being so young, losing his mother at such a young age and being an orphan... along with the quite a sad ending to this heist.
The 12th episode of the Magic Kaito specials by TMS that adapt this case are truly immersive to me, personally. Ah, also Hakuba gets a few scenes in this story but nothing too big. Anyway, an excellent Magic Kaito story when it comes to atmosphere, and the most emotional one as well.
This fourth volume of Magic Kaito was excellent. We had five heists in this one with Crystal Mother, Red Tear, Black Star, Golden Eye and Dark Knight. None of the stories disappointed. Magic Kaito always had the potential for more cat-and-mouse games with other characters, but so far we had mostly comedic stories. Hakuba's introduction was probably the closest to a serious showdown in the first three volumes. Now, in volume 4, the entire theme of the volume was for Kaito to have some kind of battle with whoever was the main antagonist of the story. Also one of the things I've noticed is that in the first three volumes there's not been as many real heists where Kid goes to steal stuff. This volume basically had nothing but stealing however, so it's a great addition to the series considering its theme of thieves stealing stuff. Also, the volumes in this story were more serious than what we got in the first three volumes as well as there's more focus on Kaito doing things that can be considered criminal and questionable.
Volume 5 - Released July 18, 2017
This is the current final volume of Kaito Kid's own stories, and I'm not sure if we'll ever get a sixth one. Regardless, the first two volumes were quite prototypical with different ideas that didn't come together as well as they should've. The 3rd volume was closer to the beginning of Detective Conan type of writing and the fourth volume was basically nothing but great stories featuring antagonists for Kaito to take up on during heists.
Phantom Lady (ファントム・レディー, Fantomu Redī) is the twenty-sixth heist, and the first story in the fifth and as of now latest volume of Magic Kaito. This story reveals the lineage of the legendary Phantom Thief always clad in white.
Kid finished up stealing a jewel around a place crowded with Kid fans, but that jewel he easily manages to snatch contains a weird note saying "Hey, Kaito Kid. Next time it's my turn. On saturday night, as the moon hesitates. At the unsullied stake-head I shal seal up your jewel and return what I had borrowed 18 years ago." Kaito thinks nothing of the note and after checking up the gem through the moonlight (he checks whether or not the gem contains a smaller gem known as Pandora), a mysterious man is seen taking photograps of Kaito (dressed up as Aoko) returning the gem to inspector Nakamori by mail...
The person who took the photos had sent them to a weird organization led by President Goudzu. Goudzu believes that Aoko and Kid have a much closer relationship than what anyone knows as Kid has disguised as Aoko for five times already. Goudzu and rest of the group theorize that there must be a very special reason why Kid always sends the stolen goods to inspector Nakamori to return them, instead of anyone else; they think Nakamori himself is the person pulling the strings of Kaito Kid. They believe Aoko has taken up the mantle of Kid from her father. Apparently Goudzu had gotten an injury from Kaito eighteen years prior and he wants to get some kind of revenge for that.
At school Aoko tells Kaito that she'd somehow unknowingly won two tickets for a reserved dinner at Touto tower on the special view platform. The platform is held at the highest level of the tower and there's also an exhibition of a very rich recently deceased person's collection, including a large ruby. Kaito decides to offer to become Aoko's partner on that dinner, but Akako the scarlet witch comes and tells him that she was the first to ask Aoko to let her join. However as the tickets are kind of mysterious since Aoko never joined any competition, Kaito deciphers that they might've been a letter addressed to Kid instead and he decides to disguise as Aoko's father so that he'll get to Touto tower.
This story introduces us to the lady thief known as Phantom Lady. As the organization here wants revenge on Touto tower, we get a flashback to 18 years ago in Paris, at Eiffel tower from which the original Kid escaped from 18 years ago where the Phantom Lady attempted to steal pricy vehicles. There, the lady meets up for the first time with Kuroba Touichi who shows off some pretty interesting skills. We also learn that the white Kaito Kid outfit was created for a magic show Touichi was planning to pull off 18 years ago. The outfit is a shout-out to the great thief Arsene Lupin.
An unexpected origin story about Kaito's parents and the original Kaito Kid's motivations. This time around the same guy who tried to kill the Phantom Lady is going after Kid, but has made a massive miscalculation and assumes that inspector Nakamori is the OG Kid while Aoko is the new one... Kind of funny, I guess. Anyway, the trap this antagonist set up for Kid this time again also kind of retells history and we get to see how Kaito compares to his father. The ending ties into a Detective Conan's Kaito Kid case regarding a three-piece Sakamoto Ryouma item as Kaito's mother asks him to collect them to punish couple of criminals who used to work for the company Kaito caught in this story. It's interesting as Kaito's mother - Chikage - claims that she might never come back to Japan as her "friend" seems to have taken a liking to her. Who could that friend be?
Actually, there's something quite intriguing about this story when it comes to the anime version Magic Kaito 1412 where this is adapted in episodes 9 and 10, but ends mid-way in 10 and the next episode and half directly continue on with the Conan's Kid case about the Ryouma items which is a story where Kid announces that he's not coming to steal anything, but instead to return items that've been stolen by the great Phantom Lady many years ago. And this time we see the case from Kaito's perspective while in DC this case is told from Conan's perspective. The way the anime and manga differ is pretty original as it ties Magic Kaito directly to the world of Detective Conan.
Midnight Crow (真夜中の烏, Mayonaka no Karasu (Middonaito Kurō)) is the twenty-seventh tale and the first three-parter (three chapter long) story in Magic Kaito, as the stories so far have only consisted of either one (~30 pages) or two (~18 pages) chapters. This is basically the longest Magic Kaito story, but the heist / story that comes after this one is just as long.
Kaito, as Kid, uses sleeping gas to take out the guards protecting the world's largest black diamonds, the Midnight Crow. Hakuba'd taken a leave of absence to go overseas and inspector Nakamori bedridden with a common cold, no one seems to be able to stand in his way. In the room with the diamond Kid tries lock-picking his way through, but his fingers don't work as planned because the room is ice-cold. Both Hakuba and the inspector appear out of nowhere to surround and attempt to catch Kid. It seems that they've got advise from a mysterious man on how to catch the phantom thief. Kid manages to trick his way out by using double-disguising methods.
With Hakuba watching over the Midnight Crow and the inspector having an unknown ally over his side, Kaito decides to back down - it ends as a complete defeat for Kaito Kid that night. I like how in the manga Hakuba's personality comes across well with him shouting at an officer he doesn't know is Kid.
At Jii-chan's billiard bar, we learn from Aoko that an older man named Harry Nezu, self-proclaimed 'magic trick buster' with the nickname 'Hedgehog' was the cause for Kid's failure this time around. Harry's coming to Japan basically this very day and he'll be meeting with inspector Nakamori while he's visiting. For the visit, Kaito decides to give the inspector a gift through Aoko.
Harry is presented as quite an interesting character who doesn't really care to play with "kids" but still decides to help Nakamori a bit - for his own reasons. This time the temperature in the room where Midnight Crow is gets lowered to -10 degrees (celsius is used in Japan). But Harry tells Nakamori that his prey isn't the magician clad in white, but the one in black. The police had gotten another advance notice from another phantom thief, saying:
"Tonight at midnight, please forgive my rudeness when I take my black jewel.
-Corbeau the Phantom Thief". Corbeau references 'Crow' in France, which is, according to Hakuba, the reason why Corbeau calls the Midnight Crow 'his'. Harry'd gotten the same message as well which was the reason he came back to his "father's homeland".
Corbeau is a phantom thief most active in Las Vegas in the recent times. His M.O. includes scattering crow feathers at the scene of the crime and he has the ability of using multiple different voices. But the surprising thing about Corbeau is that he looks identical to Kid, except in black. Kaito gets face to face with Corbeau on the top of a roof. Corbeau questions Kaito's clothing and wonders if Kid is a fan of his and an imitator or a cosplayer. I actually got a chuckle out of Corbeau thinking Kid's name was "Child the Robber". Anyway, Kaito of course tells that Corbeau's copying him, but Corbeau explains that he was simply gone from the scenes due to an "illness", waiting for a time to make a comeback and to get revenge for his senior disciple's, Kuroba Touichi's, fate. The black clothes Corbeau wears are actually Touichi's original ones. He analyzes Kid's plan (using warming pads all over his body not to get cold in the freezing room) and deems it childish and useless. Because of that Corbeau offers Kid to make a wager; Corbeau claims that he'll steal Midnight Crow from darkness without ever touching it. Kaito's mission is to figure out how the jewel was stolen, and if he's unable to do that, well, it's time for Kid to retire as a phantom thief for good. And if Kid figures out the trick, Corbeau'll retire instead.
"There is no need for two ghosts of Kuroba Touichi".
This story also includes the mysterious main villain organization and its key member Snake going after the jewel to try to find Pandora. With Kid merely "watching from the shadows" Hakuba also hypothizes that he's interested in seeing Corbeau.
The Midnight Crow is protected by a mysterious pedestial. The diamond is protected by an ultra-dense glass and the pedestial itself has sharp blades spring out of it at high speeds. It's lethal. But there's also something weird about the pedestial as it burned inspector Nakamura's buttocks, yet for touch it doesn't feel hot...
In this heist, inspector Nakamori is going to be used as a key to protect the gem personally for the second time in this series. The inspector's mission is to hold onto the handles of the glass case and sit on top of it while wearing a gas mask. Now---how will Corbeau pull it off?
With feathers falling through a ventilator and the thief making his first move, the jewel vanishes from the case, with a coin in its place with the word 'Corbeau' printed on it. On the bottom of the coin there are also other words saying "next time I'll be back to take the real thing." as Harry had swapped the real gem before the heist. Now it's Kid's mission to figure out how the jewel was stolen without touching it. Mysteriously enough, Kaito's mother had also suddenly come back from overseas without mentioning about it, and we get some background information about Corbeau and the trick buster Harry Nezu through her.
Gosho Aoyama wrote this story for the finale of Magic Kaito 1412 and it does have some of those story beats to it, for example Hakuba and Akako also appearing, and Chikage - Kaito's mother - asking Kaito to move to Las Vegas as a magician. In the anime this was extended to even greater lengths with Kaito thinking about perhaps letting go of going after Pandora for his father's sake and continue his life for himself. The anime version (EP23-24) was somehow perfectly paced and had tension and neat action to it. I really liked this one. I can see these differences between these volumes now more clearly. One last heist to go over now...
Sun Halo (日輪の後光(サン・ヘイロー), Nichirin no Gokō (San Heirō)) is the twenty-eighth and final story of Magic Kaito's 5th volume, and also potentially the last story we'll ever get for this series in a volume format unless Aoyama somehow pulls through 10 chapters more for this series as there are no more chapters after the fifth volume. It's kind of weird as I recently re-read this story and doing so was the catalyst for me to review all of Magic Kaito manga and rewatch bunch of the episodes.
This time around Kaito Kid has sent a Kid Card announcing a heist of a yellow diamond named the Sun Halo, which is positioned on a statues of the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon, at Tohto Buddha Exhibition. The jewel shines with bright and divine aura when light hits it, so could it possibly be the container for Pandora?
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's Kid forces led by inspector Nakamori have been focusing on the aerial defense forces lately as well, since Kid loves to fly around, so there are new challenges to face...
Kaito Kuroba, the real identity of the phantom thief clad in white, rides a bike to school for the first time basically ever from what we've seen in Magic Kaito, but apparently he's used it to escape in the shadows. The teenage detective Hakuba and scarlet witch Akako also arrive to take notes of Kaito's motorcycle and throw a tarot card with a prophecy at Kaito, and his fortune is told by the Tower Card, which basically signifies only bad things. Of course the legendary Kaitou Kid won't care about silly fortunes either so it's time for the heist.
At the buddha exhibition Kaito notices that the buddha and its diamond that have supposedly been resting for millenias in Sandei Shrine's Nagekomido are nothing more than fakes. And poorly crafted ones at that. Kaito decides to make a sudden appearance as Kid hours before the time of the heist to tell the nuns of the temple to stop with the charade of pretending the statue and its gem are real, but all of a sudden a large trapdoor opens and the glass box with the statue, Kid, and Aoko all fall into the pitfall. Kaito could have just escaped with his card-rope combination shot through his card-gun, but he decides to go and grab Aoko instead as she faints on her way down... straight towards the large broken glass of the box that fell into the pit. Afterwards, Kid and Aoko get moved away in a truck with a mysterious room consisting of hint cards telling Kid to solve puzzles if he wants to make it out alive. Problem here is that Kaito's health is getting worse from the blood loss and pain as he got pierced through stomach with the sharp glass as he fell. This pain thing helps Aoko to solve one problem and be the key element in helping the two of them move forward in this weird structure they've been locked in. I also quite liked the way how Hakuba used modern ways to figure out where the truck might be going, using the enemy's weapon against them.
Chapter 35 (Sun Halo Part 2) in particular I felt is the funniest Magic Kaito chapter that Gosho's created. The way how Hakuba clearly shows affection by blushing slightly when Akako calls him is a neat detail, but when they talk and Akako gives hints towards Kaito's whereabouts with her magic, I found it hilarious how Hakuba asks the source of Akako's information, and how she says that it all came from Lucifer (whom she's summoned about three times in this series so far). We get a good look at Lucifer the Devil in this chapter as well and I really got a good laugh at Akako dealing with him in this story. I think seeing Lucifer completely helps make it funnier (as before this he's been sort of a shadow with no proper form).
Lately I've been reading the Tantei Gakuen Q / Detective Academy Q manga series and one of the more enjoyable stories in that series so far has been a case where two of the main characters got trappen under their school in volumes 6-7. While that story could be called a "case", it's actually not as it's simply the main characters figuring out that there's a hidden door, a jail cell room, and them getting locked in it and getting out of it with hard work and a lot of luck. But what that story does, is set up excellent tense atmosphere for the overarching story about the jail cell's existence and who could have built that hidden mechanism to the cell in the first place and for what reason. This Sun Halo heist - the last heist of Magic Kaito manga - also has that similar feel to it, as Kaito and Aoko are locked up in a weird structure with traps created by a craftsman named Arizato Juuken although this one is more character-driven and has more characters doing more stuff in comparison to the TGQ story which focuses more on setting up the atmosphere for the mystery that won't be answered until much later. There are couple of Detective Conan cases with similar ideas to them and I'm thinking on reading those through as well.
This is an interesting case in that it truly shows how much Gosho has evolved as a writer: he's able to write characters in a more broad way, they do things that are harder to decipher and less linear, and they kind of turn a smaller story into something larger from multiple different angles. In that aspect this was the most impressive Magic Kaito story at least, though as a Kaito story it's not exactly the best representation of it.
This volume, volume #5, had two 3-chapter long stories that are both basically the longest stories in Magic Kaito. The stories themselves were different again, they're more broad in scale here and told very different out-there type of stories not present in previous volumes.
I'm done! - Below is the condensed review of all twenty-eight heists of the Magic Kaito manga
Volume 1 (-88) introduced us to this series. It told us quite experimental and simple stories. The stories showed us the blueprints that Aoyama would start from. While there is a lot of similarities with Aoyama's present writing style, the overall story plotting did have problems in its pacing and Aoyama wasn't used to fully pacing his stories out when he created this volume
Volume 2 (-88) was very similar to the first volume but I felt this one had better ideas. Hustler vs. Magician and Japan's Most Irresponsible Leader were sort of stand-outs in their own way, and we had two stories featuring the scarlet witch Akako.
Volume 3 (-94) was a slight step-up from both volumes 1 and 2 in multiple ways. We get introduced to Kaito's rival Hakuba Saguru, an entertaining character in his own right and all of the stories in this volume are basically professionally done, but kind of simplistic and linear. Honestly, I really liked the 'Green Dream' heist which told us a story about a theatre play with a neat message to it about how anyone is the protagonist of their own life. This story was also the first Magic Kaito story that felt like a Detective Conan story as it set up more than the heist, and the character writing for the heist-only cast was very case-only cast feeling.
Volume 4 (-07) was absolutely insane compared to what came before it. This volume is filled with cat-and-mouse games and intriguing antagonists for every story. While the previous stories have been more slice of life with occasional theft, and had other stuff for Kid to deal with in general, this volume focused entirely on Kid breaking in and stealing gems. The way how these stories were written also felt more serious than other volumes (Kid drugging up people and doing other sorts of crimes just felt more serious here), and the stories also got this extra emotional punch to them here as well.
Volume 5 (-17) had the longest stories in Magic Kaito with three chapters for two stories and one two-chapter story. In other words this volume merely had three full stories. Regardless, this is clearly very different volume in how it's plotted: Phantom Lady told us a flashback origin story of the original Kaito Kid and Kaito's parents. Midnight Crow was a deduction battle with couple of weird fellows in Henry and Kaito Courbeau. If Magic Kaito ever continues again, this is clearly a story that connects to the overarching story as we never got true answers to who is who (in a previous story Kaito's mother said that she's at Las Vegas with some dude... who is that as well?). The last story, Sun Halo, may not be the best representation of this series that is supposed to be about a thief, as it is an escape story from a death trap, but that's also something that's never been done in Magic Kaito before. The more broad storytelling also shines here with how effectively and subtly Gosho Aoyama is able to move different pieces from different angles in grander and clever ways.