In re-watching this, I wasn’t sure if it felt familiar because I’d seen the episode seventeen years ago, or because the mystery of the episode is cliché? Not that it matters, as the main item on the agenda is establishing the core conceits of the show. Namely, the false identity of “Conan Edogawa” that Shinichi Kudo assumes while he’s trapped in a child’s body.
Firstly he manages to convince his mad scientist friend Hiroshi Agasa that he is Shinichi Kudo. The pair concoct an identity of a relative of Agasa’s and then when Ran visits, Shinichi hastily throws the names of the mystery authors Arthur Conan Doyle and Edogawa Rampo together to create his new name.
The first heart-breaking part of the episode is how sure Shinichi is of how quickly he’ll be able to cure himself of this problem. 20 years later, it comes off naively optimistic when watching today.
The second heart-breaking part, and the part that was surely intended thus, is when Ran confesses her love of Shinichi to this little boy that’s going to stay with her and her dad. That confession that he can’t act on feels as much an essential part of the series as the whole Black Organisation / APTX 4869 plot.
Then before he gets settled in with the Mori family, we (and Conan) are whisked to the case of the week. A millionaire’s daughter has been kidnapped. And it’s a simple enough case that Ran’s detective dad, Kogoro Mori can solve the first part without being drugged and used as a ventriloquist’s dummy (no gadgets yet for Conan in this episode). As indeed will the viewer.
The second part of the case is trickier, and the outcome seems to be setting things up for those aforementioned gadgets to come into play. Shinichi’s mind is still as smart as ever, but his body is too weak to deal with violent adults now. Luckily Ran is a karate expert and saves him from the true criminal, as the great Conan theme plays.
Great second episode, easy to see why the series has had the legs it has.