When you’re looking to get into a new, long-running anime series, it can be a challenge knowing where to start; particularly if that series is Detective Conan (also known as Case Closed), and is currently at over 1,000 episodes. So, we’ve compiled a list of the essential episodes from the first two seasons for those wary of sinking literally weeks into a show. All of these episodes are currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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Essential Detective Conan Episodes
Episode 1-3 – An Essential Start to Detective Conan
The first three episodes (“Roller Coaster Murder Case,” “President’s Daughter Kidnapping Case,” and “An Idol’s Locked Room Murder Case/Beware of Idols”) are a no-brainer. They introduce all the characters, Conan’s gadgets, and set the emotional tone for the show. Yeah, sure, the usual short introduction sets things up, but it doesn’t have quite the same impact as actually getting to meet and see these characters for the first time and having a real introduction to their world. Meeting Conan/Shinichi, Ran, Kogoro, Agasa, and the Detective Boys is fun, despite the rather downer backdrop of the show’s initial premise.
Episode 6 – Valentine Murder Case
The first appearance of the tranquilizer dart wristwatch! A staple of the series and essential for understanding how a lot of the cases get wrapped up by a grade-schooler. Plus, it’s a solidly written mystery and some really cute scenes between Conan and Ran during this Valentine’s themed episode, for those who are into that.
Episode 11 – Moonlight Sonata Murder Case
“Moonlight Sonata” was the first episode of the series that really proved what it was capable of, and the first proper two-part mystery. The writing is excellent, and it blends drama, mystery, and tragedy skillfully, a blend that better develops over the course of the series. Instead of being just a plain old whodunit, “Moonlight Sonata” really tugs on the viewer’s heartstrings and shows why we should care about these cases.
It’s such an iconic case that it was remade for the anime’s 1000th episode.
Episode 13 – The Strange Person Finding Murder Case
Let’s watch Ran kick in a car window! Just kidding, that’s not the entire reason I like this episode so much, just most of it. She also jumps out of a second-story window! The case is interesting with some great twists and turns to the plot, and some really excellent and fun moments for Ran.
Episode 18 – The June Bride Murder Case
This is a bittersweet episode with a poignantly personal story for Ran and Shinichi, as well as Sonoko. Unfortunately for her, it’s also the first time that Conan has to use Sonoko as a substitute detective because Kogoro isn’t around, and the hilarious results lighten the rest of the episode’s tone. Still, it’s interesting to see a peek into Ran and Shinichi’s school life backstory, and the mystery is also well written.
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Episode 32 – Coffee Shop Murder Case
This episode happens to be one of my favorites, and one that bucks that usual formula the series has established up until now. Instead of Ran and Kogoro or even Suzuki being around to investigate with Conan, he’s completely on his own, except for that strangely perceptive lady in the coffee shop. It’s an interesting mystery to boot and also includes the first appearance of one of the major recurring characters, though I won’t spoil who.
Episode 34/35 – Mountain Villa Bandaged Man Murder Case
When Conan and Ran get invited to Sonoko’s mountain villa for a weekend getaway, a murder obviously follows. This is one of the most graphic murders so far, involving severed limbs and just a generally creepy atmosphere, playing heavily on the “old abandoned mansion in the middle of nowhere” trope that occurs so often in fiction. Conan also takes over Sonoko to do the reveal again, which is quite amusing, but the bittersweet tone that it ends on is the real icing on the cake.
Episode 39/40 – Wealthy Daughter Murder Case
From one creepy abandoned mansion to another, I’m beginning to think that someone has a thing for them. Kogoro, Ran, and Conan end up accidentally invited to a party and witnesses to a murder, as they so often do by accident. It’s creepy, there’s false leads, and a really bizarre solution. There’s also a cast of almost universally terrible people as characters, so you don’t even have to feel bad when one of them dies, though it does up the drama considerably.
Episode 43 – Conan Edogawa Kidnapping Case
While it’s hard to discuss why this episode is important in the scheme of the whole show, without spoiling it, we can still say that Conan is kidnapped! Like episode 32, it bucks the traditional format and shows Conan on his own without any backup. As the episode title implies, he is the one who is kidnapped and in a disadvantageous situation for a change, which raises the stakes and adds a healthy dose of unpredictability. Additionally, there are major recurring characters who make their debut here too.
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Episode 48/49 – Diplomat Murder Case
Heiji Hattori makes his debut! My favorite character, he’s a rival high school detective for Shinichi Kudo, hailing from Osaka. He takes his status as rival quite seriously and is one of the few people able to keep up with Conan/Shinichi, though the episode throws a few punches at him nonetheless. Additionally, we finally get to see some of the truly strange side effects of the pill that the Black Organization had Conan take, and it’s a clever solution to the mystery to boot.
Episode 50 – Library Murder Case
The Detective Boys are on the case! In this particularly sinister episode, the Detective Boys go to the library to finish a homework assignment and stay to look for a corpse. Other than making you question why these kids hang out with Conan when he brings such fear and terror into their lives, it shows a good deal of character ingenuity and has some really great suspenseful moments sprinkled throughout.
Episode 57/58 – Holmes Freak Murder Case
The return of Heiji Hattori! His presence would be enough to warrant the episode’s place on this list for my own personal opinion, but there are a few other things that this two-parter has going for it. First of all, given the “Conan” namesake, it’s fun to see the first of many stories that reference or revolve around Holmes and his effect on the world. Secondly, the episode throws a major curveball to Conan that hasn’t been previously seen in the series, though I can’t explain without spoilers. However, it shakes up the basic formula and opens the door for some differently structured episodes going forward, which also affects the accompanying movie series.
Episode 76 – Conan vs. Kaito Kid
While we didn’t want to venture too deep into season three, this episode is essential because it features the debut of major recurring antagonist Kaito Kid, the Phantom Thief. Originally appearing in his own manga series before Detective Conan premiered, he just moseyed on over and made the jump to antagonizing Conan, Heiji, and the rest of the cast, on occasion. Kaito Kid functions as a Catwoman-esque character, changing his allegiances and using an improbable assortment of disguises and illusions as he does so, which makes all of his appearances, including this one, well worth watching.
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