And another ambiguous character. Since I assume that most of my readers don’t know Detective Conan (also known as Case Closed in the US), I guess I’ll give a fast rundown: This is an anime which is by the time I am writing this closing onto 800 episodes. No, I am not kidding. In addition, there are 19 successful movies (all theatrically released in Japan), various TV special, a kind of Spin-off series….in short, Detective Conan is huge, and I will never understand why they stopped releasing the anime in the US- or Germany for that matter.
For a more precise run-down what the series is about, you can take a peak at my list of Must-See-Sherlock-Holmes-Adaptations. For this article you only need to know this: The “big bad” in the series is a mysterious organisation, whose members all wear black and have alcoholic beverage as codenames. One of those is Chris Vineyard, or Vermouth, who is introduced in episode 177 as part of a big mystery. Vermouth used to be an actress and is therefore a master of disguise, meaning that she can pretend to be someone else easily. Her introduction was part of an intricate storyline, in which the audience could guess as whom she had disguised herself (which was so well done that I didn’t even consider the person in question). She is also a competent shot and very smart. Even Shinichi, the hero of the show, has trouble to outthink her, and has gotten fooled by her more than once. But that’s not what makes her so compelling.
Vermouth is a fascinating character because she is the only one of the men in black who knows about the investigation Shinichi is conducting. And yet she keeps the fact hidden from the black organisation. Partly because he and his girlfriend Ran once rescued her life, while she had donned the disguise of a serial killer. Interestingly, though, she doesn’t act the way she does because she feels that she owes them. It is suggested that she does it because this act gave her hope. Hope for what, that is not exactly clear, but she seems to like the idea that Shinichi might actually succeed and take the black organisation down. She sees in him the “silver bullet” who will eventually hit it straight in the heart, and yet she is ready to lean back whenever possible and just watch him doing it.
She is not a neutral party, though. It is suggested that she is not just one random henchmen, but has a direct and perhaps even personal connection to the secret boss of the organisation. This is a woman who has killed in the past and will kill again if she feels that she has to, who has destroyed lives without any visible remorse. And yet, you have always the feeling that there is more to her story. What this is – well, considering the slow pacing of the show and its ongoing popularity, there is a small chance that it might be revealed in another 20 years or so. But I am certainly ready to wait. A part of me is very satisfied to see her shredded in mystery. Or, as Vermouth would say:
Quote: “A secret makes a woman woman.”
If you enjoy a good Whodunit, than Detective Conan is the show for you. There is also quite a bit of adventure and romance thrown in the mix, but the actual heart of it are the cases. You shouldn’t go into the show expecting that the main arc gets even remotely solved anytime soon. Or ever. As successful as the show is, I don’t expect them to come any closer to a solution anytime soon.