‘Detective Conan: The Culprit Hanzawa’ Review: A Hilarious Spin on the Serial Killer Trope
Detective Conan is undoubtedly one of the most important and successful manga franchises to come out of Japan. The manga has been running since 1994 and has developed into a vast media franchise with all kinds of merchandise, movies, TV shows, and video games. The long-running series has also introduced so many characters and stories that some of them have found great acceptance by the audience, and they have become their own series. The Culprit Hanzawa is one of those spin-offs, and an anime adaptation is now available on Netflix.
Detective Conan: The Culprit Hanzawa is an anime series based on the manga and the characters created by Gosho Aoyama. The manga on which the anime is based has been running since 2017, making it one of the most recent spin-offs from the main Detective Conan series. The story follows Hanzawa, a shadowy figure without features other than his eyes and mouth. His shadowy nature is meant to represent the mystery culprits that live in the infamous Beika Town, always waiting to commit a crime.
So, like in many other shows that have been released recently, we are following the life of this potential serial killer. However, Aoyama manages to do something that many would think couldn’t be done with such a premise. He makes it hilarious. Hanzawa’s dream of becoming a killer is approached similarly to any other dream of a manga protagonist. Naruto wants to be the Hokage, Luffy wants to be King of the Pirates, Goku wants to be the strongest, and Hanzawa wants to be a killer.
It might sound very grim, making fun of a person like Hanzawa who wants to kill others. But Aoyama’s approach to the story and the character just works because there is a sense of ingenuity, naïveté, and sweetness that accompany each one of the short stories. So, Hanzawa is never presented as someone who needs to be stopped but as someone who needs to be shown the wrong of his ways. His dream of killing is always stopped, but others indirectly or indirectly because of his very mundane life and his insecurities, all of which are very relatable.
Hanzawa is presented each episode with a series of situations that just show the absurdity of the town he lives in and also the absurdity of his own attitude. He has no reason to want to be a criminal; he just thinks it is cool. But his life seems to be very typical, and the people around him treat him relatively well. However, his intentions to become a criminal always remain, and the fact that he sometimes forgets he needs to be the story’s villain is pretty funny. This really makes Hanzawa one of the most original manga protagonists ever written.
Each episode runs for about six or seven minutes without credits, making this watch very fast. You can watch the entirety of the first season, which contains only 12 episodes, in under two hours. Detective Conan: The Culprit Hanzawa thus becomes the perfect thing to watch if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to watch something that can make you laugh. The opening and closing songs are pretty catchy, and the animation accompanying them fits very well. The soundtrack is pretty good and elevates most scenes, as it should.
The series might focus on Hanzawa, but the supporting characters are just as equally funny. The presence of these characters is felt, but the story never really goes very much into them as people. It doesn’t have to be because they are only there to support Hanzawa on his journey. Nevertheless, the cast is colorful and makes for funny interactions. Beika Town is truly a den for criminals, and the inhabitants are so used to having crime being part of their lives that it becomes pretty funny seeing their reactions to some very gruesome situations.
Hanzawa also might be the protagonist, but the series makes use of several characters from the main Detective Conan series. Basically, every single episode has at least a cameo or reference to the main storyline. Conan appears more than once, and it feels great to have another perspective on the character outside of himself and his circle of friends. Conan himself seems to believe that Hanzawa could be a potentially dangerous criminal, so that is a good reminder that Hanzawa has that potential, even when he is pretty funny.
In the end, Detective Conan: The Culprit Hanzawa is a hilarious show that every single anime fan needs to watch. It can be said that even people who don’t know anything about anime could also find this show hilarious. Also, you don’t need to know anything about Detective Conan. Knowledge about the main series will allow you to extract more from the series, especially with the cameos. Still, it is not necessary at all, and Detective Conan: The Culprit Hanzawa can stand on its own as a great comedy.