A bombing case at Nichiuri TV in autumn. The Satsuki Cup, which crowns the winner of Japan's Hyakunin Isshu, is currently being filmed inside the facility. The incident results in a big commotion and, while the building is burning to ashes, the only people left inside are Heiji and Kazuha. They get rescued just in time by Conan, who rushes to the scene. Both the identity and purposes of the bomber are unknown.
While confusion takes over due to the explosion, Conan meets a mysterious beautiful girl who claims she is "Heiji's fiancée". Her name is Momiji Ooka and she is the Kyoto High School champion of the Karuta game. As fate would have it, Kazuha is going to face Momiji in the Hyakunin Isshu, so she begins to train with the help of Heiji's mother, Shizuka, who is a skilled Karuta player.
At the same time, in a Japanese house in Arashiyama, Kyoto's outskirts, the reigning Satsuki Cup champion is murdered. Pictures of the crime scene reveal Momji's presence. Additionally, several Karuta cards were spread around the victim.
Conan and Heiji, along with the Osaka and Kyoto police departments, begin their investigation on the Satsuki Cup and the related murder case. As the inquiry goes on, they come across a secret connected with the Hyakunin Isshu.
Every year, my friend and I go to our local cinema to watch the latest instalment of the Detective Conan franchise. We’ve been doing this since 2014, going through the movies whether good or bad.
I entered the cinema with fingers crossed and hoped for the best. After the disaster that was the 20th movie I was cautiously optimistic about this one, and while a small part of me was reluctant to watch it, the squealing fan-girl within me pushed me to give it a chance.
And so fast forward several days later – I can still recall the utter relief that rushed through me
when I finished watching The Crimson Love Letter. I left the cinema with an excited smile on my face, mind whirling with thoughts and opinions to prepare for this review. It’s a little depressing to be happy just because the movie didn’t suck, but eh. We’ll just have to wait and see if the movie 22 turns out to be good, so that the spike of dread at each new Detective Conan movie will finally cease.
The case this time is simple and straightforward, no closed room murder or intricate murder mystery for the viewer to unravel. I think it’s a good thing because instead of getting a complicated mess of a story what we got instead was a simple and solid mystery. The whodunit didn’t become clear to me until they were revealed but more astute watchers might guess who it might be if the manage to piece together the evidence quicker than I could.
The Crimson Love Letter not only gives us a good mystery, it also provides a generous dollop of competitive Karuta – something some anime fans might be familiar with if they watch or read Chihayafuru. Basically, it’s a sport wherein players have to ‘steal’ cards from their opponent’s territory, a one-on-one battle to see who gets the card first. It requires a fast-reflexes and an intimate knowledge of the poems written on the cards, and the first player to get rid of all their cards, win.
A deep understanding of Karuta isn’t necessary but you would enjoy the Karuta battles more if you did, I suppose. The movie does a good job of tying it in with the main plot and character motivations, so I was slightly impressed by that. The inclusion of Heji and Kazuha also served to spice up the regular mystery formula due to the fact Heji’s childhood friend has a role to play in the story as well. Overall, I think the plot was well-paced and kept my interest for the entire runtime.
Hattori Heji and Tomoya Kazuha stage an epic return in this movie. I really missed them as it’s been quite a while since they appeared in both the manga and the anime, and as I watched Conan and Hattori bicker like old pals I felt indescribably happy at such a familiar scene.
In contrast to Conan’s rational and sometimes cold personality, Hattori’s hot headedness provides a nice change. He spices up boring exposition scenes and makes the regular doom and gloom of searching for the murderer more enjoyable, and his ‘will they or will they not’ relationship with Kazuha makes The Crimson Love Letter more energetic and humorous. There were many scenes throughout the movie where the chemistry between the two childhood friends were downright intense – you can literally see their affection for each other through every action and remark.
This causes the appearance of the movie’s new character, Ooka Momiji, to have a bigger effect, one of the side plots being that she is ‘engaged’ to Heji due to a childhood promise. This was another aspect of The Crimson Letter that I really liked as it gave the movie a lot more personality, rather than going through the usual tired detective mystery and eventual capture of the suspect.
In many ways, the characters here felt more genuine than those in the last few movies.
Editing was on point for this movie, and the creative use of panels from the manga to convey flashbacks was a very nice touch, and honestly, damn impressive. They really stepped up the game for this movie. The animation was consistent with several standout moments, like one scene where Kazuha and Momiji admire their surroundings from a boat. Overall, I have nothing but praise for the animation.
The Crimson Love Letter may not be a return to form, but it does a fine job of reminding fans of why they're in love with Detective Conan. A well written mystery with entertaining characters and impressive animation, you can’t go wrong with this one. Take it from someone who hated the last movie, The Darkest Nightmare. This movie is definitely worth your time.
I'm very surprised this movie is getting so much love. I found it to be one of the worst DC movies in a while. The mystery was boring, regardless of whether you knew Karuta. You could see a lot of the plot twists coming from a mile away. It felt like a mystery they could have told in the anime with 2 episodes. The heavy focus on Heiji and Kazuha was completely unnecessary. Any DC fan knows that their romance was never going to develop in any meaningful way in any movie. As usual, the action scenes were also longer than they need to
be. The animation was also sub-par. It was particularly disappointing considering some of the other movies have done a much better animation job. The only other movies I can think of that were worse are The Raven Hunter, and The Last Wizard of the Century
This has to be my least favorite Detective Conan film. The film focuses far too much in the romance aspect than necessary. I understand the film is called Crimson Love Letter but I found the romance to be boring and typical. There is no point in exploring the Heiji and Kazuha yet unexpressed love story because we know they are not going to confess in this film. The subplot with Heiji and Momiji went nowhere as expected. The side characters such as Mikiko Hiramoto were not used to their full capacity. Also, there seems to be less detective work in this movie than usual. Conan
uses his advanced technology like his criminal tracking glasses to do the easy lifting for him. The turbo engine skateboard ruins the usual suspense by having Conan use force to get out of situations rather than using his head to come up with something clever. This seems like a mediocre product put out for the sake of putting a new Detective Conan movie out every year.
I came to this movie hoping to like it. When I first saw this movie, I really didn't understand it very well and ended up not enjoying it as much. But after re-watching Zero the Enforcer and loving it, I thought that maybe this time I'll love this film as well. But alas, that day will have to wait as Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter struggles to keep its audience engaged and ends up becoming a very hard to follow film.
As one will know from the summary alone, the film centers on Kazuha competing for Heiji's love in a game of Karuta, an ancient
Japanese sport where players must swipe a card that is called out by a speaker. From what I can gather, it's like Bingo, except more aggressive and each card has its own poem associated with it. Since I knew this much, the Karuta games never bothered me that much this time around.
What does bother me is that almost all of the movie-original characters are very forgettable. With the exception of Momiji, the girl Kazuha is competing against, I couldn't recall any of the other characters involved in this movie. This is a real shame as this is supposed to be a mystery film and remembering who the suspects are and what they did is crucial for the audience to become involved in it. Easily the weakest link in this film.
That said, it's not a terrible movie. The art is fantastic and is still one of the best looking movies in the series. The scenes with main cast interacting with each other is still as entertaining as it is in the series. The fact that this is the movie where we are introduced to Momiji for the first time in the series is enough for it to be worth remembered for.
Overall, this isn't a bad movie. It's just not one that I can recommend. Not because I hate it, but because it's too difficult to follow. As such, newcomers are better off watching another(better) movie over this one. But if you already are a fan, just expect to have a trickier time following this one.