Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street is the sixth film released for the Case Closed anime franchise. The film, which was directed by Kanestsugu Kodama, was released to Japanese theaters on April 20, 2002. FUNimation Entertainment, which holds the North American distribution rights for the film, released it on DVD on February 16, 2010.
The film opens by focusing on a child prodigy named Hiroki Sawada, who is living in America under the guardianship of Thomas Schindler; Schindler is the owner of a software giant. By the age of 10, Hiroki had graduated from MIT and developed DNA Tracker software. Unfortunately, Hiroki has been unable to have a normal childhood, and is kept in a heavily guarded room.
Hiroki has been working on an artificial intelligence called Noah’s Ark. As he finishes it, he sends it through a phone line and deletes it from his computer. After doing this, Hiroki leaps off the building and commits suicide.
Two years later, Schindler is holding a demonstration of his new virtual reality game called Cocoon at Beika City Hall. Conan, the Junior Detective League, Richard/Kogoro, and Rachel/Ran have been invited to the demonstration by Serena/Sonoko. Unfortunately, in order to try Cocoon, kids have to have a special badge, and the badges were only awarded to children of the wealthy and children whose parents have prestigious jobs.
Jimmy/Shinichi’s father, along with Dr. Agasa, also arrive at the party; it turns out they both worked on Cocoon. As a gift, Dr. Agasa gives Conan a badge for the game. The other members of the Junior Detective League are able to get badges by trading Premium Golden Yaiba cards for them. Serena/Sonoka gives her badge to Rachel/Ran, so she can keep an eye on Conan.
Before the demonstration takes place, one of the software developers associated with Cocoon is murdered. After the murder, Noah’s Ark suddenly activates itself and takes over the demonstration. Noah’s Ark has changed the programming for the game; if all 50 kids don’t complete the game, then they will all die. However, if at least one kid can complete the game, then everyone will live. Conan, the Junior Detective League, Rachel/Ran, and some of the rich kids find themselves exploring 19th century London during the time of the Jack the Ripper case. Conan has to find a way to make it through the game while trying to solve the murder that took place in the real world.
This plot definitely needed to be in a Case Closed film, because it wouldn’t have had the same impact if it had been broken up into several episodes in the anime series. Since I first saw this in 2013, I have to admit that when I saw the concept of the kids being trapped in the virtual world and having to win in order to survive, the first thing that popped into my head was Sword Art Online. I had to remind myself that this film came out about 10 years before the Sword Art Online anime series was released.
One of the things I really liked about this film was getting to see Jimmy/Shinichi’s father, Booker Kudo, be a major character in the story. I also liked seeing Conan and the others in 19th century London and tracking down 221B Baker Street. You know that even with the danger that was present, that Conan would have felt right at home.
Overall, I thought that The Phantom of Baker Street was a decent film. While I may not have liked it as much as Captured in Her Eyes, I thought it was stronger than The Time Bombed Skyscraper.
When it comes to the DVD release, the only “extra” included were trailers for other properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time the company released The Phantom of Baker Street.
If you’re a fan of Case Closed, you should make sure to add The Phantom of Baker Street to your home video collection.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street that my husband purchased for me as a gift.