Tengoku he no Countdown
(Countdown to Heaven)
Copyright: 2001, Aoyama Goshou, Shogakukan, Yomiuro Television, Universal Music Shogakukan Production, Toei, TMS
Length: 100 mins
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Advised
Format: Japanese Language (VHS, DVD)
There's a new twin-tower building opening soon in Nishitamashi City. With the taller of the two towers clocking in at 75 floors, the towers truly seem to reach the heavens when seen from below. Spotting the towers on the way to an an overnight camp trip, Conan and gang decide to stop by the towers on the way home.
At the building, Conan's group meet Ran, Sonoko and Mouri Kogorou by chance. It seems that Tokiwa Group's president, Tokiwa Mio, and Kogorou knew one another in university and so she'd invited Kogorou to a tour of the building before it opened. Crashing the tour, the group of campers likewise get to see the building and the wonderful view from the top floor. While on the 75th floor, Conan overhears a couple of workers discussing an unusual car that was seen parked in front of the building. It seems that a black Porsche 356A was in front of the towers! Could it be Gin's car? And why would the "kurozukume" be interested in the buildings?
However, later that night, City Councillor - Ooki Iwamatsu, one of the people involved in the twin-tower project is killed; stabbed to death while staying in one of the B Tower's hotel suites. Who could have murdered Ooki? Could it be that the mafia was involved in his murder?
However, Haibara Ai's behaviour has been strange as of late. While camping, Genta noticed her making a phone call late at night. Who could she have been calling and why?
Will Conan be able to figure out why the kurozukume have been hanging around the twin towers? And will he be able to figure out who has been murdering the people involved in the twin tower project?
The fifth movie for Detective Conan, Countdown to Heaven is a very fast paced, action packed movie. Bringing in various aspects of the story from the TV series as well as the first movie, this movie almost requires that viewers be familiar with the story of Detective Conan in order to fully understand and enjoy the movie. Even for Conan fans, the story moves very quickly and will take work to keep pace with the action. From elements of the kurozukume mafia group, to Haibara Ai's actions, to the twin tower building murders, things develop extremely quickly. There is also some interesting character development as we watch Mitsuhiko and Ayumi work through personal uncertainties about growing up. And while this story aspect may seem a bit early for first graders, the scenes are rather endearing for older viewers.
The direction for the movie is overall very interesting and well done keeping viewers attention firmly focussed on the movie. However, the sheer amount of story that being revealed in so short a period of time, makes for occasionally confusing development. Making good use of humour, variation in pacing and story development, it makes for an interesting view overall. A shame that a little more time couldn't be taken to allow viewers to keep pace more readily.
As this is the fifth movie and the sixth year Conan has been continuing, the voice acting by the seiyuu for the characters from the TV show is, not surprisingly, very well done and solidly in character. Likewise, the new characters introduced for the movie are also all very well in character. A fun watch and listen overall. Interestingly, the opening narration by "Kudou Shinichi" (Yamaguchi Kappei) is somewhat deeper throated than usual and may catch fans' attention simply because it's not completely identifiable as being "Kudou Shinichi's".
Also noteworthy here is the soundtrack. Rather than simply recycling the various themes from the TV series again, a number of melodies and variations have been introduced in this movie including a highly energetic theme for Nishitamashi City which is first heard as the movie opens. Very catchy and bouncy, viewers can't help but get caught up in the energy of the piece. Likewise, the main theme has been modified for this movie. While most TV episodes and movies make use of a vocal version of Conan's theme, that theme is not present in this movie. It's absence makes for an interesting change. A number of tracks in the soundtrack take advantage of strings, trumpets, flute and other instruments rather than synthesized tracks giving it that much more depth and feel. While I occasionally wish for a full orchestral version of the main theme (I like full orchestras, what can I say?), the small group still makes for a fun listen.
One definite annoyance however, which is often encountered in theatrical works is the mixing levels of music, sound effects and dialogue. This is first encountered as the main theme runs as viewers are virtually blasted out of their seats. Beware your volume settings throughout this movie. Chances are, most viewers will scramble for the volume control at certain points throughout the movie.
The animation is theatrical quality with good detail in the background as well as a smooth scroll rate. Some very nice scenes as well as good attention to detail makes this a nice watch. Perhaps one thing that may catch viewer's attention however, is the surprisingly bright and dark pink colour used for a number of characters' mouths. A bit stark, they do stand out. The opening credits sequence (post prologue) while clearly CG animation is very nicely executed and makes for an intriguing opening sequence separate from the rest of the feature.
For Conan fans, this will make for another fun watch although it will also become more enjoyable with increased viewing. Because of the fast paced action and unveiling of information, the first viewing will prove to be difficult to keep track of everything and will thus detract from the experience. Likewise, because of the elements that are introduced in the story from the TV series as well as the first movie, this movie would make a difficult introduction for the uninitiated to the series.
- JYN, 2002.02.28
café rating (original japanese):
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