6/10/20

Detective Conan: Who's the Boss?

Some weeks ago, I discussed Tetsuya Ayukawa's The Red Locked Room (2020) and ended the review with the promise to post my fan theory regarding the secret identity of the leader of the Black Organization, which is the red-thread running through the main storyline of Gosho Aoyama's Case Closed – published outside of the English-speaking world as Detective Conan. Mild spoilers ahead!

I'm currently at vol. 73 and wanted to bridge the gap with vol. 74 by rereading and reviewing the landmark story, The Sunset Manor Case, from vol. 30. A story that takes place in palatial, Western-style manor house where six detectives have gathered to solve a decades old mystery and getting murdered. I'm not far enough in the series to officially know that the elusive boss made an appearance, of sorts, in that story, but bits and pieces have been spoiled to me over the years. And when going through the story, it suddenly occurred to me who the boss could be. A character who shrewdly cloaked himself in someone else's feathers, but not in the way long-time readers of the series might assume.

First, I've to get those annoying, but necessary, spoilers out of the way. Continue to read at your own risk. The reader has been warned!

On December 13, 2017, Gosho Aoyama revealed that the boss is, or was, the multi-millionaire who owned Sunset Manor, Renya Karasuma, who "died half a century ago under mysterious circumstances" and, if he's still alive, he would be over a 140-years-old – suggesting he was the first one to rejuvenate. And assumed a new identity. Just like Jimmy/Conan in vol. 1. Very likely, he has appeared more prominently under that identity and has interacted with Conan. I think it's not unreasonable to assume that this identity had already been decided on when the series started with the idea existing some time before the first chapter was published.

So, if you take a look at the earliest characters Aoyama created, one character stands out as a possible candidate to be revealed as the rejuvenated boss. A character who did not originate in Detective Conan and would not appear in the series until that important story in vol. 30. I'm talking about the great teenage detective and arch rival of Kaito KID, Saguru Hakuba! Admittedly, I've only so-called "psychological clues" and a bit of educated guesswork to give as evidence, but they make sense to me. You can decide for yourself.

Saguru Hakuba: "Do you have any proof of that, Tom?"

Renya Karasuma is depicted in vol. 30. as an ominous silhouette with a pet crow perched on his left shoulder and, considering how he has clung to life, the passage of time is likely to great concern to him. Hakuba is hyper-conscience of the flow of time and can note time down to the millisecond, which is quite a developed sense of time for a 17-year-old. Something you would expect from a much older man whose "mind time" quickened its pace as he started to grow older. Since it's very possible Renya rejuvenated more than once, his "mind time" could have developed to the point where he's not only aware of the minutes and seconds ticking away, but the milliseconds as well – making it all the more interesting they appeared in vol. 30. A story in which clocks and outward appearances were integral to revealing the secret of Sunset Manor. You could read it as a metaphorical clue that someone more brighter and appealing was hidden behind that dark silhouette. This leads me to what is perhaps the most tangible clue.

Aoyama is very fond of parallel, or mirrored, characterization that he primarily reserves for his main and recurring characters. Jimmy/Conan and Kaitou KID are the most obvious example of this. But if you accept Hakuba and Renya are one and the same person, you can see this mirror approach to characterization all over their double identities.

I believe the most blatant clue is Renya's depiction, in vol. 30, as a dark silhouette with a black crow on his shoulder and Hakuba debuted in that same story carrying his pet hawk, Watson. Crows and hawks are natural enemies! Renya and Hakuba also mirror each other outwardly, an old, Moriarty-like master criminal and a young, Sherlock Holmes-inspired detective, but apparently, Renya tends to overthink his schemes – which makes him prone to mistakes. If my idea is correct, you can see this mistake reflected in his disguise.

Jimmy and Conan

A disguise that was put on a little too thick when he debuted, in Magic Kaitou, wearing a cape and deerstalker, which he later ditched, but could indicate Aoyama had already decided to make him the boss in Detective Conan. Renya is based on Professor Moriarty. So why not make him pose like a young detective who used to dress up like Sherlock Holmes who has the Japanese Arsène Lupin as his nemesis, which also gives him a double-layered motive to hunt down the KID. Firstly, KID is the kind of character who could become a potential threat to his organization and, one way or another, has to be eliminated. Secondly, a long-standing rivalry with a master criminal cements his position as one of the good guys. Thirdly, it would be a masterstroke to hide your main villain in another series and only have him appear in the main series as a novelty, crossover character to make some of the bigger stories even more special. It would be one of the greatest play on the least-likely-suspect!

There is, however, a weakness in my theory: Hakuba has two known relatives, a father and uncle, who can only be explained as members of the organization posing as relatives and help prop up his false identity. I know this is stretching things, but remember Renya has the resources and time to create such an elaborate identity that he could (literally) grow into over the years. And the relatives hold positions in society that can be very handy to a criminal organization. Hakuba father is the Superintendent General of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and his uncle is the owner of a research laboratory, which is another aspect that could be tied to the main storyline of Detective Conan.

When you take all of this together, there's one more thing that stands out as a potential clue. As previously mentioned, Hakuba made his first appearance, in Detective Conan, in the Sunset Manor Case and remarked that, "after 40 years," he was "finally able to step inside the scene of the tragedy" he had "long heard of only in frightened whispers" – not that he had never been inside before. And that the decades-old tragedy was hardly his "first reason for coming." In the story, his reason for being there is Kaitou KID, but if Hakuba is Renya, his remarks meant something very differently.

So what do you make of my theory? Do you think its close to the truth or just another internet fan theory that will turn out to be completely wrong? This is one post I would very much like some feedback on.

If this post happens to attract Detective Conan readers, I reviewed volumes 38-73 under the Gosho Aoyama tag. I also discussed two brilliantly original impossible crime episodes, The Case of the Seance Double Locked Room and The Cursed Mask Laughs Coldly, and compiled a list with my favorite locked room mysteries from the manga series. Occasionally, I dip into The Kindaichi Case Files or Q.E.D., but the primary focus of the blog is on classic, or neo-classical, detective stories and novels. That where I'll return to with my next post. So stay tuned.

38 comments:

  1. I've looked at a lot of Boss theories in my day, several that involve Magic Kaito crossovers, but I've never heard anyone accuse Hakuba before. The thought of Hakuba's obsession with time being a way to keep himself on track through the fog of ages is very perceptive, and despite having read and watched The Sunset Manor Case multiple times, I never once thought anything of Hakuba's dramatic monologues. You have sharp eyes.

    ...That said, I don't buy it. Your theory involves Aoyama having been planning Detective Conan to the point of knowing the boss's identity four years before the series began, but nothing suggests that. I suppose it isn't impossible, but I can't imagine a mystery writer as stringently fair as Aoyama delaying a work for almost four years just to lead people away from an already slightly hinted solution.

    But there is one purely in-universe monkey wrench thrown into this theory as well: If, as you claim, "Renya rejuvenated more than once", that would mean the Black Org can rejuvenate people consistently (I can hardly imagine someone as cautious as the boss gambling with a deadly poison every time he starts feeling his bones creak). But if the Org could pull that off consistently, wouldn't they know enough to know their APTX killing poison worked as one? And wouldn't they have told Gin after authorizing him to use it, and wouldn't he have been a bit more sure about Jimmy's condition afterwards, and wouldn't he have finished off Conan, and wouldn't the series not exist?

    No, I think it's much more likely that the Organization's rejuvenating drug is still highly unstable and experimental, and Karasuma has only taken it the one time when he had nothing left to lose, and not again afterwards. After fifty years, there's no way he could still pass as a high school detective.

    No, the boss of the Black Organization is an adult man, probably a... well, I doubt you'd appreciate someone hijacking your theory post with their own thoughts.





    ...Wait, hawks and crows are natural enemies? *Googles* Huh. Learn something new every day.

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    1. Thanks for your comment!

      The weakness with my theory is that I'm more than 20 volumes behind the Japanese releases and haven't read Magic Kaitou. So my theory is based on incomplete information and some educated guess work, but even with Ho-Ling's comment (below) in mind, I'm not willing to give up on it just yet. Hakuba fits to snugly in the role (at least to me) and need to read more before deciding either way.

      "Your theory involves Aoyama having been planning Detective Conan to the point of knowing the boss's identity four years before the series began, but nothing suggests that."

      There's a possibility that when Aoyama started plotting Detective Conan, he realized that he had inadvertently already created a character who could fulfill the role the boss (with a little tweaking). I think it would be masterstroke to hide your main antagonist in a different series that introduced him before the main series started. All of the characters from Conan already existed in this universe/timeline, but they just weren't introduced yet. It's never been done before and it would be a surprise worthy of one of the best detective stories of the modern age!

      You've said yourself that you have read many fan theories and none of them ever accused Hakuba. A character who's below, not above, suspicion.

      "But there is one purely in-universe monkey wrench thrown into this theory as well..."

      Yes, that's where the gap in my reading works against the theory and didn't want to spoil too much by delving into the experimental drug, but had another idea about it that I decided not to include. A very “out there” idea with practically nothing to support it and readers of this blog are already reluctant to read the series on account of the science fiction premise. However, it could explain Renya's agelessness and why the drug can rejuvenate people.

      "I doubt you'd appreciate someone hijacking your theory post with their own thoughts."

      Everyone's allowed to play Roger Sheringham here! This blog is one big, comfy armchair in which every armchair detective can take place and propound fantastical theories.

      "...Wait, hawks and crows are natural enemies? *Googles* Huh. Learn something new every day."

      Don't you think its curious Hakuba and Renya appeared in vol. 30 with a hawk and crow? This is why it makes sense to me.

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    2. To be clear, the stuff about the drug isn't a spoiler (I would NEVER), it's purely an educated guess based on the fact that no one at the Black Org seems to be aware of the possibility that Jimmy shrank without dying.

      That said, since I have your permission...

      There are two people we know of who took APTX-4869 and lived: Jimmy, age 17, who became a 7 year old, and Shiho, age 18, who also became a 7 year old. From this we can deduce two possibilities: either the drug shrinks you by 10 years, or it turns you directly into a 7 year old. But since the BO seems to not have a flawless understanding of de-aging medicine and is prone to killing people with it, it's unlikely the Boss took it more than once. Since the 99-year old boss would have just aged to death in ten years anyway after taking the drug 10 years ago, I argue that the drug turns you into a 7 year old. If the boss aged normally afterwards, he'd be in the exact center of a human life today.

      Assuming the boss is a recurring main character (technically there's no reason to think that, but I can't believe a writer of Gosho Aoyama's caliber would expect us to be satisfied with a forgotten one shot character as the boss) and looking at how young the average manga cast skews, that narrows the suspects down pretty thoroughly by itself. But the thing that points me towards the one true suspect is something you brought up in your own theory: parallel characterization.

      Not of Conan himself, mind you. No, a final boss must be stronger than a hero to be a suitable climax. When the hero beats them, it shows how far they have come. And over the course of the series, there is one person who has consistently been portrayed in every appearance as being the superior detective to Conan: his father.

      ...No, I'm not accusing Booker Kudo of being the boss. He knows Conan's secret, and if the boss knew that, the BO would be acting totally differently. But recalling parallel characterization, there is another person in nearly the same circumstance as Mr. Kudo, who is an equal genius, and has a powerful position similar to those of Hakuba's family.

      Yes, the person I am accusing of being the boss is Osaka Police Headquarters Superintendent Supervisor Heizo Hattori/Martin Hartwell.

      We don't know exactly how old Heizo is, but his wife Shizuka is 42, and I've certainly seen adult couples with larger age gaps than 5 years.

      Heizo fits what of the boss's psych profile we have available. Heizo's certainly ruthless enough to be a crime lord; he punched his own son in the face and used him as bait for an entire gang of armed criminals. Both think very far in advance: the boss ordered the assassination of a low level political candidate thinking he could become prime minister some day, Heizo lectured Heiji, knowing he would run off after the culprit a decent while later to get back at him, thus serving as a distraction for his own men.

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    4. (Split due to character limits)
      Heizo being the boss would explain why a policeman is so opposed to his own son becoming a detective. A criminal would hardly want a great detective to have unfetter access to his own home. At the same time, Harley avoiding his harsh, overbearing father would explain why he hasn't figured all this out already.

      All of my Heizo character analysis up to this point has come from one case. That's because Heizo has only had one focus episode in the entire series. That could itself be a clue. If Heizo had any more screen time, people might start to wonder about how someone of his detective skills hasn't seen through Conan and Anita. But if he did, and he's the boss, he'd come after them, and that's the series end game right there.

      Speaking of Anita, she's never even seen Heizo in any capacity. That Black Organization sense of hers must make writing BO centric mysteries real tough. I wonder if Aoyama ever regrets coming up with it.

      But the final nail in this coffin in my eyes is, in fact, eyes. Specifically Gin's eyes. The first time Jimmy makes eye contact with Gin, he spends several panels in the manga or about half a minute in the anime waxing poetic about how horrifying and pure evil Gin's eyes are. And indeed, Gin does have different eyes than almost any other character. They're very narrow and sharp, but the irises and pupils are small, and they're never drawn with any highlights. The idea that these specific eyes mean pure evil is reinforced by Hades Sabara from Jimmy's trip to London in the Holmes's Revelation arc, who has identical unhighlighted eyes. You've probably already guessed where I'm going with this, but there is exactly one other character in the series with eyes like this.

      https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/caseclosed/images/9/9a/Infobox_-_Heizo_Hattori.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20190316041408

      I rest my case.

      (Man, as an anime watcher, using the manga translation's names that many times in such a short time period feels REALLY weird)

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    5. Funny how we both suspect one of the Great Detectives of being the Professor Moriarty of the series, but your reasoning is interesting and you could be right. There is, however, a potential flaw if you take the eyes as a clinching clue. You see, Heizo only has one eye. I might be completely wrong here, but I believe people who lost an eye tend to squint. So that would Heizo's eye-shape a red herring.

      "But since the BO seems to not have a flawless understanding of de-aging medicine and is prone to killing people with it, it's unlikely the Boss took it more than once. Since the 99-year old boss would have just aged to death in ten years anyway after taking the drug 10 years ago, I argue that the drug turns you into a 7 year old. If the boss aged normally afterwards, he'd be in the exact center of a human life today."

      You see, my wacky, out-there idea has an answer for that problem, but it's based on nothing more than a bit of speculation that there are some unbelievable people out there who are not supposed to be part of the world. What the hell. I'm going full Art Bell now.

      So what if the boss never took drug and his apparent agelessness is not due to any experimental drug, but a genetic defect. Or, as some geneticists would argue, a lack of defect which made him a biological immortal. Someone who can die of violence (from murder to a car crash), but hardly ages and decays. And therefore next to impossible to die of natural causes. I know this out there. However, it would explain two things: why the boss build a criminal empire and it would shed a light on APTX-4869. If the boss is a biological immortal, it would explain why he eventually went underground, because being known as a human anomaly might cause some pleasantness. So the Black Organization might have started out as way to insulate and protect himself, but you know what effect isolation and loneliness can have on the human psyche. Secondly, he might want to know why he doesn't age and began researching himself, which lead to the creation of the drug. Something his underlings think is a brand new poison with the curious property that it can rejuvenate some people.

      This is why I found it so interesting that Hakuba's uncle is the owner of a research laboratory.

      Just like that, I ensured readers of my blog will ever pick up Detective Conan. Believe me, these science fiction elements are only part of the main storyline with all of the single cases being clever or brilliant fair play detective stories.

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    6. And remember, there's a character in the mermaid case who was rumored to be immortal with immortality being a plot-thread. Ho-Ling mentioned in his comment below that there was something in that case with a name in a guestbook.

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    7. I swear up, down, and side to side Heizo has opened both eyes at the same time at least once, but I can't for the life of me find the screenshot I swear I found when I first made this theory. I guess this shot of Heizo with the opposite eye open from my first pic will have to do.

      https://www.detectiveconanworld.com/wiki/images/9/9b/Heizo_Middle.JPG

      And besides, "he squints" seems like really weak justification for accusing someone of being one-eyed. When did he lose this eye? How did he lose it? Inspector Yamato of the Nagano P.D. lost one eye, but he doesn't squint in his good eye. Why's that?

      I was a Conan an before I was a fan of you, so this probably isn't much of a reassurance, but the boss being a natural immortal wouldn't break the series for me. But it does raise several questions. If the boss ages so slowly he can pass for a teenager at 140, why did it take until he was 99 to go underground? And what of the silhouette of Karasuma we saw in Sunset Manor? It didn't look like someone Hakuba's age. Hunched back, gnarled fingers, crooked nose. Was that just a forgery? Seems a bit unfair to put in a purely meta-level red herring with no narrative justification like that.

      Now Vermouth, on the other had, is obviously immortal.

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    8. "And besides, "he squints" seems like really weak justification for accusing someone of being one-eyed. When did he lose this eye? How did he lose it? Inspector Yamato of the Nagano P.D. lost one eye, but he doesn't squint in his good eye. Why's that?"

      My mistake! Somehow, I managed to confuse the two and the picture you linked to immediately brought the squinting, one-eyed man to mind and jumped the gun. This is why I identify with Roger Sheringham. :D

      "But it does raise several questions. If the boss ages so slowly he can pass for a teenager at 140, why did it take until he was 99 to go underground?"

      A possible answer to this was recently brought up on JJ's blog (The Invisible Event). In his review of the Radfords' The Heel of Achilles, JJ was surprised how easy it used to be for someone to adopt a new name and begin a new life somewhere else. Something that became increasingly difficult to do in the modern, post-WWII world. If he was 140 years when the series started (1994) and you go back 99 years, you arrive in the middle of the 1950s. Someone as perceptive as him could see the writing on the wall and decided to change tactics by going underground.

      "And what of the silhouette of Karasuma we saw in Sunset Manor? It didn't look like someone Hakuba's age. Hunched back, gnarled fingers, crooked nose. Was that just a forgery? Seems a bit unfair to put in a purely meta-level red herring with no narrative justification like that."

      Not necessarily unfair. The silhouette is how they imagined him when they listened to the story, but that's no guarantee he actually looks like that.

      Anyway, very much approach you humoring my little theory. I didn't serious expect it to survive closer scrutiny from much more knowledge Conan readers, but there was a sliver of hope that it hit close to the truth. I'm still pleased with it.

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    9. Nah, this is fun. Like I've said, I've read a lot of theories, but really thought out ones are few and far between. This has been a most stimulating discussion. Thinking over the series like this has actually advanced my own understanding of the Organization a bit.

      We've reached the point where the only disagreements between our theories are rather subjective, so I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.

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    10. Wait, no, ONE last question:

      If Karasuma had faked his own death and started over with a completely new identity at least once before becoming Hakuba, how did he arrange to publicly stay alive as Karasuma, an identity that received a sizable inheritance that probably rules out the possibility of it being assumed, until he was 99?

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    11. You got me there. I told you this nebulous idea of him being a biological immortal is based on little more than a hunch without any real clues or hints to support it or fill in the finer details. The name in the guestbook, in the Mermaid case, certainly is interesting when seen in this light, but it's very flimsy and hardly enough to support the whole idea on. So, yeah, we have to wait and see.

      Either way, I'm glad I got this out of my system.

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  2. This is a very interesting theory! I've followed "Case closed" (in italian "Detective Conan") since I was a child but I have never formulated any hypothesis about the Boss, but the one you have proposed seems probable.

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  3. I have my own thoughts on this but I just finished rewatching the 12th episode of the TMS's version of Magic Kaito. Magic Kaito also has a 24-episode series "Magic Kaito: 1412" by A-1 studios which adapts some Conan-Kaito Cases & most of the chapters of the manga. Hakuba appears in it and he has a wealthy-looking older woman as his aide, similar to how Kaito has Jii-chan (the old man who was Kaito's father's aide as the original Kaito 1412).

    I suggest watching the 12th and final episode of the "Magic Kaito" specials. It's was so immersing.


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    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll keep those episodes in mind when I finally get around to those Conan episodes Ho-Ling reviewed some time ago. I assume the episodes can watched as standalone without having seen the rest of the series?

      "I have my own thoughts on this..."

      Go on...

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    2. Yeah, it's an episodic series and you basically know already what Kaito does, which is steal jewels. Magic Kaito 1412 is basically just Kaito copping different gems and we see the whole story from the criminal's perspective basically.
      In Magic Kaito: 1412 (24 episodes) the some of the later episodes have interesting mysteries and hints of plot progression. The last few episodes were adapted from manga chapters Gosho made at the same time as the anime aired to promote it.

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    3. Sounds good! I love a good rogue story with a jewel snatching gentleman thief.

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  4. I think I've heard this idea before, though it's certainly not as popular like the Mitsuhiko theory (he's faaaar too smart for his age!)

    But this theory is completely inconsistent with the depiction of Hakuba's character in Magic Kaito, so I don't think it works. Besides the point of the family, I think you forget that Hakuba is never depicted as someone who is just *hunting* for KID, he wants to prove Kaito is KID. At this moment Hakuba is already sure Kaito is KID and he hardly keeps that a secret to Kaito (I mean, in that one story he even gives advice to Kaito to help KID out). That doesn't rhyme with your theory of him, as the Boss, wanting to hunt down KID. The personality, and motivations of Hakuba as seen in Magic Kaito just doesn't match the theory.

    And while Aoyama wasn't sure at first how long the series would run (he even considered stopping about two years in), the man can definitely plan, so I can't imagine him doing inconsistent characterization across Magic Kaito and Conan if he really wanted to have Hakuba as the Boss. I mean, the recent volume 1-5 re-read by Aoyama posted on the Sunday Every app was pretty interesting as he pointed out how he had already envisioned Haibara all the way in the beginning (her silhouette is seen in the robbery story), and she wouldn't appear until volume 18! So I simply can't imagine him being any less careful with making sure how Hakuba's shown if this theory were correct.

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    1. I knew you were the most dangerous threat to my pet theory!

      "I think I've heard this idea before, though it's certainly not as popular like the Mitsuhiko theory"

      I suppose you don't have any links. When the idea began to form, I expected there already similar fan theories out there, but google came up empty handed. I'm curious how others arrived at this idea.

      "But this theory is completely inconsistent with the depiction of Hakuba's character in Magic Kaito, so I don't think it works."

      Brace yourself, Ho-Ling. A stiff shot of special pleading is coming your way: do Magic Kaito and Detective Conan actually take place in the same universe or do they take place in similar, but alternate, universes? Has it ever been officially confirmed that the Hakuba and KID from Magic Kaito are the same who have appeared in Detective Conan?

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    2. It was probably some Japanese page where they aggegrate all kinds of theories. Basically everyone has been accused one time or another, whether you're Dr. Agasa, Mitsuhiko, Kaito's father or that one name in the guest book of the Mermaid guest who doesn't even has a face.

      Magic Kaito, Conan and Yaiba are not set in the same universe, but the characters from the respective themselves crossover (usually into Conan's universe). It's pretty clear that Magic Kaito and Yaiba's worlds are different from Conan's world, given we have actual demons and black magic in Magic Kaito, and an evil bunny army on the moon and physics and powers that mirror early Dragon Ball (Yaiba). The characters, and their background stories however do crossover and they are not treated as 'alternate' versions. Aoyama has for example explicitly stated (after being asked) that the Okita Soushi we seen in Conan, is in fact the Okita we know from Yaiba. And while there's black magic in Magic Kaito's world and not in Conan's world, the characters we see in Conan are indeed from Magic Kaito. They also link up storywise: the story Black Star has Conan characters appear in Magic Kaito and in the Conan anime, they even re-appropiated this story as a Conan story when they added it as the prologue of the TV special adaptation of the Sunset Mansion story. The Sakamata Ryoma story in Conan is also closely linked to the Phantom Lady story in Magic Kaito, with comments made by Kaito at the end of the Sakamoto story only making sense in the light of the facts we learn from the Phantom Lady story. So while strictly not the same universe, Aoyama does make sure that characterization and background detials are consistent across Magic Kaito/Conan/Yaiba.

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    3. "Aoyama has for example explicitly stated (after being asked) that the Okita Soushi we seen in Conan, is in fact the Okita we know from Yaiba. And while there's black magic in Magic Kaito's world and not in Conan's world, the characters we see in Conan are indeed from Magic Kaito."

      Goddammit! That puts a bullet in it.

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    4. Oh, perhaps I wrote that down a bit confusing: Aoyama's comment was specifically about Okita being the same character as from Yaiba. The second sentence about Kaito's world was to connect to the rest of what I wrote there (and not part of Aoyama's comment)

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  5. Okay so you thought you had an out-there idea? Then what about this theory:

    The Boss of BO is none other than the Mascot of Tropical Land. The proof is that he's stinking the place around in both Magic Kaito and Detective Conan.
    https://i.imgur.com/GLvIhtX.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/w999UqR.jpg

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    1. So I'm going immensely deep with Magic Kaito (the manga) and I noticed that your theory holds some weight. I only have the volume 5 stories left to re-read. I suggest to watch episode 4 of Magic Kaito 1412 as it adapts the first two Hakuba heists especially. There's a certain theme/concept/whatever about his character that's also part of his appearance in DC, and I think the Boss might share similar traits.

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    2. Yeah, I noticed your massive blog-post on Magic Kaito. :)

      Can you give some more details? ROT13 it, if necessary. I want to know if there's a chance to resuscitate my pet theory.

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      Va uvf 3eq fgbel, Unxhon tbrf gb n ynobengbel bjarq ol uvf TENAQSNGURE pbagnvavat nyy fbegf bs tnqtrgf. Gung yno vf npghnyyl na npgvir bar jvgu fpvragvfgf jbexvat va vg. V jebgr guvf nobhg gur yno:

      "Unxhon gnxrf gur vafcrpgbe gb uvf tenaqsngure'f npgvir erfrnepu snpvyvgl va juvpu gur lbhat qrgrpgvir unf pbyyrpgrq n ybg bs qngn ba Xvq. V guvax guvf vf jbegu abgvat:
      Unxhon'f Qngn ba Xnvgb Xvq: Urvtug 174 pz, jrvtug 58 xvybtenzf, 2.0 rlrfvtug va rnpu rlr, na VD bs jubccvat 400, gur novyvgl gb hfr znal qvssrerag ibvprf, tbbq ng rirel culfvpny fcbeg rkprcg vpr fxngvat (nun! jr fnj Unxhon pbyyrpg guvf qngn va gung vpr fxngvat urvfg, tbbq gb frr vg pbzr onpx)...

      Gur erfrnepu snpvyvgl znantrf gb nanylmr gur unve ng gurve yno. Vg orybaqf gb n Wncnarfr znyr jvgu oybbq glcr O naq fhecevfvatyl rabhtu uvf ntr vf nebhaq 15-17, rira gubhtu gur cbyvpr nffhzrq Xvq gb or va uvf zvq 30'f qhr gb fgrnyvat fghss fvapr vafcrpgbe Anxnzbev jnf bayl 20 lrnef byq. Anxnzbev guhf qbrfa'g oryvrir gur qngn naq qvcf sebz gur yno, ohg Unxhon unf bgure guvatf va zvaq nf ur fgnegf gb tb guebhtu gur qngn ba rirel fvatyr uvtu fpubbyre va Wncna. Unxhon'f fb vagb vg gung ur jba'g rira or fyrrcvat guebhtu gur avtug."

      Shegurezber, bar bs gur zber vagrerfgvat guvatf V'ir frra ner gung Unxhon unf gb gnxr n Yrnir bs Nofrapr sebz fpubby gb tb birefrnf, Senapr rfcrpvnyyl. Gur yngre ibyhzrf bs Zntvp Xnvgb gryy n fgbel jurer Xnvgb'f zbgure Puvxntr gryyf Xnvgb gung fur cebonoyl jba'g or ergheavat rire gb Wncna nf fur'f va Ynf Irtnf jvgu fbzrbar (cebonoyl n arj ybire), ohg gura va gur yngrfg ibyhzr jr trg gb frr n arj fgbel jvgu Puvxntr univat pbzr onpx gb Wncna qhr gb fbzr ernfba, naq gurer ner pbhcyr bs bgure punenpgref nf jryy gung jr trg va-qrcgu onpxtebhaq ba gurz, ohg ab pbapergr nafjre gb jub vf jub naq jung vf jung. Vg'f onfvpnyyl yrsg bcra-raqrq. Naq Unxhon'f nyfb onpx sebz birefrnf.

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    4. Nyfb, va bar bs gur yngre urvfgf Unxhon unq bire-cerccrq uvzfrys; Ur jrag gb trg qvssrerag glcrf bs cebsrffvbanyf eryngrq gb zbgbeovxr xabjyrqtr juvpu jnf jung pnhfrq ur uvzfrys gb pbzr yngr gb gur fprar. Gura ur jrag bagb sbphf ba jurer ng jung cbvag va gvzr n pregnva gehpx unq zbirq guebhtubhg gur pbhagel gb cva-cbvag vgf rknpg ybpngvba guebhtu jung'f orra fnvq ba gur vagrearg ng juvpu cbvag va gvzr.

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    5. Thank you for the info dump! Very much appreciated.

      I already knew about his obsession with time and the lab, but that he actually over-prepped in one case and the ambiguity about the people surrounding him fits my theory like a glove! Could it be him after all?

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    6. I feel so right now, honestly... This might be "our guy"...

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  6. I'm big fan of Detective Conan and Classics Mystery.

    I really enjoyed reading your Theory.

    My Fav theories were that Karasuma was the boss(for my disappointment, it was proven true, because I wanted Gosho to blow me away from the grand Revelation)

    My second fav theory was that it was Inspector Yamamura. I love that guy.


    As for your Theory, it might be possible.

    I haven't read or watch Kaito Kid, but I do know that his father was against some Evil Organization like BO. It might be possible that they are same Organization or as it being stated in comments here that ther Universe is bit different,
    But still It's possible.

    And as Hakubo is Arc enemy of Kid, your theory can show the exact reason of their rivalry. Hakubo wants to defeat Kid because he fear that Kid can become a threat for his organization.

    Sorry for my English, it's not my First language.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Don't worry about your English. It's not my first language either. :)

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  7. My desperate quest to find even the smallest crumbs of Hakuba content have led me here, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I am a big fan of classic detective fiction, so finding a blog that talks about such an array of authors and stories has been a really fortunate find. I knew you would bring me great things, Saguru!

    Now, I do love this theory, I really do. It's very nice to see someone highlight Hakuba's character and background because it happens so sparsely. It's a pity that he's a widely forgotten character in the larger scale of the fanbase (understandably so, considering it's been well over 13 years since he appeared in Detective Conan) despite having many tidbits about him that would fit nicely into the overall plot. Considering the groundwork Gosho built up for the character, Hakuba has been incredibly underutilised. A pity, considering he has a lot of potential, should he be properly fleshed out.

    Putting the recent manga developments aside, just like someone mentioned before, the main reason this theory would struggle to hold water for me (besides the fact Gosho has neglected him for well over a decade in DC) is that it wouldn't be consistent with whatever else we've seen of his personality. Hakuba isn't interested in bringing down KID as much as he is interested in understanding his motives. He wants to catch him personally so he can hear about his motivations for stealing firsthand. Hakuba has DNA evidence proves Kaito Kuroba is KID, but he makes no attempt to hurt or expose him to the police (interesting, considering his family is law enforcement). And, as mentioned before, he provides Kaito with information to help him out with information for a heist, because "I don't want to see you lose to anyone before I capture you myself". Hakuba is too (for lack of a better way to describe it) infatuated with KID to want him out of the picture.

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    1. As smart and precise as Hakuba is, he can also be very immature in some aspects. He can be quite reliant on his money and connections at times. For example, it is his governess that rescues the entire group in Sunset Mansion. But, when faced with a similar stranded situation during the Detective Koushien with Heiji, he admits he has no way out because he can't contact her. Going to an isolated island alone, unsure about whether he’ll have a way to make it back...seems like a big oversight for someone as careful as the Boss is rumored to be. You could say he's putting up an act to hide his identity, but there's absolutely no real reason to at that point, since he's already displayed his wealth and influence before in front of a full group of adult detectives. It's strange that he would be more intent on hiding it from a group of teenagers instead. Plus, Conan already knows.

      Aside from that, he has a shy, puppy-crush on classmate Akako Koizumi, too. Strange detail to add to his character if he’s a 140+ criminal mastermind. Even if it’s probably as a result of Akako’s witchcraft.

      I would argue that his biggest weakness isn't overplanning (though that does come into play at some points), but the fact that he gets blindsided in his deductions trying to factor KID into the equation. Even if you exclude Magic Kaito and focus on Detective Conan appearances only, Hakuba is so obsessed with KID that he gets the Detective Koushien case wrong because in his mind, thief equals culprit. His brain is filled with KID to the point it's downright comedic at some points. I would argue that Shinichi is more willing to hurt KID than Hakuba is.

      Speaking of his KID-obsession, that brings up another problem: consistency of his characterization through adaptations. During the 2010-2012 Magic Kaito adaptations, Hakuba's entire character suffers from a bizarre adaptational decision. Instead of wanting to pursue KID, he's interested in catching a hitman who's going after KID and decides to use the thief as bait. Not only does that clash even /more/ with the idea that Hakuba wants Kaito dead (Stopping the hitman meant to wipe KID out makes no sense) but it brings forth the issue of how fair Hakuba's hypothetical revelation as The Boss would really be. The Magic Kaito specials were aired within the DC anime run. Regardless of whether you consider them canon or not (I don't), the drastic shift in Hakuba's characterization would hurt Gosho's reveal greatly later on. It would create unfair misdirection based on inconsistencies and indecision of what Hakuba's character is meant to be, rather than careful planning. Even if it's anime-only, you'd expect Gosho to supervise it closely and carefully, ESPECIALLY if it's his Big Bad.

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    2. But! As personally unlikely as I find it that he is the Boss, or even involved with the BO himself, it is undeniable that his entire family background is sketchy and fits too comfortably into the larger scheme of things. There's the fact that his father is the Superintendent General. I don't know how properly this works as evidence, considering it comes from a spin-off (Wild Police Story) BUT since the series is being supervised by Gosho, perhaps it's not too farfetched to bring it into question. Despite not being referred to by name, a conversation between two characters implies that the Superintentent General isn't a good guy. The context being that one of them states their reason for becoming a police officer is to rise in the ranks so he can get the chance to punch the superintendent, haha. Hakuba's father has been established to hold that rank both within DC and MK. So unless Gosho completely neglected that detail (a rather grave oversight) they would definitely be referring to Hakuba's family here. I also find it interesting that during Hakuba's introduction in Magic Kaito, his father uses his authority to allow him to attend a KID heist /just/ so that he'll be dissuaded from doing detective work after seeing how hard it really is. Of course, this was published before DC, so Gosho definitely hadn't planned ahead at this point, but the groundwork to set Hakuba Senior as an antagonist in the long run is most definitely there.


      Then there's Hakuba laboratories. As you mentioned, this is a huge red flag considering the major lab settings we see in DC are all associated to the BO in one way or another. What I find most interesting about the two supposedly unrelated laboratories is that the people closely involved with them are of then English or English-Japanese researchers (Again, not naming anyone to avoid spoilers). Extremely suspicious considering Hakuba is also half English. It's a very specific and outstanding coincidence, really, one that definitely could be exploited to tie the plots together nicely.

      I find that the matter of whether DC and MK universes are different or one and the same is actually kind of a tricky question. While it could be argued that KID's and Hakuba's appearances in DC are mostly done for the sake of crossovers, the plots do have some points where they do intersect and affect each other beyond just regular crossover interactions or superficial encounters between characters. Toichi Kuroba (Kaito's father, the first Kaitou KID) teaches two prominent characters in DC about disguises, and they owe their skills to him. Yusaku Kudo and Toichi also have connected backstories. KID's regular appearances and involvement in DC and Conan's in MK also end up blurring the lines between universes.

      In summary, I believe Hakuba as the Boss is highly unlikely because of the way his personality, motivations, and relationships (namely Kuroba Kaito/Kaitou KID and Akako Koizumi), are portrayed, as well as the lackadaisical treatment he has received across adaptations. HOWEVER, that doesn't exempt his family from being at the core of the Black Organization or deeply associated with it in some way. Now, let's speculate. Maybe Hakuba isn't Renya Karasuma himself, but his family could hold connections to the Boss. It would explain why he's heard of the events that went down in Sunset Manor, if it's a family story that's been passed down. It would also explain his massive wealth and resources, as well as his obsession with time, if he's been raised in an environment where an important family member or acquaintance is fixated with it (and general precision) as well. Hakuba could have been sent off to England at a young age to keep him away from criminal operations in Japan, and this is the exact same reason his father is reluctant to have him chase after KID, fearing he might stumble into something larger that would probably get him executed.

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    3. The problem with what I'm laying out is that it doesn't provide a viable alternative for Renya Karasuma's identity. The only possible suspect if we follow this train of thought is Hakuba Senior, but that seems unlikely due to the fact his presence is virtually non-existent in the plot. Thus, I think it's probably more persuasive to imagine the Hakuba family ranks highly in the Black Organization and has /some/ connection to Karasuma rather than it being a direct family member of theirs.

      Magic Kaito has elements that are too fantastical and directly clash with Detective Conan, such as Akako Koizumi being a real witch who can contact demons. There's also KID's main quest being a search to find Pandora, a jewel that grants immortality. But, should you establish connections between Pandora's presumed immortality and Renya Karasuma's lifespan, as well as the Hakuba family being the link between both mysterious evil organizations in either series, Gosho could very well tie both stories together properly and definitely.

      There’s an entire arc to be developed here.

      On the subject of Hawks and Crows being enemies, isn’t it interesting that the Kuroba family name is written with the kanji for “black” and “feather” ? Some food for thought.

      And well, that’s about it. I'm sorry for rambling. I just had to put my thoughts about Hakuba somewhere out there, haha.................................Thank you for the content, I'm most interested in reading through other posts and reviews!

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    4. "My desperate quest to find even the smallest crumbs of Hakuba content have led me here, and I'm pleasantly surprised."

      Always check the niche corner of any fandom for obscure content! The best place to leave long, rambling comments. :)

      Glad you enjoyed my little fan theory, as wrong as it may turn out to be, which is based on my limited reading of the North American translations. So I have to bow to the more knowledge and well read fans that it's very unlikely Saguru is the boss. Nevertheless, I'm still not entirely willing to let go of it, because those panels in The Sunset Manor Case has to mean something. Aoyama is too fond of parallel characterization for the depiction of Saguru with a hawk and Renya with a crow not to have some meaning. There are, as you said, all the red flags in Saguru's background. I also like the idea of hiding the main villain in another series and occasionally bringing him for special crossover appearances, which genuinely would be one of the greatest play on the least-likely-suspect gambit. But time will tell.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      "am a big fan of classic detective fiction, so finding a blog that talks about such an array of authors and stories has been a really fortunate find."

      I don't know how up you're on your classic detectives, but if you're relatively new or unfamiliar with what's exactly out there, you just stumbles on a treasure trove of classic mystery blogs (see Insightful Informants on the right). We're also in the middle of Renaissance Era with an avalanche of reprints and translations of original non-English detective novels (mostly French and Japanese). What I'm trying to say is that you tripped into a very deep rabbit hole. Enjoy the ride! :)

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