In just two short years, we've not only had an episode from anime series A Place Further Than The Universe set in Singapore — but an actual, bona fide, feature-length anime film set almost entirely on our sunny island, Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire. The film renders Singapore in such loving detail that you can tell how much passion the animators had for Singapore, as even the quirkiest and most colourful parts of this island nation make their appearance in their film.
Like most mystery films, Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire starts with a murder in Singapore. But when the title character somehow finds himself transported to Singapore as well, he gets embroiled in an insidious plot that involves pirates, gems, and Marina Bay Sands. Together with Kaito Kid, Conan Edogawa must unravel this complicated conspiracy, before a terrible disaster befalls the island nation.
If you're watching this anime just to see Singapore, you won't be disappointed. The film features evocative, beautiful shots of Singapore throughout the entire film. There are the usual touristy shots of Singapore, like Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Park, and the Singapore Flyer. But you also get shots of alleys with graffiti (!), hawker centres, and coffeeshops. Although the film doesn't go so far as to send its characters into a HDB estate (since that would be fairly inaccessible to most non-Singaporean viewers), it does try to show as many different facets of Singapore as possible, which makes the entire setting feel authentic — especially if you're a Singaporean.
What's really heartening to see is the gamut of multicultural Singaporean characters that appear in the film. All the major ethnic groups are featured (although everyone speaks in oddly accented English), which shows the sheer amount of dedication the production crew had when it came to portraying Singapore as accurately as possible. It may be a well-worn cliche when it comes to location-based films, but Singapore was truly a character in and of herself in Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire.
Then there's the epic finale, which sees the villain's plot revealed (and consequently, unravelled). Like most Detective Conan films, it features plenty of collateral damage and nifty action sequences. It was pretty awesome to see Marina Bay Sands utilised in such a breath-taking, imaginative, and spectacular fashion, which makes full use of the anime medium that it appeared on. The climactic confrontation could only have taken place in an anime (rather than a live-action film), and answers some questions that we've had about the structure ever since it was built.
There's clearly a lot of love for Marina Bay Sands, since it's animated in hand-drawn 2D style... as well as a 3D cel-shaded model. While the 3D animation works for vehicles, it is kind of odd when used on MBS, especially when it's juxtaposed with the more detailed 2D drawings. It affords the director more camera angles and movements with the massive hotel, but it's still a little jarring when you do see it.
Plot-wise, it followed the standard convoluted detective story, replete with red herrings, dramatic twists, and surprising heel face turns. It's standard Detective Conan fare, just that it's set in Singapore. It gets kind of draggy at times, especially when the film throws in purposeless twists and needless plot threads that don't actually go anywhere. It all ends with mounds of exposition about who did what and why they did it, before the action begins. But then, that's usually how Detective Conan films are resolved.
Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire is the closest we'll ever come to an anime set in Singapore, with gorgeous artwork of our most iconic locations and Singaporean characters that showcase the diversity that makes us so special. Story-wise, it gives us the usual complicated web, except that it's set in Singapore. If you ever want to see Singapore in a different light, then Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire is the movie to catch.
Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes.
Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? If you like the Detective Conan franchise.
Secret ending? The credits show you the reference shots that they used to animate Singapore. In addition, there is a post-credits scene.
Running time: 109 minutes
Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire is a Japanese mystery and action anime that's the latesd in the Detective Conan franchise.
The film centres around a devious plot that involves the Blue Sapphire. Detective Conan and his friends find themselves investigating a curious crime in Singapore. However, not everything is as it seems — and it's up to our heroes to save Singapore.
Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire is directed by Chika Nagaoka and written by Takahiro Okura. It features the voice talents of Minami Takayama (Conan Edogawa), Wakana Yamazaki (Ran Mouri), Rikiya Koyama (Kogoro Mouri), Kappei Yamaguchi (Kaito Kid), Kenichi Ogata (Professor Agasa), Megumi Hayashibara (Ai Haibara), Yukiko Iwai (Ayumi Yoshida), and Ikue Otani (Mitsuhiko Tsuburaya). It is rated PG-13.
Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire opens in cinemas:
- 13 June, 2019 (Singapore)
Marcus Goh is a television scriptwriter, having written for popular shows like “Lion Mums”, “Crimewatch”, “Code of Law”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.
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