Rereading Vol. 21 & 22, Chap. 201-221, The Lucky Punch
A late update, but one nevertheless!
Today’s review is heavy on Takagi, because Aoyama finally formally introduces his character in these two volumes. Until now, he had been a minor, reoccurring officer, a nameless helping hand without a voice or a backstory of his own. But let us start chronologically, quite literally, because I am going to talk about the flashback first.
Shinichi’s First (Murder) Case:
I really had forgotten that Shinichi had only started working with the police one year prior to the beginning of the manga. I expected them to be all like “oh, what a coincidence”, instead, Megure and Takagi were like “who are you, and why are you tampering with the crime scene?” Actually, Megure only vaguely remembers Shinchi as a boy who hung onto Kudou Yuusaku’s shirt, so to speak. Which is kind of cute, but on the other hand, also horrifying. I am still waiting for Aoyama to show us the very first time when Shinichi accompanied Yuusaku to a crime scene. This story will never end…
Taking into account that this had been Shinichi’s first murder case, the fatal trip to America started off Shinichi’s unbroken streak of bad luck. Maybe the murders are just part of his bad karma? After all, he saved Vermout’s life and allowed her to escape, condemning others to their death and also dealing a blow to the FBI’s efforts to take down the black organization. I am not saying that he should have let her die… just that, in a twisted and ironic way, it makes sense that there’s some sort of deadly cloud hanging over his head since then.
Now, concerning Takagi:
The flashback case does not introduce Takagi, but he is dragged into the spotlight, because Megure directly addresses him. Their conversation is not merely based on “do this, do that”, but rather it creates a sort of “mentor-student” relationship between the two of them.
I am bringing this up, because it is important to understand that Aoyama shows us that Takagi is still lacking as a police officer. When confronted with Shinichi’s willingness to investigate the murder,Takagi is all to ecstatic to include the high school teenager:
“Then we can ask him to help us!!”
This spiritful enthusiasm is charming, sure, but Megure’s response points out that this is why Takagi is still not a fully fledged investigator. In the flashback, he is all too happy to choose the easiest way possible, which on one hand, is positive because he is open towards outside suggestions, on the other hand, he is also ridding himself of responsibility. Takagi nowadays is more experienced, and he has learned from his past mistakes. He is still willing to listen to others, but he will not yield control of crime scenes unconditionally.
When compared with this younger version, I much prefer the later one. He has grown into his uniform, and still, he prioritises solving the cases, not improving his own reputation. Overall, he has become very capable under Conan’s and the readers’ watchful eyes.
The case file following the plane flashback finally introduces Takagi by name, as well as Sato and Shiratori. Truly, I had forgotten that Sato outright declined Shiratori’s request for dinner, and also that she then follows it up by asking Takagi to accompany her for dinner instead. This is not meant as a work outing, because she does not extend the invitation to Shiratori. Apparently, Sato already liked Takagi when he was a good-hearted, but clumsy colleague.
It really took them ages to get their relationship sorted, especially when you consider that they were both on the same page all along.
That’s it for these two volumes. Personally, I feel like Takagi has been a lucky punch for Aoyama. I doubt he had intended to create such an outstanding police officer, let alone show the progress of said officer. Similar to the manga itself, Takagi has grown into his role. He has become more professional, he is used to the drills - but he also kept that charming, open-hearted personality that most people lose once they begin to see their job as simply that. A job.