Detective Conan (localized as Case Closed for the English-speaking market) is a popular, long-running manga and anime series (71 volumes to date, and over 600 half-hour episodes); it’s one of the few that airs during primetime. Due to low ratings on the Cartoon Network, only the first 50 episodes were broadcast in the US.
Every April since 1997, a Detective Conan movie has been released (yes, that means there are fifteen of them); the Phantom of Baker Street hit theaters in the April of 2002, and it was (if I remember right) the only movie I saw in theaters while studying abroad.
It’s a good detective show; the puzzles are interesting (even if rather obscure; sometimes they hinge on the minutiae of Japanese culture (for example, one had to do with the game of shogi)), and the characters are entertaining.
The eponymous detective, Conan Edogawa, has the appearance of a grade-schooler; in reality, he is the famous (in Tokyo, at least) high school student detective Shinichi Kudou. After witnessing a couple of criminals (Gin and Vodka of the Black Syndicate), he’s attacked and forced to drink an experimental poison. Gin and Vodka leave Shinichi behind, sure he’s at death’s door, but the poison shrinks him to the size of a young child.
In a panic when confronted in the library by his friend, Ran Mori, he says his first name is Conan, and his last is Edogawa. Ran ends up taking him to live at her house with her barely scraping by PI father.
Through the use of various gadgets, Conan solves cases for Ran’s father behind the scenes, rebuilding his reputation while trying to keep anyone from discovering that Shinichi is actually Conan; if the Black Syndicate were to learn he had survived, everyone close to him could become a target.
The Phantom of Baker Street was a good movie, but it’s worth starting the series at the beginning of the TV show; there isn’t much of an overarching plot, but new characters are periodically introduced.
Besides, if you’ve never seen it, how will you know what’s going on when the live action TV series airs in Japan this summer?