The Detective Conan series can seem amazingly daunting with 19 seasons currently out and still going as well as various movies and OVAs. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you do not start with the movies then the natural place to look is the first season (eps. 1-29 in the English release; 1-28 in Japanese). Since this is the first season, it has a fair share of pertinent episodes but we’ve still been able to whittle it down to about half. These episodes set up the basic formula for the series while introducing you to the lion’s share of the main characters and supporting cast, the relationships, and the most iconic gadgets. That being said, there are quite a few episodes that while entertaining are generally able to be skipped with little to no detriment to the viewer.
*these episode #’s are based on the Funimation U.S. release
Episodes #001-003, #005-007 (Roller Coaster Murder Case, Company President’s Daughter Kidnapping Case, An Idol’s Locked Room Murder Case and The Shinkansen’s Bomb Case, Valentine Murder Case, Once-A-Month Present Threat Case)
Plot, Character Introductions, Black Organization
It is pretty obvious why you should watch the beginning of the show. Despite the fact that all subsequent episodes recap the incident that turns 17-year-old Shinichi into little Conan, it is worth seeing for yourself and familiarizing yourself with the nefarious Gin and others of the Black Organization. Throughout these episodes you also meet a good portion of the recurring cast, see the beginning of Conan’s gadget collection, and lets you in on the tone of the setting.You will also get an excellent idea of the relationship between Shinichi and Ran which is of course a major dramatic point throughout the entire show.
Episode #009 (Tenkaichi Night Festival Murder Case)
This case is backwards, at least for the audience, as we see the killer and how the murder was committed at the get-go Columbo-style. This case also introduces more of the police force in the form of Sango Yokomizo.
Episodes #011-012 (Moonlight Sonata Murder Case)
If you only watch one (okay technically two) Conan episode it should probably be this one. This episode doesn’t factor into the plot of the series or introduce anything, but it is just a fantastic, haunting mystery; certainly the best by far of the first season. We even listed this on our beginner’s guide as a great place to start and see what Conan can do.
Episode #013 (Ayumi-chan Kidnapping Case)
This case means little in the grand scheme of things, but the macabre humor inherent in this episode makes it worth checking out in case you were wondering why Conan was considered less of a kid’s show by U.S. standards. This and the first episode give you a good sense of the upper limits of violence and gore level in the show and if you feel secure in having any children you know watch the series.
Episode #019 (A June Bride Murder Case)
The introduction of Kiyonaga Matsumoto the chief of the Tokyo police who appears from time to time in later episodes. A good example of a tear-jerker story that Conan likes to use on occasion.
Episode #022 (On Location, TV Drama Murder Case)
This is pretty good case and the second appearance of idol Yoko Okino. We are introduced to Wataru Takagi who will go on to be another recurring police officer.
Episode #028-029 (Kogoro’s Class Reunion Murder Case)
These two episodes close out the season on a good note. This case gives Mori some time to shine showing that he was an effective police officer back in the day and finally shedding some light on why people believe Mori can solve all the cases despite having fallen so far.