Before there was Edogawa Conan, there was Kuroba Kaito—or as many know him, the enigmatic phantom thief Kaito Kid. However, his chance to really shine was cut short; the manga series Magic Kaito was put on hiatus after two collected volumes. But Kaito’s time would come, apparently it was just too soon for him to take the lead.
After Kaito Kid started making appearances in the now culturally iconic Detective Conan, Kaito received a boost in popularity. Which in turn allowed for new manga stories to be created, which in turn allowed for them to start making spin-off anime specials. And those were popular enough to warrant this new ongoing TV series: Magic Kaito 1412.
Now that both Detective Conan and Magic Kiato 1412 are streaming on Crunchyroll, we felt we needed to address this phantom thief further.
In many ways Magic Kaito could be seen as the blueprint for Gosho Aoyama’s later Detective Conan manga. They have similar beats in a lot of ways. In fact the skeletal structure of both series is remarkably similar when you strip away most of the cosmetic trappings. They are clearly the work of the same artist. But at the same time it is far too easy to just boil things down to their underpinnings where you see everything as a copy of everything else. That simplification forgets that phantom thief and detective genre have very different elements that just don’t work in other one’s storytelling style. You can’t just copy and paste the characters from Magic Kaito and make them the cast of Detective Conan without some major changes. The simple fact that Detective Conan has to adhere to a certain set of rules to feel fair makes it so that important modifications need to be in place for the mystery series to be satisfying.
On top of that the cast of Magic Kaito was eventually largely incorporated into world of Detective Conan so that they have fully integrated each other to the point where they have created a shared universe. Kuroba Kaito frequently shows up in Detective Conan as a recurring guest star. In fact at the time of the post the upcoming 19th Detective Conan movie, Sunflowers of Inferno, will prominently feature Magic Kaito as part of the plot. Gosho Aoyama has even gone as far as to have the histories of Detective Conan and Magic Kaito slowly become more intertwined to better express the joining of the two stories into a greater unified tale.