Revisiting the Phantom of Baker Street

Farewell and thank you, Hiroki. We will not forget the moving moments you gave to us.

(Image: 'Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street', courtesy of IMDB)

The Phantom of Baker Street (2002) is the most well-known film version of Gosho Aoyama’s manga series Detective Conan. It presents the story of how Hiroki Sawada’s spirit played with the elite offsprings to capture Jack the Ripper in his video game with Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Hiroki is a computer science genius, who committed suicide due to the great pressure from his adoptive-father Thomas Schindler. He renamed himself “Noah’s Ark” in the hope that his revolutionary invention can change Japan’s next generation. 

Noah’s Ark came from Genesis, The Old Testament, where God launched a world-engulfing flood to eradicate the evilness on Earth. He spared Noah and his chosen creatures who represent people’s virtues. Two years after Hiroki’s death, Conan Edogawa and his friends were invited to join the game with other elite offspring. Hiroki said if no one can survive at last, they will all die. Initially, he hid Mr. Holmes which left the children solve the case independently. 

After their success, Hiroki automatically destroyed his program. He saw the hope of the future generations and left peacefully. His mind continues living on Noah’s Ark but he learned to cherish life more than hatred. Rest in peace, Hiroki, the legacy of Noah’s Ark will pass the virtues of mankind to the next generation.

Hiroki’s story exposes the adults’ ignorance towards children’s talents and mental states. He is a computer science genius but discriminated against by the Japanese school system for his strange behaviour. He is also under his stepfather Thomas Schindler’s strict supervision to work throughout his life. Like many elite offspring, he had little time to play with his peers or release his pressure. “My life is full of work. I just want to play with my friends so I developed the game”, he said to Conan at last. 

His dream came true when he used his spirit to play with the participants but it is too extreme. As an elite offspring, Hiroki had the first-class resources to support his achievements but little parental guidance toward a proper life value. This made him a problematic child. His step father underestimated Hiroki’s ability to uncover his mind. Even if Hiroki was a child, he knows it is illegal to use his invention for hiding Schindler’s identity as Jack the Ripper’s offspring. Hiroki is not psychotic, but he goes in the wrong direction. 

‘The Phantom of Baker Street’, Poster courtesy of IMDB

In the last chapter of Noah’s story, God built a rainbow as a covenant not to launch such a flood again. The reality, however, is much more complicated than The Bible or the video game. To transform the next generation is not to leave a computer program and commit suicide, but to live a better life and do not copy their behavior. Hiroki used his game to tell his peers the same thing, but he was too desperate to make it in his real life. 

In Hiroki’s last days, he asked himself whether he could fly like Noah’s Ark. Tears were all over my face when I heard these words from an over-pressurized computer prodigy. In his game, despite the minor element in which he tortures the children half to death, he gave hints and hoped Conan could save them. Farewell and thank you, Hiroki. We will not forget the moving moments you gave to us. 

Noah’s Ark is on sail” and we will make a better future ourselves. I sincerely dedicate this article in memory of Hiroki and thank Gosho Aoyama who teaches us these utterly unforgettable and vastly valuable life lessons since our childhood. 

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