The Great Detective Of The West: Character Analysis

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Hattori Heiji

“Life is limited, that’s why it’s so precious. Since there’s a limit, we try our best to live.”

Heiji Hattori, also known as Harley Hartwell in the Funimation dub, is an Osakan high school detective in the manga and anime series Detective Conan. He is a childhood friend and the romantic interest of Kazuha Toyama. Originally a detective rival to Shinichi Kudo, Heiji has since found out Conan’s true identity and the two often team up to work on cases. He was the first person to deduce Conan’s true identity. Heiji as a high school detective, and the son of Heizo Hattori, chief of the Osaka Police Department, and his wife Shizuka Hattori. Heiji wants to be a detective like his father, and he is also very skilled in kendo and has become a favored tournament contender for his school.

Personality

Even while solving a case, Heiji tends to be lighthearted and good-humored, preferring to work through it with a grin on his face. He is a big fan of baseball, and is most of the time shown wearing an Osaka cap, to support the local Osaka baseball team. He usually wears his cap with its visor pointed backward, but if he feels challenged, he turns the visor forward. Heiji is known for his pride as an Osaka citizen and for his thick Osakan accent, which has been pointed out and sometimes made fun numerous times. However, Heiji holds his head high and is always one to brag about the greatness of Osaka, especially when Conan comes to visit. Despite him knowing the value and necessity of remaining calm in the face of a crime, Heiji tends to be impulsive at times, which tends to cloud his judgment a little. This was discussed directly in the “Detective Koushien” case, when Saguru Hakuba accused Heiji of being a poor detective for disrupting a crime scene in his rush to see if the victim could still be saved. Heiji, however, solved the case in the end, and reminded Saguru that the detective’s first job is to prevent death if he can. Heiji is also known to be extremely protective of those he values as close friends, and tries hard to keep them out of harm. There are several instances where Hattori tells Kazuha to wait for him or leaves her behind in order to keep her from being involved in cases, simply because he’s afraid of her getting hurt. Although he is very competitive when it comes to detective cases, when a case gets hot, he and Shinichi work effectively together.

Relationships

Kazuha Toyama: Heiji’s relationship with Kazuha is a very close one: they know each other since their childhoods, and have stayed close through the years. Their relationship is identified as a romantic one by other characters and fans alike, even though they claim that they don’t have that sort of relationship or feelings for each other. Heiji is clueless when it comes to love and in the majority of the manga and anime has not yet realized he has actual feelings for Kazuha. However, it has been shown that he becomes visibly jealous when he sees Kazuha with other guys, becoming distracted throughout the whole case.

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Shinichi Kudo/Conan Edogawa: Heiji acts rather brotherly towards Shinichi, even going so far as to pretend to be him on various occasions so that no one figures out that Shinichi and Conan are the same person. Of course, this might also be to make up for all the times Heiji calls him Kudo, which has nearly given Shinichi away multiple times. Heiji is concerned for Shinichi when he gets into trouble and life-or-death situations. When they’re caught solving a case together, it’s not unusual for their minds to move in sync; because of this and several other factors, they maintain a sort of friendly rivalry with each other. However, they are both all business when a case gets serious. Heiji has, on several occasions, declared himself to be Shinichi’s best friend.

Strengths

Heiji’s detective skills are same as Shinichi’s. Because of his skills, Heiji has acquired his nick name “The Great Detective Of The West”. Like Shinichi, he has a keen eye for details, and can spot any unusual aspects in a case that most people tend to ignore or not take into account and has extraordinarily broad and deep knowledge of many subjects and trivia that help him solve cases. Like the other ‘geniuses’ of Detective Conan, Heiji has shown himself to have an eidetic memory, capable of remembering complex letter and number sequences at only a glance, such as when he was able to solve a code in his head during the “Heiji and Kazuha in Grave Danger” arc, and even reproduce another message using the same code to text to Conan. As Shinichi is to soccer, so is Heiji to kendo. He’s the fifth position, or taisho, and captain of his high school Kendo team. Heiji may disable criminals using an improvised bokken similar to how Shinichi uses his soccer skills. Heiji is also very nimble. He can jump higher than a bookshelf, and balance perfectly on a katana.

Weaknesses

Heiji tends to be impulsive at times, which tends to cloud his judgment a little. Although he frequently mocks Kazuha for her superstitions and enthusiasm for good-luck charms, Heiji has several times revealed that he puts more trust in them than he would admit. He once dreamed of Shinichi being murdered, and out subsequently insisted that Conan wear his omamori, the good luck charm Kazuha gave him.

Character Depth/Development

Heiji tends to act mostly as Shinichi’s rival. As a rival they sometimes compete against each to get to a deduction first.

Regardless the field of expertise or the sport in question, having a rival  – especially a good one – is a humbling experience. Nothing causes you to check yourself more than a brilliant rival.  Seeing your skills and talents, in all their glory, come up short against those of a rival is great experience in perspective. When there are people around you excelling in the same areas as you, you have two choices. You can chase them in that area of focus and do your best to catch up and surpass them. Or, you can get creative and find a new way to compete.

Character Role Fulfillment

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Heiji serves as an alternate version of Shinichi. Their similarities leads to them being both competitive with each other and protective of one another. Heiji’s relationship with Shinichi can be considered as best friends in the context of relating to each other and understanding each using the bare minimum of verbal communication and an almost telepathic connection at times.

Unique Characteristic Quality

Heiji, as a similar charcter to Shinichi, gives the audience a glimpse into how Shinichi wouldve progressed if he wasn’t shrunk into Conan. So much so that he disguises as Shinichi and can easily fool people who are close to Shinichi and the audience with his accuracy in deduction skills and personality. Even his relationship with his childhood friend mirrors the relationship between Shinichi and Ran.

Rating: B

Heiji is a cool, smart and funny character and could easily be a main character in his own spin off detective series.

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