Disguises are a very commonly used plot device for cases in Detective Conan. In most cases, the disguises are simple: wigs, makeup, sunglasses, clothing, etc., are used to alter the person's face and build to give the impression they are a different person. Some degree of disguise ability is common among magicians and actors. A few characters specialize in disguise and are capable of copying a person's voice and appearance exactly.
Types of disguises in Detective ConanEdit
Most characters use simple disguises to change their appearance. Usually said disguise is fairly weak and only just hides the person's identity. Examples of simple disguises include...
- wigs and fake facial hair
- sunglasses and glasses
- clothing such as hats, scarves, or high collared coats
- padding and platform shoes
- mechanical voice alteration
Characters who specialize in disguiseEdit
Many of the characters who specialize in disguise have studied under a magician, and many magicians in Detective Conan also have disguise abilities.
Also known as Phantom Lady, Chikage Kuroba was a thief in her young years who specialized at disguise indicated by her nickname "the women of twenty faces". She often used stage tricks during her heists although it is unknown whom she learned them from. After meeting with Toichi on a heist, she married him and presumably taught him some of her disguise art.
An excellent stage magician and first Kaitou Kid, Toichi Kuroba taught many of the current disguise artists in Detective Conan. He himself may have learned some of his disguise from his wife, Chikage Kuroba. Toichi Kuroba created the thief known as Kaitou Kid, a thief which specializes in getting close to, stealing, and escaping with targets by impersonating those at the scene like officers or owners. Toichi likely specialized in the same techniques that his son now uses: quick changing skills, latex masks, perfect voice imitation, and various gadgets.
Kaito Kuroba is the only son of the Toichi Kuroba and Chikage Kuroba. Kaito's ability to disguise is most likely learned from his parents. Kaito has taken over the role of Kaitou Kid and uses quick changing skills, latex masks, perfect voice imitation, and various gadgets. Kaito specializes at quick disguises, altering his appearance in a matter of seconds while shrouded by smoke or commotion. Kaito's disguises are rarely used in the long term, and Kaito occasionally says things "out-of-character", leading to his disguise being uncovered.
Vermouth is a Black Organization specialist disguise artist and actress who studied under Toichi Kuroba. While highly competent at short and quick disguise, Vermouth excels at long term impersonation, and is capable of taking over someone's life and fooling even their close friends and family. She has used this ability to create two different star actress identities for herself: Sharon Vineyard and Chris Vineyard, which serve as her public faces and give her mobility and access to events exclusive to the rich and famous.
Her disguise ability was first shown in the episode 230 (The Mysterious Passenger), when she was shown dressed as a waiter, provoking both Gin and Vodka.
Shinichi's mother, Yukiko also used to study with Toichi Kuroba. By her own admission, her disguise ability is not quite as good as Vermouth's and Kaito's, but is portrayed far more true to life than either of the two. She is capable of making latex masks, but applying them typically takes hours. Her voice mimicry may also be fairly limited, and she tends to stick to women's voices, although she does regional accents quite well. She often prefers a simple wig, hat, and altered voice combination which is easily seen through by her son.
List of Cases involving a disguise
This list is currently incomplete. For long term or repeatedly used disguises, the first instance of use will be mentioned i.e (Conan's bowtie, Vermouth's Araide)
The Kidnapping of a Company President's Daughter Case (Manga: 2-5, Anime: 2)
- Conan Edogawa - Glasses: Used to make his face less recognizable. The original pair of glasses Conan used (before receiving the Criminal Tracking Glasses from Professor Agasa) belonged to his father, Yusaku Kudo. Because the glasses used prescription lenses, Conan popped the lenses out before wearing them when seeing Ran the first time in his shrunken body. The lack of lenses in the glasses goes unnoticed by other characters.
An Idol's Locked Room Murder Case (Manga: 6-9, Anime: 3)
- Yoko Okino - Hat: to make her face less recognizable
- Conan Edogawa - Voice-Changing Bowtie: to copy Kogoro and Shinichi's voice. This is a very often recurring method Conan uses to impersonate others.
Aka Oni Mura Fire Festival Murder Case (Manga: 10-12, Anime: 38)
- Negishi Masaki impersonator - Hat, Sunglasses, Coat: He was paid by Negishi Masaki's murderer to impersonate the victim to give the killer an alibi. Disguise foiled by being oppositely handed of the real Negishi Masaki.
The Strange Person Hunt Murder Case (Manga: 13-16, Anime 13, 128)
- Akemi Miyano - Makeup, Glasses, School Uniform, Hairstyle: Used to make herself look younger. Disguise foiled by imperfect application when used a second time.
Detective Conan vs. real world disguiseEdit
Detective Conan ignores the limitations of real world disguises, and many of the abilities shown by disguise artists like Vermouth or Kaito Kid are impossible. In the real world, trying to impersonate other people is fairly difficult; the more complicated a disguise is and the longer it is used, the more likely it is to fail.
Creating a latex facial mask to imitate someone's face is possible in real life, but it takes on the order of hours to prepare and apply accurately and requires having a good model of the face in question. In Detective Conan, Kaitou Kid puts on masks in seconds, which is improbable when perfection is required. Latex mask application is more realistic in Yukiko's case, who had 7 hours of time to dress Heiji and Conan.
While disguise characters in Detective Conan are portrayed as having limitlessly flexible voices, voice mimicry is extremely difficult. Would be voice copiers typically run up against the physical range of one's voice; men cannot reach higher octaves while women struggle with low voices. Also it is extremely difficult to mimic voices in general even with practice, especially arbitrary voices. Accents greatly add to the errors one can make. Again, Yukiko seems to be a fairly accurate portrayal of an extremely good real life voice changer: preferring to create new voices rather than imitate others which is more believable while also apparently limited in her range to women.
Ignoring latex masks, other disguises which change one's body shape are somewhat realistic in Detective Conan, although the speed at which they are applied stretches the bounds of reality. Carefully placed padding and custom fit clothing are certainly possible, as are disguised platform shoes to add height. Quick change is also possible in real life, although it may be difficult to disguise the tearaway clothes as normal clothes under scrutiny.