Points to similar physiques, fashion, and “douchebaggy” facial expressions as evidence.

Between 1982 and 1993, if you said the word “Conan” to most people, their brains would immediately tack on “the Barbarian,” completing the title of the Arnold Schwarzenegger fantasy action film. But as the ‘90s went on, for English speakers the mental fill-in shifted to “O’Brien,” as Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show hit it big.

But though the American comedian has built up an international fanbase over the years, he recently learned that in Japan, he’s at best a distant second on the list of “most famous Conans,” since that title is firmly in the hands of Conan Edogawa, the star of immensely popular anime/manga franchise Detective Conan.

O’Brien isn’t happy about his second-place status, and during a recent episode of his TV show he directly addressed the issue.

“Detective Conan was created in 1994. What a coincidence. That’s the year after I went on the air, “ the irritated O’Brien says in the video, in which he lays out his case that the character is just an anime copy of him. “Like me, Japanese Conan has long, skinny legs. He has distinctive hair, he always wears a suit, spends all day asking people questions, and is extremely cartoonish,” he explains, frequently pointing fun at his own penchant for immature silliness by reminding the audience of another similarity between the fictional character and himself: that Detective Conan is “a man trapped in a child’s body.”

O’Brien’s exasperation only grows as he delves deeper into the Detective Conan cultural phenomenon. While he’s jealous of the fact that Japan has had Conan cafes, what seems to hurt the most is when he says “This really blew my mind, and it’s absolutely true, [there’s] an actual city [in Japan] that’s been renamed Conan Town.”

Actually, the Tottori Prefecture town’s name is still officially Hokuei. Since it’s the birthplace of Detective Conan manga creator Gosho Aoyama, though, it does have several salutes to the series that attract visitors, such as a statue of the pint-sized sleuth…but even that rubs O’Brien the wrong way, as he laments the way the Conan statue is “making the same kind of douche baggy expression that I’ve been doing for years.”

In the end, though, O’Brien’s anger can possibly be appeased. “I’m a reasonable person,” he calmly says, “and I think we can make this whole ugly business go away for several trillion yen. In fact, to be specific, I think three trillion yen would be appropriate,” he decides, before flashing an address onscreen where the Detective Conan rights holders can mail him a check.

If it wasn’t already obvious, the fact that he’s casually asking for the equivalent of US$27 billion is a clear sign that O’Brien isn’t seriously claiming that Detective Conan is ripping him off. And as fans of the anime already know, Conan Edogawa gets his first name from Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, who, being born in 1859 and having made his literary debut in 1888, has significant seniority on both the comedian and anime star (Conan Edogawa’s last name, meanwhile, comes from Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Ranpo).

It’s actually a little surprising that O’Brien is only now learning of, or at least talking about, Detective Conan. Maybe it slipped under his radar due to the series being renamed Case Closed for its U.S. release. In any case, a visit to Hokuei seems like a natural part of the itinerary if and when O’Brien comes to Japan for one of his remote segments, and if you’re reading this, American Conan, we’d be happy to show you around Tokyo (and if anime Conan is reading this, we’re happy to show you around the real world).

Source: YouTube/Team Coco via Anime News Network/Lynzee Loveridge
Images: YouTube/Team Coco