Akai faked his death theory
At the end of Clash of Red and Black, Shuichi Akai appears to have been killed by Rena Mizunashi. One of the most popular fan theories is that Akai faked his death with Rena Mizunashi's and Conan's help. This theory article compiles clues and logical arguments that some fans believe show how Akai could have plausibly faked his death.
The basic summary of the plan to fake Shuichi Akai's death is that Rena Mizunashi will meet Akai and will pretend to shoot him. To make it look realistic, blank cartridges and blood packets with small detonators will be used. Akai will pretend to die and fall down in the truck. When Rena is fiddling with the small bomb, Akai places Rikumichi Kusuda's body in his place. He exits the truck when Kir leaves. Meanwhile Jodie Starling will have the one of Conan's two cellphones that has Rikumichi's fingerprints on it. She will think they are Akai's and when she goes to validate the identity of the body with the police, it will match Rikumichi's fingerprints and she will be fooled into thinking Akai died.
After the events of Clash of Red and Black, Gin is suspicious of how easy it was to recover Rena Mizunashi from the FBI and that Shuichi Akai didn't make a strong move. Gin thinks Akai is still hiding something and that doubt is relayed to the boss who plans a test of Kir's loyalty. Gin meets with Kir and conveys the boss's ultimatum: Kir must kill Akai in order to regain the Black Organization's trust. Akai and Kir meet at Raiha pass where Rena shoots Akai twice and blows up the truck with his body inside; however several abnormalities surrounding the circumstances of Akai's death invite the possibility that Akai faked his death with Conan and Mizunashi Rena's help.
 Initial Planning
After the death of Black Organization agent Rikumichi Kusuda, Shuichi Akai and Conan went to talk to Rena Mizunashi after getting Eisuke Hondou to "wake her up". They speak with her about sneaking her back into the Black Organization, received her promise to cooperate, and they began to formulate a plan on how to reimplant Rena without the Black Organization rejecting her. At that point, Akai figured that the return Rena plan would make the Black Organization's recovery of Rena seem suspiciously easy, so the Black Organization wouldn't trust Rena and would require her to do some task to regain the boss's trust. Akai, who has experience in the Black Organization and knows how they think, guessed the requested test of loyalty might be to kill him, so he decided to prepare appropriately to be safe. This would be the time frame when the plan to fake Akai's death was formulated.
At their disposal were three important articles: One is Rikumichi's body which will be used as Akai's body double. Presumably the FBI kept the body and the car for investigation because Inspector Megure, Detective Takagi, and the news say nothing about a body matching Rikumichi's description during the Shiranpuri case later. Both officers are in the homicide division, and they would probably be called to investigate any case involving a gunshot to the head, even if looked like a suicide. Akai or one of the following FBI agents either transferred the body to their vehicle or drove Rikumichi's car with the body in it to somewhere less conspicuous.
Items two and three are Conan's two identical phones, one with Rikumichi's fingerprints on it from when Conan got him to pick it up back when he was trying to determine which of three patients was the Black Organization operative. The phones will be used to trick the FBI later into thinking Rikumichi's fingerprints are Akai's.
 Conan and Akai's preparations: Setting up the phone trick and Akai's body double
In the hospital during the FBI planning meeting, Akai makes a show of taking Conan's phone (not the one with Rikumichi's fingerprints) with his RIGHT hand. It has to be his right hand because that's the one Rikumichi used to handle the phone, Akai would normally handle the phone with the other hand because he is left handed. Jodie has this scene imprinted in her head. Meanwhile, either Conan or Akai steals Jodie's phone and causes it to malfunction, perhaps by dropping it in water like Conan did to Rikumichi's, so Conan has the opportunity to loan Jodie the one with Rikumichi's fingerprints on it. Jodie will assume it was the one Akai handled and be fooled because Conan's phones are identical.
Sometime before Akai and Rena's meeting, Akai and Conan will abscond with and prepare Rikumichi's body to look somewhat like Akai. The time frame for this could be the night before the strategy meeting after the fake death plan was devised or after Rena was returned to the Black Organization but before she called to meet with Akai.
 Rena and Akai's preparations: Faking the gunshots for the camera
Before Rena is returned to the Black Organization, she and Akai discuss the timing and the location of the fake gunshots. They decide on the lung and forehead for reasons explained later. Akai prepares fake blood packets, small detonators for those blood packets, a small remote to detonate them with, and protectors that go between the skin and the detonators. Rena takes blank cartridges, likely from the FBI or Yukiko, and hides them on her person since she will be under watch and may be searched by the Black Organization. She might carry a few different calibers for different models of handguns.
Similarly, on the Bell Tree Express, Yukiko brought a special vest for faking Shiho's death. The vest had several of the components that might have been necessary for faking Akai's death: a bullet-proof vest with a fake blood releasing contraption to make realistic looking gunshots. Yukiko may have been able to supply similar theatrical components to Akai and Kir before she was returned to the Organization the following day.
 Akai and Rena's meeting
With Akai, Kir, and Conan's prep work done, the FBI plan to return Rena with the vans takes place and Rena successfully returns to the Black Organization, and as predicted is tasked with killing Akai right away. Akai gets the expected call from Rena. He stops James Black from calling Jodie to prevent the other FBI from interfering with the plan. Akai heads out after loading Rikumichi's body in the backseat of his truck. His model truck probably has a backseat/extended cab because it has rear side windows. He could have also loaded Rikumichi's body in the bed of his truck which was covered and moved the body to the backseat when he reached Raiha pass before meeting Kir. Meanwhile, Conan passes the phone with Rikumichi's fingerprints off to Jodie.
 Blood packet placement and Akai's strange behavior while getting shot
When Rena goes to shoot Akai, Akai keeps his right hand in his pocket during the whole ordeal. That is unnatural, especially after having been shot once; it is more natural to have one hand cover the wound while putting the other in front to protect himself. Akai couldn't do that however, because he had to push the detonator for the blood packets. The shot to the head was above Akai's hat line which makes it possible for a fake blood packet to fit under there. As for the bleeding from the mouth, Akai could have bit open a small packet he was carrying inside his mouth or bit his tongue.
 Disappearing blood trails indicate Akai's body was switched out
After Rena shoots Akai and he falls down in the seat, Akai's face has a blood trail running down it; later after Rena planted the bomb, the lower half of Akai's face and his body is visible, yet the blood trail is gone. Akai's head is also positioned differently. There is no reason for Rena to wipe the blood off Akai's face, nor is she shown doing so. This is direct proof the body was somehow tampered with or switched by someone other than Kir. Furthermore, the body without the blood trail from the mouth has dimples at the corners of the mouth, something that Rikumichi has but Akai does not.
 Rena uses psychological traps to trick Gin
Rena used psychological traps to trick Gin into overlooking that she and Akai could have predicted enough details of the assassination plan to concoct a trick. Rena manipulates her conversations with Gin by suggesting possible courses of action and making requests which she already knows will definitely be rejected by him. These rejected requests subconsciously manipulate Gin into falsely assuming that Rena had wanted or planned on having things as she requested and had not anticipated his demands. The result is that Gin fallaciously believes that he was in control and Rena could not have plotted anything in advance.
The psychological trap was used when Gin told Rena how she was going to kill Akai. Rena suggested alternate options like Gin and company would surround Akai to shoot him, and that she would like some extra time to prepare - both requests Gin denied.
Additionally, Rena and Akai planned another psychological trap for Gin with the placement of the gunshots. Rena and Akai decided to pick a fatal- but not quickly so- lung shot for the site of the first “shot”. Rena will then say “that’s good enough, he will die quickly anyway”, but Gin will be sure to object and order her to finish him in the head where it’s certain. Rena will then deliver the coup de grâce that Gin ordered. Of course, Rena and Akai knew in advance Gin would ask for a headshot in these circumstances because Gin would not want to leave anything up to chance. The trap is forcing Gin ask for the shot specifically by himself because it is hard to escape from the fallacious thought that "this couldn’t be planned in advance because I alone specifically asked Kir to shoot Akai in the head with no forewarning."
 Conveniently timed police arrive which allows Akai and Kir to avoid additional scrutiny
After Rena delivers the shots, she is interrupted by police heading her way. They were probably called on purpose to force Gin to order Kir to leave and not examine things more closely. Kir walks over to the hood of Akai's truck to prepare the bomb which means the inside of the truck is not visible. Akai switches places with Rikumichi's body at this time. Kir places the bomb by the already switched body and leaves, which gives Akai more time to maneuver without the camera watching him. He left his phone in Rikumichi's pocket, and he also put the right hand of the body in the pocket as well to make sure Rikumichi’s right-hand fingerprints survive and can be tested later against Conan’s phone for a match to complete the trick. The bomb has the additional effect of destroying Rikumichi’s face and obscuring the powder burn from the self inflicted gunshot wound.
The identity of the accomplices who would have timed the accident is unclear at this point. Agasa and Conan were tied up with the Shiranpuri case at the time, so someone else must have been involved. The FBI we have met so far don't seem to know Akai faked his death, so it would have to be someone else whom Akai trusts. It is possible the assistants are the two people whom Akai asked to follow Yukiko and the Detective Boys in the movie pre-screening murder case.
 Conan checks his phone to see if the plan worked
After Jodie goes to the police to verify the fingerprints on the phone she borrowed from Conan match the body's prints, she returns his phone and Conan checks it right away. Conan notes the serial number is different which means that the police kept the original phone as evidence, and thus the plan was a success. The reason for Conan's inspection could be that should something not work out properly, the plan would change so that Rena really would kill Akai. If Akai really died, Rikumichi's fingerprints on the phone would not match the dead Akai's and the police would return Conan's original phone. Conan is relieved to see the police kept his phone as evidence and gave him a new phone meaning everything did go according to plan. Later when Eisuke tells Conan "it sounds like there is a heavy atmosphere over the FBI, like someone died," Conan smiles to himself and thinks "that is OK" because Conan knows the fake death plan succeeded.
 Akai keeps the plan secret from his FBI comrades to fool the Black Organization
The reason the other FBI, including Jodie, were left out of the fake death plan is the same reason why the FBI were also left out of the plan to return Rena with the three vans. Conan, Akai, and Rena needed everyone to react realistically to Akai's death. This wound up being a good idea because Vermouth checked out Jodie and James Black.
 Authorial device inspired arguments
Although not strictly "in-universe" evidence, inductive arguments can be made in light of Aoyama Gosho's recurring literary devices and authorial tendencies.
 No multi-case character has ever died in Detective Conan
Excluding than Akai's apparent death, Gosho Aoyama has never killed off any character who has been in more than one case, much less a protagonist. The closest situation was the flashback to the death of Jinpei Matsuda in "The Trembling Police Headquarters" arc, but it was stated he died at the outset. Gosho Aoyama has had 650 chapters to set a precedent.
 Raiha Pass is a reference to Reichenbach Falls
The place name Raiha Pass, the location where Akai supposedly died, is derived from Reichenbach Falls, the location where Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty apparently fell to their deaths at the end of The Final Problem. It is later revealed that Sherlock survived the fall, but decided to fake his own death and go into hiding in order to protect himself from Moriarty's henchmen.
 Problems with this theory
The gunshot in Rikumichi’s body is through his temple, but when Akai “died”, he received a gunshot directly to his forehead from the center. Also Rikumichi didn’t have a lung shot. The second shot could be added later post mortem, but the coroner might be able to tell even with the burning. Only Rena and the Black Organization know that Akai was shot from the front. Only the FBI, Conan, and possibly Rena if told later know that Rikumichi shot himself through the temple. If the Black Organization looked into the police report they might discover the discrepancy, but it is unlikely they would endanger their secrecy sniffing about a police investigation when they saw Akai killed in front of them. Note that the police never mentioned any specifics about the body; they just said there were a many mysteries about it.
The second and perhaps more serious problem is using blanks at a close range. Although blanks lack the bullet part, the weapon will still discharge a cloud of hot gas called muzzle blast that will burn at close range. Also, if the blank has a wad of paper of the like replacing the bullet or if there is shrapnel in the gun, it can be propelled out at high speed and be lethally driven into the body at close ranges. “Crimped blanks” exist which lack a potentially lethal wad, but that would not prevent the muzzle blast. It’s possible that Gosho Aoyama has ignored the actual dangers of blanks for dramatic license; however, the presence of a burn scar on Scar Akai's right side of the face could suggest muzzle blasts were actually considered (and if the theory about Scar Akai being another person in disguise is considered, it could also suggest the one preparing the disguise thinks Akai was shot with blanks, therefore having muzzle blast burns in the places where he was shot.)
 See also
- ^ Manga File 600 pg 7, All or nothing...
- ^ Volume 58
- ^ a b Manga Volume 51 File 11 page 14, The Fake Patient
- ^ Manga Volume 58 File 5 pg 10-11, Last Resort
- ^ a b c Manga Volume 58 file 10 pg 14, Camel's Past
- ^ Manga Volume 58 File 1 pg 14, Pursuit and...
- ^ Manga Volume 59 File 1 page 10, Wedge of Steel
- ^ Manga Volume 16 file 8
- ^ Manga Volume 78, File 6 (823), pg 11: "Mystery Train (Releasing Smoke)"
- ^ Manga Volume 58, File 9, pg 15: "Friday the 13th"
- ^ Manga Volume 58, File 10, pg 12: "Camel's Past"
- ^ a b Manga Volume 58, File 11, pg 11: "Spell of Magic"
- ^ Manga Volume 58, File 7, pg 3: "Older Sister and Younger Brother"
- ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pgs 2-4: "Wedge of Steel"
- ^ a b c Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 4: "Wedge of Steel"
- ^ a b c Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 5: "Wedge of Steel"
- ^ a b Manga Volume 58, File 10, pg 3: "Camel's Past"
- ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 2: "Wedge of Steel"
- ^ Manga Volume 67, File 6, pgs 2-3: "The Bomber's Aim"
- ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 6: "Wedge of Steel"
- ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 15: Wedge of Steel
- ^ Manga Volume 60, File 2, pg 16: Eisuke's Confession
- ^ Manga Volume 58, File 8, pg 4: Wedge of Steel
- ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 14: Wedge of Steel
- ^ Manga Volume 36 Files 5-11, Volume 37 File 1: Trembling Police Headquarters
- ^ Manga Volume 58 File 1 pg 16, Pursuit and...
- ^ Manga Volume 59, File 1, pg 12: Wedge of Steel