Ongoing Investigations: Case #094August 13, 2010
From the first episode Durarara!! seemed to say “watch me” and watch I did, even when I wasn’t sure how I felt about the show. And I ended up enjoying it at the beginning, but a weak second half marred Durarara!! making me wish it had ended on its 12th episode. Eventhough the story of Celty’s head and the gang wars in Ikebukuro are connected through the characters, the characters whose stories come to light in the later half can’t stand up to the ones highlighted in the first. They just plain aren’t as interesting. I’m sorry if this is coming off rather vague, but without throwing out spoilers it’s the best I can do. In fact, what Durarara!! did best was surprise me with many of the reveals throughout. It had a good sense of timing and suspense and, of course, the atmosphere was thoroughly brought to life. But I felt the atmosphere and story were leading and not the characters. But if they decide to spin-off Celty and Shizuo into a crime-fighting team anime, I’d be down.
Durarara!! finished and it seemed to have the audience divided on their reaction. While I do not think the second half was a strong as the first I did not take to it as poorly as other people did. I think the main problem with the series is the first light novel hooks you into this supernatural world mixed with the everyday life in Ikebukuro. The second light novel is content to deal with some of the more mundane characters which took out some of the flair that the first half had. While I felt we had to start dealing with the high school trio they could have had some stronger B plots along side that to liven things up. The other main problem was they introduced characters that were the light novel but do little to nothing in the anime. Shinra’s dad and the motorcycle cop don’t really do much especially considering how much screen time they got. I assume they were in the light novels and introduced at the time in as setup for later novels. But unless they make another season they come off as extremely superfluous. I would rather they cut their scenes and work more on what they had already. Despite all of that I enjoyed the series. I am curious to know what happens in the later books. Izaya clearly has more up his sleeves, we never really learned anything solid about Simon, and of course more Celty and Shizuo is always welcome. Considering how horrible the light novel market has been the only hope of seeing later novels is if the make a sequel.
As I continue to watch Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated episodes 3 and 4 show improvement after a somewhat disappointing second installment. In episode 3 we are treated to some great chase scenes as a flaming big-rig begins terrorizing a stretch of road in Crystal Cove. This episode also helps establish the sort of parody aspects of the show as the townspeople as well as Fred’s dad the Mayor lament the Scooby gang solving the case and ridding Crystal Cove of a new ghostly tourist attraction. The following episode featuring a giant crab monster is a bit more difficult to solve than the other mysteries so far. But the real shining moments of this episode are further clues about Mr. E and his connections in town. They are really setting a nice, underlying suspense to the ongoing mystery of Crystal Cove.
Working!! never crossed that barrier from decent comedy show to really good comedy show despite it’s potential. I enjoyed the fact that the show took place at a restaurant instead of at a school. This gave you a mixture of the student characters and the older characters. The main problem with the show has always been about and always will be about Mahiru Inami. You either find her androphobia amusing or it makes you want to throw the show in a bonfire. All the other characters will rise and fall in importance but she essentially becomes the lead female character. They even mention this in the last episode preview by noting how little screen time Poplar has gotten. Despite going through some growth through the season no one who disliked her at the start will find that she is any more likable. Aoi Yamada gets introduce half way through the show and all I can say is she is an odd character. I’m not sure what I thought of her. They also introduce Maya Matsumoto in the last half of the last episode seemingly just to introduce her. I assume she appears more later in the manga but it was still strange time to introduce a character who has been in the opening since the beginning. I had fun with the show and don’t regret watching it but it was an extremely disposable comedy. I would not dissuade people from watching it (unless they are the type that would dislike Inami) but it would never be the first series that come to mind for me to recommend as well.
In Brain Camp, a new release from First Second, we are introduced to underachievers Jenna and Lucas who are sent off to a camp that promises to mold them into ideal children. But sinister things are going on as campers are disappearing and some strange bird-like men seem to be afoot. One crux of the story is either being able to relate or atleast like Jenna and/or Lucas but they aren’t particularly well fleshed-out and neither is their eventual romance. The incidents and story are a bit stiff and the final revelations and climax aren’t particularly engaging. Bit of a dud minus the vibrant artwork.
Considering that Fist of the North Star: Legend of the True Savior – Legend of Raoh is billed as a Raoh movie I noticed that most of the movie centered around Kenshiro’s fight with Souther. It was nice to see that fight with theatrical animation but I was expecting to see something more along the lines of Legend of the Dark King. The movie does use it’s time with Raoh to explain what happens with Reina and Souga as to connect Legend of the Dark King with the main series. It is an excellent end note to the gaiden TV series in that fashion. Although if you think about it everyone still continues to seemly forget to ever mention Raoh greatest childhood friends and most ardent supporters despite continually interacting with them in this movie. It is worth sitting down and watching if you need a quick but solid fix of Hokuto no Ken goodness but nothing that you should lose sleep or missing or putting off.
Who else but Shizuo would I use when talking about DRRR!! ?