Ongoing Investigations: Case #119March 25, 2011
The last episode Gundam Unicorn left us with not so much a cliff hanger as a short pause before the crescendo that is the battle that opens up The Ghost of Laplace. While we get some conversation and character moments this episode is mostly a series of battles. Thankfully these battles are story relevant as opposed to lovely but time-wasting mecha porn filler. The battles are as engaging as they have been in the past although we don’t get much action out of Full Frontal. He mainly seems to be doing the Char the Manipulator not Char the Action Rival shtick this episode. We learn quite a bit about Marida Cruz and how she ties into previous Gundam material. We also get some mandatory Newtype nudity and trippyness as is a UC Gundam tradition. I did realize at the end of the episode that my Snarky Reductionist Theater title for the show would be Mobile Suit Gundam: National Treasure. It seems the main plot shall be Banagher Links pretending to be a calm version of Nicolas Cage as he goes around the historical sites of the Gundam universe solving puzzles that will unlock Laplace’s Box as he is chased by agents of various secret societies. The end of this episode will seem VERY familiar to anyone who has seen a good deal of Universal Century Gundam but it continues the tradition of getting the audience excited for the next episode of Unicorn which is important in an OVA series like this.
I watched the short animation Out of Sight from Taiwan by recommendation from Twitter. It features a little girl whose bag is stolen, her dog then chases down the thief leaving the girl on her own searching the city for him. This is a brilliant piece of work incorporating all five senses in order bring the world to life. The design is stand-out while the little girl wanders the city as it comes in and out of focus. Beautiful, sweet, excellent.
Princess Tutu ends loud and strong as it should with an emotional climax as well as a full exploration of the themes of the show. The series wisely knows how to pace itself as it slowly removes the comedy elements so that the change does not come off as a sudden tonal shift. Included in this shift are some darker elements than what had come before including the revelation of a murderous secret society within the town. Princess Tutu also wisely changes the formula of the show half way through so it is not the same heart shard hunting that it was in the first half. The ending seems very quick but maybe because I was on the edge of my seat because of what had built up to it before hand. No matter how quickly it ended the show made sure to tie up all the major loose threads and have a satisfying conclusion. I really do think this is a series that everyone should who likes deconstruction and is fascinated by stories about storytelling. On top of it all I was highly amused that Drosselmeyer is the essence of who we are complaining about in a previous article. It is a show that very unique and will be mentioned as a hidden gem for years to come.
The Switch OVA like so many others assumes that you have read at least a little of the manga. This is a story that happens in the middle and even the signature “switch” doesn’t occur in these two episodes. Or rather it isn’t obvious that it happens I should say. This is fine for me, but it is worth noting to anyone unfamiliar. The case for the OVA involves a botanical center that is involved in producing a drug from Hal and Kai’s latest case. As Hal infiltrates the drug dealer’s gang, Kai begins working undercover at the gardens. As per usual Kai trusts way too much and gets in over his head. The final scenes are really tense and the story finishes open-ended.
The 8th Kara no Kyoukai movie is an epilogue that came with Blu-Ray box set. It is clearly an epilogue only for hardcore Nasu fans as it is a half an hour conversation between Mikiya and Shiki’s hidden third personality as they discuss Shiki’s powers. They mostly tie up some of the philosophical threads as well as some of the minor plot elements as well. It is well animated as they have their little conversation in the snow with some beautiful backgrounds and CG snow effects but all in all it is just a half an hour of two people chatting under a street light. There is absolutely no action and there is a whole bunch of navel gazing. I enjoyed it immensely because I am an odd human being but it quite easily could be the most mind numbing part of the series to anyone else. If you found yourself yawning during any of the explanations of magical systems and philosophy during previous movies you can easily skip this part and be none the worse for the wear. Considering that this did reasonably well they could always animate the Gospel in the Future bonus story as well but I would not hold my breath for that. If it end here I will be satisfied. They have gone above and beyond.
I rewatched the first episode of Neuro: Supernatural Detective since VIZ started streaming the series recently. It features Neuro a demon who eats mysteries. He has come to the human world because none of the demon world puzzles satisfying him anymore. In order to find great mysteries he strikes a bargain with Yako to use her as a genius child detective while trying to solve a mystery of her past. It was a nice refresher on just how insane the series is; it is truly a mash-up of crazy shonen with mystery. But don’t expect to be solving any of the cases here, they tend not to show you all the clues, but the ridiculousness of the show makes up for it.
Will this be the last time we mention Ryougi Shiki in an Ongoing Investigation? Not if I can help it!