Ongoing Investigations: Case #132July 22, 2011
Broken Blade‘s 5th movie really takes the series down a notch I am sad to say. The focus of the film is Girghe a lot, a character who as far as I’m concerned has no soul in their design. Perhaps this movie was trying to fix that impression, but it doesn’t work and the “reasoning” behind his past seemed like a cop-out full of holes. I just refuse to feel for the guy and I think they really wanted me to change my mind. While Girghe is acting crazy, Rygart isn’t helping the situation. They decide the best time for a vendetta fight (which they are having because why again?) is right in the middle of a major mission. Probably the only redeeming scene in the entire movie is the fight between Brocuse and Rygart, looks amazing, just try to forget why it is happening and why it ends the way it does. This is the problem with most of the film, it isn’t well put together and thus you start questioning why anything is happening the way it is.
Sadly since the defeat of Zess the Broken Blade series has not been nearly as strong as is started. Rygart just seems to lose a lot of strength as a lead character as he seems way too interested in dealing with Girghe but not nearly as invested in doing anything else as he should. And Girghe just comes off as an unrepentant and unlikeable psychopath despite them trying to soften him up during the movie. I think they want him to be the dark mirror to Rygart’s noble intentions but he just comes off as a big waste of time. Their last confrontation actually annoyed me. I don’t see why Rygart would waste time with his theatrics when everyone else is getting slaughtered. General Borcuse on the other hand as at least a little more subtle in his villainy. He sometimes twirls his mustachio but at least I can understand being a completely wretched human to your enemy on the battlefield. The dehumanizing effects of being a solider can do that to a man. Also his fight with Rygart was pretty good which was the highlight of the movie. Hodr and Sigyn mostly seem to show up in this movie to wishfully wonder how Rygart is doing. And Sigyn has to have more slumber part-time with the POW Cleo. I had such high hopes for Broken Blade. It started off so well but it seems to have sadly lost its focus.
Winnie the Pooh has made it back to the big screen and despite Disney’s lack of marketing push for it, is a real treasure. Delightful could probably sum up this movie. From the moment they show the real-life stuff animals to the final closing of the book, Winnie the Pooh is charming. Set in the Hundred Acre Wood (where else?) it is about Pooh and company’s adventure to find Eeyore a new tail, to trap a monster called a Bakson, and of course the pursuit of honey. Characters are spot on while adding new touches here and there along with a wide ranger of humor including things like an Indiana Jones reference. The animation created a lot of character in the film, but of course I’m completely bias to 2D. Winnie the Pooh’s latest on screen creation is classic but modern and while it has been said in almost every review I’ve read, it bears repeating that it really does remind you of childhood. Also nice ending credits that kept you watching all the way to the Easter egg at the very end.
Toradora! volume 2 continues to reinforce my overall feeling on the manga adaptation since volume 1. The book starts with Taiga going on a mini rampage to clear up the misunderstanding that Ryuji and her are going out. But then Taiga goes in a completely unexpected direction in a romantic comedy by confessing her romantic feelings to the person she cares for. While her confession to Yusaku does not goes 100% smoothly, it actually happens, which is so rare in a series like this. After the fall out of Taiga’s confession we get a bit of a breakthrough in the Taiga and Ryuji friendship with them becoming closer to equals. The volume ends with the introduction of fan favorite two-faced model Ami Kawashima as a spanner in the works. We don’t see that much of her but she makes a distinct impression. In the anime Ami starts out as a rather unlikable character but she slowly grows on the reviewer as she grows as a character. It is not an easy transition to make as I never fully liked Ami but I like the changes they made in her character. I wonder how well the manga can pull off that transformation of her character. After the second volume I did notice the manga is far better at adapting the emotional scenes than the comedic scenes. The comedic moments just don’t come off as strongly in the manga. It is still an enjoyable manga. Toradora is one of the best shonen romance series I can think of in modern memory. It just fails to reach the comedic highs of the anime.
Saw Captain America: The First Avenger today which was a great way to avoid 100 degree weather! I’ll start off by saying that I know very little about Cap besides his very basic origin; he is a character I’ve read about peripherally but have never picked up his solo comics. This movie takes us through Steve Roger’s days becoming and being Captain America during WWII then right up to his reappearance in the present day. While Steve is a super American soldier, his foes Hydra and their leader the Red Skull are basically super Nazis. They do a good job of cultivating the big heart that Steve has and how that makes him a great man and superhero. The rest of the cast is memorable as well, I personally enjoyed Howard Stark a great deal. There is tons of action plus explosions, a little humor, and a bit of romance; I even felt a bit teary-eyed near the end. Of course they drop some lines for the comic fans, like Bucky saying to Steve that he felt like he was in a nightmare where he was becoming him. I was surprised to see so many people leaving before the credits were over, come on people don’t you know the drill by now? All in all a fun and entertaining movie!
In my continuing journey with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure I read through part 4 also know as Diamond is Unbreakable. I think it is slightly apparent that Hirohiko Araki had only seriously plotted out the first three parts of the series. With Dio finally defeated it would appear the story would be over. But Araki does a good job for continuing the series in a way that is still entertaining. Josuke Higashikata is a likeable enough chap as the new Jojo protagonist although Jotaro still appears enough to be a hook for fans of Part III. They spend most of their time running around fighting the random stand user of the week but the battles are still innovative and smart. The story only really comes into its own when Yoshikage Kira comes along as the main antagonist. Then it becomes much more of a thriller and a detective story so I was pleased. Rohan Kishibe was without a doubt the oddest character in this chapter. As a genius manga artist Rohan is clearly a bit of a Mary Sue. But at the same time he is enough of a total jerk to show that Araki has a sense of humor about himself. The story wanders a bit more than it’s tighter predecessors but it is still fun, weird, and exciting. I must say that the translation on this part is just plain AWFUL. The grammar is horrible, names change from chapter to chapter, whole panels are often are untranslated, and the clean up work is often nonexistent. Since Viz has seemingly given up on the series beyond Stardust Crusaders I would consider it a favor if any group would go back and redo those translations. Theoretically the best thing would be for someone to license the other parts of Jojo’s but I have a feeling Viz will never continue the series and at the same time not give the rights to anyone else.