Ongoing Investigations: Case #137September 9, 2011
I finished up Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 6, with volume 7-17, over the course of this week. When I got into the meat of the story the chapters just flew by. At first I thought that Jolyne and company would break out of prison fairly quickly but in all actuality they spend a good deal of time inside the big house. Of course with any prison story you must have a big break out and as with any Jojo’s story post part 2 it means there will be a stand battle. Oddly enough Jolyne’s escape is more Memento than The Great Escape. The most surprising part of this arc is who lives and who dies in this part of the series. Jojo’s is pretty good at not flinching when it comes to killing characters. Heroes and villains die with equal ease. After Hirohiko Araki kills the protagonist after part 1 you assume all bets are off but Stone Ocean takes it to a new level. You have to give it to Enrico Pucci for being the most credible villains since Dio (not than anyone has come off as a pushover before then). Foo Fighters has easily become my favorite character in the series so far. Jojo’s is a series with some very strange characters but Foo Fighters is near the top of the list. She is great fun and another awesome supporting character in a line of greats for the series. This is a grand and glorious ending the what can be seen as a complete cycle of the series. After this part the universe is literally different and completely new doors have opened up for story possibilities. I did have some revelations about the series after this part and might just do a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure survival guide article filled with tips on how to survive in the Jojo’s universe by being genre savvy.
I’ve been enjoying Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth (eps. 2-7) probably for its setting more than anything else. But still it has small enjoyable moments as bits of French culture are revealed through Yune’s experience. I wasn’t expecting a wacky princess character like Alice to show up, but probably more intriguing is her sister Camille. Her connection with Claude has yet to be fully realized but I’m very curious. Doubly so because I expected there would be a romance in the works between Claude and Yune but that may prove false.
And I have finally reached Steel Ball Run or Jojo’s Part 7 aka the part that made me NEED to read the series. So far this first 6 volumes have lived up to my expectations and then exceeded them. With a whole multiverse opened up at the end of Part 6 the story can now jump to any alternate universe and still be tied into the overall story. The Joestar family is now so powerful that no mere single reality can hold their tale. Steel Ball Run is again a period piece after the last few stories have been fairly contemporary. Steel Ball Run proves that Hirohiko Araki loves to make each part distinct as this story is about a horseback race much like a deadly Cannonball Run (and similarities in name between the two cannot be an accident). Johnny Joestar in an unusual protagonist in that he is paralyzed from the waist down which adds an interesting dynamic him as a main character even if he spends most of his time on horseback. He is joined by Gyro Zeppeli and being a Zeppeli family member I can already see the grim reaper circling around his character. Along side our protagonists we also see several other characters who are similar to previous characters from earlier parts. But people have different personalities, new powers, and sometimes villains have become heroes and vice versa. Dio Brando is back and of course he is a villain but his Stand is new and cool in its own way. I do have to complement Araki on his pacing abilities. He seems to have seamlessly switched from weekly to monthly without losing any impact and makes sure that the race is always exiting. When ever they get to check point it is just as exciting as when they are fighting for their lives using stand powers. Jojo’s why are you SO GOOD?
Picked up New Avengers vol. 10 where Doctor Strange and consequently the (current outlaw) Avengers end up tracking down the new Sorcerer Supreme. I know change is good, but it is Doc Strange, I can’t picture him not as the head honcho. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it, he hasn’t lost his awesome magical prowess totally. This along with a battle with The Hood takes up the bulk of the trade. Other parts deal with the Avengers as a group in a world where Norman Osborne rules. I was surprised to see Clint take a leadership role. Then got some good laughs as Peter reveals his identity to everyone and it just so happens Jessica has a connection with his past. The volume ends with Loki plotting.
In my quest to watch all of the Precure franchise I have made it to the first 20 episodes of Pretty Cure Max Heart. After the mega downer ending of the first part they are quick to get things on a slightly cheery note because any more down and we would be heading into Madoka territory. The Dark King is dead but pieces of him are trying to resurrect. The Queen of the Garden of Light was also badly injured so she split herself into pieces to try to heal herself. So now Nagisa and Honoka have to gather up all of the Queen before the Dark King can come back to life. There is new girl who is a piece of the queen named Hikari Kujo who is a new Cure named Shiny Luminous. She is mainly a support character who rarely directly fights and mostly makes shields and powers up the other two girls. So feels so very different from the really active Nagisa and Honoka who are throwing kicks and punches all the time. She also is a very ethereal character at the start. She pretty much springs into being as almost a blank slate and seems to be more mysteriousness than have an actual personality. Thankfully as the series goes on they have been writing her an increasingly more personable and she seems to be developing a personality as she learns to be human. But she can really hard to get attached to in the beginning. I am curious to see how much the develop her as the series goes on.
I picked up two blindboxes from Disney’s Vinylmation Robots Series. If you are unfamiliar with Vinylmation they are very similar to Bearbricks; one basic shape with different skins designed over it. I had stayed away from these, but the robos were too tempting. I like the vintage futuristic feel to them and they don’t seem limited by the shape as some of the other series do. They have a bit of weight to them which is nice. They are only 3-inches tall, I think they might look better at 4 or 5. A fun series but I probably won’t pick up another blindbox though wouldn’t mind tracking down some of the individual ones.