Ongoing Investigations: Case #169May 11, 2012
In a most unexpected turn of events the Master Keaton manga returns to the pages of Big Comic Original in the form of Master Keaton Remaster. I guess at least some of the rights issues around the original manga have been cleared up because I know for awhile the original manga series was quite expensive due to it being out of print. But now Taichi Hiraga-Keaton is back! He is still an amusing mixture of a loveable loser and an amazingly competent superman all in one package. The series starts not long after the end of the original manga. Keaton is notably more entrenched in his academic career after his recent archeological discovery. But just when he thought he was out of the insurance game for good it draws him back in for what he is told will be one last job.
Of course this being Master Keaton we know that will not be the case. Soon he is investigating ruins, redeeming the honor of a man in a coma, and fighting slaver traders. All for one insurance case. It has all the mature elements that you expect from this manga. The story has a well researched history, a steamy underworld, and characters that show their complexity even if we only know them for a chapter or two. There is rape and sex slave traffic but there is nothing graphic or salacious. It just happens to be a story with the disgusting parts of the sex trade as a piece of it. All the bite of an adult story with none of the guilt.
One of the most interesting parts of any Master Keaton story is the fact that Taichi usually comes is for the climax of a story. He is presented with a case, does a good deal of research to find out what is going on, arrives at the critical moment during the ongoing story to help someone out, and then leaves before the falling action is over. This could be amazingly frustrating if done poorly but Naoki Urasawa does this in a way that merely makes you feel like the stories are and organic part of the world. Taichi does his part, and then leaves, and that is all we see. But we get enough of the story from Taichi’s perspective that it always feels satisfying.
I’m am really glad to see the manga running again. Master Keaton is some of the best bite sized seinen you can find. Hopefully they will work in his daughter soon as she is always a refreshing character. Maybe this renaissance of the series will help get both parts licensed for English. That would be masterful.
I watched the first two episodes of Motorcity, a new Disney DX animated series. It showed a lot of promise and sported some cool animation.
The story revolves around a futuristic Detroit with two levels to the city; the old, underground, and free area known as Motocity; and the modern, controlled, upper Deluxe.
Mike leads a group of car fanatic rebels known as the Burners who are trying to bring down the leader of Deluxe. Mike is pretty interesting as he isn’t a kid, but a 17-year-old who was once being groomed by Deluxe’s leader. Now having defected, he is putting all his skills and some sweet modded cars to use.
Also of interest is Jules a resident of Deluxe who is actually helping them secretly. And she just happens to be the daughter of Deluxe’s dictator. But even the rest of the Burners and Mike don’t know that about her.
Both episodes revolved around some sort of threat being sent down to Motorcity. There was lots of cool machinery and robots and whathaveyou to keep things interesting.
These were great episodes and I can’t wait to continue. Definitely something I’m going to attempt to keep up with. The episodes are streaming on Disney DX’s website so far.
I finally decided to sit down and finish up Guilty Crown. Oh boy. This anime’s bus for crazy town clearly had a bomb planted on it by Dennis Hopper and therefore could not go below 50 miles per hour or everyone on board would have died. It is best summed up by the fact that during the final assault on the massive enemy strong hold the remaining heroes are all in either massive mecha or armored personal carriers. And then the main character is on a segway. That is the logic that constantly propels Guilty Crown forward. And it is all done with complete earnest. None of this is The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra style of being goofy on purpose. It is done straight faced because everyone thinks they are doing Shakespeare. And that gives it a bizarre charm. But never mistake that for honest ability.
Not that all of that crazy means that everyone makes it out of Guilty Crown alive. Near the end we get to some Zeta Gundam levels of character death. Main and secondary character start dropping like flies. In fact I was somewhat shocked that they ended on such a downer of an ending. It is hardly Space Runaway Ideon but you could not call it a happy ending either. Certain characters who you would assume have plot armor are actually quite vulnerable and most everyone who lives does so at the cost of a great sacrifice. I will say that Segai could not die quickly enough. When he finally was removed from the board it was a blessing. I was surprised another bad guy got off complete scot-free without so much as a slap on the wrist. Still there is no “boy gets girl and lives happily ever after” ending.
I can’t say that I would recommend Guilty Crown. Most of the reason I enjoyed watch it was how silly it was. It is a great show to watch with some sort of I Don’t Even crowd or for a few nights of personal MST3K but beyond that is is pretty lame.
I started watching the second season of the Story of Saiunkoku. The first season was incredibly strong so it is a hard act to follow. And so far this new part of the story (eps. 1-8) isn’t holding up very well.
It may just be the animations obvious quality drop that is stopping it from being as dynamic. Characters expressions are awkward, timing is often slightly off, and there is tons of talking without anything going on.
Despite that, the last few episodes have had some interesting developments including finally getting the story behind Eigetsu’s dual personality. We’re also learning a bit more about Shurei’s father’s past and his split with the Hong family.
For the love of Oyashiro-sama please stop making any more Higurashi anime. The original story was magnificent. The Rei OAVs added some additional clarification of story points while telling a compelling gaiden story. There were even 2 hysterical comedy stories. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira 3 and 4 on the other hand just continue the trend of horrible Kira episodes. When you do a Mion and Keiichi story that I have absolutely no interest in then you are clearly doing something terribly wrong. They are just the same jokes from earlier arcs only done without any spirit. I know the Higurashi characters are popular. I love them too. With all the tragedy and redemption they go through it is hard not to love them. But it is time to let them go. There story is over. There is no more to tell. It ended on a great note. Let us remember the good times we had together and not try and milk anymore from this setting.
Vol. 31 of Kekkaishi is exactly what every training transition should be. Yoshimori is learning new techniques from a really surprising source and the audience is seeing all these new complexities to the story thanks to this additional character. Also Tokine is also training; it is a great relief she will be working towards something in these final volumes and not just showing up at the end.
The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.