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Ongoing Investigations: Case #194

December 14, 2012

narutaki I read Love Attack vols. 1-6 which was released by TokyoPop a while back, sadly that is all they did before the company went under. It is a super not serious romantic comedy about “the scariest couple in high school” Chiemi and Hirata. They both have a tendency to punch first and ask questions later, these two rough-and-tumble characters fall in love after Chiemi flying kicks Hirata. Hirata was so overwhelmed by his love that he asks her out in the middle of class.

One thing that really stood out to me was these two actually have fights, knock-down drag-out “you are a freakin’ idiot” fights, which is definitely a rarity. Again, it isn’t super serious either so it adds a lot of comedy to them and those around them trying to get out their path of destruction.

Still, deep down they are a really sweet couple who are very much in love. Yeah, they are idiots but loveable idiots. Watching them get to know each other and grow closer bit by bit is really endearing and fun. Over the years of reading shojo, I’ve gotten more and more interested in series where the characters are dating as opposed to trying to come together right up until the end.

The obstacles in the series are totally insane and over the top from Chiemi’s father locking her in a cell so Hirata can prove he is man enough to take her back; to the latest pretty guy who tries to seduce Chiemi who subsequently kicks him so hard he flies into a wall rendering him unconscious and then she feels bad and cooks him dinner; everything has the volume turned up. All the misunderstandings that invariable come are handled quickly and usually with comedy and a face punch as opposed to dragged out sulking.

The support characters have also captured me as Chiemi’s best friend Yuka starts to fall for Hirata’s friend Ohno. When she rushes to tell Ohno her feelings and is thwarted, she realizes she doesn’t need to hurry because her feelings won’t change over night. She can stay close to Ohno and slowly open his heart. I’d read a manga just about these two.

It is a shame there is no more available in the States, but a group of scanlators have picked it up so I’m hoping I’ll be able to see it through to the end.

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For an upcoming episode of The Cockpit I stated watching Heavy Metal L-Gaim. It was a good choice as it takes me one step closer to my goal of watching all the Tomino shows. It began in 1984 so in terms of Tomino’s TV output it was right after the mega uplifting Aura Battler Dunbine and before the equally heartwarming Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (that was sarcasm for the uninformed). From the first episode it is clearly not as dark as the shows around it but I don’t think it is as lighthearted as say Xabungle as well.

I know that Method to Madness likes to count the minutes to the first panty shot when watching fan service shows. Well there is no count in L-Gaim. We open up in the first scene with Amu Fanneria’s underwear right in your face. This is a running theme in this episode. We don’t see her unmentionables in every scene she is in but they are hardly an unfamiliar sight by the end of the episode. As Twitter informed me this tends to be more of fan service show than you might expect.

Amu Fanneria starts being chased by some mecha but it is all a ruse. She is actually a honeypot that is sent out to be rescued as a damsel in distress so she can help steal equipment from the unlucky sap who recuses her. So the hornball Kyao Mirao and the more gentlemanly Daba Myroad get caught up in her trap as her bandit gang tries to steal their hover truck and mecha. But soon Amu decides to join up with Daba after seeing how handsome he is.

As is the Tomino way.

This is an unusual in-between from Tomino’s either deadly serious mecha show tragedies and his slapstick comedies. Any scene with Amu Fanneria is mostly played for laughs but there are also people dying after breaking their spines  and having their hands chopped off like it was a “Kill ‘Em All Tomino” show. I have yet to watch any Tomino show that started so clearly straddling his two normal modus operandi.

I’m also curious because this is the show that seems to have annoyed Mamoru Nagano enough for him to make The Five Star Stories (whose anime would annoy him enough to make Gothicmade). While the show has a very Tomino style it is also clear that Nagano created the characters and robots. The L-Gaim look like a AV-98 Ingram and a Mortar Headd had a baby. So I am curious how much Nagano has  a legitimate gripe about Tomino ruining his grand vision that he had for L-Gaim. As far as a I can tell his problems with the the Five Star Stories movie were mostly in his head. But Tomino can be very variable (to be kind) in his work so Nagano might have legitimate gripes.

Well episode one alone makes it a bit hard to judge the story. The overarching plot has yet to be fully introduced. Some story seeds have been dropped but until I am farther into what is going on I can’t make a good judgment on the show.

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.

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narutaki I finished up Toradora! with eps. 20-25. There were some really beautiful moments leading up to the end.

I really enjoyed the ending for 23 which felt like the audience had grabbed the reins, said enough is enough, no one is leaving this room til they admit the truth to themselves!

Then 24 really shocked me with a turn in the story that I wasn’t expecting, but it was deeply sweet with youthful spirit albeit unexpectedly naive. I really liked that Ryuji and Taiga recognized where happiness needed to come from and were able to access their own situations in order to put things right.

Toradora was a thoroughly satisfying romance that just wouldn’t let go of my heart. While I would have liked the last few moments of the series to be a bit more serious, I still felt food about how it ended. A highly recommended love story indeed.

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If anyone has been paying attention they might noticed Narutaki and I are starting a Dungeons and Dragons game next year. It will be a game with five players that have never played any extensive amount of table top role-playing games. One of the reasons I have always been the Type-Moon aficionado that I am is the silly amount of world building I do for my games which makes me appreciate the same in the Nasuverse. I usually throw a good deal of preparation to any campaign I run. But I have not run a full game in years.

So in preparation I send everyone a link to the The Spoony Experiments’ series of videos on role-playing called the Counter Monkey. It is a fairly useful series of videos of Noah Antwiler‘s stories from being a player character and storyteller in various table top games. Some videos are advice and some are stories with a general lessons about gaming in them. He does tend to ramble a bit. That makes it so none of his videos are less than a half an hour-long. He also plays with his dog. But that just makes the videos more interesting to Narutaki. Overall if you can get over listening to a single guy talk to the camera for that amount of time there are some great tips in there.

For player characters I suggest Getting Started with Roleplaying, The Bardic Knock Spell, and Don’t Be That Guy are great videos for anyone who wants to start playing. They give you a good guide to how to first get into games, then how to play creatively, and how to fight in general. While they won’t overcome not having any experience they are good foundations for learning quickly when you start. A solid base means that you will be playing smarter far sooner. For new game masters Getting Started with RoleplayingThe Prisoner Dilemma, and Dungeon Mastering a Great Game. Those videos have some great ideas to refine your GMing either to make games more interesting or making combat a bit more dynamic. All the entries are pretty good but those are they key videos with some of the best signal to noise ratios. Overall they are great to listen to while you’re doing something else you don’t really want to pay too much attention to.

Just in case you were wondering Narutaki and I plan to make a little middle of the week article or two on how the game goes if anyone is interested. I know we have several gamers who read the blog that might be interested.

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I’ve steadily been watching Kamisama Kiss (eps. 2-10) every week. It is the more off to the side shojo show of the season, but I’m enjoying immensely. It is the most flowery, sparkly one of them all.

The last few episodes have brought Nanami’s growing feelings of love to the forefront and she’s confronted them. At the same time we gotten to see how Tomoe’s long past brought him to be a familiar and why he fears Nanami’s love. I’m really rooting for these two and feel my heart break for each of them at different moments.

As a side note, the opening song for this show always gets stuck in my head!

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 Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions has been chugging along quite nicely. My roommate and I are near the end of the show watching episode 5 through 11. The show has made a major tonal shift from how it started in the beginning.

Two random notes before I go into my thoughts. I am surprised how much the anime added to the original book. It seems that half of the characters in the anime are totally anime original. I am also just curious how many reader want to drown Sanae Dekomori in a river and how many actually like her. She seems to be a very “decisive” character.

As I mentioned the last time the series started out fairly light as they explored Rikka and her silly life of getting way to caught up in her fantasy world. But as the series goes on we see why exactly she has retreated into this land of delusion. The extremely random loss of her father was a major blow she could just not process so she has wrapped herself in a world that makes sense to her. As the series goes on her burgeoning romance with Yuta and changes in her life make her drop her fantasy persona cold turkey. But like dropping anything in such a manner it can be just a big a sign of a problem as the initial condition.

And so I wonder how they are going to conclude this series. I can’t see them just having her give up the whole Wicked Eye thing entirely. Surely she will have something that causes her to go back to playing in her little world. Otherwise that would be a very oddly sobering ending to an otherwise 90% comedic story. It would be memorable but it would be slightly shocking at the same time. I assume she will go back after realizing that she can love Yuta and still be a goofball. But what I don’t want is her to be totally unchanged by her experiences.

If the last episodes ends with her just being as silly as she was before the series started I will feel sort of cheap to me. They don’t have to make her the most mundane person from the Land of Banal Office Clerks but she needs to have grown at least a little due to these adventures. I want her to be the dude with the Mohawk from the curiosity landing. Still a weirdo but a weirdo who has learned to be functional human being. She can still run around and be silly but she should have a better sense of when to shut it off.

We shall see how much my faith in the show is rewarded next week.

One comment

  1. I think you will find Daba’s good looks are as big an asset to his cause as his piloting skills are :3



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