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Ongoing Investigations: Case #195

December 28, 2012

I figured I might as well get this over with while Narutaki was on vacation so she did not have to revisit this unnecessarily unless she wanted to. Let us discuss the ending of Eureka Seven: AO (episodes 21-24). I suppose we could talk about the series as a whole at another date but I just want to get this little amount off my chest. You might wonder why I put up a picture of Dewey Novak for this review considering he does not ever appear in this sequel. Trust me. He is critical.

My main complaint about the ending is simple. But it is a fatal flaw that trumps all the other many minor flaws. According to Eureka Seven: AO it seems that Dewey Novak was right. He might have been a pedophilic mass murder who would not only commit patricide but also tried to destroy the world but as it turns out he was right. Mankind cannot live with the Scub Coral and the Coralians. One race must die so one race may live. So AO flushes the entire lesson of people learning to coexist utterly down the drain. Since I though that the original show and its themes were amazing this was a less than preferable twist in the sequel. I’m not saying that is no merit to the idea of a former villain actually be proven to have a legitimate (and actually correct) reason for his insane plan. I’m just saying in this case it was done super poorly.

Then there is the fact that Elena Peoples’ story line was amazingly anticlimactic, Naru Arata’s plot line seems totally forgotten by the end, and Truth was just all over the place as a villain. Everyone switched sides at one point or another and not always for good reasons. And in the end it all did not really matter as the Quartz Gun erases about 99% of everything that happened in the series. In the end I was mostly just glad the series was over.

It is really a shame. I had decently high expectations for this series. The first episode was promising and intriguing. But sadly my initial ideas of where the series was going were far better than anything that played out on-screen. This series certainly does not ruin the original series for me. That is still aces in my book. But I would never recommend anyone watch this after the original.

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The finale has arrived, Kekkaishi’s last volume (35) hit stores as 2012 was coming to an end as well.

The finale volume is mostly falling action, which was rather refreshing, as the final pieces of the puzzle are revealed. I don’t think it is spoilers to say things mostly work out with the fate of the Shadow Organization falling to a new head. Karasumori’s existence is put to rest though still with some surprises in the mix and one very beautiful moment that brought a tear to my eye. And the rivalry between the clans Sumimura and Yukimura is dissolved.

I was pleased with the roles Yoshimori and Tokine played in the ending of this grand story. But they weren’t the only ones to have a big piece in the finale, and that’s what I liked best about the entire series. This was an ensemble cast and story which played out as such up until the very end; characters were not thrown by the wayside to build up Yoshimori’s importance. With such a great cast, I wouldn’t mind side stories about any number of them.

I’ve been so pleased to follow this wonderful shonen fighting manga for quite a while, anticipating each new installment. I’ll continue to sing its praises and recommend it even if it won’t be constantly reminding me of its presence every couple of months. I really hope VIZ picks up Yellow Tanabe’s new work in the near future.

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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Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You ended (episodes 8-12) fairly well which is distinctly a relief after the disaster that was Eureka Seven: AO. Nagi and Hayate are both saved by each other. The evil dryad that was Dolly is defeated and everything basically returns to normal. But for a supposedly random throw away story this was amazingly important. Usually these side story shows have characters that will never appear again and no significant impact on the story. This pretty much a major revelation in the series.

We finally meet Nagi’s father, learn quite a bit of who he was, and then finally learn how he died. That alone is majorly significant. The rest of the story was fine. We have a bit of highly accented but fairly well done English from a gang of thieves. Hinagiku mainly seems to show up in these side stories to slice up a few things with her sword and be an angst magnet. Isumi and Sakuya show up to be the road trip monster hunters as well. Sadly Wataru and Saki did not show up despite the story being set in Vegas where Wataru’s mother lives.

If nothing else I cannot see Narutaki being disappointed with Shin Hayek’s character design. He is pretty much everything she could have wanted out of Nagi’s father … and more. Although it does also somewhat reinforce the whole idea that Nagi has a bit of an Electra complex.

Other than that it seems that it is a bit hard to place if this is going to be considered canonical. It is a weird place in the story that seems to be impossible to take place during the main story line. So theoretically anything that happened here can be conveniently ignored. Then again is seems that Kirika Kuzuha and Kayura Tsurugino went from being anime original characters to permanent meber of the cast and Suzune Ayasaki appeared in the cast line up in the main manga which seems to be a nod to her existence as well.  So I can’t see them ignoring the existence of Shin Hayek. I would not be surprised if Ruri Tsugumi appeared in the manga as well.

Overall I would rank it below the first season and Heaven is a Place on Earth but above the second season. The animation was definitely cheap at points which was a shame but it was better than no 3rd season at all. I just which they could have kept up the quality of the first few episodes. Still I had a good time and if nothing else I always have the manga.

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I have been reading Heroine Shikkaku (vols. 1-3) and really I just don’t know how I feel about it but that is one of the reason I continue on. In a role reversal of the genre, this shojo romance features scheming lead girl Hatori who is trying to get between her childhood crush Rita and his girlfriend Adachi. Hatori befriends Adachi in order to find out more about her relationship with Rita and spend time with him under the guise of friendship.

This is fun for a while, but it becomes harder and harder to root for Hatori as the story goes on. Though really at this point after Rita’s behavior he is no great catch, so they kind of deserve each other. This is what fascinates me so!

And yet as interesting at the idea is, I’m surprised by how little I can find to like. This type of story might have a more prolonged life if it were more of a comedy.

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Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions episode 12 tied up the series quite well. I know the ending was quite moving for my roommate who absolutely adored the series. I did not love it as much as he did but I thought it was pretty much the perfect way to end the series.

The last episode did a wonderful job of doing the one things I required of it: It moved everyone forward. No one was exactly the same as when they started. Rikka learned to accept her father’s death and why completely absorbing herself in her Eternal Horizon fantasies was just running away. Yuta came a bit closer to accepting his past and being more honest with himself and other as did Shinka. Kumin get really involved in the club and even Dekomori grows a little. That is all I asked of the show and it did a splendid job of that with a little adventure, romance, and comedy.

I have to say that Kyoto Animation original characters were surprisingly well-integrated. They never feel tacked on and they really expand the show so that they could take a one book novel and turn it into a twelve episode TV series. That is feat most adaptions could not do. I would have to read the novel but I think they actually might have improved on the material with their addition. And that is no small compliment.

I think the biggest indication of the quality of the series is simple. I think that is actually a Kyoto Animation show that Narutaki might enjoy. She might not love it like my roommate and I but I think she could sit through the whole series and not fall asleep or need to throw things at the screen. That alone is a miracle.

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I read chs. 1-6 of the rather bizarre AKB48 Satsujin Jiken by Detective Conan manga-ka Gosho Aoyama. Unsurprisingly this is really some AKB48 promotional material with a mystery wrapped around it. The characters actions definitely rely on you knowing these idols’ quirks and temperaments since I am unfamiliar a lot of the jokes are lost on me.

The setup is classic, a mysterious mansion on an island cut off from the mainland due to a storm. Then girls start getting killed so it can only be another AKB48 member who is the culprit. Maeda Atsuko has always wanted to be a detective so she dons her hat and decides to solve the case hopefully before any more deaths occur.

You get some decent volleys from Atsuko as she tries to trap the killer, but generally the story isn’t very engaging. This is again probably because I really don’t know these idols and the story doesn’t really introduce them. The whole work just comes off as being rather meh.

I am curious if the dead girls were made up for the story, otherwise it seems rather unseemly to kill them off but who knows!

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