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Ongoing Investigations: Case #207

March 22, 2013

So we enter the final batch of episodes of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated S2 with 16-17. While I will miss the show I’m glad they were give the chance to end the series in a tidy manner. Plus I feel overall two seasons feels like a good length for the series. While I would have liked more I don’t feel like I was robbed of anything. But we shall see how much those feelings remain when the series is actually over. Until then we have Aliens Among Us and The Horrible Herd.

After a show goes on break it is always nice to transition back into the series as if you had just watched the previous episode last week. Mystery Incorporated transitions from its big “should have been accompanied by an ominous pipe organ” revelation from Theater of Doom with a general mystery that they solve pretty quickly so they can add in some detective work on the overarching mystery.

Aliens Among Us proved that the funny was still in the series as well. Sheriff Bronson Stone seemed to be taking lessons from Giorgio Tsoukalos this episode. Also Scooby seems to imply that he is so frequently asked to dig up graves as part of their investigations that he has become slightly tired of it. Also the fact that the villains of the episode apparently lives in Frodo’s house for no well explained reason is a quick blink and you miss it gag.

Random Trivia: It seems that the GPS coordinates for Gatorsburg would put in a Warner Bros warehouse in Burbank, California which is amusing little inside joke.

The Horrible Herd on the other hand proves that Professor Pericles is playing for keeps (although killer German Stormtrooper robots is not exactly kid gloves.) There were an interesting amount of subtle Aliens homages in this episode. I am curious how much they are going to deal with the fact that a good deal of town was destroyed in this episode or will they mostly just hand wave it away. With this series either scenario is possible.

I glad to see the series is still going strong entering the endgame. I think this is really destined to be a series people look back on and wonder why it did not have a bigger fan following when it was on the air. Its lovely mixture of parody and homage make it far smarter than you would assume at first glance.

Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated how I’ve longed for you!!! Even after a long break, the series hasn’t lost anything. Fred still has the most amazing moments, Daphne is still awesome, and all the mysteries and oddities just keep getting piled on.

Easily the best part in either of these episodes is when Fred and Sheriff Stone have a sleepover because the gang is trying to protect the Sheriff from aliens he believes abducted him. Fred’s insights about love and how the only thing better is traps is full of sage wisdom.

Daphne’s cheese expertise, which I had totally forgotten about, comes back into play when the mass of skeleton-bee-piranha-cows descend on the town.

Throwing in the Space Kook was an excellent nod.

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.

This next investigation continues my look at cartoons that get canceled by Cartoon Network in their ongoing campaign against cartoons on their channel. This time the show that got the ax was Young Justice. Thankfully like Scooby Doo! at least the show was give the ability to end its major plot arcs unlike Sym-Bionic Titan which was ungracefully shot in the back on the head.

The ending does clearly set up a third season that will never happen but it is not the same sort of cliff hanger that the first season ended with. Had the series gone on they would have clearly followed up on these final revelations but they are not so egregious as to leave a sour taste in your mouth. The main idea is that The Light have suffered some major setbacks but overall their plans have moved forward surprisingly well.  It gives a good impression that the battle was won but the war still rages on. That and the Light’s plans are far more intricate than they first appear.

I think the main accusation you could throw at Young Justice: Invasion is that it was too ambitious. It tried to add in a slew of more racially diverse characters, more mature plot lines (while still clearly being a kids show), and more unconventional story telling. It did not succeed in all those respects but I appreciate them trying to do those things. Your mileage will clearly vary. To be honest if some people did not like changes I perfectly understand that. Their attempts to change horses midstream were a bit clunky. I see what they were going for but it could have been done in a cleaner manner.

First of all if they wanted a more diverse team they should have started with the diverse team. The problem with Young Justice is they start with the first team and just as their story lines are really developing them move them to the background. So then the new team members have to fight for time with the old team members. Everyone got their turn but some stories seemed to be well-balanced and other times it seemed like they were robbing Peter to pay Paul. If they had once consistent team this would not have been a problem.

As I mentioned the last time there were some major complaints about the shifts in storytelling. While what happens in the time skip is all eventually sorted out it never does take away from the feeling that the original Young Justice & Invasion feel very different. But if you can get past that there are some solid rewards. But it can feel like a very steep hill to climb and possibly not one worth tackling if you don’t care for the tonal shift.

All that said I admire their moxy for trying to do what they did. Bringing more minorities and women to the forefront is exactly what comics need. Could they have done it better? Sure. But at least the attempt was made in a non condescending manner. And that counts for a lot. I feel like if you were on the fence about Invasion it might be worth giving a second chance to finish off the series. It comes together well if you give it the time to reveal itself warts and all.

Finished up the Firefly TV series this week and if previous posts did not convey it, I officially loved it.

What I appreciated most by the was 1) the show as an ensemble, yeah Mal is the central character but everyone has a part to play and interacts with everyone else in various ways, 2) great complex women, and 3) the portrayal of strong friendships especially those between men and women without throwing in sexual tension to every encounter because yo, not everyone has sexual tension with everyone they meet.

On a more upbeat note with the recent Rightstuf sale I got a few of the Hayate the Combat Butler volumes that I needed. 17 and 21 are distinct holes in my collection that I was glad to fill in even if both books have a distinct amount of Athena content. I mostly just tell myself that at least she is voiced by Ayako Kawasumi in the anime and it mostly makes me feel better. Mostly.

Volume 17 most starts with a few random stories. It seems that Hata must have recently watched The Return of the Living Dead when he wrote these chapters because it comes up several times. But a chapter with Nagi and a camera sparks off the fan favorite End of the World arc that formally introduces Athena and gives us an unexpected back story for Hayate. The Revolutionary Girl Utena references go from casual passing call outs to full on homage. This more than any other arc really changes the dynamics of the manga. It also introduces the one character who can rival Hinagiku in popularity.

Volume 21 introduces the fight for the King’s jewels that would go on to have major ramifications for everyone involved during the Greek Arc. That means that loser villains like Gilbert and Sonia appear to show what is on the line before getting there asses beaten. Gilbert tries to get the stone with a beach volley ball match and Sonia tries to use her feminine wiles. Each of them give Hinagiku and Ayumu equal chances to shine and be embarrassed.

I will mentioned that I totally forgot that they mention the Black Camellia from Can’t Take My Eyes Off You all the way back in chapter 182. I guess that proves that Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is based on an unused storyline for Hayate. I am a little surprised I had forgotten it was mentioned before but I guess it shows that I will never be a super trivia master.

It was nice to be able to go back and enjoy these chapters again with the official translation. It helped hold me over until the 400th chapter next week and the start of Cuties the week after that. It is a good time to be a Hayate fan.

Wow, having caught up with DokiDoki! PreCure (eps. 2-7), I can now say they have pulled me in and surprised me! It was enjoyable enough but the last two episodes switched up the formula which added a lot by creating this greater story from the get go.

Alice is my favorite, though I think it would have been great for her not to become a PreCure and instead act as the manager (a la Tomoyo from Card Captor Sakura).

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