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Lupin the 3rd: Jigen’s Gravestone—Bury My Heart in East Doroa

May 4, 2015

hisui_icon_4040 It really seems like there has been a Lupin renaissance lately. Lupin has always been popular. That is not in question. It has become staple of the anime landscape. Much like Doraemon or Sazae-san it is institution that always has some sort of yearly presence. The Castle of Cagliostro is still considered to be part of the essential part of the anime canon, the three Lupin TV series are fondly remembered classics (Lupin Part III less so), and the movies have been getting some extras heavy releases from Discotek Media. At the same time Lupin was increasingly been seen as a property whose best days were behind it. While old school fans had a distinct fondness for the series it was almost all nostalgia. The recent crop of TV specials are generally considered mediocre and Green vs. Red is almost universally reviled. Lupin seemed to be moving forward mostly thanks to momentum more than anything else.

Then came Lupin the 3rd: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. It was smart, sexy, challenging, and unpredictable. (Much like Fujiko herself.) It took the characters and reintroduced them in a manner closer to the original Monkey Punch manga while updating the overall style and storytelling. Not everyone loved The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Some people did not like the ending, other people felt they changed Zenigata too much, whereas others felt the feminist message was a bit muddled. But the thing is people were talking again. Lupin was an active part of the English-speaking otaku conversation. It was no longer a museum piece or a Japanese oddity like Kochikame. When the new TV series was announced to come out this year it was anticipated like it was hot new property.

In between The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and the 2015 series was the film, Lupin the 3rd: Jigen’s Gravestone. It is not a full sequel to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine but more of a side story set in the same timeline that just happens to be set after the TV series. As it just started streaming on Hulu we decided to see if this is a worthy follow-up to Fujik or if it is something you should ignore until the full adventures of the blue jacket Lupin is unveiled.

narutaki_icon_4040 Truth be told, I like Lupin the 3rd but I haven’t seen a whole ton of the catalog. I am familiar with the big stuff like The Castle of Cagliostro and I have seen a few specials and TV episodes over the years. I’ve also watched the Lupin the 3rd VS. Detective Conan installments because of course! And I fell in love with The Woman Named Fujiko Mine. I just dip my toe into the Lupin franchise now and again and usually enjoy myself.

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Manga of the Month: Fate/Strange Fake

May 1, 2015

Fate/Strange Fake (フェイト/ストレンジフェイク)
by Ryohgo Narita and Shizuki Morii

It was only a mater of time before I got a proper Type-Moon manga in the Manga of the Month. (I did Take Moon but that is a total joke manga). The only problem is most of the manga based on Type-Moon properties are lesser adaptations of the works they are based on. The Tsukihime manga is far better than the infamous anime but that is faint praise indeed. I enjoy the various Melty Blood related manga but I’m not sure I would put any of them in this section any time soon. Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA is Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA. Yeah. So it is nice to get a full-fledged Type-Moon related manga in here without any guilt.

I will admit that I have only read the first chapter as of writing this post but given Fate/Strange Fake’s pedigree, what I saw of the chapter that has been translated, and the additional information I know let me be fairly confident in making it a Manga of the Month. Just in case it does all fall part in the end I will apologize in advance but so far so good.

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Manga of the Month: My Little Monster (Have You Seen My Love?)

April 14, 2015

My Little Monster (となりの怪物くん) by Robico

narutaki_icon_4040 I think there have been a lot of noteworthy romance manga of late, and this is one of them. It starts off seemingly simple but grows a lot over the course of the series.

Shizuku is single-minded in her pursuit of academic success to the point of ignoring all else. Haru is, well, sort of a mess, with a long school absence, a quick temper, a complicated family situation, and a lack of understanding of social cues. Those factors are what lead Shizuku to visit him on a teacher’s orders. Haru quickly professes his love to her as casually as someone else might say, “I’m hungry.” And for her part, Shizuku dismisses him as acting on momentary feelings, causing Haru to dig in his heels.

It is rather refreshing to have the feelings out in the open so early in this series. While there is still the occasional uncertainty, it comes more from Shizuku not trusting her own feelings and not trusting those around her. Shizuku’s ongoing conflict within isn’t just about Haru either; she makes more connections with others as the story goes on, which causes her to reevaluate her approach to people.

The series also boasts a fantastic supporting cast. Lonely blogger Natsume who feels she can’t become friends with other girls practically steals the spotlight. Perceptive Sasayan who isn’t phased by the conflicts (both wacky and true) emerges as the last sane person. Cool Mi-chan who acts as a father figure to Haru takes everything in stride. And there are many others who come into Shizuku’s orbit.

I like that My Little Monster is about friendship, what that truly means and how to nurture it, as much as it is a love story. At first, it may strike you as the story of a good girl taming a wild guy but it is a lot more. Despite how different Shizuku and Haru seem at the beginning, inside they are actually quite similar.

~ kate

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I am DONE with You: Winter 2015 (Who Needs Sleep?)

April 3, 2015

hisui_icon_4040 So another anime season is wrapping up and anyone who regularly follows the blog and podcast will know that means we have to do the Case Closed Reviews as shows end. We have to do them quickly because the new shows for the SWAT reviews are right around the corner. But there are a few shows that I watch on my own that have wrapped up recently. Since Kate did not watch them I don’t feel like recording a solo Case Closed Review but I do feel like I should put down my finals thoughts in some format. I decided to put out this post just in case anyone was curious how these shows turned out in the end.

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