Posts Tagged ‘20th Century Boys’

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #210

April 12, 2013

I honestly don’t know how the ending of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated could have been better. Seriously, no idea.

We already knew that this was a unique series for Scooby Doo! but that feeling was furthered by all the revelations and consequences of the presence of actual supernatural goings on in the umbrella story of the Planispheric Disk.

In the last few episodes, we were also treated to the reappearance of some great characters from past cases, a slew of references from Twin Peaks to Rambo, more soap opera-like campy plot developments, and some seriously awesome imagery in other dimensions.

The best, most unexpected, Scooby Doo! show ever made. It is a show for fans of the original and people who didn’t care for the original at all! How often can you say that?

It was a bit of a journey but Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated ended about as well as you can ask anything to end. There were several starts and stops as it seems like Cartoon Network continues its ongoing crusade to prove that it is not much of a fan of cartoons in general. They did spit out the last 10 episodes in one go but at least they were released. I was a little worried they would never finish their series when they would go on hiatus without any real notice about when they would be coming back. But after series like Sym-Bionic Titan getting the ax with little fanfare you are always a little nervous with any series that is not Adventure Time.

The last ten episodes start with the normal masked villain of the week antics like earlier in the series but get progressively more plot intensive as they go on. The change starts with some of the episodes almost dashing through the masked villain story just to get to the piece of the larger overarching plot. The last three episodes completely dispense with the standard Scooby Doo formula entirely. It was a nice way to ramp up the story without forgetting the roots of the show.

The wonderful homages and spoofs were still in full force. I think Narutaki and I were tickled pink when Scooby Doo first appears in what is essentially the Black Lodge. It was a transcendent moment. When they do a whole episode in the Red Room it takes it to the next level. The Ska Zombies who make everyone skank to death was also great. But they throw in a ton of little winks like little tips of the hat to everything from Aliens to Adam Ant. Great stuff that never draws undue attention to itself.

And the humor is still really strong. Nothing will beat crazy hobo Fred. But really what could be better than crazy hobo Fred? Still I think we both laughed out loud a minimum of once an episode. There is just a wonderful sense of comic beats that comes from the quirky characters and the dry delivery. Anything with Fred’s feelings is comedy gold.

I don’t really want to spoil the ending. The less said about it the better. There is a nice bit of build up, some good action scenes, some classic dungeon crawling, and a big final battle. The resolution of the series also has some time to breathe so you feel rewarded after a 52 episode series.

Overall I really think this is going to be a series that becomes a cult classic. One of those things that will continually pop up on “I can’t believe you have not seen this” lists for years to come. I know it will be on any list of great American cartoons I make.

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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Ongoing Investigations: Case #205

March 8, 2013

This week I decided to highlight some first chapters of series that were new to me.

xxxHOLiC Rei is obviously CLAMP realizing by getting rid of Yuuko Ichihara as a part of the ending of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle might have made a serious mistake. So in xxxHOLiC Rei she is back. It is not entirely clear why she is back. It could be that this is an alternate time line, it could just be stories set before the end of the original, or it could just go unexplained. But I have a feeling that with a title like Return, and knowing that CLAMP is CLAMP, I have a feeling it is much more likely there is some more roundabout explanation that might tie into that xxxHOLiC: Rō episode. But that is only something that will be clear as the series goes on.

The story is pretty simple in that it mostly establishes that Yuuko is alive, Watanuki is her cooking servant and assistant, and Doumeki can enter the shop which was not always the case in the original series. Other than that it is a little comedy and mostly set up for the first costumer for the shop. If anything hints to something major going on its Watanuki’s strange headache which cannot be random especially considering the scene that immediately triggers it.

The series still has a vibrant mixture of sexiness, comedy, and mystery. I’m sort of hoping being freed from being linked to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle that xxxHOLiC might be able to better spread its wings. It always seems a bit caged in when it was the sister story to Tsubasa. I want to see where it could go on its own. Plus it is always nice to have Yuuko back.

sep-comics

 I read issues 1-3 of Cyberforce (2012) a revamp of the 90s American comic series which was funded through Kickstarter. The story takes place in a future where an evil corporation, CDI, with machinations of altering the world for their own purposes has taken to experimenting with cyber implants. A rogue group of soliders from said experiments is attempting to take them down and exact revenge.

Things really begin when Carin daughter of the heads of CDI learns of a dangerous plan called Aphrodite Protocol and runs away to seek out the help of Morgan Stryker along off the grid soldier. I of course love that Carin has a dog named Ninja who is a cyber enhanced badass, but he was captured and being treated badly!

So far the book is high on laying out the world and plot rather than fleshing out the characters. But there are explosions! And crazy cyber people! Also no one wears shirts? Anyway, it has been an entertaining read so far.

I super love the cover of issue 3.

You can read Cyberforce for free on Comixology.

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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Ongoing Investigations: Case #182

August 24, 2012

The newest series running in Shonen Jump Alpha, and brand new in Japan as well, is Takama-ga-hara. The series poses the idea “If mythology was actually history, then modern man is descended from the Gods.” And since it is a Shonen Jump manga you can expect they use their God-like powers for fighting. People don’t seem to be aware of this fact about being descended from Gods yet, but nevertheless there are the infamous Yamada brothers known for their pursuit of strength!

Except Yamato. He doesn’t want to train and be strong like the other four Yamada brothers, he wants to be a manga artist instead. Too bad the rest of the world wants to challenge him to fights since he is a Yamada.

Takama-ga-hara had me cracking up within the first few pages! The brothers have great interactions and their brawn VS. brain rivalry created hilarious moments. Also characters’ reactions to Yamato’s presumably terrible manga are priceless.

We haven’t really jumped into the God part of the story within the first chapter. The opponent is just a really big, strong delinquent guy who wants to make a name for himself. Although, we do see that Yamato’s right arm holds incredible strength that is dying to be unleashed.

The art isn’t very polished or detailed (minus speed lines), but it has solid layout and great comedic delivery. And as long as it keeps me laughing like this first chapter, I’m on board for more.

I would like to update by recommendation for Yamada and the Seven Witches as Manga of the Month with this Ongoing Investigation. I originally said the series was a body swap comedy but I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when the full meaning of the title was revealed. Now that Miki Yoshikawa has revealed more of what is going on I must reassess my statement about the series. It is actually a magical kiss power series where one of the powers is body swapping.

I have to say I am always impressed by the way that Miki Yoshikawa creates series that have an always evolving plot especially in chapters 16 to 26. So much comedy tends to move in the same circles for a majority of the story. I don’t mind that formula too much. As long as the comedy makes me laugh I am content. But with a series like this I have to admire the ability to keep the themes and tone consistent but have a feeling of progression and accomplishment when so much comedy manga is about preventing that. Bravo.

Now that we know that the seven witches are seven different people at school how have kiss powers the plot is beginning to true take form. The series is more about finding the remaining witches and learning how his phenomenon came to be in the first place. Since Ryu is like a Final Fantasy Tactics mime I am curious to see how he will use his new-found powers as much as what the other witch’s powers are in the first place. Fun.

I will also note that as Narutaki mentioned to me it is so unusual for a shonen series to have so much kissing. Any and all kisses are usually huge deals in the genre. But here any and all genders of characters are kissing like most people just say hello. It is just a bit remarkable in that sense.

Urara Shiraishi impresses me as being sufficiently different from Hana Adachi but also a great character in her own way. You can easily accuse Ryu Yamada of just being the Daichi Shinagawa clone of the series but Urara really comes of as unique. She is clearly book smart but also the clearest thinker in the series. Her main problems are big physically weak and very poor at grasping social cues. But she has a social awkwardness very different from Hana. My only regret is that she is a very closed off character so at times Miki Yoshikawa keeps her in the background least the overexpose her feelings and thoughts.

Once again if you don’t mind scans or can read Japanese you should be at least trying out Miki Yoshikawa. She is just that good.

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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New York Asian Film Festival 2009

July 13, 2009

Last year I attended only one film, Dororo, at the New York Asian Film Festival. Though we did try to see L Change the WorLd, too, but it was sold out. In any case, this seemed like a big mistake in retrospect. There are tons of films from all different genres. Everything from pulpy mysteries to sex-centric surrealism to over-the-top samurai action to sweet romance was up for grabs at this year’s Asian Film Fest. Many of these films one might not have a chance to see otherwise. So with that in mind, and a little help from the NYAFF guide book, we set out to see some unique flicks.

I missed out on all the movies last year including Dororo but that is because if it were not for bad luck I would have no luck at all. On the other hand, Narutaki and I insisting on seeing the L movie no matter how many times life seemingly tried to let us dodge it is our own fault. But this year we are in it to win it and are hitting up a bunch of the movies playing. My priority number one was to see the 20th Century Boys movies not only because they are most relevant to the blog but also because I really enjoyed the manga. All the other movies are interesting experiments. I was not sure how many I would like but I was ready to be surprised.

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