Posts Tagged ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #169

May 11, 2012

In a most unexpected turn of events the Master Keaton manga returns to the pages of Big Comic Original in the form of Master Keaton Remaster. I guess at least some of the rights issues around the original manga have been cleared up because I know for awhile the original manga series was quite expensive due to it being out of print. But now Taichi Hiraga-Keaton is back! He is still an amusing mixture of a loveable loser and an amazingly competent superman all in one package.  The series starts not long after the end of the original manga. Keaton is notably more entrenched in his academic career after his recent archeological discovery. But just when he thought he was out of the insurance game for good it draws him back in for what he is told will be one last job.

Of course this being Master Keaton we know that will not be the case. Soon he is investigating ruins, redeeming the honor of a man in a coma, and fighting slaver traders. All for one insurance case. It has all the mature elements that you expect from this manga. The story has a well researched history, a steamy underworld, and characters that show their complexity even if we only know them for a chapter or two. There is rape and sex slave traffic but there is nothing graphic or salacious. It just happens to be a story with the disgusting parts of the sex trade as a piece of it. All the bite of an adult story with none of the guilt.

One of the most interesting parts of any Master Keaton story is the fact that Taichi usually comes is for the climax of a story. He is presented with a case, does a good deal of research to find out what is going on, arrives at the critical moment during the ongoing story to help someone out, and then leaves before the falling action is over. This could be amazingly frustrating if done poorly but Naoki Urasawa does this in a way that merely makes you feel like the stories are and organic part of the world. Taichi does his part, and then leaves, and that is all we see. But we get enough of the story from Taichi’s perspective that it always feels satisfying.

I’m am really glad to see the manga running again. Master Keaton is some of the best bite sized seinen you can find. Hopefully they will work in his daughter soon as she is always a refreshing character. Maybe this renaissance of the series will help get both parts licensed for English. That would be masterful.


I watched the first two episodes of Motorcity, a new Disney DX animated series. It showed a lot of promise and sported some cool animation.

The story revolves around a futuristic Detroit with two levels to the city; the old, underground, and free area known as Motocity; and the modern, controlled, upper Deluxe.

Mike leads a group of car fanatic rebels known as the Burners who are trying to bring down the leader of Deluxe. Mike is pretty interesting as he isn’t a kid, but a 17-year-old who was once being groomed by Deluxe’s leader. Now having defected, he is putting all his skills and some sweet modded cars to use.

Also of interest is Jules a resident of Deluxe who is actually helping them secretly. And she just happens to be the daughter of Deluxe’s dictator. But even the rest of the Burners and Mike don’t know that about her.

Both episodes revolved around some sort of threat being sent down to Motorcity. There was lots of cool machinery and robots and whathaveyou to keep things interesting.

These were great episodes and I can’t wait to continue. Definitely something I’m going to attempt to keep up with. The episodes are streaming on Disney DX’s website so far.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #143

November 11, 2011

It has been awhile since I saw Last Exile but overall I remember liking the series so I was eager to watch Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing. Right off the bat the series reminds you of one thing: Range Murata is definitely a lolicon. Any perusal of one of his Robot art books will remind you of that fact. So when Fam starts the series in her underwear and sleepwalking I am not exactly sure why people were SUPER surprised. It does set an odd precedent as the episodes I have seen since then never have that odd level of fan service again. Perhaps Gonzo thought this was putting their best foot forward but I think most people would disagree. Other than that poor choice it is mostly the Last Exile you remember. Apparently the prediction that moving to an abundant planet would stop the conflicts was optimistic thinking because it seems war had broken out again. But really without giant airship battles I don’t think people would be anywhere near as interested in Last Exile. Since the Guild is no more they don’t have the musket battles but in their place there are air pirates so you can get your Skies of Arcadia grove on. Fans of the original series will notice that Dio is alive and well. Still sort of loopy but definitely calmer. How exactly he survived after Last Exile has yet to be explained (if it will be explained at all.) After three episodes I have yet to make a firm decision on the series. It has a primarily female cast. While there are men the three main characters and primary focus are all young ladies. So that means no wading into harem territory like people accused the series of doing with Claus but it then does lend itself to the yuri subtext being in everything that the world of the pink ghetto casts. Fam and Giselle seem fine with Fam being the spunky one and Giselle being the quiet one. Millia is not only a princess but also a princess character and that means she can be a bit grating. The action has been pretty good so far and the plot has potential. But as far as I can tell the main villain’s problem seems to be that everyone is far too happy and he will not be having that which could lead to a very corny developments. I am interested enough to keep watching but still hesitant to give it a recommendation yet.

As many others did, when I got Sailor Moon vol. 1 I also got Codename Sailor V vol. 1. This was new to me, I knew about it of course and had looked at some of it, but never really got to read it. Having read Sailor Moon first of the two, it put me in the exact mood for the young girl fantasy that is Sailor V. The big difference between these two so far is that Sailor V is decidedly free of any serious romantic entanglements instead focusing on peppy Mina’s daily struggles with classes balanced with sometimes saving the world as a Sailor Guardian thanks to talking cat Artemis. Mina amuses me greatly in her slacker fashion which prefers video games and idols to studying and saving people. Since this is a primer for Sailor Moon you can obviously see a lot of Usagi in Mina but they are still different because Mina is very physically capable. This is also what makes her so fun as she loves kicking baddies once she is roped into caring. Sailor V also becomes something of a legendary icon as the story goes on getting her own video game, fan club, and even a police detective rival among other amusing things. Once she has been in action a while, Mina gets more serious and both her and readers start to wonder who is “the boss” and why Mina was chosen for this role. I am curious to see how this ties in swiftly to Sailor Moon.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #134

August 19, 2011

I started watching Ashita no Nadja on and off in between other shows, I’ve seen four so far. It is a shojo series with a small following. I’ve always been curious about it because it has a It also boasts a fabulous opening. Nadja is a young orphan girl who receives a mysterious package on her 13th birthday which contains a letter revealing her mother is still alive. This sets her off an adventure where she joins a traveling troupe and becomes a dancer, as she searches for her mother she meets various people along the way including many suitors, and she is pursued by villains trying to stop her progress. Nadja is a hard-working dear girl, the troupe is a colorful bunch, and there is a blond prince plus a phantom thief so far! This is such a children’s wish fulfillment show and it is utterly charming in its execution. It also has a bit of a Masterpiece Theater feel. I’m looking forward to watching more.

With a morbid curiosity I decide to brave the first 4 episodes of the 2011 reboot of Thundercats. The original Thundercats is distinctly one of those show that you might have liked as a kid but does not age well at all. The new series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation but the animation is done by Studio 4°C so I also watched for the tenuous anime connection. But make no mistake while some of the visual fair has an anime feel this is very much an American cartoon. It is closer to Avatar: The Last Airbender than Bleach. And that is not a bad thing. The story telling for children of all ages make entertainment that has the ability to stand up over time. Some of it dips into the just for kids cache at times but overall it is a fairly smart remake. The reboot wisely keeps many of the things that people remember fondly about the original and jettisons some of the more frankly stupid parts at the same time. I mean Snarf is now a clever pet as opposed to his old annoying nursemaid persona which I am sure earns the show a metric ton of goodwill. The first episode setup the main cast, had them soundly beaten, and gets them on the run. I will say that Mumm-Ra plan that involved assault mecha, a turncoat, AND a Trojan horse seemed a bit overkill but it does show you that he is a credible threat. The next two episode have been fairly entertaining with a Moby Dick story and the tale living for the day. I think I will keep watching to see where it goes. Be warned no matter how this series turns out it will  be a furry generation engine like the original. This is just an unavoidable fact.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #111

January 14, 2011

Since the 7th game of Umineko is so game changing I am going to try to just discuss the essence of the episode without giving away major spoilers especially for people who read the blog but are a few games behind. The two new characters seen in the portrait above are Willard H Wright and Lion Ushiromiya. Lion is a fascinating character that is essentially several huge reveals just by existing. Will is the Battler stand in for this chapter and I thought his big entrance was fairly entertaining and cool. Lion and Will’s interaction is playful although all the butt pinching going on has solidified that they will be shipped forever. When we get into the meat of the story we learn Kinzo’s back story, the identity of Beatrice, Battler’s sin, get some hits as to the solutions to some of the locked room mysteries, and the probable confirmation of one of the mostly hotly debated theories in the series. We also get some powerful scenes that I thought were quite moving. Also unless we are being misled there is some seriously twisted relationships in Umineko and the people involved do not realize are as twisted as they are.  It probably makes me a weenie but I found parts of the end of Requiem of the Golden Witch really hard to read. If you have come to love these characters the last chapter is brutal. Although how authentic how authentic that ending is has yet to be seen.  When the last game comes out I will probably do a total spoiler filled review of the series a whole but until then I just have to wait to see what answers 2011 finally gives us with Twilight of the Golden Witch.

I picked up How to Train Your Dragon in a Black Friday sale but didn’t get around to watching it till the Christmas holidays. The animation of the film really stands out, especially from some of the other Dreamworks properties, it was lush and gorgeous; the dragons were very animated and their designs were quirky; plus the flying scenes were breath-taking. The story is a simple one of trying to fit in to your dragon-killing village of vikings (we’ve all been there, right?) but Hiccup is much happier inventing things which often gets him into trouble. After one of his inventions actually works and takes down a rare dragon, their fates become intertwined when he realizes he can’t bring himself to hurt the creature. This story has a classic feel of acceptance, growing up, and having the bravery to do what is right. While I did find the relationships between Hiccup and the other kids a little too easier resolved, it was enough. I found it a very enjoyable ride! After seeing it, I do imagine it will be an Oscar contender this year. Read the rest of this entry ?

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