Posts Tagged ‘My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #232

December 9, 2013

narutaki_icon_4040 Mao no Kyoushitsu is a one-shot by Miki Yoshikawa done with her usual zany flair. This time she takes us to an elementary school class whose teacher just happens to be Satan.

The class is of course terrified at first, then they come to think it is all an act but is it!? Manami and her friends set out to find the truth, she being the only one who believes he must truly be Satan. I really enjoyed the repoire between all the kids from their over the top reactions to young cynicism. A wonderfully bizarre setup and fun romp that I wouldn’t mind reading more of.

Surely the best part is when The Devil commends Manami for attempting to burn him alive (it was an accident!).

hisui_icon_4040  It was nice to be able to track down a one shot story from Miki Yoshikawa in the form of Mao no Kyoushitsu. All too often we never get to see little stories like this from even well-known authors let alone lesser known artists like the author of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan. It can even be hard for the Japanese audience to read some of these stories let alone us Yanks.

Before I get into anything else I would like to mention that I thank goodness they translated chuunibyou as poser “nutjob-itis.” I feel like we are just getting out of the grips of small segment of people throwing around the term Chuunibyou all the time. So a somewhat silly English version fits with the scene were the kids are trying to figure out Mr. De Mon’s deal all the better. I don’t feel you have to translate every word into English for a good translation but here the adaptation of a complex word here adds a lot to the scene.

Other than that the strongest part of the story here is the characters. Manami is a great protagonist. Her desire for school to be more fun if Mr. De Mon’s story is true is really infectious. At times it makes her an unreliable narrator but that makes the story even more enjoyable.  You are sort of wondering if Mr. De Mon is really a hell spawn the whole time too. Also her reaction faces are great.

Mr. De Mon is equally fun. In a way he is the type of character that Miki Yoshikawa excels in. She knows when to play him for laughs really well but is not afraid to pull back for a little emotional softness when the time is right. The key is to go for the emotional moments at just the right time or they come off as lame. Also too much serous emotion makes the character overly dramatic and weighs down the comedy.

I also really like the delivery of the line, “”He likes pretty girls. Earth shattering.” A wonderful use of deadpan.

And the story ends nicely. You get the feeling there are more stories with Mr. De Mon but that is where the curtain closes. I feel that Miki Yoshikawa is a good enough author to continue the story of The Demon’s Classroom. She is really good at creating new avenues in a story that other authors would just use to tell variations on the same story. But at the same time this is a great place to end the story as a happy short story.

If you never read anything by Miki Yoshikawa this is a great place to get to know her as an artist with a minimum time commitment. It is a story that showcases some of her best features in a single story. If your already a fan I’m sure your hunting down this story as we speak.

Bonus: If are a fan of Miki Yoshikawa you will see an elementary school version of Hana Adachi in the last panel of page five.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

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All Points Bulletin: Berserk Guacamole

November 24, 2013

If you have any suggestions for what to highlight on an APB drop us a line via email or Twitter.

narutaki_icon_4040 Kate’s picks:

  • McMario
    The ultimate team-up: McDonald’s putting Mario toys in Happy Meals.
  • Final Fantasy: Disney Damsels
    Nice looking roster, I think we need a Final Fantasy Tactics game with Disney characters, don’t you?
  • Help the Creator of Fresh Guacamole
    I hope you’ve seen this Oscar-nominated short, it not check it out now! The creator is hoping to fund his next film through their online store. The next short will also feature creative food!

hisui_icon_4040 Alain’s picks:

sep-pic

narutaki_icon_4040 Because I laughed.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #229

October 7, 2013

hisui_icon_4040 And so another season of the larger Index series ends with the conclusion of A Certain Scientific Railgun S. Kate and I were recently discussing the series as a whole and she found it odd that despite how big the whole Index thing is in Japan it never seems to have caught on here in the US. It always just seems like a franchise that happily chugs along in Japan season after season doing very well with almost no real vocal fanbase in the States. Just one of those cases where it clearly shows the difference in tastes between the two fanbases for the same medium.

The first part of this story was interesting as we finally got to see what Misaka Mikoto was doing during the Sisters Arc. It was clear from A Certain Magical Index that Misaka was already neck-deep in trying to stop the Level 6 Shift experiment by the time Touma got involved. Here we get to see how she became aware of the Sisters and tried to stop Accelerator from killing any more of them. Eventually the plot caches up to what was presented in Index and then it is just the original Sisters Arc with some new perspective as it is all from Misaka POV instead of Touma.

After that there is the original Silent Party Arc that builds on a lot of the themes presented in the Sister Noise Arc and at the same time resolves what happened to Nunotaba Shinobu, who was recently introduced. The Chemicaloid Project seems to once again prove that Academy City is just filled with some of the least ethical scientists who ever lived. But I guess that is what happens when you put Aleister Crowley is charge of a city of research.

In the original Sisters Arc Misaka Mikoto comes off as an aloof loner. Someone who knows lots of people, is known by even more, but does not have any real friends other than maybe Kuroko. But as the Railgun series has come into fruition it has given Mikoto a small circle of dedicated friends and well as some rather constant allies. Therefore they had to go out of their way to explain why she would specifically not ask for their help and therefore why we never see anyone like Uiharu or Saten. It does add to Mikoto’s gloomy martyr complex that was present, but nowhere near as prominent, in the Index version of the story.

Thankfully the Silent Party Arc helps balance out her character again so that Uiharu, Saten, and Kuroko can be more than cameos in the show again. It also lets Misaka teach this same lesson to Shinobu. Kongo, Wannai and Maaya also make a pretty prominent appearance. It even had a cameo with Haruue Erii and Edasaki Banri actually be critically important.

But all of that is sort of pat the course for the end of a Railgun season. There was one event that was almost “a unicorn high fiving a dragon in the middle of Times Square” rare: Anti-Skill and Judgment were actually useful. They got stuff done and where not just the useless army guys in a monster movie. It is crazy talk but it was true. Anti-Skill and Judgment members who were not main characters were actually effective. Insanity.

Side note: For as much as Kiyotaka Haimura says that Shutaura Sequenzia looks almost exactly like Fukiyose Seiri I have to say Kongou Mitsuko is far more a dead ringer for her.

They really made Nunotaba Shinobu much more attractive in the anime. She is a really strange-looking woman in the manga. They go out their way to show her extra freaky fish-eyes in the manga while she just looks a little dead eyed in the anime. I guess they wanted to cute her up for figures.

I did find it a little odd that Shokuhou Misaki was so prominently in a few scenes for the small amount that she did. I know that she eventually becomes very important but for now she seems disproportionately significant. I think it is partially to have her be established so she does not seem to pop up out of nowhere when she does become important. Also she does seem to have become rather popular so they might have just had her show up for her fans to be happy. But I never read the manga so she might have also just shown up his much in the manga as well.

It is also interesting to see how much we get to see Frenda Seivelun in this series. As someone who is almost completely later defined by her death later in the series it was a little nice to see her before she was Fre nda even before the whole Mami Tomoe craze.

I wonder how long until they adapt the Accelerator manga. You know it is coming. So it will just be another turn in the cycle between seasons of Index and Railgun. But I’m glad just to see more of the franchise as a whole.

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narutaki_icon_4040 I read the first two chapters of the new Saint Seiya manga Saintia Sho. It is written by the original manga-ka of Saint Seiya Masami Kurumada with new artist Chimaki Kuroi. This series is going to follow the women Saints who are guarding Athena after a civil war.

Shoko’s older sister Kyoko left five years ago to attend an elite school but hasn’t been in contact since. More recently, Shoko has been having a recurring nightmare involving an apple and a warrior dressed in golden armor. Things come to a head when her dream starts to come true at school and who but her missing sister is the golden saint. It seems like Shoko may be the descendant of an evil entity which will certainly complicated the story.

Shoko is a strong martial artist and smart from what we’ve seen so far.

I liked what I read so far, it is pretty straight forward Saint Seiya in the Prologue. And then the first chapter is all setup so we’ll see where it goes. Even the artwork seems like it is from a past era which is a nice touch.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #190

November 16, 2012

I’m pretty excited that we are finally getting Initial D 5th Stage! As always the opening set the right tone. I liked the manga-styled beginning complete with sound effects that transformed into the CG cars we are now accustomed to.

Eps. 1-2 throw you right in so don’t expect much of a refresher course. We are given brief glimpses of Project D’s next rivals in Kanagawa which they say is the final part in a grand plan, Ryosuke appears to be going in a little blind but he seems to be keeping things under his hat as usual. The AE86 has been getting an upgrade plus Takumi seems determined to learn to steer with one hand. On other fronts, Takumi’s new love interest appears only to rip into him thanks to a misunderstanding.

The imposters of Takumi and Keisuke swaggering around was a fun and light way to start the season. Of course I was very excited as Keisuke’s first appearance is him calling those dudes out! Though it makes for little actual racing in the first episode.

But the uphill battle in the second installment started off nicely with Keisuke taking on another EVO. His opponent is on edge, just waiting for Keisuke to do something crazy, but as time winds by you can see how tightly wound the guy waiting is. Too bad we have to wait a few weeks to find out how this plays out.

I enjoyed it ending with Ryosuke saying a “street specialist” has to be a little bit reckless. Keisuke is nothing if not reckless.

I recently talked about Cross Manage and I mentioned it very much feels like a Shonen Sunday manga in Jump. Not to be outdone Nanatsu no Taizai, the new Sunday manga feels very much like it taken out of Jump. It does make one wonder what is exactly going on there. Are both magazines playing with courting their rivals’ demographic? Is it just Sunday reacting to Jump? Or is it mere coincidence?

Nanatsu no Taizai takes place in a medieval setting. Seven overpowered warriors called the Seven Deadly Sins knights tried to overthrow the kingdom but were stopped by the Holy Knights. The Sins were reportedly killed but rumors are abound that they are still alive. Recently the Holy Knight themselves have overthrown the King are putting the Kingdom under their thumb. The King’s only daughter goes out to find the Seven Deadly Sins in hopes that they can free her father. A seemingly humble bar owner that saves her and turns out to be one of the Sins. Together can they find the remaining Seven Deadly Sins and tear down this new corrupt regime?

Overall it is fairly standard but enjoyable stuff. It is just standard but enjoyable stuff you would expect to see in Jump. Elizabeth, the princess is cute and determined but not very capable. Sunday usually prides itself on its strong heroines but she seems mostly like a tag along Jump girl. There is a bit more of the ecchi humor you expect to see in Jump. Not that Sunday is above ecchi humor but it is not the type of humor the magazine usually uses. Also so far the plot have a very Jump structure. There is just something about their journey to collect the other knights that feels very Jump in its execution. Both magazines use the battle manga formula but in distinctly different fashions.

The other thing worth noting is all the fighters start off INSANELY overpowered. Meliodas is shattering the earth with broken swords and playing cross county catch with lances thrown like ICBM missiles. There seems to be no shonen power creep. Everyone starts out as a god. If they have places to go from here they might start making Jojo’s blush. It would be neat if the characters were mostly already at their peak and most of the battles were about wits more than learning new techniques also like Jojo’s.

I am very curious to see how this recent break from form does for both magazines. Do either magazines have robust enough readership to support something outside their normal wheelhouse or will these titles be dropped as quickly as they came?

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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