Posts Tagged ‘X-Men’

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X-Men Nerd Grudge Match Presents: Kate VS Diego

July 15, 2014

Days of Future Past is probably one of the most iconic X-Men stories of all time. That said, in reflection it was only a two chapter arc. But the memorable covers, powerful story, and lasting ramifications have made it a tale that is often repeated in other iterations of the franchise. In this podcast, we join the All Geeks Considered Podcast to discuss three versions of the story: the original comic chapters, the version from the 90’s cartoon, and the odd variant in The Super Hero Squad Show. We don’t discuss the recent movie adaptation however but you can pretty much throw a stone on the internet and accidentally hit a review of that. We give you the analysis you really need.

We also discuss Empire Biscuit, Veronica Mars, and if anyone actually likes Sad Claps.

Days of Future Past with The Reverse Thieves!

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #222

July 19, 2013

narutaki_icon_4040 I enjoyed reading up through volume 4 of Dengeki Daisy but it does have me questioning the ability of the story to continue for so much longer. It is still running.

At this point, Teru has discovered that Kurosaki and Daisy are in fact the same person (which we the audience knew all along). But she doesn’t confront him with this knowledge nor does Kurosaki realize Teru has figured out the truth. Each has admitted their growing feelings to confidants, with Kurosaki failing miserably to push his aside. Their closeness and the precipice of love is very obvious now.

I found the growing friendships, especially in vol. 4, to be particularly satisfying. Especially that of haughty Rena who is quite hilarious in her feigned indifference to Teru’s life and problems. Kiyoshi having the upper hand (since he knows Daisy’s identity as well as Kurosaki’s affections for Teru) when it comes to Kurosaki is also quite entertaining.

As I’d hoped, more haunts from Teru’s brother (and maybe Kurosaki’s) past turn up at the end of the volume. I am also starting to suspect Teru’s brother may not be dead after all.

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hisui_icon_4040 Never say that I won’t listen to a decent recommendation. Recently I had several people directly and indirectly recommend that I watch Girls und Panzer. I’m not exactly sure what exactly about me says, “This guy would love Girls und Panzer.” Is it that I come off as a person with an open mind and broad tastes? It is because I’m half German and therefore must love Blitzkrieging? Or do people just think I’m some sort of horrible icky moe fanatic?

Then again I’m not sure I want to know what about me says that to my friends. It might just be a secret that is best unexplored.

Girls und Panzer exists in an alternate timeline where tanks warfare is VERY different from what we know. For one thing it is a competitive sport descended from a military science like fencing or jousting. Tanks fire nonlethal shells which set off sensors that gauge hits. The major difference is that tankery is almost exclusively considered a pastime for women.

The shy Miho Nishizumi comes from a long line of tank commanders but goes specifically to a school without a tank program to escape her panzer related fate. Despite her timid nature she makes two fast friends on their first day.  But the student council president blackmails Miho and her two companions into join the tank club under the threat of making their lives horrible otherwise. Can Miho love to love the roar of an M1 Abrams? Can she lead the school tankery team to victory?

Girls und Panzer is a better show that I thought it would be. I’m hardly amazing but it is far better than it has any right to be. That is both a mixture of faint and legitimate praise. Overall the cute girls doing things genre can be pretty awful or just plain tedious so a show that is neither is an accomplishment. But “It is not complete torture” is hardly a ringing endorsement. Beyond that Girls und Panzer has some actually parts that are enjoyable and fun.

Miho is your fairly standard shy but warmhearted female protagonist. She has trouble making friends but is a good person who supports her friends when the chips are down. She is likeable if a bit bland and most of her character beyond that comes from her checked past with tanks and family. Hana Isuzu is a very Yamato Nadeshiko styled character to the point where she comes form a family known for flower arrangement. She is actually be a rebel by being in the tank club. And the main trio is round out by the best member of the team, Saori Takebe. She thinks she is a Gentlemen Killer that is a mixture of Mine Fujiko and Lum Invader that all the men can’t help but fall in love with. In the end she is mostly just a cheerful dork.

Later on the team is rounded out with Yukari Akiyama who is a crazy tank otaku which makes her insanely popular with the show’s target demographic-. If anyone is an audience surrogate character it is her. Mako Reizei is the last to join the team and she is brilliant but lazy.

The girls mainly stick to broad archetypes which is sort of the broad personalities the genre is known for. If you’re looking for innovate characters the closest your going to get is Saori with her odd delusion of being this hyper sex goddess despite being horribly naive. But if you’re sick of the standard cute girl tropes you are mostly going the be massaging your head the whole time.

There are four other groups that make up the other teams at school. They mostly seem to be there to get hit and show how formidable the other teams are. Since there are a lot of them they generally have a group personality with each member having a strong quirk more than distinct characters. The Student council team is there to move the plot and have the President be a manipulative bastard especially to her two underlings. The former volleyball team is filled with girls with “Hard Work and Guts” emblazoned on their souls. The Reki-jo team has to be the oddest bunch of them all. They are obsessive history fan girls who cosplay historical figures. Narutaki put it best when she said it was like they were what would happen if a group of Hetalia fangirls got a hold of a tank. And the six freshmen girls mostly seems to exist to be the absolute worst. At everything. They are distinctly NOT the team made up of Strong Female Women™.

A question I know that will be asked about any of these shows is how bad is the fan-service. While it is not omnipresent it is distinctly present. While there are no major panty shots or lingering cleavage shots there is usually one piece of distinct eye candy every episode. They will go a whole episode without anything major and then the busty member of the student council will be washing their tank in a bikini or they will recruit Mako in the bath. It’s hardly oppressive but it is still very clearly there when it wants to be.

It does also firmly exist in the pink zone. Anyone who is a main cast member is female. Men exist. We see them in the town around the school, watching matches, and interacting with the girls on occasion. But so far nothing close to a supporting character has been male. That said the yuri bait has been fairly minimal. When you have a cast like this the fans are going to make it but the show itself does not overtly cater to it too much. Binbogami ga! had far more in a single chapter than the first 4 episodes I saw combined.

So the real question is should YOU watch Girls und Panzer? The answer comes down to a simple question of “What is my opinion of the “Cute Girls Doing Stuff genre?” If you a sick of it then this is not the show to change your mind. While it executes the formula well it does not particularly innovate  other than the fact that the subject mater is hardly the standard girl joins sport team X and learns the power of friendship (and perhaps sapphic love.)  On the other hand if you still enjoy the formula then this is a nice variation of the theme.

Will fans of fans of tanks like this series? I have no idea. Those people are just weird and hard to please. But so could be said of any military hardware fanatic.

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 #220

July 5, 2013

narutaki_icon_4040 I finished up  Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones much more quickly than the first GBA game. I can attribute it to a couple of things, loving the character relationships more and finally getting a handle on how the game is played. Plus, the first was 30 chapters while this was only 20.

But I actually think the game was easier than the first, too. I don’t think I have gotten that much better, and yet I was able to beat many chapters in just one go.

I loved that I was able to build up Eirika as a badass fighter who was not overshadowed in the story by her warrior brother. And of course she marries General Seth in the end.

I was disappointed that some of the relationships I worked on building up to A rank did not result in the characters getting a combined ending.

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hisui_icon_4040 With our new SWAT Reviews already started this season I decided to make all my Ongoing Investigations about series that just finished up this week. Now the one person who regularly reads this to figure out what to watch from last season will have a better idea of what to do.

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet was a solid show. It was nice to see an original science fiction setting with mecha that generally made everyone happy. I think there were a good deal of people who were hoping for more or something grander. But making everyone generally happy as opposed to ecstatic is a fairly admirable and seemingly unobtainable accomlishment. The pacing in the middle could have been stronger. I know that two episodes that were mostly slice of life with fan service scenes in them hardly did anything to win over people who wanted more robot action, world building, or character growth. Well those episodes had a bit of the last two things but Belly Dancing Amy made some people forget that. In their defense it did seem a little gratuitous despite having a strong emotional pay off at the end.

People were expected a Tomino level bloodbath but overall other than a one major death it seems like we don’t loose anyone that important. I guess that shows that the Urobutcher was really only involved with the first and last episodes. Or maybe just maybe writers can do things outside of what the fandom expects them to do. But that is just crazy talk.

I think the most common complaint was “When the fudge did they decide to make the Pirate Queen Lukkage a plot important character?” She went from a one-off villain to important side character really out of nowhere. This is not One Piece and she is not Buggy the Clown.  I did not have a major problem with her but she did seem to come back to prominence for no real reason other than her two flotation devices (and I’m not talking about the ones attached to her Lobster Yunboro.)

The question a lot of people seem to be asking is should there be more Gargantia? It has a distinct ending that has no major or dire cliff hangers. But at the same time there are a good deal of elements that could be developed into news shows if they wanted them to be. In a way that is probably the best way to end a series you want to continue. It makes people excited when they hear about a new series but not bitter until that announcement. So I hope to see more of this setting but I am satisfied it that is all there is to this tale.

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 #217

May 31, 2013

Just when I thought I would have no new Type-Moon manga to talk about I found the first 2 chapters of Tsuki no Sango. Tsuki no Sango is an interesting little project that had Saizensen pair together Kinoko Nasu and Maaya Sakamoto for a short story. It started as Sakamoto reading the story while animation was played in the background. It was popular enough that it has been spun off into several different mediums.

But as a Type-Moon fan I enjoy getting all the Nasu I can. Therefore it is a real boon when a story like this is converted into manga form as that is far easier to see translated than something that usually gets overlooked like drama CDs. (It is not like I’m tripping over Starlit Marmalade translations.) This was drawn by Sasaki Shonen who also did the Shingetsutan Tsukihime manga.

Kinoko Nasu is clearly no stranger to using The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter as in inspiration for stories. Tsukihime means Moon Princess although Arcueid is a much looser adaptation of Kaguya-hime. And in that vein Tsuki no Sango in set in the year 3000 where a princess descended from lunar inhabitants lives on an island on the now stagnating Earth. The Prince of Arishima wishes to make this Storyteller Girl his bride but so far she has asked impossible dowries for her hand in marriage from all her suitors. What is the tale of the Storyteller Girl that made her how she is today?

So far the Storyteller Girl is the biggest hook to the story. She seem to be a proper princess on the outside but overall she seems a spunky Arcueid complete with short blonde haircut and energetic bursts of activity mixed with contemplative melancholy. She also has twin maids that remind me of another similar pair.

This is a far more subdued story that we are used to seeing from Nasu. So far at least. There are no magical orders steeped in blood soaked conspiracies. It seems more a mixture of character study and love story like Notes rather than something like Fate/Stay Night. And I am perfectly fine with that. Can’t wait to read more of it.

Also have to find out what the deal with Small Person is. 

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 The Wake is a new mini-series from the Vertigo line. I was originally curious because Scott Snyder was writing, but I remained unsure. Then I saw the art by Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth and it totally blew me away. The first issue came out this week.

The story centers around Dr. Archer, a cetologist, who is approached by a government organization looking into some strange phenomenon in the ocean around Alaska. She meets a team already selected who were told various other stories about what they are investigating. The mystery setup is classic. We also get glimpses into the distant future and the ancient past implying this manifestation is long reaching.

The art takes the story to another level. The heavy black lines and stark shadows create the perfect atmosphere for this tense, evil in the deep, mystery. The color choices give it a pulpy feel that I just love.

One thing I’m not crazy about is the cover, it really doesn’t do justice to the interior art and doesn’t pull you in.

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.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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