Ongoing Investigations: Case #023

Has anyone played the original Higurashi sound novel? I am curious what the fan-service levels are in the games. I ask this because I don’t remember the Higurashi anime being the fan service bonanza that the manga or the art books are. They really like the semi to fully lesbian fan-service shots in the artbooks. It’s like they were drawn by male fujoshi. Despite the abundance of fan-service in the Higurashi manga it is a pretty faithful adaptation. Yen Press went all out with color pages in the front and middle. The manga has yet to even give me close to the chill that anime did but it is still enjoyable. However, I don’t think it’s going to win any new fans to the franchise.

So I sort of did the Gurren Lagann suggestion made by our friends in their review, which was to watch the last 7 episodes and not worry about the rest. Well, I had already watched the first 9 but I did skip the next 12 and watched the end. I was entertained by its ridiculousness and was also able to grow fond of a couple of characters in that short span at the end. It goes full-throttle giant robot as robots start hurling entire universes. As for why I decided to skip so much, that would be a major spoiler. However, I can say that there is a missing piece of the puzzle and the show for me was incomplete without it. My overall feeling was the show was good, whereas the first 8 episodes were great. It was hilarity to the max.

I enjoyed Gurren Lagann for what is was, an over the top giant robot show about believing in courage and guts. I enjoyed it more than Boxingoctopus and Lothos because that is all the expectations I went into the show with. Therefore I never felt let down. I for one enjoyed the middle part of the series although not as much as the beginning or the end. Certain parts of Gurren Lagann seem like Gainax’s response to Evangelion. Simon is like Shinji Ikari in both of them spiral into the abyss but Simon is able to rise out of it where as one of the major points of Evangelion is Shinji’s inability to connect to others and find a way out. I can’t say for sure if it’s partially reactionary to their older work or it is less intentional and more the natural comparison by viewers despite any active agenda. I also really liked the very Japanese concept of circular belief. Circular belief being the idea that there is someone who you believe in that believes in you when you can’t do that yourself. I suppose I have always wanted someone like that myself. I also think the fact that Simon and Nia grew on me helped a considerable bit. They would never ever be as cool as Kamina or Yoko but then again who could be that cool.

Read Nightmare Inspector volumes 2 and 3, I am glad to see this series establishing little bit of a running narrative along with giving Hiruko and Mizuki some backstory. Though I just makes me want to know more since we’ve only gotten crumbs. They have also introduced a humorous tenant who moves into one of the rooms on the upper floor of the tea house. He isn’t in it too much so the somber and melancholic feel of the series stays in tact but he does throw a little spice in the mix now and then. This manga-ka always puts in some funny bonus stuff including a song written by Hiruko about how much he loves soda.

I have been playing Chrono Trigger for the DS. It stands up well in retrospect. The game play is solid, the story is still fresh, the amount of little changes you can make on the plot are still well done. Playing this reminded me of a conversation with my brother about Final Fantasy 7. We were discussing how flat characters in RPGs are today but they were even flatter back in the day. You were more willing to fill in the blanks in your mind back then. I remember the characters of Chrono Trigger being much deeper than they actually are. They aren’t bad characters if they were I would have never remembered them so well. It’s just the amount I had to fill in from what was implied had become actual fact. Still it’s great to be able to go back and play this again now only it’s portable. If I had a PSP I would be sorely tempted to play an emulated Chrono Cross on it like David Riley is going to do. Even though the prevailing logic is Chrono Cross is the devil’s spawn by most fans.

Finished the xxxHOLiC novel AnotherHOLiC. I have to say putting the first story in FAUST was a good move, not only did it make me interested in the novel but it was also the better story of the three and it doesn’t require me to know about the manga. The second story seemed too similar to the first, but also easier to figure out. And since those stories were back to back it made me wonder where Watanuki’s brain was. As for the third and final story, since I haven’t read the manga it didn’t help establish anything about Watanuki for me. I didn’t really understand his reasoning. Oh and the other guy in the story was super annoying.

I assumed this story happens early in the xxxHOLiC storyline but I can’t say for sure. Although it is never outright stated, one of the reasons Watanuki works at the store is Yuko is training him either as a her student or her outright successor. So it seems like the part of the story where she is no longer by his side on jobs but he has still not learned enough that she has taken of his training wheels. I thought that the first two stories bookend each other well enough so that they made a point when the third story came along. I just hated hated hated the eye theory guy in the last story. NISIOISIN is talented at making original characters that are annoying jackasses. This is not a compliment. He a good writer but he has to start cutting back on shrill, nasty characters in his work.

I made an entry for the Anime News Network 2008 Holiday Logo Contest. This is my first year entering. I had some extra time before my vacation so I thought, why not?

The best way to cap off Reverse Thieves completion of Gurren Lagann is with a piece of Gurren Lagann fan art:

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