Ongoing Investigations: Case #044

On free comic book day I picked up the Viz sample of Ultimo along with a few other things. Even with just half a chapter I can honestly say don’t bother with this series. The writing is really lame and also exceedingly annoying as it likes to tell you what is happening. Dear Hiroyuki Takei, this is a manga. That means there are pictures to tell me what is going on! You do not need to also write what is happening in little boxes all over the place. Also Ultimo is a boy? I swear I see boobs on this character design. This sample made me say “Who cares!” Which is a shame because I only read a bit of Shaman King, but I found it enjoyable enough.

I finally got my hands on Emma volume 8. The story proper of Emma has ended in book 7. The next three books are all side stories of various characters. Since Emma is one of those stories with delightful secondary characters this is a more than welcome prospect. The side stories jump around in time so we will get a little story about Kelly Stowner and her husband years before the original story and then jump ahead to look at how life has been treating characters like Eleanor and Tasha. The stories are just as charming as the main story so I was generally very pleased. I really liked The Times which we get a peek at various characters as we see how they are all connected by something as random and ubiquitous as the newspaper.  I will admit that they don’t really add anything to the main story but that is largely unimportant. One of the strengths of Emma was its wonderful depiction of Victorian England. As long as the stories remain as well written and heartwarming I look froward to the next two books as well.

Finished up the Here is Greenwood manga by reading books 8 and 9. The love story starts to take off again in book 8 and makes up the first half of the last volume. It was a sweet conclusion, but not too overly dramatic and still having its funny digs. I laughed quite hard when Hasukawa stands with the phone in his hand, the sound effect “HYOOOOO,” and an arrow pointing to the effect explaining it is “the sound of wind blowing through the ravaged heart.” I love a manga-ka that plays and has fun with her characters. Yukie Nasu is good at poking fun at her creations at just the right time. Also there is a chapter brilliantly called “M is for Mwa ha ha!” So true. Greenwood also has a rare bit of falling action after the climatic romance. We see just some fun chapters that reminded me that Nasu is very fond of ghost stories, there must be atleast four throughout the series, maybe more. Also the last chapter simply titled “Here is Greenwood” is mostly a fan-service chapter with Nasu fulfilling reader requests. Greenwood has its sentimental moments interspersed with its over the top comedy, perfectly done, and just long enough for you to feel the emotion. All in all, Greenwood is outstanding and practically perfect in every way.

I recently got a copy of Genghis Khan: To The Ends Of The Earth And The Sea by Nakaba Higurashi and Seiichi Morimura. It is a tie-in to the movie with the same name from Funimation. It has some good elements going in. Nakaba Higurashi is well known for his charter designs on the Baten Kaitos series and Seiichi Morimura is a well known novelist in Japan. I myself have been fascinated by Genghis Khan for very odd Hisui reasons: due to a review of Timequest from Legend Entertainment. Yup. Don’t think too hard about it or you might start to think like me. The story here is Genghis Khan’s rivalry with a childhood friend and how his son’s mirrors it later on. It’s not a bad story; it just did not grab me. They drop you into his life rather quickly and pop out of it just as fast. They give you the minimum needed to tell this little story so I did not feel any real connection with the characters. Maybe I was supposed to watch the movie to get a feel for these characters before reading the manga. Still I feel that a manga should be able to stand on its own. It would have been better had they taken more time and expanded the story to more than one book. The art is appropriate for the material and the original manga and the translation is well researched with no glaring errors I could see. It might be good for someone teaching a class about the period or for libraries who want to expand their manga sections, but I would not buy it casually.

Got a boat load of t-shirts from Uniqlo when they were having a sale! If you aren’t familiar with the store, it is a Japanese clothing place that, among other things, does limited runs of t-shirts. Many of them are designed using different anime and manga series. And get this, they had Kekkaishi t-shirts. KEKKAISHI! And more than one! So I picked up one for myself and the other for Hisui. Also grabbed up some for various people including a Mega Man one, a Unico one, and a GTO one. And since I was playing Santa Claus I gave myself a Bomber Man shirt and a Yatterman one to top it all off! They do some really great designs, but it can be hit or miss, so you just have to happen into the store now and again. Highly recommended place to shop though!

Undoubtedly inspired by Subatomic Brainfreeze, I have decided to share my thoughts on Eden 11 to keep it in people’s heads. More people need to be talking about this series. I would be a little upset if I never saw the conclusion to this considering it ending in Japan. We got some insight into the Closure Virus which was very much welcome. It is always exciting to read a new book of Eden because I am never sure that anyone other than Elijah is going to survive. Normally I would assume a somewhat comical character like Miriam would have plot armor but I could easily see her buying it. We got introduced to some new characters in this volume so I expect some house cleaning soon. On a random side note, I was very happy they mentioned quantum computing in this volume because I did a paper on it in college so I understood what they were saying. It is almost like my degree was worth the money I sunk into it. Also did Hiroki Endo hand off the drawing of Mana totally to an assistant? She never seems to be drawn in as much detail as the rest of the cast.

To coincide with one of the t-shirts I bought, this is the pic of the week:

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