I received a copy of Oh! My Brother 1, one of the latest series coming from CMX, and by the same manga-ka as their other recent release, The Name of the Flower. This short two book series revolves around Masago who is rather average in all things and her brother Shiro who is rather extraordinary in all things. When Shiro loses his life saving Masago from a speeding truck, he doesn’t actually go away. In fact, his spirit gets implanted in Masago so he can help her and take care of some unfinished business on Earth. Masago is tied between blaming herself, feeling inferior to her brother, and helping him because she loved him so much. And she is in love with his best friend. Sure that sounds complicated but the story is rather tame, it’s unclear whether or not Masago will really change or grow, in this first book she doesn’t seem to. The story is not surprisingly, rather silly and highly dramatic at times but never seems to do either extremely well. With this premise I expected the comedy to be turned up much higher. I found this better than The Name of the Flower but on the whole it is just a serviceable little series.
I am very curious to see what my friends that started Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 at the same time I did have to say about the series as a whole. It was an excellent show with a unique premise. By taking such a tremendous but mundane event as a major earthquake you get all the power and excitement of a fantastical plot but with all the weight of story feeling of reality. The major divide in people’s feelings will come with the fact that each third of the series has a different feel. The last third will either make some viewers claim it as one of their favorite series of the year or it will make them walk away feeling very disappointed or even betrayed. It is an ending that has to be experienced fresh for maximum impact. Therefore I suggest you avoid spoilers for this show until you finish it and then let the actuality wash over you. No matter how you feel about the ending you can not deny that it made you feel something.
I finished up the story of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. I didn’t finish all the puzzles because that is not really my priority in games. I had part of the mystery figured out though not all of it. My big problem was there was not much in the way of solving the mystery, rather you were just along as Luke and Layton uncovered it. I wanted to call out the impostor! I wanted to prove how I knew! Yet, there I was with all the evidence as Layton just lays it on the table without me lifting a finger. This was a bit disappointing. However, I still really felt the game was solid with both humor and mystery. Also the cinemas were just wonderful and got better as the game continued. I am looking forward to picking up the second game soon.
Canaan will never go on my list for favorite show, it does not even win my affection for favorite show of the season, but it did entertain me every episode. The plot was entertaining if slightly wonky at times. But it was wonky in the the favor of fun which is what you want out of a girls with guns show. I could easily see how Maria Osawa and Yunyun could get on people’s nerves. Maria is the typical damsel is distress that wants to be stronger and Yunyun is an odd comic relief character. But I found them both to be enjoyable and sympathetic when they needed to be. Liang Qi was a distinctly over the top villain but I enjoyed her hammy scenes. I thought that Canaan was darn cool but I am generally prejudiced towards characters like her. I thought her synesthesia was a good gimmick power that made her stylish but never made her seem overpowered. I am sure people will watch the show for the yuri undertones because the show has them in spades. I would be interested to play 428: Fusasareta Shibuya de to see how this was all set up but I am hardly going to hold me breath until they license it for the U.S. I will hold out hope that someone licenses the anime and will probably buy a Canaan figure.
I finally watched the rest of Rocket Girls (9-12) and really I have no reason I didn’t, I just didn’t till now. I guess you can attribute that to the pace not being break-neck action but still the show has it’s quiet moments of suspense. These last episodes not only solidify the bonds between the three girls but also makes them (and us) realize their desire and resolve to become astronauts. I do find them being on par with NASA a little unimaginable, though the series is certainly not grounded in reality, but it served its purpose of proving the girls are serious in their endeavor. I had mentioned previously liking the opening, also of note is the insert song in episode 11 which I couldn’t find the name of, it adds a nice pace to the girls and NASA’s meeting. The ending was well executed with just a moment of worry but ultimately a positive future outlook. Rocket Girls was a fine series with a combo of space, fun, and heart which was certainly worth sitting down with for 12 episodes.
Shin Mazinger Shogeki! Z-Hen is raw giant robot fun distilled into its purest form. As I predicted, the first episode is an overture of the series as a whole. It gives you a look at everything you are going to get and then lets you see the series unfold normally from the second episode. Shin Mazinger is one of those odd shows that lots of bloggers are talking about but I am sure that 90% of average anime fans could care less about it. Which is a shame because it is just a well put together show from Yasuhiro Imagawa. As per Yasuhiro Imagawa’s Modus operandi he takes all of a good deal of Go Nagai’s characters and throws them into a shared Mazinger universe. Shin Mazinger’s plot is excellently put together with a good amount of twists and turns for what is essentially a monster of the week show. The characters often get as much if not more screen time and thought than the robot fights but when the robot fights come around they are superb. I do have to mention two things. The first is obviously Imagawa could not come to AWA because he was behind schedule as seen in episode 25’a utterly atrocious animation. Even with a good amount of recycled footage!. The plot and the directing is still solid it’s just the images are not able to equal the story they are trying to tell. And the second thing is the series ends on a major cliffhanger. Hopefully the rumors are true and we will get a sequel.
In honor of my Professor Layton related achievement, this is the pic of the week: