Ongoing Investigations: Case #061

Without a doubt Taisho Baseball Girls has been my favorite anime of the summer of 2009 and it was a strong summer lineup. Baseball Girls does just about everything right. Each episode left me feeling great afterward. It is comedic where it needed to be comedic and dramatic where it needed to be dramatic. There are great strong female characters that grow together and as individuals. But Taisho Baseball Girls makes sure to have a decent amount of male charterers that get screen time and development, too. Other than possible a little yuri fanboy pandering there is nothing objectionable about the series. The only real fan-service is writing so good it’s sexy and plotting so tight it’s scandalous! The ending is suitably dramatic and fulfilling. If you have not started watching Taisho Baseball Girls I suggest you at least watch the first episode and see what your missing out on. It’s a long shot but I would like to see someone pick this up in the States. It’s everything good sports anime should be. I would also love to read the light novels and the manga but I realize when things are pretty much unlicensable in the current market.

I read the last two volumes of Fruits Basket and found it very satisfying. The 22nd volume wraps up the main story with the curse and then the 23rd moves each relationship along its merry way. While I think everyone knew where the story would end, the series keeps the heart from start to finish and readers will be decidedly engrossed. Though some may be disappointed in the fate of characters who they feel have slighted many others on the canvas. If ever you want a story to be definitive this one is like a yes-we-will-be-together-now-and-until-we-are-old-and-die together type. This is a series that I had been following for quite sometime so it was a very emotional ride. But here at the end I can say it is one of my favorite series to date.

Inu-Yasha: The Final Act pretty much picks up as if they never ended the original Inu-Yasha TV series. The direction, the animation, the music, even the sound effects, all have the same feel. I had heard that this was going to be the last two books but the series starts much earlier than that, around book 37. So with 19 books to get though they are going to have to pick up the pace and cut all of the filler storyline. It is like this is the Dragon Ball Kai of Inu-Yasha. Overall if you were hoping for some major change like a Akiyuki Shinbo version of Inu-Yasha with totally fresh new look you are going to be sorely disappointed. But I am going to assume that 90% of the people tuning in don’t want that, they just want the end to the Inu-Yasha they started watching. The fact that it is simulcast streaming is excellent. I know my mother was so happy when I told her that this was happening. This is one of the best tests you are going to have to see how well simulcast can sell DVDs. I wonder if this solid wrap up would ever happen with any other series or is this merely the power of Rumiko Takahashi.

What can I say about the end of Akagi? Was all I could have dreamed of and more? Yeah, more or less. First off, if it wasn’t already apparent that Akagi is a way over the top show, then the last six or so episodes will have you convinced. The metaphors just get more insane as does the sequences of them being represented. And for the later half of Akagi taking on Washizu there is no end to the references of Akagi being Jesus. Though this did beg the question, in this image, exactly who is Washizu? Anywho, in between the biblical references are ones to Washizu being a hunter and Akagi being a demon. So Akagi is both Jesus and a demon? Odd. The match also takes a stunning turn in the final episode but you know Akagi makes it out. I loved Akagi, little will ever compare to it, and I’m a little sad that it is over.

I started reading Otaku no Musume-san after both Ko Ransom and One Great Turtle off handidly mentioned enjoying it in separate conversations. Kouta Morisaki is a full-blown otaku who works as an assistant to a fairly famous manga-ka. He even lives in an apartment complex made up of other otaku. One day a nine-year-old girl named Kanau Yukimura comes to his house and announces that since her mother is in a great deal of financial trouble she has come to live with her father. After that it is both of them coming to terms with becoming an instant family. Kouta is sort of an irresponsible human being that can barely take care of himself let alone a young girl. Kanau had always dreamed of her dad being awesome but finds him much different than she hoped for. There is a good deal of humor and a fair amount of touching moments to be had. My only major complaint is that there does seem to be more Kouta fan-service than there really should be. They will go long stretches without having any but I would prefer my heartwarming comedies to have as little nine-year-old fan-service as possible. Thankfully most of the fan-service comes by the way of the apartment manger. Since she is clearly based on Kyoko Otonashi which is fine by me. Overall it’s sort of a grown-up otaku comedy about learning to be an otaku but still having and dealing with adult responsibilities. And for that I recommend it.

I watched the Shonen Jump Super Anime Tour 2008 Letter Bee Special: Light and Blue Night Fantasy in preparation for the TV series. I have only read a bit of the manga, so I can’t say whether or not the special is an original story or taken from the ongoing series. Lag gets a special assignment to deliver a package to former Bee Elena, he is guided on this mission by a veteran Dingo named Darwin. As the story goes on we learn what happened to Elena and how Darwin fits into it all. Letter Bee always combines a bit of heart into the adventure story through the packages being delivered. This special is no exception doing a nice job of highlighting what kind of series Letter Bee is.

I would be criminal not to share at least one delightful baseball girl image so here we go. Please enjoy Akiko Ogasawara and her magic ball:

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