Ongoing Investigations: Case #067

Having never seen the second season of Haruhi I have yet to be embittered by the franchise. Therefore I have happily gone and picked up the The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya novel. It’s hardly brand spanking new territory for those who watched the TV series but it does go in depth into the creation of the movie that makes up episode 0 of the original TV series. It does shed a good deal of light on events that occur during episode 0 if you were not already aware of them such as why occasionally people are busting out powers during the filming of the movie and why Kyon’s cat talks only in episode 0. Other than that there are no major plot revelations or character development. It tells the story you already mostly know but gives you the behind the scenes details into how that movie was made. It is mostly a fun little romp with Haruhi as the Japanese Ed Wood. I think the novel is a good cure for those who still want to like the Haruhi series but were burnt out by Endless Eight.

The latest Detective Conan Movie, the 13th one to be exact, titled The Raven Chaser was a really enjoyable addition to the Conan library. This one involves a rather clever serial killer who leaves Mahjong tiles at the scenes of his victims and that is only the beginning of the string of clues our boy detective must unravel! This movie did plenty of things right while keeping it just grounded enough. You can follow Conan’s logic even if you can’t figure things out a head of time, which is a plus. Also this story throws in a lot of favorite characters including Heiji and Kazuha, plus the addition of the Black Organization makes the movie a well plotted trip. The final confrontation is a high adrenaline sequence involving Tokyo Tower that isn’t to be missed. Also no surprise but the movie looks great. Highly recommended!

Liar Game: The Roots of A is a collection of short stories from the creator of Liar Game that headlines with a bit of back story on Shinichi Akiyama. Only the first story is a Lair Game story. The others are a collection of short works by Shinobu Kaitani one that seems like a rejected series proposal. The first shows Akiyama as a student in college in a profiling class when the professor gives them an assignment to write up a profile of the writer of a message attached to a balloon that he found. We get to see Akiyama’s thought processes as he works on the assignment and uses some unique methodology as compared to the rest of the class. It does not provide any stunning revelations but it is a chance to see Akiyama in a less stressful situation where he still has to apply his unique mental and social skills. The next story is two chapters about a fortune-teller who goes around helping people trying to find someone with a strong enough destiny to overturn his own grizzly death that he predicted. This is obviously a pitch for a longer series that never got made. The last two stories are about the author and his dog and a one shot love story. Overall hardly an essential addition to the Liar Game Story but entertaining.

I have been faithfully watching Yumeiro Pastiere (through episode 7 now) and it does indeed involve fairies. However, so far while they do appear they are rarely more than little mascots for their pastry chef-in-training counterparts. Vanilla, Ichigo’s fairy, does on occasion give her words of encouragement and also randomly makes some of the successful desserts into cards which the queen of the fairies collects (can we say marketing ploy?).  Each of the three boys in Ichigo’s group has their own little fairies all of which reflect their personalities taken to the next level. The series remains cute and optimistic often the challenges of the episode involve a better understanding of people and how sweets can help others. While the series isn’t riveting, I did still find myself excited to see what would happen after the cliffhanger in episode 6. Yumeiro is a blessing these days with how few young shojo series get adapted into anime.

I found a copy of a translation of Angel Notes. It is a fascinating oddity as one of the first works of Kinoko Nasu in an anthology about angels. In fact the company name Type-Moon comes from this short story. It is a sad love story about a sniper and an angel who fall in love on a dying Earth. It has all the classic signs of what we would go on to know as Nasu’s writing. It has almost as many background notes on the world as it does pages of story. I enjoyed the story but I am not sure how much I would have wanted to read a full length series is such a depressing world. Still it’s a good read for anyone who wants to see the progressive writing style of Type-Moon or was curious where some of the more obscure characters from the Character Materials book came from.

Someone started fan-subbing Kaidan Restaurant a show which I wanted to check out for the fall preview. So now I finally had a chance to sit down with the first episode. The format is 3 little scary stories all mashed up together involving some of the middle school students. There is also a ghost narrator who starts off as well as closes out the episode. We start in very typical fashion as Ako stares out the school room window wishing something interesting would happen and in walks a new transfer student Sho. They then proceed to explore the strange seemingly abandoned restaurant on the hill where the bizarre happens. Ghosts, possession, and soul taking occur among other supernatural elements in this show. However, remember this a children’s series so don’t expect to be scared out of your wits, but it may supply a little laughter at the expense of the main characters.

Mikuru Beam!

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