Ongoing Investigations: Case #077

It was a natural combination that was an inevitability like the teaming up of Jackie Chan and Jet Li we have the combination of Detective Conan and Sherlock Holmes. Thankfully Detective Conan Movie 6: The Phantom of Baker Street turn out better than The Forbidden Kingdom. When Conan and his detective gang are invited to the world premier of a high tech virtual reality game the festivities quickly turn to a race to solve murders in real life and the virtual world. The draw of the movie is going to be Conan substituting for the world greatest detective as he tries to solve the Jack the Ripper murders in a virtual London. The fact that if they lose the game everyone playing dies also ramps up the tension. The action in the virtual world and the real world work well in tandem but eventually tie together in an unexpected manner. There was always some bit of action or excitement going on which helped keep the movie lively. It was great to see Professor Moriarty and Sebastian Moran in the game as well although there is less Holmes than I expected. The Junior Detective League also seems like they were deliberately part of the script as opposed to crammed in like the other movies. Overall it was a good time and a fine addition to the franchise.

I can’t tell you how trilled I was when I got my hands on this movie, I insisted that it be next on this list. My goodness, what a combination: Conan (love!), Sherlock Holmes (love!), 19th century London (love!), and a Jack the Ripper mystery (love!). I really enjoyed that the creators finally cooked up away to bring all those elements together even if it takes place in a virtual world. And the virtual reality aspect of this film tells you exactly when it was made, the mid-90’s when everyone was convinced that was going to be the next big thing! But it’s not like Detective Conan isn’t already set around some pretty crazy technology so this doesn’t seem out of place. Everyone contributes a lot to this movie and we even get an appearance from Conan’s parents. There are of course many twists and turns, and this one does have some very suspenseful moments. I found the final confrontation scene especially thrilling and once again tip my hat to Ran, in fact the franchise is very good at the final scenes overall. Detective Conan Movie 6: The Phantom of Baker Street is a great romp in the collection!

I finished Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and I have to say it came together pretty well in the end. I was happy to see that Roux and Elle were useful through the series as I was a little worried they would fade away. Emary Ounce was sort of useless as a captain but it is not like Beecha is much better. It was also odd to see what were pretty much comic relief villains being dangerous cyber-newtype killers but it gave some weight to the last fights. The ending had some notable character deaths on all sides but was not the Battle of Gettysburg that the end of Zeta was. Glemy and Puru Two could have gotten a little more fleshing out as villains but served their purposes. Overall Gundam ZZ is hardly a necessity as a part of the Universal Century story. You can skip it if you don’t have the time but you would be missing out on some good characters, stories, and fights near the end. Also a bit of resolution to Kamille, Fa, and Haman Khan’s stories from Zeta and more story to the tale of Bright Noa. It is also a major point in Mineva Lao Zabi‘s story which can almost be seen as the story that ties together all the main Gundam series. If you do watch the series you just might want to skip to episode 12 and just read an episode guide to catch up. Also Tomino why do we get the most fan-service from Puru Two when wonderfully attractive Roux and Elle were cast members? I am also amused it has several instances of shirtless Judau and cross-dressing which proves once again that Gundam always catered to women despite what fans may say. I almost forgot to mention that one very important person shows up for a few scenes and that makes it all worth it.

I found the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Parallel Works, which is a collection of music videos, to be as a whole rather disappointing. For many of the shorts, the music and image were not in sync and by that I don’t just mean the beat (though that happened often), but also by theme and by mood. The ones that were even able to accomplish one of those tasks (Boing vs Boing, Omae no xxx de Ten wo Tsuke!!, and Gattai Nante Kusokurae!!) were still just okay. The only real stand out piece, and truly the only one worth seeking out, is the last one about Lordgenome’s past. There is a great combination of style, design, scale, music, and weight all of which is able to convey such an ominous and spic mood. Omaera Zenin Moete Shimae!!! exemplifies what the collection should have been and therefore blows everything that came before it out of the water.

I was both very pleased and a little disappointed after watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagan-hen. The disappointment came because all the reviews I read really made it seem like there was a significant new direction in the second Gurren Lagann movie. But I was pleased as the movie succeeds in what it set out to do. And that is tell the rest of the story of Gurren Lagann in two hours. It does so very well and reminded me what I really liked about the TV series. It starts off with Simon fighting Lord Genome and ends with a little more of what Simon is doing with himself after the climax. It told the story in a compressed manner without any of the awkwardness of the first movie. With the new material I did notice there were differences but they did not change the narrative that much. Sure some characters lived who died in the TV series but no one cared about them anyway. We got a little more mecha porn and some nudity from Yoko and Nina which gives the audience what it wants on both fronts. The second movie really sells you on what made Gurren Lagann such a great show. It works well for new fans who just want to watch two movies to get the feel of the series and old fans who want to see what they love again with a slight twist.

I watched Toradora episodes 2-7 just a week or so before the license announcement, so while I’m waiting for the DVDs to finish it off I thought I’d share my feelings since I think it’s worth buying. I’m glad to have watched these installments in quick succession because I don’t think the 2nd and 3rd episodes are nearly as good as the first. ToraDora always seems to be teetering on the edge between being a standard shonen romance and really living up to the potential of the stand-out moments that occur in every episode (when Ryuji and Taiga take out their frustrations on the light pole, it was a perfect scene no doubt). You could sense though that the staff knew they took the relationship between Taiga and Ryuji too far, too quick and had to back pedal. However, from episode 4 onward the series starts to even itself out, and the gradual build happening for our tiger (tora) and dragon (dora) is solid. I do worry that we won’t see as much of Ryuji’s perspective and struggles, as they have already been relegated to the side, but Taiga is a good character whose story and transition I am eager to explore.

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