I decided to check out Real Drive mostly because I was intrigued that I knew almost nothing about the show despite its pedigree. A cyber future anime from Production I.G and Masamune Shirow seems like the type of show everyone should be talking about. I think the main problem people have with this show is two fold. First is chubby girls. All the female characters are full figured to the point that most of them look sort of chunky. I did not have a problem with it but I know that it is like 80% of the reputation of this show. The second is my nickname for the show: Slice-of-Life in the Shell. While there are cases of killer cyborg assassins, man’s relationship with technology, and political intrigue the fact that Minamo Aoi the 15-year-old girl is the main character is a turn off if people wanted the standard Shirow protagonist. One of the stories is even about a ghost at Aoi’s school but what people are mostly going to remember is Aoi and her friends being goofy ghost hunters. Overall the slice-of-life aspects are really high at times so if you can’t stand them there is no reason to even try to plow through to get to the good fight scenes and deeper plot. I had a good time but it’s hardly a show that you must see especially considering how light the story can be at times. I do have to give the show props for making the other protagonist a 81-year-old hacker in a wheel chair. Now that isn’t an overused archetypal anime character.
I got Kekkaishi 21 in the mail earlier this week, I’m glad I had this on pre-order. The last few books have been setting up the many facets of sacred sites being destroyed and then hanging the blame on the Yoshimori’s clan which is causing turmoil in many different sects. Everything is still very shrouded in mystery, few ties of trusts, which is only multiplied by Okuni’s group getting involved. Things really heat up in this volume when Karasamori itself is targeted and as Tokine makes a difficult decision in the battle. We finally get more hints about who and what is destroying the sites and Yoshi among others starts doing some detective work. Yoshi continues to grow in this volume, but there is a little too much of people spelling everything out. And given my dislike for Sen, it doesn’t help that he is digging further and further into his know-it-all attitude even though I can read betrayal all over him. However, Yoshi is able to recognize himself as a person who has to listen to others with the realization that using their knowledge to further his learning is okay. I also can’t help but feel Yoshi is such a misunderstood guy, but he is moving forward. Kekkaishi is also starting to feel a bit more like shonen adventure and even less like shonen fighting than it already does. The battles are good and hard won but they aren’t dominating the plot. I really wish this came out quicker!
I finished Victory Gundam with episodes 31-52. I guess I will just throw out my overall feelings since the other person on the blog has not seen this yet. Observant Tomino fans will notice that there are 2 types of “Kill ‘Em All Tomino” shows. In the first type you will have one or two major deaths but almost everyone who is important dies at the very end. Then there is the constant murder throughout the series in Victory Gundam. I do have to note that some of the deaths were especially horrific even for Tomino. The big climactic fight centered around the Zanscare super weapon was suitably dramatic and tense. Tomino made a super weapon in a fashion he had never done before. He also seemed to be stalling for time at points with Shakti being passed back and forth between Uso and the Zanscare Empire. Overall I thought it was a solid Gundam series but not an exceptional one. It’s worth watching if you like Tomino but not anything you have to rush out to see. You just have to be braced for a series with a deep melancholy that permeates the show.
Conan Magic File 4 is a companion short to the latest film, The Lost Ship in the Sky. These shorts are always little insignificant romps which can be mildly amusing depending. This one is about Conan and Heiji’s attempt to get to a wonderful okonomiyaki restaurant before Conan has to depart for home and the many obstacles that get in their way. This mostly highlights both of the guy’s good Samaritan qualities but the likes of which often spill over into jumping to suspecting crime at every turn. Considering how many crimes happen around these two, it’s hard to blame them! And while they don’t solve any crimes they do clear up a misunderstanding between a couple. Fun but once again nothing too special.
On May 13th I participated on the live chat session of Monster episode 1 on manga.com. They played the first dubbed episode of Monster while letting viewers chat with each other or ask the producers at VIZ questions about the series. It was an interesting way to promote a show so I decided to check it out. They went out of their way to make the experience very interactive. You could also answer trivia question in a side bar quiz if you liked. The staff answered the questions in a quick and friendly manner which was very nice. Amazingly everyone was well-behaved from what I saw which for any open invitation online event is pleasing. For the life of me I could not get the advertisement bar to go away during the chat so it was hard to read the Q&A. But they answered a few of my questions including how free they felt they were in the adaption of the anime. They responded that they worked extremely closely with the translator of the manga to make sure they were perfectly in sync with each other. I think the showing with live Q&A session was clever and hope to see them do it again.
I have watched Heroman 2-6 and I can’t help but feel each subsequent episode seems less fulfilling than the previous. The pacing in this show is keeping me interested however since it is so wildly jarring as things you might suspect to happen over a couple of episodes instead occur almost instantly after you think of it. And the things that happen in Heroman you do literally think of because it is that familiar. I just keep suspecting there is going to be waaaay more to everything without any real proof of that. Though considering this show will probably be 50+ episodes it can take those first 10 to really get the ball rolling. Speaking of rolling balls, they are currently my favorite characters in the series, and as such I have taken to calling the show Marble Madness until they are disposed of.
They tried to stand up to the victory: