Wildstorm sent us a copy of the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles prelude book. It is a graphic novel that helps link the Robotech TV series and the Shadow Chronicles movie. Rouge officer T.R. Edwards has allied himself with the Invid. Rick Hunter must catch this traitor before he can use his newly stolen technology to strike back at the Earth Forces. The first thing I noticed is that the book has a really American comic feel to it; being a DC Comics imprint and made for American Robotech fans this is unsurprising. Overall the story was nothing objectionable but also immediately forgettable. It seemed mostly for Robotech fans so I felt like an outsider listening to a conversation between old friends to which I was unaware of many points of the undiscussed history. I clicked a good deal more with the characters from the first part of the Robotech saga partially because those are the strongest characters and partially because that is the part of Robotech I remember the most. T.R. Edwards came off as a mustache twirling villain despite the fact that they did make an honest effort to give him some depth. I enjoyed the mechanical designs more than the human and monster designs which seemed bland to me. It was nice to see them dedicating the book to the memory of Carl Macek pretty prominently on the credits page though.
We went to Vertical Vednesday this week which featured the up and coming (and sure to be great seller) Chi’s Sweet Home as well as a look at pet manga in general. Ed even brought along copies of the book for us to peruse which is in full-color if you aren’t familiar with Chi. There is pet manga that stretches back to Tezuka, I urged him to license his dog manga, but Ed felt it really started to get a foothold in the 80’s along side the beginning of josei. And most pet manga today runs along the josei and seinen lines. It was a quick introduction to a small but popular genre, and you’ll be unsurprised to learn cats are the most popular animal. Near the end we also got to take a look at the second book of Twin Spica which I was infinitely more excited about! Vertical Vednesday’s are a relaxed night with the industry making it well worth a short trip.
In honor of Carl Macek I decided to watch the streamline dub of the Dirty Pair: Project Eden as well. Overall Project Eden is a big-budget 80-minute Dirty Pair episode. Kei and Yuri are called in to investigate a rash of attacks on a mining colony that threaten to spark an intergalactic conflict between two rival governments. They soon discover that the mad scientist Doctor Wattsman is behind it all as part of his latest insane experiments. Along the way they are aided by the handsome thief Carlson D. Carlson who quickly develops a bit of sexual tension with Kei. It’s a fun little story although two things stuck me as unusual. The story felt much more like the novels than the TV series in that Yuri felt much more like Kei’s sidekick than her partner. The other was that Carlson D. Carlson seemed much more capable than the Dirty Pair which is a shame. One of their key selling points is they are always the most able people in the room. Still I had fun and that is what is most important. The old streamline dub was fairly competent. I can’t say I liked Kei and Yuri’s voice anywhere nearly as much as I did in Japanese but after 36 episodes with the Japanese actresses that is sort of the natural reaction. Despite some liberties taken with the dialog the spirit and flow of the Dirty Pair was intact which is the most important thing.
I watched the short, independent anime Meguriau Sekai by studio New Adventure. It is a quiet piece about a girl reflecting on her first love in middle school. It goes on to show how it has shaped her in the future. There is not a lot of talking instead using angles and movement to show the emotions and thoughts. It has a slow, languid feel despite the short 15-minute running time. In this way it reminded me a bit of Makoto Shinkai’s work.
On the advice of the famous/infamous Tim Maughan I decided to check out the OVA series the Mighty Space Miners. Nanbu Ushiwaka is a 12-year-old boy and the first child that was born in space who has survived. He lives on a mining asteroid and is currently trying to get his astronaut’s license. During his exam a military satellite malfunctions setting off a series of disasters around the asteroid. The survivors must find a way to get to safety when the government seems content to leave them to fend for themselves while they clean up their own messes. The cast is pretty enjoyable although we spend the lion’s share of the time with Nanbu. It a fun space adventure with some good action scenes broken up with a little political tension in the second episode. I will warn anyone who is interested in watching this that this series was never finished. Episode two unfortunately ends on a cliff hanger that is never resolved. This OVA has some great animation which I suspect is partially the reason we never got a conclusion. It’s really a shame we never get to see how everything turned out.
I read through Gakuen Alice 4 where the school festival at the academy begins, always a popular and fun part to many a school set series. This book is a little more fluff after the dark and serious happenings in vol. 3 so its a fun break. Though we still learn a few things about Hotaru’s past, much appreciated too, and Sakura is slowing becoming more aware of just who Natsume is. We also finally meet the teacher of the special class. The school festival continues into the next volume so it’ll be interesting to see if anything major happens to Sakura as the finale.
It does not matter if you called her Misa Hayase or Lisa Hayes. What matters is she was an amazing character that stuck with many fans years after they saw her.