Chi’s Sweet Home may be the greatest possibility of being a mainstream success with an older audience that manga will ever have. Everything about it is extremely friendly to the casual reader. It is flipped and in color which gives it a distinctly high end American newspaper comic feel. It is cute and delightfully innocent. The book is superbly designed. Everything is crisp and clean and the whole book is as well designed as the Japanese version if not better. So rightfully you will see tons of praise for this series on the Internet and it deserves all the praise it gets. That being said I ultimately found the series utterly boring. The whole books is kitten moe. The book utterly relies on you finding Chi adorable. But the problem with Chi is the problem you see with any moe show. People who love K-ON! love it with their heart and soul and everyone else wonders what the heck that crazy person is babbling on about. Now moe for humans quickly gets into weird and uncomfortable sexual issues for some people which thankfully are nonexistent in Chi. But the underlying problem still remains. If you collect cute pictures of kittens, post in Caturday threads, and/or are just in love with felines in general this book will be catnip to you. To me it was like one of those extremely profitable newspaper comics that I read and then just shrug my shoulders. I understand why it is so successful but I just seem immune to it’s charm.
As far as I know Kekkaishi 22 is my last pre-ordered volume, I must remedy that! In this installment we see the consequences of Tokine’s actions at the end of volume 21 plus the mysteries surrounding the scared sites just keep getting thicker. We also meet a character that I kept seeing in fan-art who is a member of the Shadow Organization’s special unit. As per previous suspicions and hints, someone in the Organization is behind the murders going on but we are still no closer to finding out who. There’s a decent dose of humor in this book despite the very serious circumstances of Tokine’s predicament. And this time around Yoshimori atleast asks first to be reckless before leaving, a step in the right direction maybe. We end mid-stream as Yoshi finally connects with Tokine and a major battle is slated to ensue. A good, solid volume.
I watched the one episode of Mayoi Neko Overrun! that is worth watching. Episode seven is a total parody of your classic Sunrise super robot show. It starts as if it were the mid-season climax of an ongoing robot show. The three combining robots that make up the Grand Braver and their rival-turned-ally are facing off against the evil Machine Duke. We have the standard back and forth with everything building to a new combination and a new finishing move. In between the have the necessary exposition from a professor character, motivational speeches, seemingly hopeless situations, villain monologues, and character flashbacks. And of course it being the mid-season climax it ends with the true villains stepping out of the shadows to set up the second half of the series. It was a really well done love letter to shows like The Brave Series and the best part is you don’t have to watch any previous episode of Mayoi Neko Overrun! to enjoy this. So if you are a fan of mecha shows I think it’s worth just checking out this one episode.
Now that Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated is officially on the air, you can expect to see me mention it probably every week. The second episode beings with an attack on some random travelers by a “man-gator.” Back in Crystal Cove the gang receives a package from the mysterious Mister E that contains a 100% gator-skinned bag from Gatorsburg which was supposed to be a ghost town so they go off to investigate. The man-gators, plural, prove to be pretty frightening in their chase sequences adding some extra darkness as do the incredibly creepy siblings of the Gator family. The show also continues to delve into the relationships between the cast and up the character focus. But the actual mystery of Gatorsburg is really weak and obvious. I am not expecting the most complex mystery in the world from Scooby Doo but atleast give us more to chew on and more suspects. Especially coming off the well done first episode this one felt weak. That being said, the show is doing wonderfully at making Mister E intriguing, the addition of an ongoing mystery to the weekly cases is a nice touch.
I also finished the prequel to Fist of the North Star known as Legends of the Dark King. It was very interesting to finish both series very close to one another. There are somethings that could distinctly be seen as retcons if you think about them too hard including how certain people worked together against Roah, how Souga and Reina were Roah best buds and most important supporters but are never even hinted at in the TV series, and how certain events played out. But as with anything in Fist of the North Star the key is to just roll with it and soak in the emotion more than the details. The easiest thing to do would have been to water down Roah emotionally or physically for the sake of drama. But any softening him up would have destroyed the legacy he had built up in the manga proper. They wisely keep Roah as in invincible and immovable bad arse and surround him new characters to add drama and tension. They have to struggle while Roah just marches forward steamrolling anything in his path. It added some depth to Ryuga who came off as a complete time waster in the original TV series. This is a fun little side story that is hardly a vital piece of the Fist of the North Star story it is a welcomed and enjoyable piece of the series that remains faithful to the original.
I read the first book of Solomen’s Thieves from First Second Books. In this introduction to the series, the Pope forsakes the Knights of the Temple thanks to the machinations of the political rulers of the day. Knight Martin finds himself on the receiving end of hostilities in France, but vows to keep the beliefs of the order alive. After he happens upon a group of bandits in possession of an important secret, things start to get interesting. However we wrap up just as the action is getting hot. Historical-fiction is a great love of mine and here they make the world come to life well, if a bit harshly. The action adventure sequences are fun and thrilling plus they don’t shy away from being a bit gory at times. I did find the humor mostly lukewarm throughout, it never quite hit at the right spot. I am curious how Martin and his not so pure comrades will fare later on but I didn’t feel any particular connection to the characters. A decent start but didn’t strike me right.
It’s Zero Suit Tokine Yukimura: