I finally saw the much-anticipated One Piece: Strong World movie. It was the first movie with a large amount of input from Eiichiro Oda so most people have been going in with very high expectations. There was even an official One Piece chapter zero comic made just to give back story to the movie and make everything canonical. Overall I found that I was hyping up Strong World in my mind better that it could ever have been. But it was still the most entertaining One Piece movie I have seen yet. The movie is a lavish affair even more so than the standard theatrical affair. I noticed that they spend a good deal of attention to making Nami’s hair lavishly animated (as well as throwing her in the shortest of short shorts). In fact almost everyone goes through several changes of clothing which is surely done to sell tons of merchandise but I find it a welcome addition. Their best costumes are when everyone is in suits as seen by the Portrait of Pirates figures. The plot is solid. While it never reaches the greatest highs on a normal One Piece storyline it never feels like a filler episode as well. Shiki is a decently memorable villain with a strong and unique power. His subordinates were far less interesting. If you are a One Piece fan many of the movies are usually fun but utterly disposable but this is the one must see movie so far. I assume that Funimation is waiting for the DVDs to catch up to the point where Strong World takes place before licensing the movie which makes sense to me. I can’t wait to buy it whenever they pick it up.
Giant Killing is something I look forward to every week. And each episode pumps me up so much that it is kind of a crime they are only 22 or so minutes long. In the most recent installments the team is starting to take on bigger and bigger challengers, which is only natural. At this point, they are struggling again to regain their confidence but at the same time you can really see that the team is following Tatsumi, though doesn’t always blindly see his point of view. The Osaka Gunners are really out doing themselves rivaling ETU, especially because of the personality clashes on both sides. And I can see each side has some of the same types of people. Though I have to say, I find fake-Tsubaki utterly annoying and for the life of my I’m not sure why exactly. The coming episode maybe be the final part against Osaka and I truly don’t know which way the wind will blow. It is kind of amazing that Giant Killing is able to so readily keep you guessing about the outcome of games.
I finished another arc of Candy Candy (74-99). With Candy being sent to Chicago to study surgical nursing she begins to run into all the old familiar faces which happily means her old friends as well as Eliza and Neil. The major plot elements are Candy trying to meet back up with Terry and rekindle their romance while also taking care of Mr. Albert who recently lost his memory due to a train bombing in Europe. Franny gets sent off to the European front to serve as a battlefield nurse. I did find it a bit off that while she is occasionally mentioned one or twice after that point she essentially disappears from the anime soon after that despite being rather important until then. At the same time Eliza goes out of her way to make trouble seemingly in an effort to make us for lost time. Despite Eliza machinations and various trials Candy meets up with Terry again but soon fate tares them apart at the end of this arc. I was never the biggest Terry fan but they sort of shuffle him off stage in about the most brutal manner they could without directly harming him. I am pretty sure we are supposed to be sympathetic to Susanna Marlowe but I mostly found her clingy and manipulative. While this new arc is different from the last one it is nowhere the radical change in story that the last 3 arcs have been. But the story has still been dynamic and entertaining in a way that was kept me entertained for 100 episodes.
Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode 8 is fairly straightforward and average. Though the hatred for pirates at the Renaissance Fair was pretty amusing throughout. And our Gnome villain wasn’t too easy to peg. As this series goes on we see a lot of up’s and down’s in the relationships Daphne and Velma are trying to take to the next level with Fred and Shaggy, but this time around we get to see the girls bond a little over their guy woes. I have also begun to realize that the show has a lot less Scooby antics than one would imagine and I kind of miss it.
A perfect storm occurred in getting me to purchase the first 5 books Cannon God Exaxxion. It started with me going back and listening to an old review on Anime World Order with a review of Cannon God Exaxxion the same week there was an 80% off sale at Barnes and Noble.com. I had been meaning to pick up the series as a fan of Gunsmith Cats so this was a golden opportunity. Now that I have read it I think it easily say it reads like Kenichi Sonoda’s self insert fan fiction of his own mecha anime. It is extremely entertaining but goodness Hosuke Kano come off as a Mary Sue character but maybe that is just me. That aside Cannon God Exaxxion has all the trademarks of a Kenichi Sonoda manga that people have come to know and love. It has beautiful and smart ladies, a fetishistic attitude towards guns and military equipment, and crazy over the top action. Sonoda tries to deal with deeper issues of information war and of the complexities of military conquest. At times he succeeds and at times he merely comes of as ham-fisted. Given the release schedule I am pretty sure that we will not be seeing the last 2 books of Exaxxion any time soon but I am curious to see what happens. As much as a might have complained about the book Hoichi Kano is a sympathetic lead and a proper hot-blooded and manly robot pilot. The Exaxxion robot is rather functional looking for a super robot but many of its fights and abilities are insanely cool. It is a great popcorn flick manga that has some substance to it as well.
I read the first chapter of Afterschool Charisma a story about a school full of clones of some of the most influential figures in history. But it is obvious from the first moments of the chapter that there are suspicious goings on at the school. Also the somewhat main character, Shiro, doesn’t seem to be a clone so one has to wonder what his story is. A great opening chapter that gets you curious. Also, I think it is the uniforms, but it kept reminding me of Utena. I plan to pick up this series soon.
The full power of the Straw Hat Crew: