The problem with webcomics is that if they have been running for a few years reading the back archives to catch up to the present can be insanely daunting. But if you start reading a good webcomic you will quickly notice a week has disappeared and you now have something new to read every week. One web comic that several people repeatedly told me I NEEDED to read is Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio. The series is a steampunk (I’m sorry gaslamp fantasy) adventure set in a war-torn Europe in which superpower mad scientists battle amongst themselves. Agatha Clay starts out as an average student at Transylvania Polygnostic University but after an eventful morning soon finds her awaking as a spark (aka a mad scientist) and embroiled in a madcap adventure all across Europe involving airships, a mysterious traveling circus, amazons, abominations (both living and mechanical), and everything and anything that makes for good swashbuckling adventure. The art is incredibility dense. There is always something going on in the foreground and usually at least 2 things going on in the background while never being cluttered. This distinctly rewards you for going back and reading chapters again. The story start off strong and only proceeds to pick up steam as it goes on and thankfully has been plotted out in advance. It has a large and extremely colorful cast and someone for almost anyone to latch onto. It is basically good in all the way that a webcomic could be good. I would have broken this review into smaller chunks but I read 9 years worth of comics in 1 week because it was so addictive. There are now 9 books of the collected series if you want to catch up offline. I might go back and review the books individually as I pick them up but I mainly just suggest you go and read any way you can.
I eagerly checked out the new Cartoon Network show Sym-Bionic Titan (eps. 1-2). It warms my heart to see more giant robot goodness this side of the Pacific. The series follows 3 aliens, strong-willed Princess Ilana, her newly appointed guardian the brooding Lance, and the faithful robot Octus who come to Earth fleeing a rebellion on their home planet. Ilana and Lance have the ability to transform into armored robots and they quickly find out that they along with Octus can combine. Of course monsters coming looking for them as they try to hide out, blend into Earth culture, and figure out the next step. There is plenty of action in the first episode, a little less in the second, but each has a good pace. The show takes little jibes at American culture, high school is all you can imagine, and it is amusing to watch our heroes try to adapt. I do hope to see Ilana be less rescued as the series continues. There is already some great plots arising as we learn about their home planet as well as an organization on Earth that already seems to know about our heroes. Great potential, great design, and great to see!
Well after marathoning all of the manga my next obvious item on my to do list was to watch all of the Zettai Karen Children TV show. I will say that Synergy SP does make quite a few changes when adapting the manga. First of all they do take a good deal of effort to tone down the creepy loli vibe from the manga so we see much less Kaoru panties and little girl service in general. They also tone down the violence. The prime example is the fact that no one dies when Bullet makes his entrence in the anime but there is quite a body count when he is introduced in the manga. Also Kouichi’s and Shiho’s guns look much more like toys than they do in the manga. Shiho dark side is toned town in general. Also like in the adaptation of Hayate no Gotoku they play with the time line considerably. Popular characters like Momotarou are introduced earlier but certain plot points like the main prophecy and a certain character’s defection occurs later on. Although I have mentioned quite a few changes I still think that the Zettai Karen Children gets the overall vibe of the original manga across in a form that might be more palatable for most people. Sadly the series end just as The Children enter middle school. There has been one recent OAV after the time skip that is worth watching if for nothing else to see the new character designs. And maybe Patty Crew.
I read the short Spider-Man: Blue by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. This story centers around how Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy came together, and how Mary Jane fit into it all. It is told through Peter’s memories as he records them many years later after Gwen’s death. This works most of the time, expect there are a few instances of things happening when Peter isn’t there…and he would know they went down like that how? But that is minor details, the story itself is pretty much classic as far as the romance and personal stuff goes. However, they throw a lot of villains Peter’s way far beyond just Green Goblin. Spider-Man: Blue didn’t blow me away with its writing, but Tim Sale’s artwork is always a joy.
Since I just wrote an editorial on the show I might as well do a quick review of the first 20 episodes of Galaxy Express 999. The story is simple. Tetsuro Hoshino wants to be immortal by going to the planet where you can get free robotic bodies. He meets the mysterious woman Maetel who asks him to travel with her on the intergalactic train called the Galaxy Express 999 and their last stop will be the planet where he can get his robot body. From then on it is a road trip were the go to strange new worlds were unhappy people often try to kill Tetsuro and Maetel. Women also have a habit of trying to kidnap Tetsuro as well. But all joking aside each planet is a fascinating look at some aspect of humanity. Other than the first episode any of the episodes could be watched in any order so far and be fine. I would be interested to see someone episode blog all 113 episode of this series because many of the episodes could provoke some fascinating philosophical debate in the right hands. I myself will probably only mention when I get to the last 10 episodes to give my final thoughts on the series.
I found this lovely Galaxy Express 999 30th anniversary tribute picture and I felt I had to share: