Ongoing Investigations: Case #117

While not revolutionary HeartCatch PreCure! was one of the best crafted magical girls series I have seen in quite a while. In many ways, Suite Precure the newest entry in the Pretty Cure franchise, has impossible shoes to fill. I have already seen some negative reactions to this series which I think is slightly unfair. With any series this long you are going to have your ups and downs and some parts are going to be so great that you could show them to anyone, some are going to be watchable only by super fans, but most will be in the middle.  Suite Precure is a simple show where evil bad guys want to capture magical notes to the ultimate song to plunge the world into despair. Hibiki and Kanade are two friends who are recruited by a talking cat to become magical girls and use the notes to make beautiful music together. To enjoy Suite Precure you must go in with reasonable expectations about it. If you are predisposed to magical girls shows I think that Suite Precure is enjoyable. The fights have the energy and fisticuffs the Precure series is famous for which is always very welcome. The main characters are simple but fun. On the other hand other than that it is all very formula and anyone who does not like or is burnt out on magical girl shows is not going to find much to be hooked on. I am curious to see if they will have the plot take any major turns. The series should run about 50 episodes so they have plenty of time to throw in a few curve balls if they want. If nothing else I am curious to see if they add any new girls as the show progresses. There is already a masked girl in the opening who looks like she could easily be a third Precure.

The first three episodes of Suite Precure are fairly typical magical girl fare done very straight-forward. Since I haven’t seen HeartCatch Precure, I don’t have any over-high expectations going into this new series. The world is all music-themed as should have been easy to guess, but it makes for some rather silly names throughout (i.e. the animosity between Major and Minor land). I was led to believe these Precures would be more like rivals and I imaged perhaps some face-offs and competition when trying to collect the notes that have been scattered across the land. But that is not the case, though I do find their strained friendship a little refreshing and not as generally displayed in these series but nevertheless important and true. I really enjoy that they have to transform together and attack in harmony. You can really see the push for understanding each other more so than normal through Suite Precure. At the moment Suite Precure is a good magical girl show, but not excelling in any direction yet. Though with a long run series that can sometimes come a bit later on.

There are a few games that I have always wanted to play but the cruel barrier of not knowing Japanese has kept me from jumping in. Last year I finally got to play a Sakura Wars game but there is even one series that I have wanted to play even more. I always joke that this is the Type-Moon and Galaxy Angel blog but I hardly talk about Galaxy Angel. Despite this my prayers were finally answered with a translation patch for the long running Galaxy Angel series. I am ecstatic to finally be able to sit down and play though the first game in the series. It like the previously mentioned Sakura Wars games this is a visual novel and strategy game hybrid. The bulk of the game is a story mode where you see the story and talk with characters but the meat of the game is your character commands fighters in real-time space battles. So far the battles have not been that hard but if I remember correctly the first game is considered the easiest. They are fun and a good break from all the dating sim elements but they will not tax anyone like they were playing StarCraft. The characters are mostly simple characters but I have always found them fun and energetic. They are moe before it was really cool to be moe so anyone who can’t stand that element in their games will despise this game. On the other hand my love for Forte is an easily documented fact but I enjoy the antics of all the characters in the game. If nothing else Tact remind me of Captain Tylor and that is no faint praise.  I did notice that there is a good deal of the crew of the ship that never appears in any of the spin-off material such as the ships doctor and chief mechanic. Since most of them are cute women I would have thought they would have been talked about more. I would like to thank the owner of Tenka Seiha for translating this and Moonlit Lovers which I will surely play when I am done with this. I really appreciate his efforts and the splendid job he has done. Also on the off-chance that anyone who runs a convention is reading this I have always wanted to see Kanan as a guest at a convention. I just figured I would throw that out there.

After reading the first two volumes of Otomen and knowing its popularity, I’m surprised it doesn’t have an anime yet. In any case, these books are a lot of fun and just over-the-top enough. It centers around manly Asuka who secretly likes cute things plus enjoys sewing and cooking. He ends up falling for Ryo who is a rather masculine and dense girl and they both end up wanting to protect the other. Inserted in the middle of this is playboy Juta who is a manga-ka writing his popular story, Love Chick, based on Asuka (but as a girl) unbeknownst to anyone but the audience. Yup, totally ridiculous in a very delightful way! Most of the stories revolve around Asuka trying to win Ryo’s affections. Some highlights include the times when he meets her dad. And Asuka is kinda too perfect to be believed because he is pretty manly even if he does get scared sometimes. I hope to pick up more soon!

After countless people recommended  it to me and enjoying Durarara!! I finally decided to watch Baccano!. Like Galaxy Angel it was thankfully something that lived up to the expectations I had going into it. The show has everything that made Durarara!! so good with none of the flaws of the second half of its successor. The show is a series of intertwined stories set mainly during the Roaring Twenties in America. Baccano! has quirky and somewhat psychotic but always fascinating characters, great action, wonderful twists, a cheeky sense of humor, and a very unique setting. I don’t want to spoil too much but there is some great supernatural action along side mysteries, crime drama, with a dash of romance. I guarantee there is at least once character that you will get attached to and for everyone that character will be someone different. There is a reason that it was one of the most recommended and universally loved shows for Secret Santa last year. This show is great for anime clubs and even some people who are not normally into anime. It is a show you should watch on Hulu if you have not already done so.

I read Jiro Taniguchi’s Ice Wanderer which incorporates some of Jack London’s life as well as his stories plus original narratives into an anthology of man vs. nature tales. Four take places in very cold weather environments such as the Yukon during the gold rush of the late 19th century. While one takes place at the seaside in the summer and then one more takes place in a city where I’m not sure of the season. This one in the city about a manga-ka doesn’t feel like it fits the theme of the book and as it takes place between stories it felt jarring. Despite that, each story is thoughtful and very harrowing (minus the manga-ka which has a different feeling all together).

If anyone knows me they know I could not resist making this the picture of the week:

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