Ongoing Investigations: Case #121

I know I could have talked about the shows that ended with the Winter 2011 season but this week I decided to talk about three really odd things and save my feelings on the shows wrapping up for next week.  My first pick is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic because I had to understand the strange cult of the Bronies that has formed around this show. Let us get the most important detail out-of-the-way first. This is a cartoon for little girls. It is a very well made cartoon for little girls but make no mistake it is a cartoon for little girls. As someone who watched and loved HeartCatch PreCure! I have no problem watching cartoons for little girls but let us call a spade a spade. There seems to be this odd Touhou Project effect where fans have this strange obsession with filling in all the details of a world. It also creates this strange phenomenon where the fans of the show seem really proud of how ashamed they are of watching the show. That said there is a lot to like about the show. The animation is wonderful and really shows how far flash animation has come over the years. They do their best to make everyone extremely expressive which makes this show infinitely screencapable. The humor is often actually funny. The stories are often super simple considering its target audience but it is rarely patronizing though they do  restate the lesson at the end of every episode in standard kids cartoon style. And now some random observations. As One Great Turtle so succinctly pointed out Fluttershy is the most moe pony ever and I noted that Rainbow Dash is the Tomo Takino of the show. Overall it is a wonderful show to watch with any younger female relatives you have as it is a show you can enjoy together. Apparently it also appeals to older nerdier male audience and there is nothing wrong about that but it is so so very odd.

Twin Spica vol. 5, you surprised me! In a good way. This installment starts giving us some history and the revelation in it, while not totally clear yet, was not on my radar in the least. On that note, this book deals a bit less with Asumi though we do see the continued developement of Kiriu the boy protester she met in the last volume who is focused on quite a bit this time. At this point we know who Asumi is so branching out is nice. And the game of survival they are thrown in during the last couple of chapters adds some great tension while bringing the past and present back together.

The next oddity is the fact that I have come into possession of a totally 3-D Fantastic Four comic. Normally that would odd enough but this comic is also an ad for Hitachi Data Systems. So the Fantastic Four have to save this super nerdy data analyst from MODOK because apparently his mad data storage skillz are a key to taking over the world. The comic is as amazingly cheesy as you would expect with the characters extolling the virtues of Hitachi Data Systems while fighting an evil computer virus as if they were the high-tech version of the old Marvel Hostess ads. The extremely gimmicky nature of 3-D only adds to the cheese. But in a way it works. You know if you got something like this you would have to show it off to everyone you know for a laugh and that is some effective advertising. If nothing else it let me see the 3-D VG Cats comic on April 1st because I had a pair of old school 3-D glasses on hand.

Having watched Suite Precure through episode 8 now, I have a better idea of what to expect. It continues to be a silly tale of friendship between two friends that can push each other’s buttons. What I see right now is a competent, but not remarkable magical girl show. However, the last episode I watched was a moment of triumph, a very good episode, the first so far. So here’s hoping for a few more like that, but either way the show exudes some of the key points for magical girl series like friendship and understanding.

I end my trio of out of kilter selections with my trip to the Game of Thrones Food Truck. To promote the HBO new Game of Thrones TV series based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels they had a truck popping up at various spots throughout New York City giving out little meals made by Tom Colicchio. I went on a slightly rainy day so the crowds were not anywhere near as bad as they could have been. At first it was a bit hard to find the location because they never told you exactly where the truck would be and they had an orange hot dog truck as a place holder until the real truck arrived. But I eventually found the line and the event organizers. After a bit of a wait the truck arrived and I got the choice between a lamb and duck dish. I don’t eat much duck so I had to go for it given the opportunity. It was really flavorful and not very greasy as can be the problem with duck. The date was a nice accent and vegetables really soaked up the duck juices. The lemon cake was tasty. Sort of lemon pudding on a bit of crust. Very tart but good. Definitely worth the wait.

Finally got around to watching Young Justice and quickly sped through episodes 1-9. The cast is diverse and balanced; a thoughtful meshing of personalities and stories. The show starts with Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash then adds Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis in quick succession. I love Speedy’s role as a rogue, too. The group dynamic is steady progress as people get to know each other better. I was impressed to see character growth and change in just a few episodes so a positive pace and precedent is being set. The series also starts episode one with an overarching plot but allows for little side lines as the show goes, too. I have to say Robin’s voice is nearly nails on a chalkboard level which really hurts since I favor him in pretty much any scenario. Aqualad is a standout in this series and I feel myself warming up to Superboy, generally good feelings all around for this cast.

In the spirit of being odd I have decided to use the cover of the Japanese version of the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

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