I started watching Ashita no Nadja on and off in between other shows, I’ve seen four so far. It is a shojo series with a small following. I’ve always been curious about it because it has a It also boasts a fabulous opening. Nadja is a young orphan girl who receives a mysterious package on her 13th birthday which contains a letter revealing her mother is still alive. This sets her off an adventure where she joins a traveling troupe and becomes a dancer, as she searches for her mother she meets various people along the way including many suitors, and she is pursued by villains trying to stop her progress. Nadja is a hard-working dear girl, the troupe is a colorful bunch, and there is a blond prince plus a phantom thief so far! This is such a children’s wish fulfillment show and it is utterly charming in its execution. It also has a bit of a Masterpiece Theater feel. I’m looking forward to watching more.
With a morbid curiosity I decide to brave the first 4 episodes of the 2011 reboot of Thundercats. The original Thundercats is distinctly one of those show that you might have liked as a kid but does not age well at all. The new series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation but the animation is done by Studio 4°C so I also watched for the tenuous anime connection. But make no mistake while some of the visual fair has an anime feel this is very much an American cartoon. It is closer to Avatar: The Last Airbender than Bleach. And that is not a bad thing. The story telling for children of all ages make entertainment that has the ability to stand up over time. Some of it dips into the just for kids cache at times but overall it is a fairly smart remake. The reboot wisely keeps many of the things that people remember fondly about the original and jettisons some of the more frankly stupid parts at the same time. I mean Snarf is now a clever pet as opposed to his old annoying nursemaid persona which I am sure earns the show a metric ton of goodwill. The first episode setup the main cast, had them soundly beaten, and gets them on the run. I will say that Mumm-Ra plan that involved assault mecha, a turncoat, AND a Trojan horse seemed a bit overkill but it does show you that he is a credible threat. The next two episode have been fairly entertaining with a Moby Dick story and the tale living for the day. I think I will keep watching to see where it goes. Be warned no matter how this series turns out it will be a furry generation engine like the original. This is just an unavoidable fact.
I watched the second Galaxy Express movie which isn’t but sort of is related to the first but don’t try to tell it that. Adieu Galaxy Express while a beautiful looking film is rather a mess when it comes to its composition as a story. The real problem is attempting to separate it from the first movie, it isn’t a re-telling because it references the first movie plus Tetsuro and Matael already know each other; however, certain things that happened in the first movie are eliminated like the fate of Matael’s mother. Combined with this is a different tonality, previously Tetsuro came to learn about what it is to be alive through his encounters on the Galaxy Express. It feels like they wanted to do this again, but Tetsuro is such a different character from the beginning that it doesn’t seem like anything is gained by the end. There is a lot more action, but none of it feels terribly dire or important no matter how much of a budget it had.
I recently stumbled upon the All Around Type-Moon – Ahnenerbe no Nichijou manga. Set around the Ahnenerbe cafe which is used as a setting for silly cross overs and the Type-Moon mobile web site. They are all funny little stories involving characters from all the Nasuverse. It has all the things you expect in a silly cross over manga like devious Neco-Arc plots, switching bodies, and silly cursed items. Hibino Hibiki and Katsuragi Chikage only appear in the last story even though they are usually the face of the cafe. It mostly involves the three major Type-Moon heroines and Neco-Arc but almost every other major and minor character makes an appearance. Everyone expect Bazett. Is she really unpopular or something? While I have not seen any stories directly adapted they seemed to take a good deal of the setting from this manga and use it in Carnival Phantasm. A fun little one shot manga. Really only for people who have experienced a good deal of Type-Moon it is a nice little treat for the hardcore fans.
American Born Chinese is the second work by Gene Luen Yang that I’ve read. This is his best known work probably since it has Printz Award. It follows three seemingly unrelated stories, the fable of the Monkey King, a sort of comedy skit portraying a very racist-version of a Chinese guy, and Jin’s life after he moves to a new school where he is very much in the minority. I actually had to stop in the middle which left me wondering how these related, but they meet up in a bit of supernatural magic. I actually wish there was more about Jin, I mean it is all about him really, but his very simple experience was really engrossing and relatable. But wanting a little more is a better feeling than having a story wear out it’s welcome. American Born Chinese is about feeling like an outsider and coming to terms with yourself told with the confidence that any of us can do it, too.
I was a bit worried when I saw the opening for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira, as it seemed to dwell totally on the service parts of Higurashi, which are never the strongest parts of the series. And this episodes was as terrible as I would thought it would be and more. I do not instantly reject Higurashi being silly. I liked the comedy bits from Rei. They had a bit of fan service in them but the comedy was solid and often made me laugh. The first episode of Kira apparently was based on the at one time dropped Batsukoishi-hen storyline. And I think it was dropped for a reason. It just feels like an animated soft-core cosplay AVs. I mean I like Mion, and I like Mion showing some skin, but when it all comes down to the girls in comprising situations it has gone too far. Hopefully they have worked through their pervy tendencies with this OAV and the other three will be legitimately entertaining.