Ongoing Investigations: Case #135

The BEST series of the year is shaping up to be Mawaru Penguindrum. So far in the first 6 episodes Kunihiko Ikuhara has proven that Utena was not a fluke. The show has stayed as consistently excellent as the first episode and I look forward to a new episode every week. The animation, imagery, and direction remain high quality and imaginative every week. The Rose of Versailles style fantasy imaginary in episode 4 is just scrumptious. Also the laser guided slingshot is both goofy and bass ass at the same time. The plot remains mysterious but we are always getting enough information that we never feel that the show is spinning its wheels. I get the feeling that Ikuhara is more of an “I got this all planned out” sort of guy so it is more a matter of seeing the tale unfold then see him make it up as he goes along.  Kanba and Shoma’s antics in trying to find the Penguindrum are always amusing but retain a creepy vibe without either feeling hurting the other. That said I need to know what is going on with Kanba’s ultra shady deals. Ringo has that same mixture of very funny and very disturbing. I am curious how popular she is among the American and Japanese fans. Narutaki seems to think she would be insanely popular. I cannot disagree. And I know there is more to Himari than meets the eye. She is too innocent for a Ikuhara anime. There has to be more going to with her than you see on the surface. If you don’t have a moral objection to watching fan-subs then you need to watch Mawaru Penguindrum. Otherwise you should get this the second it gets licensed. Because it will get licensed. Fabulous Max!

The most anticipated arc in recent Detective Conan anime TV series was the London case, the 11th OVA happens concurrently featuring Ai and the detective boys back in Japan. It starts as just a cute mystery involving peanutbutter and jelly, a mistaken starlet, and kick the can. But the kids discover kidnappers in an abandoned building and things turn more dangerous when they themselves become trapped. The real treat for this OVA is seeing Ai’s smarts at the forefront since Conan is a world away. Her use of the cellphones as well as the detective boys badges is nicely done. It combines the kid antics at the beginning and a more tense situation later well. The ending has a couple of surprises in store, though nothing too earth shaking. A fun and nice OVA if not remarkable.

There are certain shows that I find fun but are hardly high entertainment that I am always surprised get such a negative reaction. They are also usually the shows people watch every week to complain about them but don’t stop watching. The show with this cycle of abuse this is season is Sacred Seven. I myself have been reasonably entertained every week. There is usually some well done fight scenes every episode and a fairly entertaining if somewhat cliché plot. I think that Alma and Ruri are cute but I also don’t think that anything with school drama is poison so maybe I just grade on very lenient curve as compared to other people in the Twitter community. If nothing else Alma did something more characters in anime should do in episode eight. He simply said, “I’m not a mind reader. Tell me what is wrong and we can talk it out.” And then they do so. Brilliant! The little conspiracy in the organization is heating up I am looking forward to end of this short but sweet series. It is something I kick back with and enjoy on my lunch break on Fridays. I wonder if that is part of the reason I enjoy it more than other people watching it every week. Oni!

Finally had a chance to read Terry Moore’s run on Runaways (collected in Runaways: Dead Wrong and Rock Zombies), unfortunately I didn’t find this to be a striking piece of the narrative for our teen heroes. Though some of that may have to do with A) art by Humberto Ramos in the first story and B) zombies in the second plot. The emotional resonances seems off thanks to the gaping maws of the art but there are some poignant moments of friendship during the alien pursuit of Karolina for her parents crimes. The ending is striking, but I’m not sure how I feel about it in the long run of the series especially in how it changes the relationships.

After The Greatest Movie Ever podcast talked up The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes I had to go check it out. Right out of the gate they wisely do the one thing everyone has asked for with all the recent super hero movies. They don’t spend any time on origin stories  They know that 90% of the audience is already knows this by heart, can look it up, or just does not care. They give you a little intro to each of the Avenger’s general shtick while having them right in the middle of some action.This all comes together in a massive simultaneous prison break that leads to the creation of the Avengers. The Spiderman movie reboot could have learned from this. The writing is pretty solid being accessible to kids but never forgetting that being mature does not have to exclude younger viewers if you do it correctly. So far I am most interested in Hawkeye’s story. From the second he appears on the screen is seems that it were not for bad luck he would not have any luck at all. The character designs look a little strange to me but they are all functional and after a few minutes I adjusted to them and had a fun time. Everyone is in their classic suits as opposed to their modern looking movie costumes. I think it gives the show a fun feeling as opposed to feeling like just a rote movie tie in. With the main plot just started I am looking forward to see where they go after these first 7 episodes. Avengers Assemble!

I have been continuing with Suite Precure. It has been an up and down ride with some really well done episodes, recently notable were the birth of a new Precure in episodes 20 and 21. There was a lot of tension and a great payoff. Things since have been lackluster thought episode 27 not just because it is after a major event, but because any thought about our characters personalities seems to be have been forgotten. Everyone is friends too easily, Siren has completely fallen off the map in terms of recognizably.

2 thoughts on “Ongoing Investigations: Case #135

  1. hoshiko says:

    Definitely agreed that Mawaru Penguindrum is shaping up to be one of the best anime this year. There’s a good blend of mystery, drama and humor which keeps the anime entertaining throughout.

    Ringo just makes me laugh. Creepy but hilarious. I’d say she’s going to be popular among fans if she is not already is. I’ve not been seeing a lot of Himari lately so I’m beginning to wonder if she’s one of the protagonists or a side character….

  2. Justin says:

    I’d say it’s currently Usagi Drop and Penguindrum at the top of the best of the Summer, with No.6 not too far behind.

    And while watching it with fan-subs is not a problem, watching it in crappy quality is-_-

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