Ongoing Investigations: Case #143

It has been awhile since I saw Last Exile but overall I remember liking the series so I was eager to watch Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing. Right off the bat the series reminds you of one thing: Range Murata is definitely a lolicon. Any perusal of one of his Robot art books will remind you of that fact. So when Fam starts the series in her underwear and sleepwalking I am not exactly sure why people were SUPER surprised. It does set an odd precedent as the episodes I have seen since then never have that odd level of fan service again. Perhaps Gonzo thought this was putting their best foot forward but I think most people would disagree. Other than that poor choice it is mostly the Last Exile you remember. Apparently the prediction that moving to an abundant planet would stop the conflicts was optimistic thinking because it seems war had broken out again. But really without giant airship battles I don’t think people would be anywhere near as interested in Last Exile. Since the Guild is no more they don’t have the musket battles but in their place there are air pirates so you can get your Skies of Arcadia grove on. Fans of the original series will notice that Dio is alive and well. Still sort of loopy but definitely calmer. How exactly he survived after Last Exile has yet to be explained (if it will be explained at all.) After three episodes I have yet to make a firm decision on the series. It has a primarily female cast. While there are men the three main characters and primary focus are all young ladies. So that means no wading into harem territory like people accused the series of doing with Claus but it then does lend itself to the yuri subtext being in everything that the world of the pink ghetto casts. Fam and Giselle seem fine with Fam being the spunky one and Giselle being the quiet one. Millia is not only a princess but also a princess character and that means she can be a bit grating. The action has been pretty good so far and the plot has potential. But as far as I can tell the main villain’s problem seems to be that everyone is far too happy and he will not be having that which could lead to a very corny developments. I am interested enough to keep watching but still hesitant to give it a recommendation yet.

As many others did, when I got Sailor Moon vol. 1 I also got Codename Sailor V vol. 1. This was new to me, I knew about it of course and had looked at some of it, but never really got to read it. Having read Sailor Moon first of the two, it put me in the exact mood for the young girl fantasy that is Sailor V. The big difference between these two so far is that Sailor V is decidedly free of any serious romantic entanglements instead focusing on peppy Mina’s daily struggles with classes balanced with sometimes saving the world as a Sailor Guardian thanks to talking cat Artemis. Mina amuses me greatly in her slacker fashion which prefers video games and idols to studying and saving people. Since this is a primer for Sailor Moon you can obviously see a lot of Usagi in Mina but they are still different because Mina is very physically capable. This is also what makes her so fun as she loves kicking baddies once she is roped into caring. Sailor V also becomes something of a legendary icon as the story goes on getting her own video game, fan club, and even a police detective rival among other amusing things. Once she has been in action a while, Mina gets more serious and both her and readers start to wonder who is “the boss” and why Mina was chosen for this role. I am curious to see how this ties in swiftly to Sailor Moon.

 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira 02 is better. Still not good but better. As a fan of the When They Cry series watching the first episode was actually a bit painful. This time Rika and Satoko get transported to a world where all the villainous characters of Higurashi are actually villains in a magical organization that have unlocked the magical powers of Hinamizawa. Rika is a magical girl who must fight torture related monsters with a magical hoe wand and a transformation sequence. The Hinamizawa School club is her back up. Mostly it is an excuse of have Takano Miyo dress in a skimpy outfit and have Hanyu be a little fairy. Some of the jokes work especially when they are centering around Rika’s contrasting cutesy magical girl persona and old soul Bernkastel mode. The rest of the episode is fine but not really the humorous highs from the previous funny arcs. Since the next episode focuses in Shion and her role as a Mion/Keiichi shipper I just might enjoy that episode but I don’t have much hope beyond that. The main problem seems to that the original Higurashi tied up most things nicely. They got some good material past that end point but now they seem to be trying to get blood from a stone.

I started watching ABC’s much-anticipated Once Upon a Time (eps. 1-2) which brings the fairytale world to the modern-day through an evil curse. Emma Swan is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming but has no idea until her son Henry shows up on her doorstep encouraging her to come to Storybrooke, Maine and see for herself. But everyone in the town (allegedly) doesn’t remember they are really fairytale characters according to Henry. We also get the simultaneous story of how this curse brought everyone to Storybrooke thanks to the jealous Evil Queen (who is also Henry’s adopted mother) and that cunning Rumpelstiltskin (who seems to be the kingpin of Storybrooke). The story is fun and it certainly has its share of mysterious goings on, especially the whole “no one remembers” which I am dubious about. It comes off much like a soap opera, which I like, though I think they could push it a bit further. That being said, I find the acting is sub-par with poorly delivered dialogue and stiff interactions. Also hipster sheriff makes me laugh. I willing to go on a few more episodes to see if it gets better though since the premise is right up my alley.

I totally forgot I saw the last episode of Blood-C after hearing some “amazing” things about it. My best summary of the episode would be my theory how they should have ended the episode for maximum effect. Instead of having the big bad guy shoot Saya Kisaragi in the head so he can escape in a helicopter and set up an ending  movie they should have just had a simple exchange. Saya should run up to the helicopter and ask Fumito the name of this insane project. In return he should go down on one knee, throw out his hands, and just say, “The Aristocrats.” I say that because the whole last episode seem to be  excessively gory and spiteful to the point where it becomes a morbid joke of outrageous proportions. But like many versions of the The Aristocrats it is not funny per say as much as an experiment in how wildly you can tell a joke. The episode goes out of its way to show that all of Saya’s friends are still alive but completely and utterly horrible human beings and then just kills them again in the most gruesome ways possible. It then spends the rest of the episode trying to shock you alternatively with the idea that everything you know is wrong and with a monster rampage through the town as people are murdered in ways that are so over the top they are less horrific and more head scratching. It is like someone saw Elfen Lied and thought to themselves, “I could do better because I won’t hold back like a wuss.” But just like Elfen Lied is comes of like the super gory pictures drawn by an angsty teen in junior high. You know they think they are being profound and shocking but the truth of the matter is very different.

I finished up A Dance with Dragons which I’ve slowly been picking away at since its release, more because I think I was subconsciously loath to finish it and bearing waiting for more than lack of interest. I don’t think I really need to explain the premise of the 5th book in the Song of Ice and Fire so I’ll just get to my overall feelings. This book suffers from too many perspectives, and I thought this was bad in Feast for Crows, too. It is multiplied here since this books contains more voices than ever before. Many characters receive only one chapter with information that could have fit easily in another part of the story. For example the big event (being vague for no spoilers sake) at Meereen and the aftermath, I truly feel having only Daenerys’ perspective would have created mystery and more tension. We’re ending up with too much overlap in information in general which ends up feeling elongated. Then on the other hand, Bran who we’ve literally waited a decade to find out the fate of has very few chapters and information! That being said, this book had a great many surprises and I interpreted it as the climax for the series. All my speculations from early on seem to be completely on the wrong track but it feels like GRRM has a firm grasp on the final direction. I was also happily surprised to see certain characters names show up in this book which means we’ve caught up with book 4 and hopefully 6 will not be a divided cast. I felt mixed with this book but it was still engrossing as always.

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