Ongoing Investigations: Case #147

As I stated when I went to the Vertical wine tasting event The Drops of God is one of those unusual manga that has an effect on the world outside of the otaku domain due to its ability to effect the wine market. That fact alone made the series something I had to check out. To put the manga in perspective it is somewhere between Bartender and Yakitate!! Japan. The main storyline distinctly has a tournament set up. To inherit his father’s insanely expensive wine collection Shizuku Kanzaki has to defeat his father’s adopted son Issei Toomine in a contest to identify 13 wines. Also they like to do the super visual descriptions of the wine like the bread tastings in Yakitate!! Japan but far more sedate and refined manner. The characters in The Drops of God will be much more likely to compare a wine to a famous Renaissance portrait than a series of Galaxy Express 999 gags. But overall while there is a healthy amount of humor the series is far more of a drama than a comedy. Also all the characters are adults with careers so no plucky young teenage protagonists. On the other hand while is is not as sedate as Bartender most of the stories do not seemed centered on just the battle on the inheritance. There sare a good amount of other stories outside of the main plot line that still involve wine. It has many of the healing stories that something like Bartender has but at the same time there is more urgency and drama. Also with a set number of wines as part of the competition you always feel that progress in being made. With some manga you can always be left wondering if you will ever see the end of the story. With the drops of God you clearly see a beginning and an end with with clear demarcations of progress. Toomine Issei is quite the turbo douche. He of course has the money, connections and wine knowledge that should instantly make him the winner. The fact that he does things like taste soil from all over France to give him an edge does not hurt. He would make a great slimy 80’s romantic rival. Shizuku starts off the series with almost no knowledge of wine as he rejected the world of his famous wine critic father. But he does have the abilities of a supertaster thanks in part to harsh flavor training as a child. He befriends an attractive young trainee sommelier named Miyabi Shinohara who supplements his knowledge of wine with her own training. Together they have enough knowledge to challenge Issei. If you are interested in manga for an older audience or in alcohol related manga it is definitely worth a look.

Wonder Woman issue 2 cements this story as one of the more awesome in the New 52. We continue to deal with a much more mythology based plotline than anything resembling superheroes (with the exception of Wonder Woman’s outfit). We glimpse Olympus, make it back to the island of the Amazons, and get further entrenched in the soap opera that is the love lives of Greek gods. The art really pushes this new feel a long way being both dark yet highly saturated. This is the first time I’ve ever been real into Wonder Woman, and I like it!

The Carnival Phantasm Ilya’s Castle Special is such an unusual beast. It is a bonus anime based of the Ilya’s Castle minigame from Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. In fact it is pretty much a Let’s Play video of the game. Like any entertaining Let’s Play video it all comes down to the commentary that accompanies the video. The draw of this is all the Fate/Stay Night voice actors are here narrating their characters. But their narration is very silly.  Most of the talking is done by Saber and Shiro but everyone gets in some quips in. There are some references to Red Saber, Fate/Zero, and Lancer’s habit of always dying. I will note that I was frankly unaware that Ayako Kawasumi was capable of delivering her lines so fast. You would think she was John Moschitta, Jr. the way she was going on about Mapu tofu. If Carnival Phantasm was already Type-Moon fans only than this bars anyone is not crazy hardcore from even looking at it. It was fun but hardly for everyone.

In the first issue of Supergirl, she spends the majority fighting battle armored dudes; in the second issue, she spends the majority fighting Superman. Again the fight looks awesome, but now it has a little more depth. Still we are left no closer to understanding what is going on. We do come to realize that Supergirl is a woman out of time, somewhere along the way time shifted and Superman is left wi3th the dubious honor of telling her their homeland is gone. The last page hints at further conspiracy so hopefully we get more of that in the next issue.

The Fishman Island Arc is just winding down in One Piece. The main purpose of the last arc was to get the crew back together after the time skip and send them into the New World. This arc was mainly here to show off everyone’s new powers and really demonstrate how they have gown since we last saw them. After the Baroque Works Saga Oda set up the Luffy and Bellamy fight to show how Luffy had grown by taking down this supposedly notorious captain with one punch. In the same way the New Fishman Pirates acts as the same barometer for the whole crew this time.  There are none of the typical life of death struggles we usually see in One Piece. Hody Jones and his crew go down fairly quickly showing that Straw Hat’s training for two years was very effective. I was a little disappointed that while Nico Robin and Nami did some fighting they did not really get the same time in the spotlight that their male crew members got. For same Oda. For shame. Hopefully they will have a bigger role in the next arc. It also seems that Jinbe has turned down his offer to be a member of the Star Hat crew but the arc is not over yet so there is still time for him to have a change of heart. I am curious to see what Robin has to say the Poseidon. The reveal of the true nature of this ancient weapon was undoubtedly the most unexpected revelation in the arc. Still I enjoyed this arc and can’t wait to see what happens when the crew enters the New World proper. I am assuming we will see at least one of the Supernovas because you can’t throw out a bunch like into the story and not have at least one waiting at the opening of this new frontier.

 

I had the pleasure of watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox which I already knew I’d like. Based on the book by Roald Dahl it already had a great story base. The movie is quite droll and witty so at times it makes you forget it is a children’s tale. The film follows Mr. Fox who after finding out his wife is pregnant gives up his life as a thief. After many years suppressing the urge he decides he wants to go on one was hurrah stealing from the three best (and nastiest) farmers in the area. This of course causes more of stir than intended for him, his family, and his animal neighbors as the farmer’s plot revenge. There are a little of stories going on while Mr. Fox goes through his mid-life crisis including the coming of age of his son (who is a bit of weirdo) and his nephew. It is a family adventure is the true sense but everything works out in an unexpected fashion. The fact that George Cloony lends his voice to Mr. Fox gives him a whole new dimension.

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