Ongoing Investigations: Case #153

I continue my morbid curiosity with the Akiyuki Shinbo and Nisio Isin duo by watching the first two episodes of Nisemonogatari because there is no way Narutaki was going to watch this with me. I know some people have been commenting that for better or for worse Nisemonogatari has a different feel than Bakemonogatari. I think the difference between the two seasons is minor but important. I did not use the word subtle because the difference is the pacing of the fan service in the new arc. Bakemonogatari definitely had fan service in it. Each arc in the original series introduced a girl, her supernatural problem, and the fetish she embodied. And so each arc played up that girl’s brand of fan service to all but the most fan service desensitized.  But this current arc is ostensibly about Koyomi’s two sisters but unlike the previous arcs this one really had the other girls getting a good amount of screen time in another girl’s arc as opposed to their cameos early in the story. This means that they now have to cram in a full cycle of story, reference humor, and fanservice that is particular to that girl in a much shorter amount of time making all three components more obvious. So anyone watching for the titillation will probably not notice the difference or only be delighted to be so nicely catered to. But anyone else will either consciously or unconsciously notice the change in the rhythm of the story. The art is still rather gorgeous and the dialog still has a snappy pace. I am just pointing out the big difference that will determine if you want to continue to delve into Koyomi’s supernatural adventures.

D.Gray Man Volume 17 starts off by throwing us into the middle of a virus outbreak that has occurred while the Black Order is also trying to move to their new location. The first few chapters are really out of control and crazy (and ridiculous overall), especially because everyone has  turned into zombies. As the zombies are infecting everyone, Allen tries to figure out the cause and how to cure it. After that insanity, we then get to actually focus on the Black Order group’s move. Allen and Lenalee go first, allegedly to open portals, but there are ulterior motives. The best part though is the reappearance of Cross Marian, who probably has the most shocking story in the volume. There are some major problems for both Allen and Cross, and so even though it initially seems like a jokey volume, it’s actually quite an important one.

And speaking of shows that Narutaki will never watch I also saw the first episode of Ano Natsu de Matteru because my roommate was curious to see what it was like. Since he was a fan of Yosuke Kuroda’s Please Teacher! back in his early fandom. With both soon agree that this feel like Please Teacher! only this time the main heroine is a upper clansmen rather than a teacher. Both heroines are somewhat quirky and ditzy busty red headed aliens with an unusual bond to the protagonist. Kaito Kirishima has a rag tag bunch of friends with similar romantic entanglements as well. The shows are not carbon copies but the similarities between the shows is strikingly obvious. The show itself is inoffensive shonen romance. While there is some fan service I hardly noticed anything majorly objectionable. Just the normal amount of bounce and occasional shower scene you expect in male focused romance. Nothing like constant crotch shot camera harems of late. If you want a somewhat sweet show you will probably enjoy it but it does have a bit of a cookie cutter feel. So if you want something that pops a little more like Toradora! you might want to avoid burnout by passing this over.

I read the small preview of Little Miss Holmes that came in Otaku USA. It seems fun and she has a GIANT DOG that’s really funny, but the preview wasn’t long enough to get a good impression of it, and it doesn’t showcase her deduction skills or overall abilities as a detective. I’m still looking forward to it, but I don’t think this preview would convince anyone who’s on the fence.

I also decided to check out the first chapter of the new Macross: The First manga. Like Gundam: The Origin it retells the story of the first iteration of a popular mecha franchise with a little twist. This is a retelling of the Super Dimension Fortress Macross by Haruhiko Mikimoto who was the character designer of the original TV series. Right off the bat the biggest change is the immediate focus on Minmay. While is is undeniably prominent in the original TV series they hit the ground running to play her up in this retelling. It is 22 (of 91) pages before we even see the first shot of Hikaru, the main character. After he is introduced the story focuses on him but the covers of later book distinctly have a Minmay focused theme. To be fair we also get a bit more Misa as well but they have undoubtedly realized the popularity of the singer in any Macross iteration and are playing that up. Other than that the story plays out roughly the same with the money shot of a Valkyrie transforming into gerwalk mode being the conclusion of this first chapter. It was a nice way to revisit a classic of anime with a new twist. As I understand they make some major twists to the plot much like Gundam: The Origin that don’t radically alter the story but do give you a new experience. I hope to read more of it if for nothing else we are not getting any more Mobile Suit Gundam École du Ciel anytime soon.

I watched episodes 2 and 3 of Record and Randsell. Episode 2 focuses on the little (actually big) sister and that’s unfortunate because her situations aren’t as funny except when her brother is involved. The scene with the bunny who wouldn’t give him candy was especially good for showing this. Episode 3 has a similar problem (focusing on the sister), but at least her friend has a hilarious daydream about her brother riding on a horse. This show remains funny and good, but I hope they get back to the brother soon

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