Ongoing Investigations: Case #165

My roommate bought the hideously expensive Fate/Zero Season 1 box set. For this I am very grateful as there is no way I could afford that. So we sat down to watch the special features the first of which is the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room. I was super excited because these were written by Kinoko Nasu himself just for the box set.

We were in for a rude awakening when we discovered that the $369.98 box set did not bother to sub the Consultation Room episodes. That was certainly aggravating. But eventually we were able to find some subs of the skits but those REALLY should have been included for the price the set went for.

That bit of anger aside the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room is a pleasant little distraction along the lines of the science lessons from Gunbuster. Irisviel and her amnesiac student Zeccchan (who clever people just might recognize as a younger version of someone they know) go over little details about the Holy Grail War that fill in details that might not have been clear in the TV series proper as well as expand on some ideas only hinted at in the show. The Consultation Room proper only starts in the third episode were they talk to Assassin and get a bit of back story on him while they “help” him with his psychological issues.

The part where the two consultants circle around Assassin like in the infamous scene where Risei and Tokiomi stroll in a circle around Kirei was priceless.

The end of the third episode clearly indicated that the next box set would have more consultation sessions with the Servants to die in the next half as well.

Overall it was a fun trio of omake episodes. It was really only for the hardcore fan who wants all the little details but that is why you put episodes like this on the collectors edition box sets. Still Irisviel is filled with a warm charming grace so the more we see of her the better. I cannot wait to step into the consultation room again. It is just a shame that I had to go to less than legitimate means to experience that fun.

The eagerly awaited second season of Game of Thrones has finally started.

The first episode starts with a seemingly huge recap of the previous events proving just how much happened in ten episodes. Our story restarts closely to the end of the last, everyone reeling from upsets in power and the arrivals of a handful of self-proclaimed kings. The introductions of Stannis, Davos, and Melisandre The Red Witch are welcome. But I find the actress of Melisandre is not what I pictured at all and she doesn’t exude the intensity of the character.

With new characters also came new pieces of the opening map which is brilliant every single time you watch.

The first episode is brief in showing some of the most interesting pieces of the story, sadly, like Jon on the Wall, Arya traveling the road, and Daenerys seeking out for land. There is plenty of Tyrion though which is nothing to be sad about.

The story starts to change in episode two, I can really see a lot of decisions being made to make the epic more linear for ease being brought in. The second episode was full of surprises thanks to it. Sansa hasn’t appeared much which is a blessing since she spends most of this book being beaten down. They also seemed to have reined in Arya a bit on her violent tendencies, not sure how I feel about that.

While I am the huge Type-Moon fan my roommate is the real Persona fan. That means that we watched the Persona 4 anime every week without fail. It is a fairly dedicated if slightly truncated adaptation of the original game. Most of the time they go out of their way to at least summarize all the events of the game. Other times they combine events to streamline things. It works about as often as it fails but you can’t say they were not faithful to the source material.

I will say they play their red herrings pretty well with the overall major mystery. The big culprit is subtly hinted at without every making the answer too obvious. The only problem is the killer’s grand motivation is a bit random and evil to be evil. But the mystery is solid and that is what counts.

There are three endings to the original game. A very bad ending they skipped and a normal ending that they ended the TV series on. But as I predicted half way through the TV series if you want the true ending that explains all the details and reveals the ultimate mastermind you have to buy the box set for the extra episode included. It is clearly an effort to sell the DVDs and one that I just KNEW they were going to do when I learned there was a more complete ending.

The ending of the TV series was fairly satisfying but anyone who played the game and got the true ending clearly is waiting to see that. Considering how closely they stuck to the formula of the game (sometimes to the shows’ detriment) they clearly made the anime with people who played the game as their target audience. When the bonus episode is cheesecake or a little extra is does not feel as much of a money grab as when it is the finale of a series. I understand their decision to make the real ending separate but that does not mean I have to like it.

I must mention how much I am enjoying re-reading Sailor Moon. With volume 4 we finally have the reveal of who Chibi-Usa is and everyone travels to the thirtieth century in a beautiful sequence. As always time travel is something you can’t think too hard about. We also get the introduction of one of my favorite characters, Sailor Pluto, who is unique in her guardianship. Since we are missing Rei and Ami who have already been kidnapped by the enemy we get to see more of Makoto. Sprinkled at the end is the foreshadowing of Black Lady.

Someone finally subbed the full release of the Hayate no Gotoku! Heaven is a Place on Earth +99 movie. I watched the original cut when it came out with volume 31 of the manga but the official Blu-ray release has 7 minuets at the beginning that provide a little extra set up.

Overall they were a few cute bits mostly with Nagi although you actually get to see Ruka speak in the extended footage as opposed to just performing on stage during the opening credits. As opposed to Persona 4 true ending I think this is what extra material should be. Good extra elements enriches the original material but does not fell like it was solely cut to get a bit more of your money.

I will mention that watching the movie again in Blu-ray  was nice and let me appreciate the little moments of the film more including one MAJOR but subtle plot point I missed the first time. I totally did not fully understand who the ghost was the first time I saw the movie. I actually felt slightly foolish that I missed that reveal of her identity the first time I saw the movie but I am glad I noticed it this time. In my defense they never name her outright in the movie but it was still a little embarrassing. Still it was nice to be able to go back at catch it the second time. It distinctly made re-watching the movie worthwhile.

The French short animated film Frangin follows the story of a young boy trying to send messages to his brother who has left the family house for the battlefield. The style is more fine illustration giving the edges a soft quality while incorporating brilliant colors where needed. I enjoyed how the memories intersected with the present. However, the film has a shocking sad ending that I wasn’t fond of.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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