Ongoing Investigations: Case #173

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has finally started season two! Considering the ending to season one if they did not have a second season I am fairly certain Narutaki might have been prompted to do something drastic to the executive board of Cartoon Network.

After the end of season one of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated it was clear they would have to begin with getting the gang back together. So when a terrifying clown baby starts to wreak havoc in Crystal Cove the new mayor decides to try to resurrect Mystery Incorporated with the help of a mysterious stranger. As always such things never go easy with one member being far harder to win back than the others.

The first episode of the new season hits the ground running. The news season has that same wonderful mix of dry and zany humor that made the first season such a loving tribute to everything that has been wrong and right with the franchise. Scooby saving Private Hippy, Dawn of the Doughnuts, and Shaggy’s speech to the town council all showed they were firing on all cylinders. The ending was even a bit of an unexpected twist of the Scooby-Doo formula.

Crazy hobo Fred stole the show. There is no doubt about that. The only bad thing about crazy hobo Fred is I am not really sure how they could top that in the rest of the season. But if everything is just one or two levels below that then we are looking at a great season. Highly recommended.

Okay, I seriously just had an inkling that somehow the new season of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated had started. And I was right! Only it is running in on Cartoon Network . . . in the UK. And the U.S. has not announced anything about it.

The beginning where a mysterious stranger in a trench coat and hat tells the new mayor she better get Mystery Inc back sets a great tone for the episode. The subsequent parts of what everyone has been up to since they were separated are a delight. As Hisui said, nothing beats Fred in this episode but then again he was consistently been an amazing piece in the series. Pleasepleaseplease let Fred stay HoboFred for at least a couple more episodes.

I also had some really good laughs with the hot movie star guy who is in town, he is famous for playing a were-turtle! The comedy was going full force in this story all around.

The mystery itself surprised me at the end but wasn’t really the focus or all that interesting during the rest of the episode. And I’m curious if there is going to be a new over-arching plot along with tying up things from the last season.

Prince and pauper, junior and whopper
World made up of silver and copper
Out of my own volition, I took a change of position

King of Spain, Moxy Fruvous

I have to give Shonen Jump Alpha its proper respect. Not only did they release Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration just 2 weeks after it came out in Japan but they have a brand new series just premiering in Japan with the same turn around time. I can’t say this will end manga piracy (I’m pretty sure nothing will) but it is a great first step to keeping it at a manageable level like Crunchyroll has with anime piracy. So the real question is how strong is Shonen Jump Alpha first foot forward? Was Barrage the right choice for this initiative?

The Hollywood pitch for Barrage would be Gintama meets the Prince and the Pauper (not that a Hollywood exec would have any idea what Gintama was). The full story centers around a slum kid named Astro how finds himself having to pretend to be the prince of a planet after the real prince switches places with him. Being prince means fighting off evil aliens with the help of a royal relic bracelet that summons a wicked magical spear.

The setting remind me very much of Gintama as we have a fantasy kingdom with massive alien troubles after being opened to the stage of galactic politics.  Instead of being Edo era Japan it is set in a more western style fantasy kingdom. This gives everything a retro-modern feel. I am hesitant to say a steampunk setting (mostly because people throw around that term a bit too much) but there is a distinct mashing of eras. The art is a bit more on the One Piece and Toriko side of Shonen Jump art than the Reborn! and Bakuman schools. That means a broader range of male characters and more wacky looking creatures. Tiamat is the closest they have to a pretty boy so far and he has a distinct goatee.

Astro is a fairly standard shonen hero. A slightly dim but energetic spunky guy with a bit of sass to him that has a heart of gold underneath. His nice guy sentiment means that he has taken to caring for a small flock of orphans who have no where else to go. At the same time Tiamat remind me a lot of Captain Kraft from Level E. A hyper competent guy who has the weight of the world on his shoulders because of the irresponsibility of the people he is sworn to protect. The villain of the piece was your stereotypical haughty noble with devious intent. Only he was a dinosaur man. I am sure Narutaki approved that.

Overall much like Astro is a fairly standard shonen hero the first chapter was a fairly standard shonen chapter. It did a good deal to establish the setting and the premise but nothing really hooked me that this was either different or really awesome take of the premise. On the other hand nothing seemed too cliché or annoying. Since this is a subscription it is no real skin off my nose to see if they take a solid premise and make something interesting with it or do they ride along with the concept never really letting it grow into something more. I don’t think it would be worth the subscription by itself as it stands but is has the potential to be a real draw if Kouhei Horikoshi can properly expand on his idea.

It is amazing that Barrage was announced by VIZ just a couple of weeks ago and it is already here in Shonen Jump Alpha for us to enjoy! I really subscribed to the magazine for Kenshin but now I have a brand new unexpected reason.

This series shows from the beginning that it is on the lighter, more comedic side of Weekly Shonen Jump titles. Astro is a loud-mouth who trouble seems to find and he just can’t let injustices stand in front of him. Which is why he loses his job within the first 10 pages, angers a noble, and has wound up with a dozen mouths to feed.

I liked his interaction with the prince and was actually surprised by its outcome. Though there was no doubt Astro would end up in the mistaken-prince role, it still had some weight to it. As does his meetings with the King and the rest of the palace.

Side note, the King seems really old! He must have a very young wife to have a son the age of Astro.

The art is probably the best part so far. We get some wonderful shots of the city, love that two page color spread at the beginning, as well as some interesting gadgets throughout. I’m feeling quite curious about the world. Randomly, the military uniforms aren’t stupid either.

Facial expressions are wonderfully exaggerated adding to the One Piece-y feel. And the alien lifeforms are fun.

I agree that the first chapter is middle of the road, but has me curious. Besides the last time I was sold on a shonen fighting manga with the first chapter was Letter Bee, and that chapter has a time jump at the end, so I ended up pretty disappointed.

As promised I finished the last chapter of Sekien No Inganock. I think the last chapter does a lot to clear up the feeling that a lot of questions have been answers but nothing has been said. If you want Sekien No Inganock to give to a detailed explanation of everything that went on then you clearly picked up the wrong game. But they do give you solid clues and even some explanations to what has been going on the whole time. Very few definitive answers but it at least gives you something for all the major questions.

The one thing I see getting stuck in people’s craws is the fact that Gii and Kia’s fate is fairly ambiguous at the end of the game. That would not be that bad but they then shift and resolve a rather unexpected character’s storyline. I clearly saw the thematic importance of doing that but it is rather unexpected. It could easily come off like the recently Claymore ending if certain subtle things don’t click with you.  I did not have a problem with it but I could see how it could annoy people.

I still say that Ruaha comes off as someone who needed to be a little more important. But I got the distinct impression that I was missing something vital about Kerkan’s true identity so it might be related to that.  If I fully understood Kerkan better it might explain Ruaha a bit more.

I am also not sure how I feel about the not-a-sex-scene but so-totally-a-sex-scene between Gii and Kia. I think it is far easier to pass it off as not a sex scene but the interpretation is still there without too much effort. While it is FAR tender than the one with Kerkan and Ruaha is still does go right into uncomfortable country. In fact I feel like all the sex was mostly there under the idea that visual novels in Japan need sex scenes.  I’m not going to fault them for adding them in but I am not sure how much they added overall.

I enjoyed the game. The last chapter really helped bring things together.  I will say this is distinctly not for everyone. The writing style both with its repetition and ambitious answers will distinctly turn away some people. But I think there are some real rewards contained within if you can handle that.

I am curious to see what impression I have after reading the web novels. As I understand they help fill in a bit of the mystery with both the background and the ending. They don’t give away everything whole cloth but they do help give a bit more sense of closure.

I finished up The Story of Saiunkoku S2. Once it got going I was really hooked, but it really doesn’t find its feet until after the first story arc (which I already complained about). Somehow things after that change, character interactions get much better, happenings are more concise, and flow is fluid.

I really enjoyed that this season took more of a look at the supernatural aspects of the kingdom which were just briefly mentioned previous to these stories. It doesn’t take over, or permeate everything, but it was a part of the world I wanted to know more about.

Equally surprising was that the Ryuuki-must-marry-another-girl storyline is not annoying. In fact, Jyuusan is a really great addition to the cast. The assassination and subsequent Ran family plot is probably the best part of the season.

My biggest complaint is how much a backseat the romance between Shuurei and Ryuki takes. I have enjoyed their slow and distant bond, but they seriously spend a grand total of 30 minutes sharing the screen during the 39 episode run of S2.

I did find some of the new character introductions rushed and certain pieces of story swept along with it. I understand there is a lot of story to tell, but the first arc dragged on at a glacial pace forcing all this other stuff to be more squished sadly.

Still, I was happy to have watched this series through to the end. But of course there is always more story to tell and sadly I’ll probably never get to read any of it.

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.

One thought on “Ongoing Investigations: Case #173

  1. teaNrice says:

    Although I have a fairly limited experience with Visual Novels so far Sekien no Inganock has been the game that I have enjoyed the most. I think this is largely due to the atmosphere that the game created through its visuals and soundtrack (which I think is fantastic) that always left me wondering about the nature of the world of Inganock after I finished playing which seemed so very fascinating to me. Also I do have a soft spot for a really well developed “fantastic city” setting where it seems like some horror or perhaps something wondrous is waiting around every corner. Another example of this would be the Aria series though that tends to lean more towards wondrous than horrific.

    Your evaluation of the game is fair and interesting and I pretty much agree with all of it. It really helped me to solidify my opinion of the game and made me realize that the atmosphere of my entertainment media is a lot more important to me than I thought. The repetition didn’t really bother me too much but then again I did play the game over a absurdly long time of about 8 months.

    Has your experience with this game made you want to try any other Liar-Soft games? Particularly the “What a Beautiful …” series that Inganock belongs too.

    I’m playing through Shikkoku no Sharnoth at the moment (very similar to Inganock and enjoying it) and I think that is the only other one that has been translated to English.

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