Ongoing Investigations: Case #174

I finally saw The Avengers and you know I loved it. Though it may shock you to know this was only my second experience of Joss Whedon’s direction (the only other thing I’ve seen is Dr. Horrible).

My favorite thing about the film, really its strongest quality, is the interaction between all the heroes. Their arguments, quips, conversations, and actions all felt very cohesive and solidified them as a team.

I was really pleased with the portrayal of Black Widow and left the theater saying she was my favorite. Black Widow shows herself to be a resourceful, badass, master spy throughout. Her scenes talking with Loki were fantastic as were the one’s with Bruce Banner. There is no doubt Scarlett Johansson is amazing looking but it never becomes the primary focus of her scenes.

The action throughout was well choreographed and thankfully didn’t suffer from shakey cam madness. The alien invasion scenes are complicated but had a roundness to them as it switched between the heroes, too.

If I have anything to complain about, it would probably be Hawkeye’s too serious personality. I’m a fan of the character and I always enjoy Clint’s sarcastic/quipy self in the comics.

I have more to say but it would be veering into spoiler territory!

I had a blast with this movie it was full of action and a right balance of humor. I cannot wait for the sequel! But first we’ve got a ton of others like Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2 and I’m rather excited about all of it.

The Avengers did exactly what it needed to do. It was a fun action movie, with some snappy dialog, great fight scenes, and a generally peppy pace that moved along nicely without feeling hollow. If you wanted something that was ponderous like The Dark Knight I think you were setting yourself up for disappointment. In fact you actively complained that you thought the movie should have been smarter I merely point you to 2003 Hulk film. Meditate on that. The Avengers is never stupid but it is also knows how far it should reach.

As Narutaki mentioned the best part of the movie was the team’s dynamic. I think it is important to note that everyone felt vital. All too often as much as people may say all the team members are necessary it always seems like someone is merely along for the ride. As much as I love the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes I always feel like that other than a few rare occasions the Wasp feels more like the team mascot than a full member. But it did not matter that Hawkeye and Black Widow did not have super powers. You felt that had either of them not been there then the final battle would have been lost. And everyone contributed in multiple ways. That is amazingly important for a team movie like this because time is short. So anyone who is not contributing as much just feels even more wasted than normal.

I think my favorite character was Bruce Banner. I know that with two previous modern Hulk movies some people were worried about Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk but I think he pulled off the roll quite well. He does a good job as playing up the intellectual and well as deeply troubled scientists.  Plus his science bros rapport with Tony Stark was great. He was unexpectedly a stronger character then I ever assumed he would be.

It is always nice to see a movie that you can enjoy effortlessly but also without reservations. I am sure that Narutaki and my roommate will pick this up on Blu-Ray ASAP so I look forward to watching it again with them.

Sailor Moon vol. 5 brings us to the climactic conclusion of the 30th Century Arc.

I didn’t feel I got to know the bad guys as well this time around, especially Demande’s motivations. While the victory doesn’t feel hollow, the reasoning behind it isn’t as solid.

We do get a good picture of Chibi-Usa and she has a big story arc here. The family relationships that are explored here as well as Chibi-Usa’s awakening are really the highlights.

I am going to mention the printing errors in my copy of Sailor Moon vol. 5 since I’ve contacted Kondansha USA about it. It is clear that some of the pages got smudged most notably, and sadly, the opening spread for Act 23. I’m hoping to be able to trade in this copy.

With the completion of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run volume 24 I have now read 106 books in this series. It never seemed that bad when I was reading it but that is an insane amount of manga in retrospect. But Jojo’s is so unconventional that it just flies by effortlessly when you are reading it.

The last four books finish off part 7 pretty spectacularly.  It is good to see that EVERY part of my Jojo’s survival guide comes up in these books. As always the climactic villain always has an insanely overpowered ability and Funny Valentine is no exception.  He essentially has the Second Magic as a Stand power and uses it rather effectively. Of course the only way to defeat anyone with that power is through MATHEMATICS! Since this is still Jojo’s that means that several heroes get cut down in the process. And then we learn that while Funny Valentine is the climactic villain we get one last final boss who will be very familiar to long-term fans of the series. But who actually defeats him is probably even more shocking than anything else. It is not as crazy as the end of Stone Ocean but it is still rather unexpected.

The last chapter has some nice wrap up. The winners of the Steel Ball Run race are probably also a little unexpected. But at least one winner set up a good deal of the current arc of JojoLion. I suspect that we will eventually see a descendent of Pocoloco in part 8 but I KNOW we will see another member of the Zeppeli family. Maybe he will even be able to survive this time.

Still the series is a great read. I know that it is not an easy series to recommend for its sheer weight BUT you will not read anything else like it. And since it is divided into sections it is easy to find a convenient stopping point and read something else before going back into the breach.

I watched the new series Ultimate Spider-Man eps. 1-4. In this series, Nick Fury recruits Spider-Man for S.H.I.E.L.D. by telling him they have better tech and can make him a hero on the level of Iron Man and Captain America.

I was expecting a team element to come into the series so that through me off after the first episode. Not only that, but his teammates are a surprise, too.

The best part of the show is the high humor and Peter’s breaking of the 4th wall. His musings and imaginings are downright hilarious. It is a fun show with a good twist on the Spider-Man we’ve seen before.

Now no one can state that the Aniblog Tournament never did anything for anyone. It got me my third part of this Ongoing Investigation. Drastic My Anime Blog had a post about Ryushika Ryushika and described it as what if Yoshitoshi ABe wrote Yotsuba&!. Overall that is not a bad description but they are different manga in some key respects.

Ryuushika is a rambunctious little girl who goes on slice of life adventures much the same as Yotsuba. Both manga mainly explore the main character learning about the world. Instead of mainly interacting with her dad and the family next door Ryuushika often interacts with either her older brother and sister or a wide variety of imaginary creatures she invents. Both of them are rather imaginative but we see much more how Ryuushika pictures the world when she is playing. Actually the biggest difference is the tone of each manga.

Yotsuba&! has a simple but powerful theme of  “Enjoy Everything!” But Ryuushika occasionally has these very philosophical shifts in tone. While this is a very Yoshitoshi ABe thing to do it does make Ryuushika come off as a bit of a mouth piece for the author at times. The problem is that makes Ryuushika come off as less of an actual little girl whenever this happens. Not matter what happens Yotsuba always seems like a kid. Ryuushika seems a bit more of a fictional construct at times. It never comes of in a creepy lolicon way but it does make the Ryuushika feel less real.

In the end if you only read one manga about the journeys of a girl then make it Yotsuba&!. That is just the pinnacle of slice of life stories about young ladies. But if you can fit two manga like that in your life than it is worth checking out Ryushika Ryushika.

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.


2 thoughts on “Ongoing Investigations: Case #174

  1. BakaTanuki says:

    I own a couple volumes of Ryushika Ryushika, and I enjoy it. Its a good example of ABe’s versatility, but the occasional dips into philosophy is something that he can’t really seem to shake- even in stuff like Niea_7 and Ryushika. The fact that Yotsuba actually comes off as a young girl is atypical in manga. But Ryushika is enjoyable in its own way and feels distinct from other manga about little girls. The slightly philosophical tone may be unrealistic, but I’m okay with that since I see more as a “weird ABe story” than a legit “little girl story”, if that makes sense. As in, I enjoy Ryushika more for the situations more than her individual charm.

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