Ongoing Investigations: Case #205

This week I decided to highlight some first chapters of series that were new to me.

xxxHOLiC Rei is obviously CLAMP realizing by getting rid of Yuuko Ichihara as a part of the ending of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle might have made a serious mistake. So in xxxHOLiC Rei she is back. It is not entirely clear why she is back. It could be that this is an alternate time line, it could just be stories set before the end of the original, or it could just go unexplained. But I have a feeling that with a title like Return, and knowing that CLAMP is CLAMP, I have a feeling it is much more likely there is some more roundabout explanation that might tie into that xxxHOLiC: Rō episode. But that is only something that will be clear as the series goes on.

The story is pretty simple in that it mostly establishes that Yuuko is alive, Watanuki is her cooking servant and assistant, and Doumeki can enter the shop which was not always the case in the original series. Other than that it is a little comedy and mostly set up for the first costumer for the shop. If anything hints to something major going on its Watanuki’s strange headache which cannot be random especially considering the scene that immediately triggers it.

The series still has a vibrant mixture of sexiness, comedy, and mystery. I’m sort of hoping being freed from being linked to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle that xxxHOLiC might be able to better spread its wings. It always seems a bit caged in when it was the sister story to Tsubasa. I want to see where it could go on its own. Plus it is always nice to have Yuuko back.

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 I read issues 1-3 of Cyberforce (2012) a revamp of the 90s American comic series which was funded through Kickstarter. The story takes place in a future where an evil corporation, CDI, with machinations of altering the world for their own purposes has taken to experimenting with cyber implants. A rogue group of soliders from said experiments is attempting to take them down and exact revenge.

Things really begin when Carin daughter of the heads of CDI learns of a dangerous plan called Aphrodite Protocol and runs away to seek out the help of Morgan Stryker along off the grid soldier. I of course love that Carin has a dog named Ninja who is a cyber enhanced badass, but he was captured and being treated badly!

So far the book is high on laying out the world and plot rather than fleshing out the characters. But there are explosions! And crazy cyber people! Also no one wears shirts? Anyway, it has been an entertaining read so far.

I super love the cover of issue 3.

You can read Cyberforce for free on Comixology.

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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If Battle Royale proves one thing it is that we all like man hunting man in the most dangerous game. While something like Future Diary does not have anywhere the same amount of thoughtful political and social commentary that Battle Royale had they both satisfy a similar blood thirsty craving. One just does it in a smarter manner. The Running Man is hardly deep cinema but it entertains most people.  Darwin’s Game is far more in the bread and circuses mold of entertainment.

Darwin’s Game is based around a social network game on cellphones where you kill other people participating in the tournament for points. According to a conversation I had with Ed Chavez those social network games are insanely popular in Japan now. Peaceful ones that is. The murder for money games are still fairly unpopular.

The story begins with Sudo Kaname get sucked into Darwin’s Game when his friend Kyoda who was playing the game tries to get his help before being killed. Now a killer in a baseball mascot outfit and a goth loli have their eye on him as their next victim.

I assume this baseball mascot guy will be the first of a long line of gimmick villains. He already seems to have some way of slashing people at a distance when he kills Sudo’s friend. I’m fairly certain how everything has been proceeding there is some supernatural aspect to this guys ability to strike at a distance.  I’m guessing that points let you buy powers and one of the powers this guy’s purchases was a distance attack. Looks like Kyoda should have bought some of those power ups instead of a cool bike.

We also see a goth loli girl who is distinctly giving me a Yuno Gasai feel. I’ guessing that she will start trying to kill Sudo and then wind up being his volatile teammate/love interest. Maybe I am wrong about that and she will just be an antagonist. Her yandere vibe is just too strong for her to be a simple one-off character. Especially after Yuno was so popular in Future Diary.

I’m curious to follow this series as it just seems like pleasant if grisly distraction. The series will probably not be as gruesome as Gantz but thankfully so far the protagonist is nowhere as reprehensible as the one from Btooom!.  Not being Btooom! is already a distinct point in the manga’s favor.

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 Finally got the missing volumes I needed to continue reading 20th Century Boys. In vols. 15-16 we’re finally learning a lot about Friend and getting the other side of the story from Kenji and the other’s childhood. Right now it is feeling a bit like the reveal of how a magic trick works; these are the answers I’ve been wanting, but maybe I don’t want them after all, maybe it will ruin the mystique! Still they’ve made it clear there is still much more going on.

The moments where Friend sees himself without a face is super creepy by the way.

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I also saw a bit of the Kids on the Slope Official Fan Book. As someone who enjoyed the anime it was nice to get a little insight into the manga-ka’s involvement with the anime. Yuki Kodama spend the first half of the chapter talking about visiting MAPPA studios. It had the standard bits about how everyone was so friendly but it was not all fluff. The most interesting fact was that she drew several key frames from the anime including the key frame for the final cut. I had to go back and watch the ending just to check that out.

There is also a little bonus story were the Kids of the Slope are pirates that was a quirky little bonus story. I’m not exactly sure why she picked pirates but it was mostly a whimsical story of friendship on the high seas with a bit of action.

It was nice to sit down and think of Kids of the Slope again. I know there were some vocal people who thought the series was disappointing (not bad just disappointing) but I had a good time so I was happy to be reminded of my pleasant memories.

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 Inferno Cop (eps. 8-11) is full of wisdom. “Along with dinosaurs and bell bottoms, it will lead to another extinction.” And with that we have a big cliffhanger at the end of ep. 11 since the world effectively ended! Will Inferno Cop rise up as a god!?

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