Ongoing Investigations: Case #209

This week it the OI where I watch something again for the first time. These are all titles I have watched to completion before but Narutaki either never watched or only saw a little of.

I have mentioned Emma: A Victorian Romance on the blog several times in the past. I have praised in several different panels and podcasts we have done as well.  I even named it one of the best show of the 2000s. So I have little to add to plugging Emma on that front. What I can talk about is what I have noticed in my recent re-watch.

The first thing is a recent Answerman column that used Emma as an example of having lousy animation. While he praised the content of the show he pointed it out as a prime case of good story but rubbish animation. While I see what he is saying, because the animation is usually done on the cheap, I mainly never cared before and can’t start now. It is mostly a show about Victorian men and women sitting in chairs talking to each other while domestics clean in the background. You hardly need the animation form the bike scene from Akira to fully experience that. I just want to see the scenes from the manga in color. The setting of Emma is just so well researched and atmospheric who would not want to seem them animated even if minimally?

Other than that it was just nice to revisit this love story. Emma is wonderful, William is dense (like a neutron star) but loveable, Ms. Stowner is your stereotypical stern but kindly wise old lady, and William’s dad is just a jerk. I was am amused how quickly Narutaki realized that nothing but horrible things were going to happen to Eleanor Campbell despite the fact that she is undeniably nice.

I liked the new litebox version of Emma from Nozomi but I am glad I got the limited edition versions back in the day. The booklets that came with the original version were just filled with wonderful information. The Crystal Palace information alone was fantastic. I wish they had added that digitally to the new version but I understand why they did not.

This was a wonderful little series to come back to. I hope we can start the second season soon. The end to the first season is so melancholy. I really need the pick me up of the second season to balance that out.  That and Tasha being Tasha.

I can’t believe my old roommate used to think that the series should have ended with the first season. Pshaw!

I finally watch Emma: A Victorian Romance, though just the first season so far. I don’t think there was really ever any doubt I would like this series. And having completed the third season of Downton Abby, I needed a little period drama to fill a void in my heart!

There aren’t really any schemers in Emma trying to ratchet up the drama; it is more of slow and fairly simple class-divided love story. But since William has the IQ-level of a rock, he only needs himself to cause every problem in the show. Sometimes I’d often wonder why I even want Emma to end up with this idiot. But I love Emma herself so much that I will respect her wishes in this. He is willfully ignorant of his station and doesn’t seem to really do his job at all so far, but there does feel like a turning point at the end which I can hope changes him greatly.

On the other hand, my darling Eleanor better get swept off her feet by some charming rogue because really I need her away from William ASAP.
I loved Mrs. Stowner she was a really cool lady. I was glad to get a bit of her backstory as the series went on. Also she should have hooked it up with Al.
William’s friend from India alternates between offensive, weird, and mildly amusing. I definitely liked him driving the car through the house. Him falling for Emma seemed totally random but at least he is able to give William a few swift kicks over it.
As you can probably guess, I wouldn’t mind seeing this series be a little more soapy but I enjoyed it anyway. Onward to season two!

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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I have always felt that Hyakko was a generally unappreciated series. I would never claim it is the funniest series I have ever seen but it is always consistently funny and occasionally heartwarming. But for some reason it is a series that deserves more people talking about it but has never gotten the following it deserves.

Watching Hyakko (eps. 1-4) again I did not feel that the first episode dragged anywhere as much as I remember it meandering the first time I watched it. Tatsuki and Ayumi don’t spend nearly as much time without Torako and Suzume as I remember. With that speed bump out of the way the rest of the episodes flow quite easily. If nothing else the introduction of Nene seemed to go on longer than I remember.

The highlight of the first four episodes is still the part where the main quartet try to join all the clubs. I enjoyed that as the episode goes on Tatsuki starts to give as good as she gets in her battle with Torako. It would not have been as fun if Tatsuki just got hit in the face with various objects.Things get really good when she starts messing with Torako as must as she is being toyed with. It also reminded me that one of the best parts of the series is how Tatsuki slowly becomes a member of the group as the series goes on despite not really wanting to do anything with the other three at first.

I’m glad someone finally picked up this series. It was on Crunchyroll for a while but it was one of the series they had to remove from their lineup. So it is nice to see it available in a rather inexpensive little set. And despite being in the Lucky Penny line the series has some decent amounts of extras. All the episodes have pretty extensive liner notes. Sentai Filmworks could learn from this with their budget releases. There is a way to release titles in a cost saving format so they don’t feel like you picked them off the 5 dollar DVD rack at a convenience store.

Bizarre, slap-stick, absurdity is how I generally like my comedies so Hyakko is a good fit.

The first episode of Hyakko is a bit slower than I remember, but the brick incident at the end pretty much makes it a lock for watching the next installment.
Torako’s mischief, blatant disregard for rules, and general insanity is the linchpin of the show so you’ll either love her (me!) or hate her.

I like that this show exaggerates the characters a lot and they have a wide range of expressions. The faces are just priceless in all the scenes.

There is an unexpected Electra reference in the tennis episode!

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Firefly: Serenity was an important piece of the Firefly fandom. When the series was canceled there were about a dozen plot threads let dangling at the end of the first series that were clearly meant to be slowly explained over the course of the series. So when the Firefly movie was green lit they had to decide what was vital to tie up and what could get the short shrift. Overall I think they chose wisely. Not every plot thread could be resolved and some got more attention than others but they had one chance to end things well and overall I think they did a job gob with things.

One quick point I wanted to make with character deaths is it seems like your damned if you do and damned if you don’t with them. If you don’t kill some of the characters then everyone complains that you wussed out and did not pull the trigger when the stakes were high. By the same token if you do kill characters everyone seems to pick apart the decision and blame you for being emotionally manipulative. I know that Joss Whedon has a reputation for killing characters so this scrutiny is doubly intense.  We could argue for hours which deaths in the movie were cheap and which were earned. It is not a debate anyone can win and just tends to get tempers flared for no reason. I will just say in the end that I think people are more in love with the IDEA of creators killing characters than they actually enjoy it in practice.

In the end I thought the movie is what I needed for closure with the series. I would be interested in seeing a continuation but I can’t say I am hungry for more.  If this is all we ever got with the Firefly universe I would be happy.

I finished up Firefly with the Serenity movie. Wow, it was really intense!

A lot, or pretty much everyone, of the crew is pissed off at Mal for a lot of this movie. This actually accentuated for me just how well he is written and acted because I always, always understand him and his motivations. And it isn’t as if he has monologues or is a very talkative guy period, but he makes total sense to me. The movie plays out in a very satisfying way when it comes to Mal’s story, too.

They should have killed Simon. Really.

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