Ongoing Investigations: Case #210

I honestly don’t know how the ending of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated could have been better. Seriously, no idea.

We already knew that this was a unique series for Scooby Doo! but that feeling was furthered by all the revelations and consequences of the presence of actual supernatural goings on in the umbrella story of the Planispheric Disk.

In the last few episodes, we were also treated to the reappearance of some great characters from past cases, a slew of references from Twin Peaks to Rambo, more soap opera-like campy plot developments, and some seriously awesome imagery in other dimensions.

The best, most unexpected, Scooby Doo! show ever made. It is a show for fans of the original and people who didn’t care for the original at all! How often can you say that?

It was a bit of a journey but Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated ended about as well as you can ask anything to end. There were several starts and stops as it seems like Cartoon Network continues its ongoing crusade to prove that it is not much of a fan of cartoons in general. They did spit out the last 10 episodes in one go but at least they were released. I was a little worried they would never finish their series when they would go on hiatus without any real notice about when they would be coming back. But after series like Sym-Bionic Titan getting the ax with little fanfare you are always a little nervous with any series that is not Adventure Time.

The last ten episodes start with the normal masked villain of the week antics like earlier in the series but get progressively more plot intensive as they go on. The change starts with some of the episodes almost dashing through the masked villain story just to get to the piece of the larger overarching plot. The last three episodes completely dispense with the standard Scooby Doo formula entirely. It was a nice way to ramp up the story without forgetting the roots of the show.

The wonderful homages and spoofs were still in full force. I think Narutaki and I were tickled pink when Scooby Doo first appears in what is essentially the Black Lodge. It was a transcendent moment. When they do a whole episode in the Red Room it takes it to the next level. The Ska Zombies who make everyone skank to death was also great. But they throw in a ton of little winks like little tips of the hat to everything from Aliens to Adam Ant. Great stuff that never draws undue attention to itself.

And the humor is still really strong. Nothing will beat crazy hobo Fred. But really what could be better than crazy hobo Fred? Still I think we both laughed out loud a minimum of once an episode. There is just a wonderful sense of comic beats that comes from the quirky characters and the dry delivery. Anything with Fred’s feelings is comedy gold.

I don’t really want to spoil the ending. The less said about it the better. There is a nice bit of build up, some good action scenes, some classic dungeon crawling, and a big final battle. The resolution of the series also has some time to breathe so you feel rewarded after a 52 episode series.

Overall I really think this is going to be a series that becomes a cult classic. One of those things that will continually pop up on “I can’t believe you have not seen this” lists for years to come. I know it will be on any list of great American cartoons I make.

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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Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love 2000% eps. 1-2 is a true sequel because is definitely twice as ridiculous as the first season.

In the first episode they take on the task of not only reintroducing the entire cast of characters at rapid speed, but also adding in a group of “seniors” who are a successful boy idol group as their mentors. Then in episode 2 we also get secret-dream-prince Cecil as a member of the school and with him comes another senior who is a Count! Of course the green-eyed monster comes out now and the boys are determined to keep Haruka away from Cecil.

Without a doubt the best entrance is by the President of course, voiced by the incomparable Norio Wakamoto in case you forgot, who swings down from the ceiling. In the second episode, he lays down some knowledge about the land of music and there also may be helicopters involved. Somehow after just two episodes, he is even more epic than in the first season!

Both opening and ending upped the ante too. I’m not crazy about the new dance number, I prefer some bit of subtlety? Though it seems rather appropriate for this over-the-top sequel.

Oh and excuse me is that Syo playing a violin? Ohmigod.

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It was interesting to watch twitter’s reaction to PSYCHO-PASS from episode two to twenty-two as the season progressed. It started off with a tentative curiosity from most people commenting on it. But as the series went on I swear I could not go on Twitter without someone complaining about the series. Then about half way through a bunch of people dropped the show and I felt like the number of positive tweets about the show increased rather quickly after the torrent of negativity went away. I think that is an interesting lesson in itself.

The ending of the series capped off certain plot points quite completely and other elements were left hanging. In many ways I think how much you enjoy the ending is in direct correlation to how interested you were the resolution of which threads. If you needed to see how they take care of Shogo Makishima than you were happy. If you wanted to see the resolution to the Psycho-Pass system in some definitive way then you were disappointed. If you were interested in the characters you might have had mixed feelings. Several characters die. It is a Gen Urobuchi show. That is just going to happen. Most of the surviving characters change but no one really reaches the end of their story. Your mileage may vary on that part.

Overall I had a good time. We got some gritty sci-fi dystopia, we got some detective work, and we got some action. I don’t think it was the second coming of Stand Alone Complex but that is a fairly lofty goal. Part of the premise was a bit grandiose and possibly a bit goofy. I also think it tried to tackle some interesting ideas and explored them in an entertaining manner. If nothing else I hope this did well enough that even if it does not get a sequel it might open up the door for more series like it. Goodness knows American fans keep asking for more shows like it.

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 All the connections are becoming clear with 20th Century Boys vols. 17-20. There is really only one major mystery left, who is Friend!

What I found most notable about these volumes is how integral the major women of the series, Kanna, Yukiji, and Kiriko become to finishing this tale and saving the world.

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Another new season of  Hayate with Hayate the Combat Butler! Cuties (a name Narutaki is not a fan of) means another new season of people complaining about the series but still watching it every week.  No matter what they say I think every major complaint boils down to one simple fact. They really just want the End of the World arc animated. A sadistic part of me is continually amused that they have never made an anime of that section. Part of me just assumes they are waiting to do that as a big event movie but we shall see what happens. Until then I will just drink the sweat tears of the Athena fans.

The “plot” of Cuties seems to be stand alone stories about various Hayate girls in character focused  stories. The first ten episodes have had the characters involved announced while the last two episodes are still a secret. I am amused that some of the characters get paired together. More and more Isumi & Sakuya are just a pair and Chiharu & Kayura are much like that to a lesser degree. I am vaguely intrigued that the sixth episodes if listed as Izumi Segawa and Two Others.  The natural assumption is that it will be Risa and Miki but they could surprise us with someone like Fumi and Sharna or Yukiji and Kyonosuke. I know Narutaki will be slightly miffed if they don’t have a Saki and Wataru episode. I really want a Yozora Housen episode but I know we are not going to get it.

The first episode focuses on the only male cutie: Hayate (interestingly enough never dresses as Hermione as well). The episode starts with a really slow intro where we see all the residents of the Violet Mansion. It takes half the episode for everything to get back up to speed and start adapting the plot of 353 and 354. (We will pretend that the only reason I knew that fact was because Hayate had just come back from a 6 week hiatus and therefore the chapter was more memorable.) Then the episode really begins to pick up speed when everyone gets sick. It is mainly the same story although they throw in Nishizawa even though she was not in the original story because she was not living in the Violet Mansion at the time.

The timeline in the anime is still a little odd as they have been taking place further in the time line of the manga but have been adapting stories from earlier in the story. Since Ruka just came back from Las Vegas I have to assume this story takes place after Can’t Take My Eyes Off You but it is not 100% clear in the regard. It does seem to strongly indicate that Ruka has moved out of the Violet Mansion and is singing again which I had not fully grokked until the 400th chapter.

But I shall continue to watch the series and have a good time while everyone else complains. If nothing else it will prepare me for when Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S starts.

 

One thought on “Ongoing Investigations: Case #210

  1. Clayton Stevens says:

    The “Scooby Doo” franchise has been in limbo for sometime, mainly because of the amount of attention given to the “What’s New Scooby-Doo?” series, which is apparent in the fact that the “WNSD” versions of the characters have appeared frequently in the straight-to-DVD movies that appear almost every year.”Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” is a welcome change from the malaise that was formed by the former series’ success. This reboot, whilst borrowing elements from the darker films like “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island” and “Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost”, depicts the gang as a group of high-school students living in Crystal Cove, a New England town that uses its history of hauntings and paranormal happenings as a tourist magnet, and the investigations of the group are far from welcome.There is an over-reaching story arc that covers the entire series, gradually pieced together episode by episode. The first four episodes on this disc introduce this mystery to us, and people new to the show will certainly start thinking about what is going on.Another welcome change is placing the spotlight on the Velma / Shaggy relationship. Of course, other fans will be astounded by the idea that Velma and Shaggy could be a couple. I am not going to argue how strong a pairing might be, but I will say that, with the Fred / Daphne relationship discussed in almost all mediums of the franchise, it is a nice change to see Velma get a little more screen-time than usual.On the whole, a brilliant series, and one for all “Scooby-Doo” fans everywhere.

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