Ongoing Investigations: Case #211

I did not realize until recently that Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn episode 6 came out. The bloom has really fallen of that rose. When the first few volumes of Gundam Unicorn came out everyone was talking about it for a few days leading up to its release. It was an event. Now I see more talk about the latest episode of Oreimo. I guess the gap between episodes has really killed the enthusiasm. I think episode four did not help the matter.

Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows continues the feeling that this is the most accurate Tomino style fan fiction you will ever get without it actually be written by the Bald Wizard himself. It starts with a big battle as part of an unusual alliance, then moves into people switching sides and betraying each other, main characters go around making philosophical speeches sometimes to an audience and other times to people at gunpoint, and it ends with a race to the final location of Laplace’s Box with a familiar interrupting cow appearing at the end. At the same time all the old people in power plan to do whatever it takes to keep the status quo, all the radicals are going to do whatever it takes to realize their mad dreams, and everyone else is stuck in the middle trying to find something that does not get everyone killed. Classic Tomino.

This is a solid penultimate episode. It begins to lay down all the elements that will be resolved in the final episode. They still have not revealed what exactly Laplace’s Box is or the actual identity of Full Frontal. Those are the two big mysteries everyone watching wants to know. My other question is how much Newtype Voodoo magic is going to win the day and how much will piloting be the deciding factor. If this is a true Tomino tribute then some mystical magical psychoframe sorcery is going to be on display.

I’m really just waiting for someone to kill Angelo already. He is clearly the Jerid Messa of Unicorn so he could at least have the common curtsey to die early on in the next episode so we can get to the real fights. Marida Cruz is the only member of Team Banagher that I am seriously concerned about. Will they kill the last of the Elpeo Ple clones or will they let this one-off the hook? (Unless you consider Gundam Evolve 10 canon.)

By the way here is an article of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere if you want a better understanding of what the writers were making allusions to in this episode.

Audrey Burne is still the best character. She does not pilot a mobile suit or beat people down with her fists. She just has an immense presence which is a striking as those of the other main characters. When she talks people listen. But she is not someone who just barks orders at people. She takes in what everyone is saying and often can be silent. But when she is needed to step into a conversation she has a royal presence that is undeniable. If anything makes her a non-Tomino character it is she is such a clearheaded woman even when everyone else is losing their minds. If you are going to break the Tomino mold that is the best way to do it. With one of the strongest women in the UC timeline.

Oh well. It is going to be awhile until we get the final volume of Unicorn even if it is released without a single delay. So it will be a year before we can get Somewhere Over the Rainbow and see the end of the series. I wonder if the release of the last episode will bring back some of that initial enthusiasm or if the lag between episodes has just proven to be too great in this era where you get episodes near instantly.

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 I picked up the first volume of sci-fi mecha manga Knights of Sidonia. The aliens they are fighting have quite a horror, grotesque bent to them. The entire setting has a weird, off-kilter feeling; a pretty strange place where the food supply only allows for people to eat once a week. Everyone looks human but they all act very oddly.

The main character is purposely socially awkward for sure, and boy is he. The rest of the cast aren’t awkward per se but are written in an awkward manner. It felt so stilted that it was difficult to connect with any of the cast; they feel so artificial but that may be the point the more I mull it over.

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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Hana no Miyako! is a really weird Type-Moon manga. It is not as strange as Fate/School Life but that is a nearly impossible feat. I suppose Miyako Arima does not lend herself to a stereotypical Tsukihime manga adaption but this is still pretty far away from vampires, mages, demons, and lines of death.  But we shall see how many of those elements show up in the end.

For anyone who is not neck-deep in Type-Moon lore Miyako Arima is a character who is BARELY mentioned as existing in Tsukihime and only got a real presence as a character in Metly Blood. So what to do with Shiki Tohno’s kung-fu cousin? You put her in a Tenjho Tenge style martial arts high school shonen manga. But with less rape and fan service because it is not by Oh! great.

The premise should be familiar to anyone who reads any amount of shonen manga. There is a school made up of mostly bad asses who have a school sponsored ranking system. Nanaya Shiki is one of the lowest ranked students at Asagami Private High Class Academy. She starts the series trying to get new members for the Aikido club and her main target is the near silent Miyako Arima. Miyako seems very insistent on not joining any clubs or really having anything to do with anyone. But when Miyako saves Shiki from an extremely forward high-ranking senior she quickly pretends like Shiki was the one who defeated him. Why does the powerhouse that is Miyako wish to sink into the background like she is a nobody?

So far I mostly have questions like: Is this the Miyako from Metly Blood or is a similar character in a new setting? If she is Miyako from Metly Blood what changed to make her such a withdrawn character? Also is Nanaya Shiki secretly a Mystic Eyes of Death Perception monster and not know it yet or is she just a silly girl who is just good at tea ceremony? Also who are all these crazy fighters at the school who are beginning to circle around Miyako and Shiki? What are their fighting styles? Will they ever stop making “Shiki is a lesbian” jokes?

It is odd. If you want a fighting girls (with some guys for good measure) manga but without the prodigious fan service you usually find in the genre than this is a good pick. But it is not much of a Type-Moon manga as much as a Type-Moon homage manga. Take that as you will.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise finally finished up this comic arc with part 3. It ended up being rather heavy-handed in its message about differing cultures coming together. But props for it tackling the generational divide and showing the path forward is not just about looking to the past.

The actual confrontation was decent as the inevitable happens and a skirmish occurs between the Earth and Fire armies with the rebels in the middle. But the setup for the next arc was probably the more satisfying part of this final volume so that was a little bit of let down. But then again that means I’m pretty excited for The Search to start!

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Don’t worry everyone. I figured out how to talk more about Fate/Extra before Fate/Extra CCC is released in English. I can talk about the Fate/Extra manga! Brilliant!

Lets start with some straight talk. Manga adaptions of video games are somewhere around live action movies made video games in the pantheon of horror. So if this series devolves into unreadable mess that makes babies cry then no one should be surprised. That is the nature of the beast.

If you ever played the original game you will notice there have been several elements that have either been streamlined or cut to make things a bit more efficient in the manga. The game starts with a prolog in which the initial nameless protagonist dies and then the game switches over to the actual main character. That whole deal is passed over. They also introduce a few of the servants and masters early and have them take out some fellow participants of this Holy Grail War to make things a little more interesting.

Also in the game you could have the protagonist either be male or female and could pick one of three servants. Here they have gone the male protagonist and picked the Red Saber. That makes sense as Red Saber was without a doubt the breakout hit character of the series. If you were worried they are also giving Caster her own manga this summer.

Not sure yet how this is going to go. Ropi~na at least seems to understand that Fate/Extra has to be adjusted to make a readable manga. So far it is a decent adaptation but nothing says that will continue to be the case. But thankfully nothing says it has to be horrible yet either. Hopefully it will be able to beat the curse of the adaptation but I would not assume that just yet.

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I have always wanted the Uncharted series to be made into movies. Well, someone did just that! This is different that a “Let’s Play”-type deal, the creator has cut the game together using the cinematic scenes as well as some (but a much abridged version) of the gameplay and of course there is not a running commentary track either.

I found movie 1 really enjoyable! And it almost felt like a movie. The character personalities really came through. I do think they could use some added music here or there but overall a nicely put together production.

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