Ongoing Investigations: Case #217

Just when I thought I would have no new Type-Moon manga to talk about I found the first 2 chapters of Tsuki no Sango. Tsuki no Sango is an interesting little project that had Saizensen pair together Kinoko Nasu and Maaya Sakamoto for a short story. It started as Sakamoto reading the story while animation was played in the background. It was popular enough that it has been spun off into several different mediums.

But as a Type-Moon fan I enjoy getting all the Nasu I can. Therefore it is a real boon when a story like this is converted into manga form as that is far easier to see translated than something that usually gets overlooked like drama CDs. (It is not like I’m tripping over Starlit Marmalade translations.) This was drawn by Sasaki Shonen who also did the Shingetsutan Tsukihime manga.

Kinoko Nasu is clearly no stranger to using The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter as in inspiration for stories. Tsukihime means Moon Princess although Arcueid is a much looser adaptation of Kaguya-hime. And in that vein Tsuki no Sango in set in the year 3000 where a princess descended from lunar inhabitants lives on an island on the now stagnating Earth. The Prince of Arishima wishes to make this Storyteller Girl his bride but so far she has asked impossible dowries for her hand in marriage from all her suitors. What is the tale of the Storyteller Girl that made her how she is today?

So far the Storyteller Girl is the biggest hook to the story. She seem to be a proper princess on the outside but overall she seems a spunky Arcueid complete with short blonde haircut and energetic bursts of activity mixed with contemplative melancholy. She also has twin maids that remind me of another similar pair.

This is a far more subdued story that we are used to seeing from Nasu. So far at least. There are no magical orders steeped in blood soaked conspiracies. It seems more a mixture of character study and love story like Notes rather than something like Fate/Stay Night. And I am perfectly fine with that. Can’t wait to read more of it.

Also have to find out what the deal with Small Person is. 

sep-comics

 The Wake is a new mini-series from the Vertigo line. I was originally curious because Scott Snyder was writing, but I remained unsure. Then I saw the art by Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth and it totally blew me away. The first issue came out this week.

The story centers around Dr. Archer, a cetologist, who is approached by a government organization looking into some strange phenomenon in the ocean around Alaska. She meets a team already selected who were told various other stories about what they are investigating. The mystery setup is classic. We also get glimpses into the distant future and the ancient past implying this manifestation is long reaching.

The art takes the story to another level. The heavy black lines and stark shadows create the perfect atmosphere for this tense, evil in the deep, mystery. The color choices give it a pulpy feel that I just love.

One thing I’m not crazy about is the cover, it really doesn’t do justice to the interior art and doesn’t pull you in.

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.

sep-liveaction

Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Space, Here We Come! could just be called “Gentaro Kisaragi Tries to Befriend an Orbital Laser“. It is fairly concise summary of the movie. There is some other plot elements that pop up but they are just adding to that central premise. So your enjoyment for this movie can generally be gauged by how much that title piques your interest.

Space, Here We Come! takes place between the 44th and 45th episodes if you were super curious to watch things in chronological order. That said the movie is an entirely stand alone story. It has Rider Club being recruited to help stop an evil space robot and his human companion from taking over a sentient orbital weapons platform that they plan to use to terrorize the Earth.

I’m hardly Mike Dent so tokusatsu references mainly fly over my head. Therefore I had to look up that a lot of the new characters in the movie are actually references to the Space Ironmen Kyodain TV series characters and concepts. I enjoyed the movie without realizing that fact but in reflection certain parts of the plot work differently if you a fan of the Space Ironmen TV series. Explaining any more would be spoilers but it adds an extra dimension to the plot if you want it to. In fact if you like Space Ironmen Kyodain but have never watched Fourze you might be a little lost on certain things but it might be worth watching overall just for the twist on the Kyodain cast.

It some ways it does not feel that unlike the TV series. There are some big set pieces. There is a chase scene with a bus with some big pyrotechnics. But there is also a lot of CG which always looks really cheesy. The one part when a CG helicopter crashes and blows up a car in the beginning sort of seals the deal that while his is not the infamous Golgo 13 helicopter that is faint praise. So when they use a lot of CG it looks like they are taking effects from the mid 2000s. They also recycle all the old Horoscope outfits from the TV series but those always look good. They should really stick to the practical effects as they are sort of the heart and soul of the series but I guess the only way they are ever going to get good at CG is to start practicing with it more.

The most important part of the series is intact and that is that the vibe of the show that made it so strong in maintained. It still feels like the Diamond is Unbreakable version of a Power Rangers show. The dojikko manger Shizuka, the constantly rollerskating Harumi, and the evil martial artist Inga Blink all feel like they would be at home in the original series. The main cast all gets a chance to shine. It really reminded me that Miu could be really hardcore when they wanted her to be. She is almost constantly more useful than Yuki and JK but they are mostly there more for their comedic elements more than their fighting abilities.

But they key point is that Gentaro Kisaragi is told that bad guys want to go into space and control a death satellite. His solution: I will get into space before them and make friends with the satellite. T will save everyone. Yup. That is the only answer when it comes to Fourze.

As it should be.

Kamen Rider Wizard makes a total gratuitous cameo in the movie entirely for the purpose of saying,” Hey this guy is cool so watch his show next season.” He shows up to mop up a battle while showing off a few moves. He just sort of appears out of nowhere and leaves with just as little ceremony after defeating the enemies left for him. It would have been like if Heero Yuy randomly appeared in a G Gundam movie to take out some mook mecha and then never appears again. It is just short of shameless but such is Kamen Rider.

Overall it was nice to see everyone again for one last ride. I really enjoyed the original Fourze series so it was nice to come back top these characters (although they apparently appear again a little older in Movie War Ultimatum.) It has a lot of the fun manly heartfelt action and goofy American teenage comedy that is so signature of the TV series. It also has a bit of the drama which was always a bit more clumsily done but it never detracts from everything. It just always feels like the weakest link.

It’s Space Time! once again and it feels good.

sep-comics

 I picked up the original graphic novel Adventure Time: Playing with Fire. The story features Flame Princess on the side of heroes as Finn gets whisked away by a people-collecting, fortune-telling, alligator man after Finn, Jake, and Flame Princess attend a festival.

I liked getting to know Flame Princess better from this book and her attitude. It ends rather ominously which I found surprising, even though they turn it into a joke.

sep-videogames

I have recently been fascinated with game design ever since I started listening to the Atlanta Game Development Podcast. I would hardly put down video games as my main hobby but the art that goes into creating video games is really interesting. And a lot of people in the industry have started showing fans what happens beneath the hood in an entertaining and educational manner. So I have also been enjoying the heck out of Extra Credits video series.

Extra Credits is a weekly video series that takes part some point in video game design and explores the topic with an insider’s vantage point. It is smart series that does well to blend the ideas of Daniel Floyd and James Portnow into a single voice. It is not that the show never acknowledges that it is a collaboration but it does a good job seeming cohesive while showing points were there might be a difference of opinion.

All though I have no idea why Daniel Floyd makes his voice so so high and squeaky. It does make the series a bit more cartoony. The show is usually fairly smart with a decent sense of humor so I’m not sure why they throw in that mood breaker. I think it makes the series a harder sell to people who have never seen the series than it needs to be.

If your interested in how the sausage that is video games are made then this is a nice series to check out. I have not watched all the videos but any of the Games You Might Not Have Tried series is always informative. They are not the best games but they are the games that are good when your stuck in a rut and want something new. The Call of Juarez: The Cartel is an eye-opening examination of one of the worst games ever made that you might never have heard of. It is a prime example of how lazy design leads to a game full of prejudice and misinformation about a serious topic. The Game Addiction episode is super personal and powerful. Other than that you can just cherry pick what topics and games interest you the most or just go through over 5 seasons worth of material. Have fun!

sep-comics

 Marvel’s new X-Men series with a core women team was a title I had very much anticipated. The first issue finally came out this week. The line-up is great as expected but the beginning of this three issue arc isn’t very grabbing. Few of the personalities stand out (beyond the fantastic cover) despite my love for a number of these characters. The saving grace is that Rogue is awesome in the issue.

It wasn’t a bad comic by any means it just felt middle of the road. I’m picking up the rest of the story arc to see if it is able to pick up.

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.