Ongoing Investigations: Case #227

hisui_icon_4040 Since Kate is currently on vacation I decided to have a Sunday anime movie marathon in place of our regularly scheduled anime watching. So I went through three very different anime movies. They were mostly titles I had been interested in seeing but sadly did not play at any of the conventions I attended this year. They certainly ran the gambit in terms of quality I will say that for sure. I wanted to love all three of them but some turned out better than others. I will try to avoid spoilers as none of these has officially come out in English therefore I don’t want to blow the lid off nay surprises.

Lets us start firmly in the middle with A Certain Magical Index Movie: Miracle of Endymion. This is one of those shonen series movies that is not One Piece: Strong World. It is not utterly awful like Clockwork Island Adventure either. It just feels a bit workman like. It is a hard movie to hate but it is also not going to be most people’s favorite story arc as well. Something about this film just keeps falling short of being great.

The story starts a few years before the main storyline when an orbital shuttle hits a bit of space debris (clearly they needed to get the DS-12 “Toy Box” in that area of space) and is forced to make a crash landing. It seems like despite all odds (with a bit of mysterious magical intervention) everyone survives the crash. But is that what really happens? That crash leads to the construction of a space elevator called Endymion. When Index and Touma meet a rising star named Meigo Arisa they are attracted by her alluring voice and peppy attitude. They soon find that she is both wanted by powerful factions in the worlds of science and magic. They must find out how she is related to the so-called Miracle of Endymion and the tragedy that is about to unfold in its wake.

I think the thing that makes it feel most like one of those yearly massed produced Shonen Jump movies is the “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here” feeling on the movie. There is a tendency (especially with the first movie of a long running series) to try to cram in cameo appearances of all the popular characters from a series while introducing a new character who only appears in the movie. It seems like until the last act that Railgun was only in the story to put her in a cute outfit (and possibly because people would storm the Dengeki Bunko and J.C.Staff offices if she were not in the movie.) But her appearance still seems more organic than Accelerator’s almost totally wedged in appearance.

On the other hand Stiyl Magnus on the other hand has gained a bit of an elemental entourage with three disciples named Marie, Mallybath, and Jane. If any characters get brought over from the movie it will probably be these three. Although that might require an odd bit of retconning as they have never appeared in later Index novels. But the Index anime has never been slavishly devoted to making itself a one to one reproduction of the original novels. So these three new witches might appear in upcoming New Testament novels with a bit of a hand wave of where they have been. They are more likely to be inserted in things like the World War III arc if that ever gets animated.

The other introduced characters have a feeling like their appearances might be more limited to this movie alone. Meigo Arisa, Shutaura, and the main villain theoretically could still be around after the movie but I have to wonder if they will ever use them again. Then again I assumed that Erii and Banri would disappear off the face of the earth but they have continued to appear. Only time will tell.

I think by biggest complaint is that Shutaura’s motivations seem a bit … odd when the movie is at its climax. The main villain is your standard evil selfish mastermind as you expect from certain Index villains. If you want something else you in the wrong series. The Index and Railgun worlds are just made of horrible people on both the science and magic sides. Any member of the Kihara family show that in spades. But we are not supposed to be super sympathetic to them. You are supposed to like Shutaura but she seems dedicated to doing to wrong thing until pretty much near the end of the movie. I just wish I had a little more insight into her because she seems to doing things more for plot convenience than legitimate reasons.

That said if nothing else I enjoyed a plot that had a slightly more integrated combination of the magical and technological parts of the universe. It still stays in the realm of the McDLT with the magic side mostly dealing with the magic parts and the technological doing the same. But Touma tends deal with one or the other in most stories despite the fact that the show’s tagline is about the worlds of science and magic colliding.

The again Aleister Crowley always comes off as a magical character to me despite having his feet firmly in both worlds.

I had a good time watching the movie but I have to admit it has a lot of rough edges that could have been better. It is certainly not a movie for people who are not fan of the main series. It is also not a great entry point for anyone into the series as well. If you skip it I don’t you will live with any serious regrets even if your watching the TV series but it won’t hurt to watch the movie either.


narutaki_icon_4040 The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia: Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo Circa 19.56 B.G.E. – 501 A.G.E. complied by Hunson Abadeer, Lord of Evil. Seriously, Marceline’s dad knows how to name a book. His pen is defete at communicating his knowledge, research, and disdain about all manner of things in the Adventure Time universe. His voice is superb and hilarious.

Later portions of the book include a fan-zine made by Ice King drawing on anime roots, the instruction manual for BMO, and a travel guide for the many kingdoms by Bubblegum Princess.

The book is also chock-full of choice quotes. Here are a few of my favorites regarding Finn:

“Who’d abandon something as cute and adorable as a human baby in the woods, instead of selling or eating it?”

“His stupidity is matched only by his arrogance in thinking he is a Gift to the Ladies, the most obnoxious human trait in existence.”

“Thus human boys have one and only one good quality–retching at the abomination of love.”

This is an incredibly well put together book merely from both a text and a visual standpoint. Beyond the base text, there are also notes and doodles by Finn, Jake, and Marceline scribbled in the margins, and occasionally over text, throughout the book. There are pages that have been “taped” into the book to add more information and likewise there are “torn” pages from various other sources in other portions of the book. There are tons of tiny details and design elements, it is a book you read once but then continually go back to look at. Major props to the team of Martin Olson, Mahendra Singh, Tony Millionaire, Celeste Moreno, Renee French, Aisleen Romano, Pendleton Ward, and Sean Tejaratchi.

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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Misaka Mikoto: Possessing the Spark of a Main Character

Not that long ago Narutaki and I were having a discussion about a phenomenon she likes to call side-character-itis.  It is the tendency for fandom to latch on to certain side characters and completely obsesses over them to the point where they almost seem resentful whenever the main characters take the center stage. Hinagiku Katsura from Hayate the Combat Butler is a prime example of this. At times parts of the fans base seem genuinely surprised they are not watching a show called Hinagiku the Combat President. Shonen fighting shows tend to have this phenomenon as well as they often have generic protagonists to keep the story flexible. They offset the bland hero by making the side characters very vibrant.  The problem is while fandom often gets obsessed with these more exciting side characters they are rarely strong enough to carry a show on their own. Often what makes them work as a side character is what keeps they from standing on their own as a main character.

I recently decided to re-watch some episodes of A Certain Magical Index during lunch at work and one of the poster girls for side-character-itis pops up immediately: Misaka Mikoto. Whenever a new episode of the show would come out it seemed the fan base interest was directly tied to the amount of the Railgun in any given episode. In fact she was such a popular character she was spun off into her own series. But interestingly enough she was strong enough to support her own show. So what separates the main characters in waiting from the merely flashy supporting cast? What separates the Fraisers from the Joeys? I won’t say that Misaka Mikoto has all the answers to that question. But she is a good place to start thinking about which characters can cut the mustard.

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Narutaki & Hisui VS. 2011

We are here on the red carpet in scenic Brooklyn for the 5th annual Reverse Thieves Anime and Manga Awards. All the stars are here and decked out in their finest. There has already been a bit of drama outside before the awards tonight. We saw Hayao Miyazaki punch out Gendo Ikari over a seating dispute. Then one of the K-ON! girls was seen with a male escort which raised a few eyebrows and possibly caused several suicides. There were also some red faces when Sheryl Nome and Ciel Phantomhive showed up in the same dress. But all that aside we are gathered here today to look back and praise the best and the brightest while scorning the foul beasts that waste our precious time. The viewing audience at home is also encouraged to send in their own votes to see how they stack up to the votes of the academy.

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