Ongoing Investigations: Case #001

I have been eating up Daughter of Twenty Faces every week. I anxiously await the next episode and I love that feeling. I was really happy to hear DoTF was given a 26 episode run after initially having only 13. Being a lover of detective fiction, it is not hard to imagine me glomming onto this show. However, the show is also really good! Albeit over the top but I think that is what is so exciting, it wraps all things detective into it but still manages to surprise you. Episodes nine and ten start to establish some of the stuff we see in the opening and ending. I have a bit of theory and am curious if it is true. Detective stories constantly have red herrings so it’ll be interesting to see this play out.

Finally watched the last episode of Tower of Druaga. I have to say, this series turned out to be pretty good. Finally some decent fantasy anime. I was glad we didn’t get some huge information dump in this last episode, just the end of an arc. I am definitely looking forward to the next season. And it was a good experiment by Gonzo, the whole coming out at the same time as the Japanese. I was really happy with the results.

Watched the finale of Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend). This live action comedy/drama is loosely based on the Yuu Watase work of the same name. With all the changes that were made to the story I was surprised, pleasantly, how close the ending came to the original as far as feelings. I was unhappy with a few of the middle episodes, but I liked the approach they took of showing Night becoming human (and Riko realizing it) slowly where in the manga I never really thought of him as anything but. Overall, it’s a cute series for women.

I watched the American live action Fist of the North Star movie. It is mostly a retelling of the first part of Hokuto no Ken, Kenshiro’s fight with Shin. It is definitely a silly movie but it really seems that it wants to reproduce what makes Hokuto no Ken such a popular franchise world wide. Lots of the story details are correct but it seems to miss the spirit overall. It does not help that when ever Kenshiro does his signature moves they come off more silly than fearsome. It’s oddly enough a fun movie if you just want a cheesy martial arts film but a blasphemy if you want the definitive live action Hokuto no Ken.

Also watched the last four episodes of Sexy Voice and Robo another live action comedy/drama. It is also loosely based on an unfinished seinen manga. I originally picked this up because Kenichi Matsuyama plays Robo, you may know him as L. Sexy Voice and Robo investigate weird occurrences but they always end up helping people. It was a lot of fun but also always had a little moral or something in it. It has a hopeful vibe and Niko (Sexy Voice) our 14-year-old protagonist can sometimes be profound.

I watched all of Karin recently. I was in the mood for a light romantic comedy and Karin fit the bill. It’s definitely a shonen romance series, but I can see why it has found a fan following among girls in the U.S. If you add in vampires to anything you have to go out of your way to turn off girls. It can be done but you have to try pretty hard. I am looking at you Rosario + Vampire. I liked Karin and Kenta and the rest of the side cast was amusing. Karin being a blood making vampire is certainly inventive as well. I like how vampires work in the Karin universe. The fact that vampires in Karin drain emotions along with blood is a novel approach to the vampire mythos while still being conducive for comedy. The only thing I have to bringing up is that the vampire hunter’s costumes in this series have to be the goofiest thing on Gackt Camui’s green earth. I know this is a comedy but seriously.

Read the first book of Goong, a very popular manhwa. A prince has to marry a commoner who his grandfather made a promise to. Neither of them are too happy with the idea. Can’t say I’m all that impressed as of yet but it has left me curious enough to pick up atleast the next volume. It has potential. Though no one really captured my attention. The art is only great on occasion, though I know it is long running so that can change. I have been on a shojo romance hiatus for a while so maybe I just wasn’t ready for another foray yet.

I just read book ten of Eden: It’s an Endless World! and Hiroki Endo is more than willing to kill off characters. Every time I think that a character can’t be killed, Hiroki Endo proves me wrong and murders them in epic fashion. Hiroki Endo is also a genius because he will often put a character in several near fatal situations and have them pull though before ultimately killing them. This means you never know if a character is just in a tight situation or they going to meet their maker. All too often you are not worried about characters because you have a good idea of who is going to live and who is going to die. Eden makes sure every book is tense because you have no guarantees anyone lives. I highly recommend everyone try this series because it’s not doing that well but it should be. It’s a gritty cyberpunk series with a good mix of action, sex, and gnostic symbolisms. It should be flying off the shelves.

Picked up Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2 and have barely put it down. I loved the original so I am glad to have more with a bit of an updated system, new races, and some new jobs. The laws don’t have the crazy consequences of the first and also as long as you play within the law your clan gets different bonuses. Oh and for anyone that thought the first game was too easy, this one has a difficulty setting. Haven’t gotten into the plot much yet, got sucked into the Ivalice world and am now looking for a mage to help me figure out how to get home. Not sure if I love the main character yet ( I love you Marche!) but I don’t by any means dislike him. And Adelle is nowhere near as cool as Ritz. I am hoping these characters grow on me.

That’s it for this week’s investigation. Look for new ongoing investigations every Friday!



Spring FallsĀ Out: Spring 2008 Anime Guide

April showers bring May flowers and new anime series. There is no way that Narutaki and I can watch every new anime series coming out this season but we will try to hit up whatever looks interesting and report back to you our loyal readers on what is worth watching this spring. Plus, I think we are going to skip all the horrible ohwhenwillthehurtingend shows. Speaking of which it does seem this spring the moe choice is shows with fox spirit girls. I guess since Kamen no Maid Guy came out no one else dared make a maid anime.

Since they have taken my Gundam 00 away and my Hayate I am looking for all new shows to start watching! This is an exciting and sometimes tedious task. I don’t want to go too much into what the shows are actually about, those things are easily looked up. We are just going to be giving our gut reactions to a whole slue of stuff and beware that we have only watched the first episode of most of this.

Bus Gamer
I downloaded this because the short reviews I saw said it was about bad dudes, doing bad things with awesome fights. Okay, what were those people watching? It couldn’t have been the first episode of this seriously poor anime. The fight that happens at the end, I wouldn’t have even called a fight! It was like random thugs and the dude just came up behind them and hit them with a pipe. That is not a fight!! Also they spent way too much time trying to develope these three guys and the plot. No action occurs till the last 10 minutes! And considering this show is only 3 episodes long, they need to be moving at a much faster pace.

You forgot to mention that the blond guy was super annoying and might have well be the stereotypical swooning and shrieking useless girl character except for the fact that he has a penis (or at least I am assuming he does). I did not dislike it as much as Narutaki but this show totally did not hook me with anything. The characters seem rather standard stock types. I might have been willing to wait and see if the characters were more but it’s too short of a series to give them any more time to develop. I might have also overlooked the fact that the characters are bland if the action was awesome but the action scenes were certainly pedestrian and horrifically one-sided.

Special A
This is by and large a typical shojo romance comedy. I like the character designs, I have also heard good things about the manga. But really it seemed very average to me. Not rolling on thefloor funny and not over the top romantic shojo. It was just walking straight down the middle. And it has wacky side character disease, those people were the most interesting and they will probably never be developed.

Maybe by old timer blood is finally maturing to make me a cranky old Brainwasher Detective but Special A seems so standard that I can’t get worked up to care. Hikari and Kei just seem rather boring to me. Shojo manga lives and dies on how much I like the main characters. Awesome side characters are just a bonus. I found that Hikari seems like she has potential but the fact that Kei is just the uber awesome guy who beats her every time seems like it will get old very fast. I keep expecting him to beat her at being able to kiss boys better at some point in the series. I also thought that the side characters were just there. Megumi Yamamoto having to write everything down to talk because her voice is practically a weapon was used for good effect but nobody else sold me enough to ignore the main characters.

Allison to Lillia
This show has the most potential out of everything I have seen and read about thus far. It has a plot, having to do with the country being split in two (constant warring) and how they can reconcile it. It has good characters, Allison is spunky, funny, and strong-willed and she drags her good friend (love?) Wil along for a journey that could change the future of their world. It had suspense, adventure, humor, friendship, and drama all in a beautiful looking fully realized world akin to the 1920’s. This is what all first episodes should be. And the second did not disappoint. I am betting on this being one of the best shows this season as well as the most overlooked.

I’m not sure how you can like this sexist anime that sets back the women’s movement for decades. Oh wait . . . maybe being slightly apologetic does not make you a doormat. Considering the characters designs, a plot centering around a spunky female pilot, and an anti-war message you might easily mistake this a Hayao Miyazaki story. I will go out on a limb and risk looking like a total idiot when I state this might be almost as good as such. I think it has a family friendly feeling while still be entertaining for adults. I did some digging and I found out this anime is an adaptation of the first two parts of a trilogy of light novels. We have not seen any of the Lillia parts of the series but if it is a good as the Allison part I’m sure I will be happy. We both got the feeling that this show is going to be the buried treasure of the season.

The Tower of Druaga
This show started out as a hilarious, rip-roaring, parody of all things RPG has moved into semi-serious mode (episode 2 recently came out). Even with this abrupt change, I am still interested in what is to come. It atleast has the makings for a decent fantasy story which is rare in anime. Let’s hope it doesn’t flounder in the 10 episodes it has left.

It feels like the Tower of Druaga has turned into a serious fantasy adventure with a quirky sense of humor disbursed between action and intrigue much like Scrapped Princess. There is so little good fantasy anime that I will take whatever fix I can. The show has definite potential to fall apart but so far it seems decent. I’m sure some people are going to be thrown off by the non-canon theme first episode but I think it lends the show a certain charm much like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Blassreiter is junk. It’s true. I couldn’t even gleam enjoyment from it being so bad and blase. The dialogue was lame, the character designs are poor, and they tell you how to feel instead of making you feel it. I felt nothing for the main character and his tragedy, it happened three minutes in, how am I supposed to be connected? And my biggest complaint has to be that the dude on the posters for it appears for all of 5 seconds and he doesn’t even do anything. Although, even with that he still seems like the most interesting character in the series.

Blassreiter seems like a show for people who want to watch a series like the Guyver but wanted an older protagonist. I also feel no real need to go out and watch anymore of this show. Some people might enjoy the dark action and the slightly more mature plots that come with a slightly more mature cast. Actually it’s more of that fake mature like Speed Grapher. A show that thinks it’s mature because it’s dark and deals with issues like sex and violence but is really just a shallow attempt at being mature.

Kamen no Maid Guy
This show clearly says ecchi when you go to the description but I just couldn’t resist after seeing the picture of it on ANN. It deserved to be watched just for that. Kogarashi is just one of the most hilarious looking dudes ever. Of course our very buxom young female lead bounces everywhere for anything and quite often loses her shirt or is in the shower. While this was a little much for me, the episode was hilariously amusing while our maid guy attempts to keep her safe and also clean!

Kamen no Maid Guy is basically what happens when you replace the romance and otaku humor from Hayate the Combat Butler with perverted jokes and boob shots. It does certainly seem like fun if you can tolerate with high levels of ecchi content. The fact that it looks like you took a Fist of the North Star villain and made him the ultimate bodyguard french maid has a certain hilarity built into it. I will continue to watch this guy but I’m not going out of my way to check every night if a new episode has come out.

Amatsuki has potential, I’m atleast interested in seeing some more of it. While the story is semi-basic, at least we haven’t been told that the main guy is the key to this, the king of that, or the only one who can save something. The brief fight was good, so hopefully there will be more of that in the future. The character personalities were broad enough to also make me curious. But then again I really have no idea of what the plot is at this point.

I have to agree with Narutaki. The main character seems to amazingly easily accept the fact that he has been transported back in time and there are monsters all around him. It seems he is in an odd state of ataraxia. It is certainly odd but it’s better than him be a whiny wet blanket like so many characters in the same situation. It is safe to assume that the main theme is about what are dreams and what is reality but they have yet to develop the main plot. It seems like the stereotypical story of a high school student transported to a monster filled past but it so far it seems to be well done. I like the characters and then seem to have potential so I think I will keep watching this one and see how it develops. It could be interesting or it could be generic but so far it at least seems to be well done.

Nabari no Ou
Nabari no Ou, ninjas! Pretty good fights, too. The characters however aren’t very engaging, at least not right off the bat. I may have to give this two of three more episodes.

I guess the easiest way to sum up this show is modern day Nate the Ninja. In fact Nabari no Ou has some easily identified counterparts in Naruto. That being said I think that the show has sort of its own groove that makes it different enough to be enjoyable. The sheer apathy of the main character makes for some funny scenes but it also makes him somewhat of a bland character at times. Along with Souleater I am predicting this show will be the other show people talk about this season. It is different enough from Naruto that people who want a ninja shonen fighting show might get into it but is good enough to win over a good number of Naruto fans that want more ninja action.

Souleater is the show everyone is going to love and be the runaway hit of the season. For me it probably won’t be those things. Maybe it was that “glowing” review I read or maybe it was the fact that I have read some of the manga, but I wasn’t really looking forward to this show. In fact, I wasn’t even going to watch it. But here I get reeled in by what people are saying. The visuals are pretty nice, it has a playful gothic feel that gives the scenery a nice punch. However, I find the actual characters mostly dull looking, especially Mara our heroine. This manga also falls in the ecchi category and really I’m just not in the moody for annoying titty witches clogging up my anime watching experience.

Well anyone who claims that a show does Tim Burton better than Tim Burton better be reviewing an amazingly good show to back up that up. I’m pretty sure that Souleater does not live up to that lofty claim. I do agree that this show looks like it has the potential to be the breakout big hit of the season. In fact much of this show seemed like what would happen if mixed together Bleach and D.Gray-man and threw in a liberal helping of fan service. I’m pretty sure that the cloying titty witch made sure neither of us can get into this show despite the insistence that it has awesome fight scenes. I will admit thought the fact that Mara seems to be the main fighter and Soul is the more passive weapon is somewhat unusual and interesting for a shonen show.

Zettai Kareshi (Live Action)
Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend) I watched this raw so this is just my general impression of it. However, I have read the manga so that gives me some insight. But really the story is just a romance comedy, I don’t really need to know everything being said to be able to laugh and understand what is going on. The series has high quality production, like some of the effects used to show Night as a robot. Both male leads are very good looking, always a plus. And Riko our main girl is silly and charming. This series is nothing amazing but its a fun watch for females for sure.

Golgo 13
Golgo 13 is a show for Daryl Surat and anyone else who is a big seinen manga fan. It does everything a Golgo 13 anime needs to do to make Golgo 13 fans happy. Golgo gets a mission, has detached sex with a woman who needs him more than life itself, kills some thugs, and then makes a nearly impossible hit on his target and then goes of to do it again. I assume that each episode will follow the same basic formula in different places throughout the world with slight variations in the formula. It’s not like they made Golgo 13 throw out action movie one liners with a huge smile on his face or gave him a moe loli companion girl. He is the killing machine Golgo 13. The world conflicts he is involved with may differ but Golgo 13 never changes.

This series is very beautiful right off the bat but in a retro way that may turn some people off. It has a mystical, fairy-tale like feeling from the moment it starts. We are immediately thrust into an unknown world where our main character is just waking up. He certainly doesn’t seem to know what is going on around him either. But others seem to know things about him based on a strange hole he has in his chest, the locket around his neck, and an odd symbol on his abdomen. It certainly remind me of many sci-fi stories from the 70’s. It captured the imagination right off and I’m curious to see where it all leads.

This is probably the closest you are going to be to an art house anime. I think no matter how good the story or the animation, the Osamu Tezuka style character designs dooms this show to obscurity. I can see the old guard anime fans getting into this show. Since Narutaki watched the show raw and I watched it subtitled we are kicking around the idea that Narutaki watch the whole show raw and do absolutely no research into the show. Narutaki then gives a report of what she thought it was about and then I talk about what the show was actually about from watching the show with subs.

Macross Frontier
For the 25th anniversary of the original The Super Dimension Fortress Macross we get the third TV series in the Macross universe entitled Macross Frontier. So far Frontier is much more the spiritual successor to the original Macross than the lol-fest that was Macross 7. We have all the classic features: a battleship with almost no outside support attacked by a mysterious enemy; transformable Valkyrie fighters; and a love triangle involving a pilot and a singer. This show looks beautiful and so far has been rather entertaining. Good actions scenes and lively characters make this show a joy to watch. American Macross fans might be able to finally forgive Japan for Macross 7 after this show. I think science fiction fans and mecha fans new to the franchise might also get hooked on this lusciously animated show.

I am having a blast following Macross Frontier! The character designs are good and the 3D animation is actually nicely done. Also supreme fighting sequences complete with pop music. Though I am not that impressed with the music. I did notice I liked the opening song a bit better the second time through, so I am hoping to see it grow on me.

Niju-Menso no Musume
Niju-Menso no Musume, was a show I was looking forward to this season because I am a sucker for a good thief. This series seems rather over the top. I think everything that has ever happened in a mystery show happened in the first episode. But it satisfies something in me and I was entertained. Something about the mastermind thief that is just one step ahead is always fun. I also really like the relationships developing between characters. This show is a lot of fun, nothing more nothing less, full of danger, mystery, and a whole lot of adventure.

Vampire Knight
I learned from Anime World Order that apparently Vampire Knight is one of the best selling manga in the United States which took me slightly by surprise. I think that Vampire Knight definitely has the two main of the draws of vampire stories: angst filled boys and drinking blood as a sexual metaphor. The humor and the drama are pretty well balanced. This is a super shojo vampire story set at a school for what it’s worth. Since nerd girls in general love vampires I’m sure this show will be right up their alley. If girls bought more shojo anime I’m sure this show could be one of the best sellers from this season. According to Kohaku they change the pace of certain of revelations so they might be trying to give us a complete story in 26 episodes of a 8+ book series. This can lead to some awful anime produced ending but since I have not read the manga I can’t tell how much better or worse the changes make the story as compared to the original manga.

This season looks to be pretty good! I think that is typical though. Pleanty of goodies to keep your eye on, can’t wait to see how they turn out. It is always interesting to go back and see if your initial impressions are true. Just how good is our intuition? Stay tuned to find out!