Making the Midnight Run

With the news that Toonami would be rising from the dead, the internet had a lot of opinions about it. Since this has come back as the more mature late-night offerings on Adult Swim, what it will accomplish as far as new watchers is a bit different than the original Toonami. Still everyone’s got suggestions for the shows to add to the anime block and we are no exception.

I already said a few thoughts about the new Toonami block over at the Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. That said it is always fun to play fantasy programming director. You get to pick shows without having to deal with the real world hassles of corporate politics and licensing nightmares. I am sure if I was actually in charge of the new Toonami block I might not be able to get some (if not all) of these shows for various serious and/or silly reasons. But that is not the point of this exercise. The point it to have fun and pick some shows that just might work if they could only get a TV shot in the U.S.

Tiger & Bunny

Tiger & Bunny seems like a no-brainer to me. It was one of those shows last year that many us said immediately, “this needs to be on TV.”

It has flashy action and I think the riff on reality TV would go over well. The melodrama is paired with a healthy dose of humor without one undermining the other. A colorful cast and the odd couple rapport between Tiger and Bunny rounds it all out. And it is already in the dub process.

With superhero movies being big at the moment, Tiger & Bunny would fit right in.

Astro Fighter Sunred

Back when Astro Fighter Sunred first came out I can’t remember how many people said that it would make a perfect fit on Cartoon Network. It has a very Adult Swim style of humor (and they good kind like Venture Brothers not 12 oz. Mouse) while still retaining a distinctly anime feel that sets it apart. Power Rangers has been an institution long enough that the basic premise is familiar enough to anyone watching but the humor other than that is broad enough to attract a general audience. The animation is hardly the second coming of Akira but it is not the type of show that needs that slick look. As long as the dub Americanized the show enough to be accessible but kept the spirit intact it actually could be a very strong moderate hit if it were lucky.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #031

I finished the last few Patlabor DVDs and so things just sort of end. Overall it was really enjoyable but isn’t a show for everyone. It has all the benefits and flaws of being a realistic robot show or at least as realistic as you can be in a show with building high police robots. It all depends on if you need your robots to be firing GETTER BEAM and HEARTBREAKER! I was a little surprised when Kanuka Clancy’s six month training was over she really went back to the U.S. She pops up again time to time but not excessively. I liked the writing of the show which is usually pretty smart but not going out of it’s way to be anything more than a procedural cop series.  The comedy episodes were pretty funny especially the episodes where they have to explore the sewers and where one of the mechanics transfers to the American division. I also found the inclusion of one or two supernatural episodes really odd considering the rest of the series is played totally realistic. They slowly built up the two overarching story lines about the Griffin and the Babylon Project well. Like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex they will have a storyline episode in between regular episodes. I wished they had wrapped them up in the TV show proper and not the OAVs which I don’t currently own. Did any of our readers read the original manga? Is it worth reading for 22 books? How much does it differ from the TV? Does it complete things better than the OAVs?

I finally bought Rocket Girls, I have been contemplating it for a while. I have watched the first half of the show so far (six episodes) and couldn’t be happier! It is really a delightful little show with a good blend of comedy, space, and friendship. At one point I felt Yukari was getting annoyingly demanding but they reigned her in pretty quickly. It is great to see the two girls have their strengths and help one another on the mission. They have yet to really introduce the third girl, although we did glimpse her in the beginning. Sure the premise of taking high school girls and training them to be astronauts is out there, but who cares! It is fun. And I haven’t found the show to be fetishy. The animation is rather nicely done. Oh and it also has a great opening!

Tentai Senshi Sunred is still funny is it’s dry wit even on episode 13. The fact that Vamp is a considerably more likable and decent guy than Sunred is a delightful little detail. I also have been enjoying the other branch leader of Florsheim who is a porn fiend. The evil animal force is also usually really good whenever they show up. I have to say the odd mixture of the real wold and the sentai world is in the right proportions to make even very mundane things quite funny. I am curious if anyone who reads the blog has tried out any of Vamp’s recipes. They are rather simple so I might try one myself.

Read the conclusion to The Girl Who Ran Through Time manga, which was only 2 books long. It was certainly much different than her niece’s story in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. This is a great thing since it makes both piece worth learning about, however the shortness of the manga really left some questions. Especially since the other time mover in the books has very different motives for his actions. I also didn’t find the semi-love-triangle in the manga as engaging as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’s. A good read but left me wanting more, like the actual novel. Also made me want to watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time again but that feeling probably would have manifested anyway.

I saw Nana Mizuki’s Live Fighter on Blue-Ray. It was a two day concert and the first day was the Blue concert and the second day was the Red concert. They both had similar song selections with a few differences on each day as well as different costumes. Nana Mizuki is definitely a cute woman with an attractive singing voice. I have to say that Japanese concerts can be extremely flashy with a good amount of production value. Nana flies through the air during her first song and is suspended in the air on a garden seat in the middle of the concert. In fact there is almost always something going on. There is a rock battle in the middle of the concert, a Blue Man Group style performance, and children acting as cheerleaders during one song. She also has a stage set up to walk into the crowd and perform. I liked her main Red outfit because her Blue one was this hideous blue and white sailor getup. There was also some behind the scene footage that would have meant much more to me if I understood Japanese. The concert didn’t turn me into a Ota-gei but I enjoyed it. I would like to thank Moy for letting me come over to his house and see the concert on his totally sweet set up. He is going to be running a contest so you can win the DVDs some time in the future so that is worth looking into.

I was initially attracted to Love Round!! because of the cute cover and back color artwork. Hinako Takanaga has a nice style that translates well from her color pieces to her line art. This BL story seems less typical that what I have encountered so far. Our two boys, Kubo and Kaoru, run into each other on the street. Kaoru knocks Kubo, who is training to be a boxer, out with one punch after he makes an off hand remark. Kubo eventually convinces Kaoru to join the same boxing gym as him, and thus love begins to blossom. Kaoru may have a pretty face but he is feisty and has a short temper thanks to constantly being teased for his looks. Kubo is hilariously blunt and naive despite being a powerhouse boxer. Their relationship is fraught with funny misunderstandings, a knockout meter, and moments of laugh out loud commentary. Not surprisingly boxing and the gym are merely back drops for the developing feelings between these two. This short one book is a lot of fun and has some really cute moments amidst the calamity. There is only one medium graphic sex scene to top off the ending. Love Round!! is the first BL manga that I am keeping for myself after reading it. There is a nice preview of it up, too!

And because it is so lushly animated I had to pick a Tentai Senshi Sunred picture this week. A scene of domestic bliss:

Ongoing Investigations: Case #021

I was interested in Chaos;Head because it was described as Welcome to the NHK mixed with Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Since I loved both series I figured this might be a great combination. This was not a lie. In fact it’s a good one line description. Unfortunately, Chaos;Head takes all my least favorite parts of both series and combines them into one utterly detestable show. I liked Keiichi as a character from Higurashi although I may be in the minority. Sato from Welcome to the NHK was not a likable character but he was enjoyable because he was the main character in a dark comedy. Takumi Nishijo is an even less likable character and he is the star of a paranoid supernatural murder mystery. I will forgive a character for being utterly unlikeable for comedy but not drama. Also I can’t imagine the world where, no matter how much magic is involved, any woman would watch to touch Takumi with a 10 foot pole. Also I found most of the female characters rather flat and uninteresting. If you can’t interest me in women with magical swords you are obviously doing something wrong. I am curious what is behind all the murder in Shibuya but not enough to keep watching. Chaos;Head plays with some good plot hooks but without good characters to back them up.

Got around to books 2 and 3 of Here is Greenwood. The guys of Greenwood never fail to crack me up with their antics from helping out pop idols to the fierce competition (and betting pool) at the sports festival. It remains a delightful, funny series about friendship and dorm life with the constant addition of over the top situations.

Armored Trooper Votoms ends like so many other anime with the main character killing God. This of course makes everyone think of Nietzsche so you can insert your own The Gay Science joke here. The plot quickly becomes all about Chirico as we entered part 4. God Planet Quent throws some major plot revelations that diminish poor Fyana’s significance which was sad because I liked her. They avoided the trap of making Fyana a useless girl character in a robot show but her importance to the plot rises and falls depending on the episode. Sometimes she has to be protected; others she does the protecting. She never fades away but I would have liked to see her be Chirico’s partner like she was in Part 3. I liked the ending but the the epilogue seemed sort of bizarre in Chirico and Fyana’s decision. Votoms was a good take on the real robot genre. The mecha in Votoms had many different variations but was utterly utilitarian and there was no uber mecha that rule over all other mecha. It was all about the pilots. I think I would like to see more series like that but I wonder if that effects the all important model kits sales.

I read the 07-Ghost preview courtesy of Go-Comi which I can’t ever recall buying any manga from as of yet (though I have been interested in Bogle which is about a theif). It has nice artwork and pretty boys running around in military school. So far there has been some supernatural abilities slightly displayed and there is an obvious secret agenda by the school. Since it was just a preview I didn’t get a sense of the world yet, however it has a nice fantasy or possibly alternate history feel to it. I also like the friendship between the two main guys. I may just pick up my first Go-Comi title with this one. Also has an anime on the way in Japan.

I finally picked up my two One Piece figures from my parents house. I love the Portrait of Pirates figures. They are nicely made and have been getting significantly more intricate as the series goes on. We start with the only figure that is two different figures in one because of course Usopp is a completely different person than his good friend Sogeking. Usopp comes with two different Sogeking masks, his toolbag, cape, and the Kabuto slingshot.

I like the Bon Clay figure but have to say it’s rather odd for them to make a figure of him. I know he distinctly has a following in Japan. Surpassing characters like Buggy, Sir Crocodile, Mihawk and the such. That is the way that Japan decides to make it’s crazy choices. Still there are very few one piece characters I would not buy a figure of so who am I to complain. Bon Clay comes with two different faces and you can attach his swans to his feet from maximum Okama Kenpo power.

Finally got to see the first episode of Tentai Senshi Sunred which is a limited animation production parodying tokusatsu shows. Would very much fit in the vein of Adult Swim productions and the animation is similar to it as well. Oh and it is just 15 minutes long. A pretty funny show that you really don’t have to know much about sentai shows to get. And it has a totally awesome opening song (keep an eye on those subtitles!) which is reason enough to see it.

Pic of the week: