The Speakeasy #074: Neon Genesis Detectives, Orphan Black, Wonderfest, Avatar the Last Airbender

Ongoing Investigations: Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary (vol. 1) by Takumi Yoshimura, Orphan Black by BBC America, K-ON! College (vol. 1) by kakifly, Avatar the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow (vols. 1-2) by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru, Hayate the Combat Butler (ch. 517) by Kenjiro Hata.

Food for Thought: Which Character From Last Year Needs a Cool Figure?

Topics: Wonderfest, YALSA 2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Rumiko Takahashi Nominated for Eisner Hall of Fame, Ghibli’s Isao Takahata to Receive Annie Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Osomatsu Coverage Leads to Pash! Magazine’s Highest Ever 1st Printing, Dagashi Kashi Double Circulation, Funimation Making Free-to-Play Games.

(Listen)

And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Too Cool for School

  • 1 oz coconut rum
  • 1/2 oz mango schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
  • 2 oz orange-pineapple juice

Serve ingredients above in a cocktail glass, shake beforehand. Or double amounts and serve in a tall glass.

 

 

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.

sep-cartoons

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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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.

sep-manga

 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.

Continue reading