Ongoing Investigations: Case #223

hisui_icon_4040 Recently the Binbougami ga! manga came to an end. It was just a series we randomly decided to watch during the SWAT reviews on the off-chance it might be enjoyable. But since then it has become a staple of my comedy manga diet along with Hayate and Yamada and the 7 Witches. But it seems just as quickly as I found the series I discovered it was coming to an end. Overall 15 volumes is hardly a series cut short. But when you enjoy something like this it seems to come and go in the blink of an eye.

But in the end that might be for the best. 15 volumes distinctly lets the plot play out nicely with some mystery involving why Sakura has all the fortune energy she does. The pace let each story arc have a big reveal towards slowly but  surely building up Ikari and Kana’s story and then how it fits in the present. When Ikari is finally revealed he does not seem to be teased for too long but at the same time he does not just pop up out of nowhere.

The final storyline is fairly conclusive. All the major plot lines are tied up strongly while still leaving some things moving in the background. I was a little surprised that the ending had a distinct bittersweet quality to it but it is a wonderful send off to Sakura and Momiji’s awkward but delightful friendship. It was probably the best way for those characters to say goodbye to each other.

It is interesting that the story did become a bit of a fighting series by the end. When Ranmaru and Nadeshiko are really integrated into the storyline they tended to get an opponents they needed to fight at the end of every major story arc.  That really started with the Tanpopo story arc but in many ways the Tanpopo arc is not just a major turning point it is the official start of the middle of the manga.

I still think chapter 23, the photo booth story, was my favorite chapter. It was a simple one chapter story that perfectly encapsulates the main characters personalities and what makes them great.

If anything Sakura’s mother probably gets glossed over the most. Her father gets a whole storyline devoted to him so I assumed the same would happen for Sakura’s mother. But the closer to the end of the series I got the more I realized it was just not coming. Sakura’s mother clearly appears at the end of the manga but overall she just never got a chance to be in the series.

Just an odd observation.

Man. Binbougami ga! was a really fun ride. Sadly when the anime ended they never even got up to the point where Nadeshiko formally became a cast member and was not just some odd rich ninja girl who appeared in side segments. I really hope that now that the series is over they will go back and animate the rest of the series. Some of the later stories are just begging to be adapted. Also nothing else I am sure that Narutaki wants this and this. And we can all agree that is a good thing.

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narutaki_icon_4040 Limit vols. 4-5 made me say both “AHA! I knew it!” and “OHO! I didn’t think it happened that way!”

The intensity really ratcheted up once one of the survivors died because everyone was already on edge and suspicious. The added new death just tore the already precarious truce apart. I of course enjoyed the added mystery element of this part of the story as well.

The next volume is the last. I’m very curious what kind of ending Limit will give us, will it get a tragedy or will rays of hope pierce through the gloom?

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 #206

narutaki I read Akira Toriyama’s one-shot Kintoki. Toki believes he is the last of his clan the Kine known for their fighting prowess. One day while collecting money in town, a girl from Venus helps him, later when she gets in trouble with a local lord Toki rescues her.

It is pretty straight-forward. The battle panels look great which is no surprise. The character designs are just so-so, though I did like the girl’s weird suit. There are dinosaurs and Toki uses a bow so that’s fun to me!

But it doesn’t really feel like a one-shot; it doesn’t come a satisfying conclusion. It feels like the setup for a larger story which a lot of times one-shots are! But I don’t think that was really the goal here.

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is entering the final part of part two of the series otherwise known as Battle Tendency. Since this part is fairly well regarded they have definitely slowed down the breakneck pace they had with Phantom Blood but by the same token they have not drawn out anything out as well. So everything has been moving along quite nicely.

Joseph Joestar is a very different protagonist than his grandfather. He is cocky, brash, street smart, and just more fun that his predecessor. Plus who cannot love when he predicts the next line his opponent is going to say. It always comes off as slick when he does it. Hirohiko Araki does it enough to make it Joseph‘s signature trait but makes sure that the gimmick does not wear out its welcome.

The main villains of Battle Tendency are the Pillar Men and they take already on the nose names like Robert Edward O Speedwagon and brings them to the next level. I mean when you have a vampires named ACDC and Wham you are not playing your cards to close to your chest with your references. But in a way that makes it all the better. While they are still vampires they come off as very different than Dio which is good for the story overall.

Lisa Lisa is probably one of the strongest female characters in the series. It is a shame that not many of the female character in the series really reach her heights until part 6. It is amusing to see how many characters in other series she went on to inspire including Rose from Street Fighter and Iku Nagae. Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli keeps up the tradition of Zeppeli family members who befriend the protagonist and then die horribly. Rudol von Stroheim is probably the only Nazi you will ever root for (but still feel dirty about it.)

The animation is cheap but I have long since accepted that. That is just part of the show’s makeup at this point and no amount of popularity is probably going to change that. I’m mostly just happy the series is being animated in the first place.

I really want to know if they are going to continue onto part 3. They might stop here or as hinted by the trading card game we might get a new version of Stardust Crusaders. I have my fingers crossed. I mean we all want to see D’Arby! again.

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 #192

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narutaki As I creep closer to the end of Kekkaishi, I’m comforted by Yellow Tanabe having another work out that I can jump into. Laughter in the End of the World (chs.1-2) is another great excuse for her to draw monsters.

I’m already impressed that out lead (he has no name yet) is different from Yoshimori of Kekkaishi, his attitude is more subdued yet confident and he is at a point further along in his life path. He carries a distinct mark on his cheek which people believe makes him a demon, but none of that is at all clear yet. Instead we know he hunts demons and that is what he is up to in these first two chapters.

We also get a flashback through a priest who lived through The Afternoon of Darkness which lead to the appearance of the White Demon and all demons thereafter. The White Demon was seriously freaky and gave me the chills, I can tell the horror bend of this series will be a bit stronger.

The first fight only begins in the last couple of pages of the second chapter so we’ll have to wait to see how that plays out. I admit I’m really curious about it and our leads powers.

Good start, looking forward to more!

We here at the Reverse Thieves have been pretty big advocates of Kekkaishi since we learned about the series back at Otakon 2007.  So when it was announced that Yellow Tanabe started her newest series we were both pretty excited. The series is called Laughter in The End of The World and while it is clearly very different from Kekkaishi you can see seeds of the series in her previous work. But if you are expecting a lighthearted romantic adventure this might not be for you.

Twenty five years ago an almost incomprehensible creature, called the White Demon (who is not Amuro Ray), devoured 70% of the world’s population and was only stopped after a 7 day long battle with the greatest holy magicians. Since then certain people have been marked with “the mouth of the demon.” Those people become immortals shunned for their connection to the monster. The main character is one of these cursed immortals, who along with his sister, specializes in killing his own kind.

While parts of Kekkaishi were mainly fairly straight shonen action the series did dip into the macabre with storylines like Heisuke Matsudo and Byaku. While Laughter in The End of The World is still distinctly in the shonen mold it seems to be tapping into the darker slightly more seinen parts of the pool. In a way that might position it to be a possible hit outside of Japan. Series that feel older but are rooted in the shonen mold have a better chance of gaining an audience in English. In fact if it were not running in Shonen Sunday I would assume it would have a distinct chance of becoming popular or at least gaining a strong following.

The story distinctly has a Book of Revelation feeling to it all. The White Demon seems to be based somewhat on the beast from the sea and the church in this world has distinctly Christian feel. But at the same time the world seems to have a very gray morality. The first immortal that the unnamed protagonist is hunting seems to have murdered several people. But it seems to come after repeated attempts of the villagers to kill him in various gruesome manners. So there are serious sins on both sides of the equation.

The main character himself is still a bit of an enigma much like the world itself. He comes off sort of cocky with a bit of a dry humor to him. But he seems to have the experience to back up that attitude. The real test will be when he throws down with his fellow immortal. Yoshimori has such an unusual fighting style so I hope to see something similar here.

I’m glad to Yellow Tanabe staring off on the right foot. I think Laughter in The End of The World has a good deal of potential so I look forward to the story fulfilling it.

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