Ongoing Investigations: Case #125

Seven Seas Entertainment seems to like to go after supernatural manga and manga that carters to certain fetishes. Blood Alone hits both of those categories while adding the popular vampire angle to the mix. The story revolves around Kuroe Kurose, a writer with the ability to see and be unaffected by the supernatural, and Misaki Minato, a preteen girl who was made into a vampire.  They run a detective agency together while Kuroe peruses a career as a writer on the side. The detective agency takes mostly mundane cases like finding lost relatives and pets but they also help the police and private clients with supernatural cases. The book distinctly has two very different tones. Some chapters are serious business with cases like a body jumping serial killer or vampire assassin. These are very story driven and have a distinctly standard panel layout and usually have some information about the overall story of Kurose’s search for his missing sister. There are also slice of life stories about Kurose and Minato going to the pool or the amusement park. Sometimes Masayuki Takano will throw out the conventional panel layout and have everything flow in an almost dreamlike fashion. This is especially evident in the 6th chapter. Unlike Gunslinger Girl where it was a bit hard for me to tell how much they were playing to a lolicon crowd there is no mistaking what they are doing here. Thankfully there are not panty shots or overly gratuitous sexualization of Misaki but the manga unmistakably knows that it is doing. At first I was wondering how much they were going to tease this relationship. It did not seem that bad until we learn that  Misaki and Kuroe sleep in the same bed together every night. The series constantly mentions that NOTHING HAPPENS but the fact that keeps coming up as a joke says volumes in of itself.  The fact that Kuroe comes home one drunk night and gives Misaki and hickey was clearly the straw that broke the camel’s back. This series could be worse. Much worse. Anyone who enjoys the story of a young girl trapped in time by a curse and her relationship with an older man will enjoy this series. There is more story to the series that just the fetish aspect. But everyone else should not let their Blood Alone loving friends to trick them into reading this series with that fact. This is a fetish manga and it has a hard time working for anyone who is not into that fetish despite the story built around it.

I have finally started watching Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, I know it’s been a long time coming. The series throws you right back into the thick of things in the opening episode with a hostage situation already well under way. And it has an incredibly happy surprise at the end that had me grinning from ear to ear. But I felt the next three episodes were a bit weaker. Nevertheless “weak” SAC episodes are still very high-caliber overall. It also took me a while, and a conversation with someone else, to really grasp the refugee plotline that dominates the season. In the first 12 episodes we’ve already had two Togusa centric installments which is nice to see. I was also thrilled to actually start learning more about the Major and her past; or that she has this rich past at all! This addition is what has won be over most of all. Or perhaps it was the totally awesome opening. I do wish they would stop mentioning the Laughing Man lest it just make me miss him more. Still the Individual Eleven are interesting and really starting to take form now. I’m sure to finish this series off quickly.

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