A Burning Heart to Heart Podcast

Last week I got together with Patz from Insert Disc and Carl from Ogiue Maniax to record an episode of Podlabor that had been anticipated for a while. Where in we gush about Brave Police J-Decker, a giant robot show from the early 90’s that we all just recently watched to completion. I had talked about it a little on the blog, but this recording was way more fun! Check out the podcast, check out J-Decker, they are both a good time!

Podlabor Episode #6 – Brave Up J-Decker

Ongoing Investigations: Case #127

Taking another item from our Seven Seas review pile I am so glad to be able to recommend one of their books without the qualifier “as long as you into this rather bizarre fetish.”  A Certain Scientific Railgun is a fun spin-off from the main A Certain Magical Index universe. Unsurprisingly Mikoto Misaka turned out to be one of the most popular characters from A Certain Magical Index but what was a little shocking is she got spun off into her own series. The Railgun series revolves around her involvement with the student run police organization called Judgement in the city-wide psychic school known as Academy City. Although she is not officially a member of Judgement Mikoto often gets involved with cases due to her roommate Shirai Kuroko. The first major story arc involves a mad bomber who is targeting members of Judgement but that soon leads to a much bigger mystery of a strange item called the Level Upper. Supposedly the Level Upper can exponentially increase your psychic power but it may have sinister side effects as well.  For better or for worse the Railgun series focuses entirely on the science side of the Index universe. Considering how certain people tend to dislike parts of the magical side this might be a strong selling point for the series. The stories are light and fun with Mikoto infusing any story she is in with her energetic and strong-willed self that made her popular enough to get a spin-off in the first place. Saten Ruiko and Kazari Uiharu are good supporting cast who are colorful enough to be distinct without being too loud even if they occasionally come off as the most interesting refuges from all girls slice of life manga. Shirai Kuroko’s over the top crush on Mikoto Misaka is silly enough to either make you chuckle or groan whenever she is on the page depending on if you enjoy her shtick or not. The series wears is yuri undertones on its sleeve. They are strong enough that they are mistakable but not enough to turn anyone away from the story. If you have watched the anime the stories are pretty similar but the manga is all killer and no filler. We there are some breathers most of the time we jump from plot point to plot point pretty quickly. You can tell that the anime threw in quite a good deal of filler material or extra complications to the story. You still get to know the girls of Railgun but they remove most of the slice of life manga feeling that the anime added. So if you liked the anime but wish they just got on with it then this is the version for you. The art is pleasant and captures the characters and action well. Overall it is a welcome addition to Index universe. It just makes me wish that someone would license the light novels but considering the light novel market in the US I realize that is tantamount to asking a company to go out of business. Such misfortune.

Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society was the obvious next title to watch once I finished 2nd Gig. I didn’t realize it would take place two years after the ending of the second season with the Major (mostly) MIA from Section 9. A conspiracy involving missing children, dying elderly, refugee suicides, and a hacker called The Puppeteer combine with the Major right in the thick of things to once again take us on an intense ride to an unexpected end. Both Battou and Togusa are stepped up a little in this movie, which is only a good thing. The scenes in the hospital with Togusa’s daughter are great. And I gave a big thumbs up to the last moments of the film with Battou and the Major looking out the window together. After finishing this I more than ever want a Stand Alone Complex 3rd Gig.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #124

I mentioned last week briefly that I started watching Brave Police J-Decker which is kinda like if Tranformers was about police robots. I am up to 20 episodes thus far, almost half-way, and it is wonderful to see that is has a range. There is plenty of silliness to go around with like the fact that Deckerd (the main robot) uses a six-shooter a lot of the time, or the odd neighbors, the strange robots and their mysteries, and the many women who I’m pretty sure are in love with some of our robot heroes. Let’s not forget the names of these sentient hunks of metal like Power Joe (Kung-fu Detective) and Drill Boy (Soccer Detective) or McClane (Combat Detective) who claims to be a pacifist or the combined form Super Build Tiger! And of course the series is continually adding new robots and transformations for toys sake. But it has also had some fairly compelling episodes like the two-part story that introduces Shadowmaru (Ninja Detective) which gets a bit philosophical as we see freedom, what is means to be sentient, and sacrifice. Also you can’t not love the commissioner because he has amazing hair and responds that it “looks cool” when asked why they designed a robot in a certain manner. This show is tons of fun, sometimes engaging, has a fab opening, and is absolutely worth watching.

It came out a little too late for the spring preview but I finally got around to watching the first episode of Moshidora. It is an odd little series when you get right down to it. It is born from the idea of how do you make Peter Drucker’s Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices palatable to an audience of Japanese salarymen. The answer is obviously to center it around a schoolgirl. Minami Kawashima is the high schoolgirl in question who volunteers to take over as the manager of the baseball team in place of her sickly friend, Yuki Miyata, who has been hospitalized. After accidentally picking buying a business management book  she decides to apply the principles within towards her team. The team itself has a mixture of members with various levels of talent but they all seem to have broken spirits and various hangups. Minami herself used to play baseball but some incident in the past soured her on playing. The setup itself is a fairly standard baseball anime story of the new unsure manager has to whip the team that is a diamond in the rough into shape for Koshien. It is slightly amusing to see them cut to slide show styled title card when ever they mention certain business related key words. I am watching just because it is such an unusual blend sports and business anime. I am curious to see them play a game because I feel that is where this series will could prove its worth beyond a mere oddity.

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