Ongoing Investigations: Case #027

I started watching Patlabor on my own because I’m pretty sure Narutaki would start watching Akikan before he watches Patlabor. Not that anyone should watch Akikan. I myself have always been curious about Patlabor being one of the important foundations of the real robot genre. It’s about as real as your going to get. The show takes place in the near future where bipedal robots called Labors have advanced to the point where they are commonplace. With robots being so common they need a police force specializing in Patlabor related crimes. The anime revolves around the cases that Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicle Section 2 have to handle. The main draw of the show is Noa Izumi who is a major mecha otaku and new recruit to Section 2. Most of the cast is entertaining, too. She has an energetic charm and an infectious love of her job. The show is never really fast paced even during many of the action scenes. I would go as far as to say it is almost a healing mecha anime. You are watching Patlabor to get an insight into the lives of the members of Section 2 more than to see robot fighting action. I would even classify the mecha porn as softcore as opposed to the hardcore of Gundam or GaoGaiGar.

Watched Tokyo Marble Chocolate. If you haven’t heard of this film, the gimmick is it’s the same story told twice but one perspective is the girl and one is the guy. So it is split into two 25-or-so-minute segments. They get points for thinking outside the box but it wasn’t executed very effectively. One of the major problems is after watching the first half you have a total grasp of what happened. The story rests on a few misunderstandings and one big coincidence (which is really bizarre) but everything is already explained so seeing the second half is virtually useless. The duality would have been more effective if they were constantly cutting between the two. I liked the artistic style and the actual love story is sweet though.

Make More Love & Peace by Takane Yonetani has a shojo art style but josei content. All the stories revolve around women with some sort of complex that makes them doubt themselves and complicates their relationships. The first three chapters deal with an insecure girl named Ayame and her handsome boyfriend Koichi who is a police officer. Their life is complicated by a bratty young girl who wants to steal away Ayame’s boyfriend. The other two stories are stand alone stories that involve and shy librarian and a girl with a horrible scar. I did not read the original Make Love & Peace but I feel you don’t really need to have read it to understand what is going on. Ayame and Koichi relationship is rather easy to understand and if no one had mentioned that there was a book before this I would have assumed that this was a stand alone series. All the guys are easy going nice guys in Make More Love & Peace. They are generally flawless and willing to work with their girlfriends until they can sort out their issues. I liked this story of the girl with the scar the most. I understood why she would be insecure more than the other two girls. I feel Narutaki would have liked the story with the librarian the most because it involved a pretty blonde goofy guy who seems like a playboy but is really dedicated guy. As with any redikomi you are going to have at least one graphic sex scene in every chapter. The more I read redikomi and reviews I feel your enjoyment comes down to one simple fact: Do you enjoy the type of guy the book is about? It seems that every redikomi book I read will have multiple unrelated stories but all of them will have a very similar type of guy in every story. So if you like that sort of guy you will often enjoy the book.

I am continuing my foray into the Brave Story novel, which I haven’t been taking on the train with me because of its enormous size. I am about to embark on the real part of the journey, I think. I am about 115 pages in before anything really starts to happen and while we’ve had hints of goings on, it has been mostly mundane exposition that could have been taken care of in a couple chapters.I am still looking forward to where it is taking me, I just wish I could have gotten there a bit faster. Now onward, “Beyond the Door.”

I was super happy to see that Live Evil and Freelance Fansubs teamed up to work in the Dirty Pair TV series. I have always loved the Dirty Pair but the only fan-sub I have ever found digitally is someone’s rather grainy VHS rip of a 20th generation tape. Seeing the first episode in crisp clear quality reminded me how much I loved the show and how much hard work went into making the Dirty pair look good. We’ll Teach You How To Kill A Computer is the standard premise of Yuri and Kei solving a major problem with as much collateral damage as possible but being too sexy to blame for it. Fun girls with gun action. Also I have to say that Ru-Ru-Ru-Russian Roulette is just an awesome opening. It is such a catchy song. If you are cool and willing to watch a show fan-subbed that is an extreme long shot at being licensed I suggest you try out Dirty Pair. There is a reason I put it on our Best Anime You Have Never Seen panel.

I read the one book BL Take Me to Heaven by Nase Yamato. It is a cute, fluffy, and mostly silly supernatural story about two childhood friends. Fumiya has the ability to see ghosts and they are constantly appearing in his room. Shogo’s family owns a temple and they want him to become a monk someday, to which he resists. Nevertheless he always helps Fumiya out of jam with his own spiritual abilities even if he doesn’t want them. They are always running into crazy ghostly situations thanks to the school’s occult club. These two are major opposites, Fumiya being short, dark-haired, and shy and Shogo being tall, light-haired, and outgoing. Shogo also picks on Fumiya, but while all the girls in school recognize it as love, Fumiya is slower to catch on. There is a constant push and pull between the two of them as Fumiya usual doesn’t see Shogo as serious. As Shogo is mostly coming to Fumiya’s rescue, it was fun in the last story to see the tables turned. Though a little melodrama rears its head near the end, this story is light as air and funny. There is almost no sex in this story and what little there is is brief and ungraphic. A quick read that will make you smile. And luckily for all, there is a preview of it online.

Since I’m watching Patlabor, this is the pick of the week. It is the spirit of Patlabor with both Noa and Alphonse in the same picture:

Ongoing Investigations: Case #026

Seduce Me After the Show is an earlier BL anthology by est em. You may remember me reviewing her collection Red Blinds the Foolish a couple of week ago. While I think her style and storytelling has matured since Seduce Me After the Show was published, there are still some gems in it. Largest of which is the title piece about an unexpected romance between a dancer on hiatus and a famous actor while both working in Hollywood. It is a memorable piece with strokes of humor and friendship enhanced by passion. It is also worth mentioning that it is the only story with sex in it. There is a two part story that comes off as odd till you get the gimmick at the end but they add little to the overall feel of the collection. The other stories involve all number of creative talents like panting and music. All of these things tie in with the characters just as much as their romances which gives them a fuller feel. They do not begin and end in these stories. Her artwork and storytelling continue to impress me as well as stretch what I expect to read in a BL anthology. A preview of the book is also available.

I decided to catch up on Berserk for Christmas so I read 21 through 26. I finished the conviction arc and I assume mostly finished what I shall call the Witch’s Forest Arc. We see Guts reunited with Casca. We learn that, scarily enough, Farnese aka fire-toucher-girl is even more messed up.  We see Guts’ little party slowly coming together with the addition of Schierke the little witch girl. We see the dark rebirth of Griffith and the new Band of the Hawk. Guts also obtains the Berserk armor which I assume gives the manga its name. Berserk is never quick to get anywhere but it never seems slow when you read it. They really need to get Casca out of the regressed state and fast but I know that is not going to happen. Schierke is a fine addition to the cast although I don’t like her as much as Pixiv does but that is because I’m not a pedo. And in surprising news she is attracted to Guts. Oh and according to The Anime Roundtable Podcast Berserk has gone on hiatus for a very important reason: Kentaro Miura has to beat THE iDOLM@STER. Really? ARRRG!

I watched the first disc of Steam Detectives. I felt the pacing in some episodes could use work but overall fun to see the characters and stories animated. They did a good job of blending humor and mystery, some episodes have more than others. Like anything involving Machine Baron who is a machine otaku. In one of the episodes he infiltrates the Detective Agency under the guise of a reporter but really he just wants to spend time with Goriki, the giant robot. There is also a lot of music in the series, I like all of it but I wouldn’t say it is always used appropriately.

I watched all of Kannagi just to see what all the hullabaloo was about. I did not think much about it when it first came out but then people started talking about it in a lot of major blogs. It seemed like a funny harem show which means I would not object to watching it but I was in no rush to watch it either. Then there was the whole fuss over the main heroine possibly not being a virgin. That set me off something fierce. This is some really sad stuff otaku. You can’t accept a girl that has known the touch of man other than yourself. Most otaku should be glad women would talk to them let alone sleep with the no matter how many men, women, animals, and/or inanimate objects they might have slept with before them. Otaku are taking this moe purity bullshit way to far. Then the woman who writes Kannagi fell ill and went to the hospital. I’m not sure if she was really sick or it was the standard manga cover story for when a manga-ka needs time off but they can’t say the actual reason. Either way I blame the damn otaku. When I learned that the author, Eri Takenashi used to work for Type-Moon well that sent me over the edge. I will hunt you down moe fanatics and watch you burn like a California King. But enough about me hating people, what did I think of the show? Kannagi is an enjoyable little magical girlfriend show. It is nothing remarkable but it is entertaining and amusing. It is trying to appeal to an otaku audience with a good amount of references and use of anime troupes. Jin is at least a semi-interesting shonen romance lead character with a likable personality and artistic skill you could understand why women would be attracted to him. Nagi is amusing when bizarre, adorable when she is enthusiastic, but annoying when she is in princess mode. I actually like the long suffering Tsugumi quite a bit more but Nagi overall comes up enjoyable, too. I  consider myself a Jin x Tsugumi fan despite the fact that pair is pretty much 100:1. Zange is annoying but she never shows up enough for me to really hate her. The Art club members are all amusing and usually show up as much as Zange so I am happy. Daitetsu should get more episodes devoted just to him. I was amused that the school considers Jin a bi-sexual man whore after certain events. If you enjoy shonen romance I would watch Kannagi just to piss off moe purity people.

I started reading the Brave Story novel, have you ever seen that thing? I read fantasy novels but its girth is pretty impressive. So far so good, just had some setting up of the characters. I like the main little boy Wataru, he is a bit odd but generally smart. The translation seems solid without any clunkyness so that always helps. Looking forward to reading more and giving a better description of what is going on. A mysterious transfer student has shown up!

The Manzai Comics starts with tall, dark-haired Takashi Akimoto asking the short, light-haired Ayumu Seta to go out with him hand in hand. What seems like a confession of love turns out to be a request to form a Manzai comedy duo. Or is it really both? Seta is obsessed with being normal after a fight with his father over being weird inadvertently leads to the death of his father and sister. Takashi on the other hand is 100% sure that the only partner for his Manzai comedy duo is Seta and does not seem to be able to take no for an answer. Soon Takashi volunteers himself and Seta to turn the class project of Romeo and Juliet for the school festival into a Manzai version of the play. This entails Seta crossdressing as Juliet. Seta being so cute has all the girls in the class supporting this plan immediately. The Manzai Comics was entertaining and the Manzai twist is unusual. It’s not enough to win over anyone who wouldn’t read such a comic or for fans of just Manzai. The art is good but not spectacular. I did find it interesting that the author gives most of the main characters hair cuts I am not used to see on manga characters. The main characters were likable but Seta whines a bit much but never enough to make me dislike him. I liked the Class officer Kotomi the best out of the cast. She was cute and had some distinct spunk to her. People also have a habit of pouring intimate details of their lives but I would much rather have that than endless circles of people withholding details and not asking questions that should have been asked long ago. The Manzai Comics is cute little buddy story with a shonen-ai layer. Aurora publishing has a preview up, too!

Ringing in the new year and these are the pics of the week: