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.

Continue reading

Ongoing Investigations: Case #014

I picked a DVD of the first 11 episodes of the Cyborg 009 TV series from 2001. It is fun and certainly exudes the action combined with gag comedy dynamic popular in the 60’s and 70’s. It makes me long to see the myriad of other animated iterations it has had. It also had an ad card in it for the TokyoPop release of the manga. Which is seriously out of print. 70’s is probably my favorite era for character designs so it makes me sad how little it is appreciated.

I finally started the second GaoGaiGar box set. It start off with the finale of the Four Healy Kings arc. Of course this means the Four Kings finally enact their dastardly final plan and actually take to the battlefield in person as is giant robot tradition. In fact, I would go as far as to say this is giant robot law. They send Go Nagai to your studio to Rocket Punch your staff in the face if you do not adhere to this sacred law. It’s good classic fun and I can’t wait to see what they pull out after this. I am sure it will involve guts and courage on the behalf of the Gutsy Geoid Guard. Also on a side note my roommate has a bizarre crush on Pizza. Which is very odd but what can you do but accept it and move on.

Watched Chocolate Underground up to 12. They have been starting to skip parts of the story, and it takes a little time to get oriented to it. I still like the satirical nature of the story and its portrayal of authority as stupid. Certainly keeps the feel of a young adult novel. But as we near the end, it is getting too rushed.

I’m not sure what my favorite anime podcast is, but I can easily tell you that my least favorite anime podcast is the Weeaboobies. I saw a link to their site off of Destroy All Podcasts DX. Since I enjoy DX I figured if they took the time to post the Weeaboobies podcast it was hopefully tolerable. I was slightly wary with the name Weeaboobies but I had hopes that they were an interesting all girl podcast despite their 4chan-like name. This was not the case. They are an extremely annoying all girl podcast. After their review of The Story of Saiunkoku I knew they were this blog’s eternal enemy. They are free to dislike The Story of Saiunkoku as long as they defend their opinion in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. The review of Saiunkoku seriously made me wonder if we watched the same anime based on the amount they misinterpreted the show or blatantly got facts about it wrong. The rest of the podcast was not nearly as annoying but it was still grating on my soul. I just have a feeling that an all girl podcast will catch on and the Weeaboobies will be Internet celebrities and special guests at cons or on other good podcasts. That is the day the Internet dies a little bit more (than it already has done dozens times before).

I normally stay away from talking about things I don’t like because I don’t want to draw attention to it. But I think in order to understand how bad this Weeaboobies podcast is one must listen though I did not make it to the end. I don’t expect intense research necessarily for all reviews but I dont think I’m asking too much to get the amount of episodes correct. I find it doubly necessary that the reviewer have actually watched the show to give me an opinion on. Shurei goes to the castle to encourage the king to take his responsibilites more seriously. She did not go to be a slut and get pregnant. Funnily enough Shurei and Ryuuki share maybe a handful of kisses in the entire first season. Shurei also wanted to be a court official from the moment we meet her, it did not happen all of a sudden after episode 9. It seemed like they set out to not like the show anyway so I’m not sure why they bothered watching it.

Time Hollow is a fun but very short puzzle adventure game. I beat it with casual playing over the course of a single week (which did include a round trip bus ride from New York to Providence). I feel it almost plays and feels like a visual novel more than an adventure game but there are distinct puzzles that separate it. They Americanized all the character names in the port so I know that will turn off some purists but it was not unforgivable. It’s mostly a fun time manipulation adventure with a psychotic serial killer thrown into the mix. It was a good game for someone who does not want mind-wracking or super obscure puzzles. I never was stuck for too long at any point but I also feel that it will turn off anyone look for a real challenge. They also sprinkle a good deal of short little animated sequences by AIC throughout the story.

Watched my friend play some Y’s Book I from TurboGrafx16. Do you know how you kill monsters in that game? By running into them . . .a lot. It was very amusing. Though the production values for art and music are pretty high for an old title like this. Which makes me wonder if they just ran out of money to make the guy look like he was swinging a sword while running over those creatures. Has anyone watched the anime of this franchise? I know there at least 3 OVA series of it.