Ongoing Investigations: Case #066

I received a copy of the first book of The Lizard Prince from CMX last week. It seems to follow in the footsteps of many of their shojo fare of late, not bad but not great and a bit forgettable.

In this short (just two books) story, we follow the misadventures of Sienna a Prince who was turned into a lizard only to have the spell (semi)broken by true love. And we and his new love Canary find out quickly he can still transform into reptilian mode though getting back to human is a bit dodgy. This is a running gag and makes up for a good portion of the incidents in the book. Woven into these frantic moments are some cute trials and growing affection between these two young members of royalty.Though they keep trying to make Canary into this tomboy princess it rarely comes through. Sienna’s kind of a weenie but very trying and sweet though he a lot more amusing in lizard form.

The humor, like the love story, is kind of just middling without really making you laugh out loud nor moving you to cheer.

There is also a one shot about a girl who is always burning hot and a boy with nice, cool hands. This story I liked a bit better than the main but that might owed to it being just a one off.

As a whole The Lizard Prince is cute but nothing that seems all that special.

With the gentle urging of a fellow Hitohira fan I finally decided to go and watch the anime. I prefer the manga but the anime is a wonderful adaptation.

Hitohira is the story of a painfully shy girl who after being roped into joining one of the two competing drama clubs learns to be more confident and peruse her dreams.

The anime captures all the powerful moments of the manga with the added force of voice acting for any of the scenes where they play is taking place. I enjoyed the manga a little more because I feel it was a tighter story. Everything happens pretty much the same they just take more time to do it in the anime.

Also Mugi Asai seems less hopeless when we spend less time with her running away from her problems. I was glad to see a bit of resolution to things that were only coming to a peak in volume three of the manga, which is the last volume of the manga that has been released in English.

The anime has a good stopping point but I know that the manga continues the story. I wish that we could finish the manga in the U.S. but I am not holding my breath until that happens.

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Ongoing Investigations: CaseĀ #052

So I finally got around to building my Char Action Base over the weekend. I was quite surprised that it was in any way complex, I expected to just open up the package and be good to go. Not so. This is probably for maximum customability, there were more stickers in this kit than I think there were in the actual Zaku II Master Grade I built! Both stands can be put in many different positions as well as be lengthened and shortened easily. They are very thick so sturdiness seems in tact though trying to put the Zaku II at a 90 degree angle proved too much for it. In any case, the construction was rather quick and then came the ability to make Char’s Zaku look like it is flying through space! Watch out!

I don’t think that The Battle of Genryu: Origin is a bad manga though I am not sure it is a good one either. Our main character Jinnosuke has an unusual condition. Most of the time he is a normal clumsily high school student but every so often he get amazing bursts of athletic skill. We comes to find he has tremendous martial arts skill that lies dormant thanks to his family’s hypnotism. Jinnosuke’s older brother, Soichiro comes back determined to awaken this sleeping powerhouse. The fighting is fine and entertaining but not spectacular. Shoko Fukaki tends to use a lot of speed lines and the rest of the art work is serviceable but not outstanding. Jinnosuke is happy go lucky normally but his personality with the power is utterly ruthless. That dynamic is what will make or break this manga, but it is hard to tell which direction it is leaning here. I was somewhat saddened that even though Fusano, Jinnosuke’s girlfriend, is also a martial artist, she is really the utterly weak sauce love interest girl. The first book mostly set up Jinnosuke’s situation so how exactly the whole series is going to play out has yet to be determined so it’s hard to make a definitive statement. However, it’s not a series that is going to win over non-fighting manga fans but people who like martial arts might want to see how it develops.

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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: