Ongoing Investigations: Case #037

I quickly dug into the rest Fairy Musketeers. It was all in all a solid if unremarkable magical girl show. Which is not to say it was not entertaining because it was very well done and boatloads of fun but it won’t win over anyone who did not all already like magical girl shows. The characters are enjoyable, cute, and cool when they need to be. Akazukin interestingly enough reminds me a lot of Narutaki other than the fact that Narutaki only wishes he had a magical wolf companion and was the greatest dual sword fighter in the world. Highlights of the show include the evil sorcerer/playboy named Dude; Ringo saving everyone by being a wuss; a music duel worthy of Macross 7; an episode about religion; and as always Val bringing the manliness to counterbalance all the girl power cute. I was a little disappointed my theory about Cendrillon’s motivations was incorrect. It has a solid ending that does not prevent a sequel but does not beg for one. It leaves you with a warm and pleasant feeling which is all you can ask for sometimes and possibly just what you need.

Read the third book of Switch. I was of course delighted by Hal and Kai having to infiltrate a high school drug ring. It was a decent arc but seemed a bit predictable and the ending didn’t surprise me much. There was also not enough Hal in it which always takes it down a notch for me. The new arc dealing with a new section of the team that deals in information manipulation starts off really well. Looking forward to that continuing story in the next book.

After hearing a good deal of positive reviews I went back and watched Xam’d: Lost Memories from where I had stopped the last time. I was intrigued with the show but Narutaki’s interest waned so it was a matter of me getting back into the grove on my own. That this show came from Bones and its director was a man heavily involved with Eureka Seven is unmistakable. I enjoyed the tighter storytelling in the shorter Xam’d. There was less filler but there was almost no time to catch your breath. They moved quickly from important plot development to important plot development. Eureka Seven’s filler was usually enjoyable and helped you again insight into the characters so there are benefits to taking your time as well. I really enjoyed all the female characters which is a plus. Nakiami is pretty bad-arse while still being human. Haru Nishimura was my favorite character but she was the queen of making some rather foolish decisions. I will also reluctantly admit to being way to intune with Furuichi feelings and conflicts. Another good ending that leaves time to have a sufficient amount of conclusion without dragging it out. I am a little worried that all these good endings to series is setting me up for some big disappointment in the future. Another series I highly recommend especially if you liked Eureka Seven.  They have to get it out there some way that is not just the PlayStation Network because while I loved Xam’d I’m not buying a PS3 to own it.

Read Naughty But Nice by Naduki Koujima. In a strange turn of events, the cover art is unappealing while the interior work is pretty nice. This book actually contains two BL stories, Naughty But Nice (which is only the first half, it continues in a book called Spicy But Sweet) and Bouquet of Love. The first one is mediocre at best going along without any real rhyme or reason. Even though I like teacher x student I just couldn’t get into it. It moves at too clipped a pace throwing us Wakasa’s past ungracefully. Though surprisingly they didn’t jump into bed. The second one was quite a bit better. Kazuki is very cute, he works at a flower shop, and when he helps a man who is allergic to flowers a bond forms. It has a little bit of contrived drama, but otherwise is a sweet story. However, since it is the shorter of the two it doesn’t seem worth picking up. You can read a preview here.

I read the first book of Queen of Ragtonia by Chika Shiomi. It is a standard fantasy adventure but enjoyable. Falna is looking for a magical sword that can slay the evil necromancer that has taken over the kingdom and killed her family. This is a hard task because the necromancer has stolen her ability to walk and one of her eyes. Cardus is a huge sword-wielding warrior who also lost an eye fighting a demon at the beginning of the book. When they fight together they can defeat even the most powerful demons and save lost souls. The book is fun but the pacing is really odd. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but it seems to oscillate between being fast and slow. Cardus reminds me of Gourry in both of them are big powerful swordsmen that are sort of goofy and slow but kindly and brave. Falna is a character that wants to be a strong female character but is hampered by her physical handicaps and her inner weaknesses. So far she has mostly strives to be stronger which is good enough for me. Chika Shiomi has tried to show the motivations behind all the characters including the demons (though we haven’t seen the necromancer yet). It does not always work but it kept the monsters from being evil for evil’s sake. Apparently Queen of Ragtonia was originally a doujinshi that has been turned into a professional work. In the afterward the author shows some panels from the original compared to the panels in the new version. You can read a preview here.

I picked up the Black Jack Illustrations Museum, pocket-sized, from Book Off! It is filled with pictures of, you guessed it, everyone’s favorite surgeon. A few of the pictures involve other characters like Pinoko but 85% are just the man himself. The book is 320 pages long with 78 color pages, which includes some writings. The rest are all black and white images and the end has some writing as well. It’s a really nice piece and quite affordable.

This weeks pic is the Haru who leapt through time:

The Haru who lept through time

Ongoing Investigations: Case #028

Crusher Joe randomly came up while looking for something else and I had the itch to watch it. I remembering seeing it for the first time at my introduction to anime cons, Big Apple Anime Fest. Though I don’t remember ever seeing the OVAs until now. And it is still highly entertaining. I especially love the disco scene in the movie. Between the woman who’s breast keeps randomly popping out of her shirt, the all out brawl, and Joe’s fantasmo fringe boots, what’s not to love? The show is great fun, it is by the guy who wrote Dirty Pair, so it is very much in that vein.

Akikan! seems about as inhumane as waterboarding if used on unwilling or unsuspecting audiences. Okay that is an exaggeration but it is still a putrid, pile of fecal matter molded poorly into an anime. We were originally not going to watch the show because it looked like a rather bland magical girlfriend show. Oh, and it is about a can of melon soda that comes to life and has to be given CO2 energy by way of making out was not helping. Then again Kannagi is about a wooden sculpture that comes to life and that was an entertaining show. The main problem is that Akikan! takes every cliche thing a harem anime has ever had and executes it in the worst possible manner. The main character, Kakeru Daichi, is alternatively a creepy sadist or wimpy loser. Melon is just a rampaging moron in the Akane Tendo vein but far, far worse. There are some other stock side characters such as the far less important male friend, the ignored pretty female childhood friend, the crazy lesbian, and others I am sure I have forgotten. The creepy predatory gay government official shows up for a few seconds mostly to be very creepy and then disappears without contributing anything to the plot. Also for a show designed to appeal to guys we see way too much naked Kakeru. I actually enjoyed this anime in small part for a reason completely unrelated to the show itself. It was actually fun to watch Narutaki’s facial reactions to the utter garbage on the screen. This is the new low water mark that other anime have to beat to disappoint me. Sorry Wild Cardz.

Started watching Fairy Musketeers thanks to Crunchyroll. So far have gotten through episode 4. It is a very cute, children’s magical girl show. All the characters are named after fairy tale characters, our heroine being Red Riding Hood. Her along with some others, including her wolf Val, are protecting the key which is in a little boy named Sota. It stays true to magical girl form with cute outfits, weekly monsters, and wacky hijinks. I also really love the evil minion Hansel who works for the Queen Cinderella (who is the villainess of the entire series). It doesn’t seem to offer anything new but it does its genre nicely. If it were dubbed I would recommend it for children!

Fairy Musketeers is for two major groups. The first is children. The second is older people who want a comfort food magical girl show with absolutely no otaku pandering. That means no panty shots and no innuendo. I assume that its simple nature will turn  hardcore fans away but so be it. It’s not for them. I do find it interesting that even the major villains are fairy tale heroes. Normally you would have fairy tale villains as the villains not other fairy tale heroes. I wonder if there is some story reason for this or is it just the way things are. Red Riding Hood is your standard genki girl but I was thrown off by the Snow White character design. I assumed she was going to be a shy bookish peacemaker girl. She turns out to be bookish but she actively fights with and speaks her mind to Red Riding Hood.

So I picked up a couple of trades of Grant Morrison since he is one of the guests of honor at New York Comic-Con. Batman and Son was an okay work, but I found the dialogue clunky and stiff. I also realized I only like Andy Kubert’s artwork about half the time, and that half is when he is drawing Batman. When he is drawing normal people they are constantly looking sinister even when I don’t think that is the intention. The story itself is interesting and the ending is crazy atleast but I think I prefer a more traditional Batman, what can I say. Also read Batman: Arkham Asylum with art by Dave McKean this work was really gripping and different but once again not my cup of tea. The dialogue is awkward, this really drives me crazy. The artwork is out of this world and even more so when you think that it was made pre-computer age. This work I understand its significance in the comic book world even if it wasn’t for me.

I went back to playing Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Wars OG Saga. It may be all in Japanese but the general plot and gameplay is simple enough for me to not have to worry. I am sure I am missing some of the subtler details of gameplay but such is life. It has a technowestern feel. The main character is dressed in a full cowboy getup  but has an android partner and a transforming laser gun. The are also other Capcom characters including the main characters from Namco X Capcom and KOS-MOS from Xenosaga. The more I play the more I realize that the basic foundation of all Super Robot Wars games is fan-service. In the standard games it is robot porn. It’s hot cross show robot on robot action. In the gaiden game it is your more standard arse and boob service. I don’t mind such things but it’s worth mentioning that is is there. It is a fun little menu based RPG with some amount of action elements during attacks and defense so keep you interested.

Since I have been reading a lot of Batman lately, this is the pic of the week: