Ongoing Investigations: Case #209

This week it the OI where I watch something again for the first time. These are all titles I have watched to completion before but Narutaki either never watched or only saw a little of.

I have mentioned Emma: A Victorian Romance on the blog several times in the past. I have praised in several different panels and podcasts we have done as well.  I even named it one of the best show of the 2000s. So I have little to add to plugging Emma on that front. What I can talk about is what I have noticed in my recent re-watch.

The first thing is a recent Answerman column that used Emma as an example of having lousy animation. While he praised the content of the show he pointed it out as a prime case of good story but rubbish animation. While I see what he is saying, because the animation is usually done on the cheap, I mainly never cared before and can’t start now. It is mostly a show about Victorian men and women sitting in chairs talking to each other while domestics clean in the background. You hardly need the animation form the bike scene from Akira to fully experience that. I just want to see the scenes from the manga in color. The setting of Emma is just so well researched and atmospheric who would not want to seem them animated even if minimally?

Other than that it was just nice to revisit this love story. Emma is wonderful, William is dense (like a neutron star) but loveable, Ms. Stowner is your stereotypical stern but kindly wise old lady, and William’s dad is just a jerk. I was am amused how quickly Narutaki realized that nothing but horrible things were going to happen to Eleanor Campbell despite the fact that she is undeniably nice.

I liked the new litebox version of Emma from Nozomi but I am glad I got the limited edition versions back in the day. The booklets that came with the original version were just filled with wonderful information. The Crystal Palace information alone was fantastic. I wish they had added that digitally to the new version but I understand why they did not.

This was a wonderful little series to come back to. I hope we can start the second season soon. The end to the first season is so melancholy. I really need the pick me up of the second season to balance that out.  That and Tasha being Tasha.

I can’t believe my old roommate used to think that the series should have ended with the first season. Pshaw!

I finally watch Emma: A Victorian Romance, though just the first season so far. I don’t think there was really ever any doubt I would like this series. And having completed the third season of Downton Abby, I needed a little period drama to fill a void in my heart!

There aren’t really any schemers in Emma trying to ratchet up the drama; it is more of slow and fairly simple class-divided love story. But since William has the IQ-level of a rock, he only needs himself to cause every problem in the show. Sometimes I’d often wonder why I even want Emma to end up with this idiot. But I love Emma herself so much that I will respect her wishes in this. He is willfully ignorant of his station and doesn’t seem to really do his job at all so far, but there does feel like a turning point at the end which I can hope changes him greatly.

On the other hand, my darling Eleanor better get swept off her feet by some charming rogue because really I need her away from William ASAP.
I loved Mrs. Stowner she was a really cool lady. I was glad to get a bit of her backstory as the series went on. Also she should have hooked it up with Al.
William’s friend from India alternates between offensive, weird, and mildly amusing. I definitely liked him driving the car through the house. Him falling for Emma seemed totally random but at least he is able to give William a few swift kicks over it.
As you can probably guess, I wouldn’t mind seeing this series be a little more soapy but I enjoyed it anyway. Onward to season two!

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.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #207

So we enter the final batch of episodes of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated S2 with 16-17. While I will miss the show I’m glad they were give the chance to end the series in a tidy manner. Plus I feel overall two seasons feels like a good length for the series. While I would have liked more I don’t feel like I was robbed of anything. But we shall see how much those feelings remain when the series is actually over. Until then we have Aliens Among Us and The Horrible Herd.

After a show goes on break it is always nice to transition back into the series as if you had just watched the previous episode last week. Mystery Incorporated transitions from its big “should have been accompanied by an ominous pipe organ” revelation from Theater of Doom with a general mystery that they solve pretty quickly so they can add in some detective work on the overarching mystery.

Aliens Among Us proved that the funny was still in the series as well. Sheriff Bronson Stone seemed to be taking lessons from Giorgio Tsoukalos this episode. Also Scooby seems to imply that he is so frequently asked to dig up graves as part of their investigations that he has become slightly tired of it. Also the fact that the villains of the episode apparently lives in Frodo’s house for no well explained reason is a quick blink and you miss it gag.

Random Trivia: It seems that the GPS coordinates for Gatorsburg would put in a Warner Bros warehouse in Burbank, California which is amusing little inside joke.

The Horrible Herd on the other hand proves that Professor Pericles is playing for keeps (although killer German Stormtrooper robots is not exactly kid gloves.) There were an interesting amount of subtle Aliens homages in this episode. I am curious how much they are going to deal with the fact that a good deal of town was destroyed in this episode or will they mostly just hand wave it away. With this series either scenario is possible.

I glad to see the series is still going strong entering the endgame. I think this is really destined to be a series people look back on and wonder why it did not have a bigger fan following when it was on the air. Its lovely mixture of parody and homage make it far smarter than you would assume at first glance.

Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated how I’ve longed for you!!! Even after a long break, the series hasn’t lost anything. Fred still has the most amazing moments, Daphne is still awesome, and all the mysteries and oddities just keep getting piled on.

Easily the best part in either of these episodes is when Fred and Sheriff Stone have a sleepover because the gang is trying to protect the Sheriff from aliens he believes abducted him. Fred’s insights about love and how the only thing better is traps is full of sage wisdom.

Daphne’s cheese expertise, which I had totally forgotten about, comes back into play when the mass of skeleton-bee-piranha-cows descend on the town.

Throwing in the Space Kook was an excellent nod.

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.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #204

Message to Adolf (Pt. 1) is one of those titles I’ve been wanting to read for years, having only heard of it by reputation from early English releases. This another one of those thick Osamu Tezuka titles that look really impressive on the shelf.

It takes place pre- and during WWII as many lives converge in Germany and Japan because of a secret about Hitler that could bring down the Nazis. Reporter Toge’s brother is murdered by the Nazis in Germany but not before sending his former teacher in Japan some important papers. This is the catalyst for Toge’s journey from being tortured by the SS to being blacklisted to a deadly showdown on a small Japanese island. Simultaneously  two young German boys named Adolf growing up in Japan become friends despite their parents objections. They both learn the secret of Hitler but vow to stay silent. One is sent back to Germany to join the Hitler Youth while the other stays in Japan with his Jewish community. Those we haven’t seen a lot of these two yet, this are certainly being set-up for tragedy.

It has quite a thriller vibe to it, at points I was feeling an Alfred Hitcock influence, too. It also gets progressively depressing with it ending in a very dark place. After reading this I had to then go watch a movie mocking Nazis instead.

sep-anime

I see that Blast of Tempest is really divided into 2 distinct parts now that I am 19 episodes into the series. The first part is the rescue Hakaze arc and that is a somewhat pyrrhic victory as they get Hakaze off the island she is stranded on but they majorly change the world in the process. The second arc is the Mage of Exodus story where they deal with the fall out from the first part.

Overall the first part is half buddy adventure film mixed with a bit of a thriller. Mahiro and Yoshino are on the run while people die around them in their search to learn who killed one girl, kidnapped another, and also are orchestrating a sinister series of events all over the world. I know that Narutaki and I really enjoyed the battle of wits at the end between Yoshino and Samon which really capped off things nicely. Samon’s slow degradation as his plans crumble like he was in Death Note but Samon was Matsuda while Yoshino was L.

After that incident the whole show changes when the Tree Of Genesis gains the upper hand and basically becomes an autonomous force of martial law. And so the series gets much calmer as there is not the same rush to stop the end of the world and save Hakaze. It is a much more measured look into what led up to the existence of these godlike trees, who is the true chosen Mage of Exodus, and who killed Aika, a mystery that seems to be at the center of all of this.

The change in tone is pretty bold. I wonder how many people dropped the series just because the shift was so radical. The tempo really slows down and the biggest concern is about people showing up on time for meeting more than who will live and who will die. It does not help that the newly introduced Megumu is a loser even though he is the lesser Mage of Exodus. Although Megumu’s coolest moment will probably being the only person to figure out on his own that Yoshino was dating Aika.

My only question is when are they going to show us the Tree of Lamentations or Deuteronomy.

But in all actuality I am really just waiting to see in we are right and Junichirou is the true chosen Mage of Exodus. I just don’t trust that guy.

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