Ongoing Investigations: CaseĀ #089

hisuiconWildstorm sent us a copy of the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles prelude book. It is a graphic novel that helps link the Robotech TV series and the Shadow Chronicles movie. Rouge officer T.R. Edwards has allied himself with the Invid. Rick Hunter must catch this traitor before he can use his newly stolen technology to strike back at the Earth Forces. The first thing I noticed is that the book has a really American comic feel to it; being a DC Comics imprint and made for American Robotech fans this is unsurprising. Overall the story was nothing objectionable but also immediately forgettable. It seemed mostly for Robotech fans so I felt like an outsider listening to a conversation between old friends to which I was unaware of many points of the undiscussed history. I clicked a good deal more with the characters from the first part of the Robotech saga partially because those are the strongest characters and partially because that is the part of Robotech I remember the most. T.R. Edwards came off as a mustache twirling villain despite the fact that they did make an honest effort to give him some depth. I enjoyed the mechanical designs more than the human and monster designs which seemed bland to me. It was nice to see them dedicating the book to the memory of Carl Macek pretty prominently on the credits page though.

We went to Vertical Vednesday this week which featured the up and coming (and sure to be great seller) Chi’s Sweet Home as well as a look at pet manga in general. Ed even brought along copies of the book for us to peruse which is in full-color if you aren’t familiar with Chi. There is pet manga that stretches back to Tezuka, I urged him to license his dog manga, but Ed felt it really started to get a foothold in the 80’s along side the beginning of josei. And most pet manga today runs along the josei and seinen lines. It was a quick introduction to a small but popular genre, and you’ll be unsurprised to learn cats are the most popular animal. Near the end we also got to take a look at the second book of Twin Spica which I was infinitely more excited about! Vertical Vednesday’s are a relaxed night with the industry making it well worth a short trip.

Continue reading

Ongoing Investigations: Case #013

I read the first two volumes of Gakuen Alice and much like the anime I love, love, love it! It is really funny but with enough sentimentality and plot to balance it out. It kind of reminds of a not-quite-as-insane-version of Kodacha with superpowers. We have a plucky, not always very bright, heroine who sets out out reform her unruly elementary school class. She of course has a rivalry with the leader of the rebels but finds out he has a tragic life. Throw in a wide cast of side characters, some mystery, and a campus polluted with strange activity and you have yourself a recipe for fun times. Gakuen Alice is certainly a winner! I am also happy that Right Stuf picked up the anime which may just have to go on the next I Can’t Believe You Haven’t Seen This! panel.

I watched Urusei Yatsura Movie 5: The Final Chapter after I got started on the Anime of the Month. I have to say Urusei Yatsura always bring a smile to my face. Despite the fact that the entire cast besides Ryuunosuke are horrible human beings/aliens you find yourself rooting for them. I love this particular movie a lot. It gave me everything I wanted from the end of Urusei Yatsura. It gives us a full circle ending. It gives us lots of laughs and a little sentimentality. It ties in all the great characters and gives them all a little air time before the finale. I have to mention that I consider the ending of Urusei Yatsura 100% definitive. I’m not sure what people wanted. Did they need a marriage? Ataru and Lum making out with some heavy petting on the side? It’s not that type of manga. The ending is the only thing like a declaration of love we could have ever gotten. And that is good enough for me.

Del Rey’s novel line excited me at first, but I’ve read three so far and have not been impressed. Psychobusters does nothing to change that, in fact, it probably makes it worse since this is by far the worst one yet. The characters have no spark, they are not thought out in the least. The writing is very poor and extremely repetitive. It is hard to explain but it is written like a manga. However, writing a novel and writing a comic are two very different things. I do have the first manga sitting at home somewhere, so I will read that and let you know if indeed the writing lends itself to it.

I watched some more Shakugan no Shana. Ummmmm. Those twins are creepy. Kohaku had warned me to this fact but I feel somethings can only be understood fully when they are seen. Then again the incest twins are creepy enough that you might want to take my word for it. I feel like they want me to feel bad for them, maybe even root for Kazumi Yoshida but I can’t do it. She is just so uninteresting. She is just there to give Shana a romantic rival. I usually like the character who is a good, sweet person but have an unrequited love. For some reason I can’t see why you would want to date Kazumi. Wirhelmina Carmel can come back into the series anytime she wants. She is a character I can get behind. Her similarity to Hisui does not hurt.

Finally read Fruits Basket 20, not sure why I let this one linger on the shelf so long. It was fantastic as usual with the emotions turned up to 11 and I can only guess that the final books are going to stay at that level. I was happy, sad, furious, annoyed, and wistful! Only three left to go and I’m on pins and needles!

I finally finished the Welcome to the NHK manga. It was an enjoyable ride although it was definitely an acquired taste. Welcome to the NHK either clicks with you and you find it hysterical or it just comes off as horrible and mean spirited. I know Narutaki refuses to even try looking into the series and almost certainly with good reason. I find it interesting that the anime, manga, and light novel all start in the same place and then go in different directions and have different climaxes but all end generally the same. The light novels climax was slightly stronger but I enjoyed the manga more overall. Hopefully Funimation will release the last disk of the anime so I can compare it to the rest of the franchise.