The Wakuing Dead

Ghost Trick Phantom DetectiveJoin us at Waku Waku NYC August 29th and 30th!
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hisui_icon_4040 As a follow-up to the code we gave out yesterday for Waku Waku NYC, I wrote a little article for the convention site about an overlooked gem on Keiji Inafune’s resume.

Lest everyone forget this is still ostensibly a detective-themed blog, the article highlights Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective which is a game beloved by Kate and I. If you have never played the game (or never heard of it) then I really suggest you read the post.

(Then go out and buy the game.)

Ghosts of the Past

-Alain

Ongoing Investigations: Case #190

I’m pretty excited that we are finally getting Initial D 5th Stage! As always the opening set the right tone. I liked the manga-styled beginning complete with sound effects that transformed into the CG cars we are now accustomed to.

Eps. 1-2 throw you right in so don’t expect much of a refresher course. We are given brief glimpses of Project D’s next rivals in Kanagawa which they say is the final part in a grand plan, Ryosuke appears to be going in a little blind but he seems to be keeping things under his hat as usual. The AE86 has been getting an upgrade plus Takumi seems determined to learn to steer with one hand. On other fronts, Takumi’s new love interest appears only to rip into him thanks to a misunderstanding.

The imposters of Takumi and Keisuke swaggering around was a fun and light way to start the season. Of course I was very excited as Keisuke’s first appearance is him calling those dudes out! Though it makes for little actual racing in the first episode.

But the uphill battle in the second installment started off nicely with Keisuke taking on another EVO. His opponent is on edge, just waiting for Keisuke to do something crazy, but as time winds by you can see how tightly wound the guy waiting is. Too bad we have to wait a few weeks to find out how this plays out.

I enjoyed it ending with Ryosuke saying a “street specialist” has to be a little bit reckless. Keisuke is nothing if not reckless.

I recently talked about Cross Manage and I mentioned it very much feels like a Shonen Sunday manga in Jump. Not to be outdone Nanatsu no Taizai, the new Sunday manga feels very much like it taken out of Jump. It does make one wonder what is exactly going on there. Are both magazines playing with courting their rivals’ demographic? Is it just Sunday reacting to Jump? Or is it mere coincidence?

Nanatsu no Taizai takes place in a medieval setting. Seven overpowered warriors called the Seven Deadly Sins knights tried to overthrow the kingdom but were stopped by the Holy Knights. The Sins were reportedly killed but rumors are abound that they are still alive. Recently the Holy Knight themselves have overthrown the King are putting the Kingdom under their thumb. The King’s only daughter goes out to find the Seven Deadly Sins in hopes that they can free her father. A seemingly humble bar owner that saves her and turns out to be one of the Sins. Together can they find the remaining Seven Deadly Sins and tear down this new corrupt regime?

Overall it is fairly standard but enjoyable stuff. It is just standard but enjoyable stuff you would expect to see in Jump. Elizabeth, the princess is cute and determined but not very capable. Sunday usually prides itself on its strong heroines but she seems mostly like a tag along Jump girl. There is a bit more of the ecchi humor you expect to see in Jump. Not that Sunday is above ecchi humor but it is not the type of humor the magazine usually uses. Also so far the plot have a very Jump structure. There is just something about their journey to collect the other knights that feels very Jump in its execution. Both magazines use the battle manga formula but in distinctly different fashions.

The other thing worth noting is all the fighters start off INSANELY overpowered. Meliodas is shattering the earth with broken swords and playing cross county catch with lances thrown like ICBM missiles. There seems to be no shonen power creep. Everyone starts out as a god. If they have places to go from here they might start making Jojo’s blush. It would be neat if the characters were mostly already at their peak and most of the battles were about wits more than learning new techniques also like Jojo’s.

I am very curious to see how this recent break from form does for both magazines. Do either magazines have robust enough readership to support something outside their normal wheelhouse or will these titles be dropped as quickly as they came?

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 #114

I watched some of the various Detective Conan OVAs 1-9 stretched across many years. OVA 10 I haven’t gotten my hands on yet, and the Magic File OVAs I’ll leave for a separate post as they relate to the movies. It’s worth noting that they didn’t start making Conan OVAs until the 2000’s and they continue to make them despite the deadness of the OVA market but hey it’s a huge franchise. For the most part they are silly romps, some not even containing a real case, but not very memorable either way. The better ones are two containing Kaito Kid, perhaps I am just totally bias, OVA 1 which is actually very funny and OVA 4 where Conan and Kid end up on the same train with a precious jewel; OVA 3 guest stars Heiji who teams with Conan to find a missing kid; and finally OVA 9, which was probably my favorite despite not having a case, where Conan sees what the future might hold should he never find an antidote. These OVAs are really just supplemental material that aren’t required viewing so they are easy to just grab a few or skip all together.

hisuicon As a long time fan of the Phoenix Wright games I had to check out Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective to see how the spiritual successor stacked up to the original. While it is very clearly a Shu Takumi game it is a very different in terms of mechanics and flow. In Ghost Trick you start the game after just been killed. You are a ghost who cannot remember who you are, how you died, or who killed you plus on top of that have only until sunrise to figure it all out. You do have a few remarkable ghost powers to help you interact with the land of the living. You can jump from various inanimate objects and manipulate them in a Rube Goldberg fashion. So if wanted to alert someone before they were shot you could say jump into a fan, have it turn on, then jump into a piece of memo paper kicked up by the fan, ride it to a bicycle, and then have the bicycle ring its bell. But if that warning was not enough you can jump into the body of the recently dead and rewind time to 4 minuets before they died. So most of the game is you jumping around trying to save people in hopes that one of them will lead you discover who killed you and why. Ghost Trick has the same snappy writing of the Phoenix Wright games while being a solid departure from the courtroom drama. The twists in the game were clever and shocking but were not out of nowhere especially if you were paying attention. Ghost Trick could easy rank as one of Narutaki’s top 10 games of the year just because you team up with a lovable Pomeranian named Missile during the course of the game. The puzzles were decently changeling without every being unfairly difficult. There are some when you just have to try everything until you see a change. Also sometimes you just have to go through a section, see where you utterly mess up, rewind time, and then avoid the trap they set you up for. The only thing that is completely and utterly unchanged from Phoenix Wright is the music which while great could very easily just be mistaken for the soundtrack for Phoenix Wright 5. It is a really fun game that could be a franchise that equals its older brother.

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