Ongoing Investigations: Case #069

So I decided to go a little crazy and try to put together a perfect grade RX-78-2 Gundam aka original Gundam kit a while back. I really wanted to either get a master grade RX-78-2 Gundam or a master grade RX-93 Nu Gundam. But when I saw the perfect grade RX-78-2 at AnimeNext I knew I had to have it. I also decided to splurge and get the extra weapons kit. I mean it comes with a Gundam Hammer on a real metal chain. What more could you ask for? When I initially opened up the box and saw pieces in sheets labeled from A to Z I was quite daunted by the task. But when I got into the swing of things I mostly found my previous Gunpla skills did not make it that much harder than anything else I had put together. When it came together it looks really nice. I would definitely not casually buy another perfect grade kit but I thought it was worth the extra money and effort.

The latest episode of Anime3000 features this very blog and the Otaku Diaries as its main topic of discussion! It was a bit unexpected but I think we did alright and it made us feel special. The podcast is a little more insight into the whole project and what our future plans are if you’re curious. There is a also a bonus segment where you can hear us go on and on about what shows we are sticking with from the new season and we even manage to throw Cross Game in as well.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #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 #049

Quest for the Missing Girl is a mature manga. Not in the sense that it has cursing, violence, or graphic sex; Missing Girl deals with topics such as missed chances in life, settling down and moving on, relationships between parents and children, and compensation dating. Even compensation dating which could easily be used for a gratuitous sex scene is discussed as a subject of serious weight and importance but is never shown. The story begins when the mountaineer Takeshi Shiga is informed that Megumi, the daughter of one of his old friends, has gone missing. Shiga soon finds himself playing the part of detective in Shibuya, which is just as unfamiliar to him as the mountains would be to most other people. As the story goes on we learn about what lead up to Megumi’s disappearance and how it relates to the lives and decisions of all the other characters involved. Except for the climax there is not much action. In fact, the climax is mostly Shiga VS inanimate object. The draw to this book is as a fascinating character study and tightly plotted one book story. It’s never going to have a huge fan base in the manga community. The story is excellent but it won’t pop for younger manga fans. It is not mature due to excess. It is mature because it’s a well told story which deals with matters that only those with life experience will care about.

I was really glad I had a chance to read Quest for the Missing Girl which is nominated for an Eisner this year. The plot of Megumi missing actually brings to the surface many underlying mysteries in the lives of the characters. The strained relationships also make for thoughtful scenes. This really gives the book a hefty amount of weight that is woven in and out of this not so complicated missing person’s case. All culminating in a daring rescue attempt that is very “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”-esque. There is something very passionate about Shiga who literally comes down from the mountains to find this girl. He isn’t a super over the top seinen hero but Shiga is definitely a manly dude who does some manly things. Jiro’s artwork is far from simple but it isn’t very stylized which compliments the story perfectly. So while on the whole it doesn’t come off as gritty it still seems gaunt at times especially with his way of shading. This book begs to be picked up and read in one swift sitting. Quest for the Missing Girl was my first encounter with manga-ka Jiro Taniguchi and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. So much so that I ordered up a few more of his books immediately.

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