Ongoing Investigations: Case #206

narutaki I read Akira Toriyama’s one-shot Kintoki. Toki believes he is the last of his clan the Kine known for their fighting prowess. One day while collecting money in town, a girl from Venus helps him, later when she gets in trouble with a local lord Toki rescues her.

It is pretty straight-forward. The battle panels look great which is no surprise. The character designs are just so-so, though I did like the girl’s weird suit. There are dinosaurs and Toki uses a bow so that’s fun to me!

But it doesn’t really feel like a one-shot; it doesn’t come a satisfying conclusion. It feels like the setup for a larger story which a lot of times one-shots are! But I don’t think that was really the goal here.

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is entering the final part of part two of the series otherwise known as Battle Tendency. Since this part is fairly well regarded they have definitely slowed down the breakneck pace they had with Phantom Blood but by the same token they have not drawn out anything out as well. So everything has been moving along quite nicely.

Joseph Joestar is a very different protagonist than his grandfather. He is cocky, brash, street smart, and just more fun that his predecessor. Plus who cannot love when he predicts the next line his opponent is going to say. It always comes off as slick when he does it. Hirohiko Araki does it enough to make it Joseph‘s signature trait but makes sure that the gimmick does not wear out its welcome.

The main villains of Battle Tendency are the Pillar Men and they take already on the nose names like Robert Edward O Speedwagon and brings them to the next level. I mean when you have a vampires named ACDC and Wham you are not playing your cards to close to your chest with your references. But in a way that makes it all the better. While they are still vampires they come off as very different than Dio which is good for the story overall.

Lisa Lisa is probably one of the strongest female characters in the series. It is a shame that not many of the female character in the series really reach her heights until part 6. It is amusing to see how many characters in other series she went on to inspire including Rose from Street Fighter and Iku Nagae. Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli keeps up the tradition of Zeppeli family members who befriend the protagonist and then die horribly. Rudol von Stroheim is probably the only Nazi you will ever root for (but still feel dirty about it.)

The animation is cheap but I have long since accepted that. That is just part of the show’s makeup at this point and no amount of popularity is probably going to change that. I’m mostly just happy the series is being animated in the first place.

I really want to know if they are going to continue onto part 3. They might stop here or as hinted by the trading card game we might get a new version of Stardust Crusaders. I have my fingers crossed. I mean we all want to see D’Arby! again.

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 #205

This week I decided to highlight some first chapters of series that were new to me.

xxxHOLiC Rei is obviously CLAMP realizing by getting rid of Yuuko Ichihara as a part of the ending of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle might have made a serious mistake. So in xxxHOLiC Rei she is back. It is not entirely clear why she is back. It could be that this is an alternate time line, it could just be stories set before the end of the original, or it could just go unexplained. But I have a feeling that with a title like Return, and knowing that CLAMP is CLAMP, I have a feeling it is much more likely there is some more roundabout explanation that might tie into that xxxHOLiC: Rō episode. But that is only something that will be clear as the series goes on.

The story is pretty simple in that it mostly establishes that Yuuko is alive, Watanuki is her cooking servant and assistant, and Doumeki can enter the shop which was not always the case in the original series. Other than that it is a little comedy and mostly set up for the first costumer for the shop. If anything hints to something major going on its Watanuki’s strange headache which cannot be random especially considering the scene that immediately triggers it.

The series still has a vibrant mixture of sexiness, comedy, and mystery. I’m sort of hoping being freed from being linked to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle that xxxHOLiC might be able to better spread its wings. It always seems a bit caged in when it was the sister story to Tsubasa. I want to see where it could go on its own. Plus it is always nice to have Yuuko back.

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 I read issues 1-3 of Cyberforce (2012) a revamp of the 90s American comic series which was funded through Kickstarter. The story takes place in a future where an evil corporation, CDI, with machinations of altering the world for their own purposes has taken to experimenting with cyber implants. A rogue group of soliders from said experiments is attempting to take them down and exact revenge.

Things really begin when Carin daughter of the heads of CDI learns of a dangerous plan called Aphrodite Protocol and runs away to seek out the help of Morgan Stryker along off the grid soldier. I of course love that Carin has a dog named Ninja who is a cyber enhanced badass, but he was captured and being treated badly!

So far the book is high on laying out the world and plot rather than fleshing out the characters. But there are explosions! And crazy cyber people! Also no one wears shirts? Anyway, it has been an entertaining read so far.

I super love the cover of issue 3.

You can read Cyberforce for free on Comixology.

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 #203

I have been waiting for a while to finally experience the end of the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room specials. I already complained about the lack of subtitles with the first Aniplex box set so I won’t reiterate that whole rant. The problem was the delay to get a translation was far greater than it was with the first batch of episodes. But we got all the episodes and that is what matters.

The therapy sessions continue as Irisviel and Zecchan continue to try to console the Servants who have died in the Holy Grail War. It seems that most of them are in some form of denial about their life that Irisviel snaps them out of. But as the sessions go on Zecchan seems to notice that Irisviel seems less concerned about consoling these lost souls and more about pushing them to the harshest realizations about their life.

Coupled with her increasingly disturbing dream Zecchan eventually realizes that something is wrong with the Consultation Room. After a bit darker turn everything starts to fall apart and the heart of the story is finally revealed. In the end we get a bit of a bitter-sweet ending but it can’t be totally dark because Taiga is not that sort of character. But it can’t end supper happily because Irisviel is not that sort of character as well.

Of course the King of Conquerors was far too awesome to have to participate in all of this depressing rigmarole. But that is just the sort of hero that Rider is.

Caster’s episode was fairly amusing as we get to see him about a subdued as we will ever see him. If nothing else it means much more Joan of Arc which will surely please her growing fan base. Seeing him with normal looking eyes is pretty odd but amusing.

Lancer on the other hand might as well be a river in Egypt for the sheer amount he is suppressing in his episode. It also seems to be the episode were they clearly acknowledge all the 4th-wall material about the fan base. Lancer’s strong female fan following and the rampant Lancer/Saber shipping is clearly acknowledged.

Berserker actually get more lines in this omake then he does on all of the TV series. But such is the way of being a Berserker. The original Berserker only really gets dialog in Fate/Tiger Colosseum so I suppose that is a step up. They do use the episode to fill in a lot of the blanks that were in the original Fate/Zero light novel but were cut in the anime for time. This gives the audience a better insight into Lancelot’s motivations.

In many way the most important piece of this story is as a conclusion of Irisviel’s story. She pretty much disappears as a character after she is kidnapped by Berserker in the main story. This gives a bit of resolution to the darker and more resentful parts of her character that never fully get explored by her abrupt passing. That is a lot of weight for what is mostly a comedy omake but it pulls it off well.

But all of it accumulates it the creation of the most important part of Fate/Stay Night so everything was worth it. It was touching to see Taiga carry on the legacy of the person she respected so much. Although it did meant she was destined to fall into the orbit of additional members of the Emiya family who would eventually have tragic ends around her.

@#$% Chicken Grill.

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I checked out Dragon Ball (full-color) which had a short preview in WSJ USA. It is of course the same story with the novelty of digital coloring. It was not all that impressive. The coloring job is competent but bland making the interior seem more like coloring book pages than anything else. Also there is some amateur looking fades.

This is where a printed book could make a big difference depending on the paper used. If they go with something that has a bit of tooth and a more mild white, it might be nice. But if they go with a high gloss white, it will end up looking cheap like this online version.

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