Ongoing Investigations: Case #164

When they finally announced a SGFiguarts Sky High from Tiger & Bunny, I was poised and ready for that pre-order; I had been waiting none too patiently. It finally arrived last week.

This is my first Figuarts purchase and I’m very happy with what I see. This looks dead-on like Sky High, I’m a real stickler for that authenticity. The paint job is flawless without a bad seam to be found. Somewhat like a Revoltech you have many hand options and other little details such as jet pack blasts as well as number of points of articulation. The possibility is good, though I did have some trouble getting his shoulder armor to stay on, after I settled on a pose I was really able to keep it. This is also thanks to a sturdy stand.

Even though this figure is on the smaller side for me, the craftsmanship makes me really happy with my choice.

I watched Another with my roommate partially because he likes horror stuff and partially because someone recommended the series as a good mystery. In a way, the series is both a horror anime and a mystery so I can discuss how those parts work individually and together.

As a horror series the plot works much like a Final Destination movie with a classmate dying every episode in some gruesome manner with an absolute bloodbath in he final two episodes. Not everyone dies like a Final Destination movie but the body count is high, the deaths near the end are gruesome, and some serious sacrifices are made. In that regard, the series pretty much gives you what you want.

The mystery is decent. I have a feeling that some people are going to find the identity of the ghostly classmate as brilliant and others are going to pass it off as a bit of a cheat. I think parts of the reveal have clues pointing to them and other parts are pretty much a surprise. The show does not cheat by say making the extra student someone you never saw but it is a bit of a major misdirection. I was glad they brought up and then quickly disapproved most of the super common twists you would have expected about the extra student early on.

My only real complaint is that one person essentially has a ghost detector and does not mention it to anyone until the last possible second.  That was a plot convenient bit of withholding information.

Overall all it was an enjoyable little show. It is very much more a horror show than a mystery. The show revels in its deaths and mostly just plays in the detective aspect. Watch it for a horror show with a mystery element and not the other way around.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #156

When I watched the first episode of Sound of the Sky a while back, I thought it seemed interesting enough to continue a few more episodes in. I don’t know what happened, but re-watching the first episode I couldn’t believe my former self. It was slow and meandering. Perhaps I was mesmerized by the music, which is worth being mesmerized over, but not worth sitting through the rest of the show for. The setting is also interesting, taking place in a post-apocalyptic future with divides and wars, but the town in which everyone is stationed is relatively peaceful. Normally, that would all change when our main character arrives . . . but no, it is still basically peaceful. So it ends up being a show about this somewhat rag-tag team of girls in the military hanging out, meeting townspeople, and occasionally learning music. The main girl is predictably naive and in the last episode I watched pushed that to the limit by overlooking the fact that the military kills people as do guns and tanks. There are traces of underlying story, especially with the extended cast that has been working for a while, but nothing gripping. I am sure this show is doing exactly what it means to do, but that still doesn’t mean I want to watch it.

Sound of the Sky is sort of like dating a shallow supermodel. You meet her and she looks gorgeous and sounds wonderful. Everything about her superficially is impeccable. But after a few deep conversations you realize there is not as much going on inside as you might have first hoped. There is quite a bit to like about this anime. The production values cannot be questioned. The animation is often amazingly fluid, the backgrounds are often breathtaking, and the sound design is outstanding. If you want lesson on how to make an anime that draws you in with the power of animation this is a good example. The problem is the story itself swallowed a bottle of Valium. To say that the show is just post-apocalyptic K-On! is selling it a bit short but it is also sums up all the major problems with the series. It just seems like the slice of life tale of 5 girls not really doing much of anything in a small town while they fix a tank and play instruments. The formula could be good. There is nothing inherently wrong with slowly building this world and getting us involved with the characters before turning on the main plot. The problem is that it is like telling someone to watch 10 episodes of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou to get to the three exciting episodes at the end. The post-apocalyptic setting is unusual and well realized. The cast lives a very provincial lifestyle despite the fact that they are surrounded by the remains of a once great civilization. But the stories they tell are rather sleepy despite the promise of grander tales that could be told in this setting. I am not sure if anyone who is not a fan of slice of life shows could casually make that commitment for the reward at the end. The characters are fine. They are a bit stock and Kureha Suminoya can be grating but they did not annoy me as much as the K-On! cast. There is also a pretty distinct yuri vibe going on. Nothing overt but it is omnipresent and rather unmistakable. I will probably continue to watch just to see the last few episodes. Apparently they start to live up to the promise of the prophecy in the beginning. I will power through the middle episodes to see if the pay off at the end is worth it just in case our readers were curious.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #143

It has been awhile since I saw Last Exile but overall I remember liking the series so I was eager to watch Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing. Right off the bat the series reminds you of one thing: Range Murata is definitely a lolicon. Any perusal of one of his Robot art books will remind you of that fact. So when Fam starts the series in her underwear and sleepwalking I am not exactly sure why people were SUPER surprised. It does set an odd precedent as the episodes I have seen since then never have that odd level of fan service again. Perhaps Gonzo thought this was putting their best foot forward but I think most people would disagree. Other than that poor choice it is mostly the Last Exile you remember. Apparently the prediction that moving to an abundant planet would stop the conflicts was optimistic thinking because it seems war had broken out again. But really without giant airship battles I don’t think people would be anywhere near as interested in Last Exile. Since the Guild is no more they don’t have the musket battles but in their place there are air pirates so you can get your Skies of Arcadia grove on. Fans of the original series will notice that Dio is alive and well. Still sort of loopy but definitely calmer. How exactly he survived after Last Exile has yet to be explained (if it will be explained at all.) After three episodes I have yet to make a firm decision on the series. It has a primarily female cast. While there are men the three main characters and primary focus are all young ladies. So that means no wading into harem territory like people accused the series of doing with Claus but it then does lend itself to the yuri subtext being in everything that the world of the pink ghetto casts. Fam and Giselle seem fine with Fam being the spunky one and Giselle being the quiet one. Millia is not only a princess but also a princess character and that means she can be a bit grating. The action has been pretty good so far and the plot has potential. But as far as I can tell the main villain’s problem seems to be that everyone is far too happy and he will not be having that which could lead to a very corny developments. I am interested enough to keep watching but still hesitant to give it a recommendation yet.

As many others did, when I got Sailor Moon vol. 1 I also got Codename Sailor V vol. 1. This was new to me, I knew about it of course and had looked at some of it, but never really got to read it. Having read Sailor Moon first of the two, it put me in the exact mood for the young girl fantasy that is Sailor V. The big difference between these two so far is that Sailor V is decidedly free of any serious romantic entanglements instead focusing on peppy Mina’s daily struggles with classes balanced with sometimes saving the world as a Sailor Guardian thanks to talking cat Artemis. Mina amuses me greatly in her slacker fashion which prefers video games and idols to studying and saving people. Since this is a primer for Sailor Moon you can obviously see a lot of Usagi in Mina but they are still different because Mina is very physically capable. This is also what makes her so fun as she loves kicking baddies once she is roped into caring. Sailor V also becomes something of a legendary icon as the story goes on getting her own video game, fan club, and even a police detective rival among other amusing things. Once she has been in action a while, Mina gets more serious and both her and readers start to wonder who is “the boss” and why Mina was chosen for this role. I am curious to see how this ties in swiftly to Sailor Moon.

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