Ongoing Investigations: Case #212

I finished the second volume of Vertical’s beautiful release of Message to Adolf. I didn’t expect it to span well past the years of World War II.

Most of this volume involves characters caught up in a tense back and forth of who will end up with the information on Hitler’s birth and more importantly how will it become public knowledge.

Adolf Kaufman’s descent into full Aryan-superiority is, as one might imagine, unsettling and surprisingly heartbreaking at times. I guess for a good portion of the story I was expecting him to maintain his heart despite the horrible things he did. But he only further breaks down as he makes his way to Japan as an adult reuniting with his remarried mother and childhood friend Adolf. It really feels like true madness as Adolf tries to reclaim the documents because Adolf is not full-Aryan, neither is Hitler, and neither is the girl Adolf is in love with!

I really enjoy stories where minor characters pop-up again and again in important capacities that you weren’t expecting. It makes it feel cohesive and Message to Adolf has that.

And the ending? Fatefully tragic.

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The A Certain Magical Index series is one of those strange series were people make a big deal about how much they can’t stand the series but continually watch it season after season. To a lesser degree this also happens with the spin off A Certain Scientific Railgun series (it might be the yuri undercurrent that cause it to be slightly better received) . But as a legitimate fan of the series who genuinely enjoys it I was looking forward to the first two episodes of A Certain Scientific Railgun S.

I did go into this arc with a certain expectation. I had heard that this was being called A Certain Scientific Railgun S with the S being a reference to the Sister Noise arc. Apparently it is an arc that tells the original Sisters Arc from A Certain Magical Index from Misaka Mikoto’s perspective. While that seemed like an interesting idea I was a little worried it might feel a bit recycled. But so far it mostly seems like all new material. We are getting a much better idea of how Misaka got involved with the whole Level 6 Shift experiment and we have new characters like Nunotaba Shinobu who never appeared in the original story.  So far it does not just seem to be the Accelerator fight from a different point of view.

The new series begins with a one off story that proves that Edasaki Banri and Haruue Erii have not disappeared off the face of the earth once their arc has ended (to the point where like Saten Ruiko they have started to make cameo appearances in the main Index series). It is mostly an episode to bridge the last arc of Railgun with the new series and show that life goes on for everyone. The big highlight of the first episode is action scene at the end with a teleporting Kuroko and a hotblooded Railgun vs. a helicopter. It is a nice little set piece that reminds you that Railgun is mostly about psychic powers even though it has cute girls doing cute things moments.

The second story starts setting up the sisters arc in quite a unexpected way. It seems that people have been finding cash cards all over Academy City. After a bit of treasure hunting Misaka find the source of the cards and witnesses a rather theatrical fight. But this seemingly unrelated story turn to be about the Level 6 Shift experiment in the last few seconds.

I am interested to see how this all blends together. The problem with stories like this is that gaiden tales have to walk a find line between being interesting and making us wonder why we never knew about any of this in the first place. It is clear from the opening that the rest of the Railgun gang, some characters from ITEM, and Shokuhou Misaki are clearly involved in the story. While there was always a little more hinted at going on with Misaka during the Sister Arc this seems like more than some minor scenes. Thankfully they are not just showing us the same story with some minor additions but it could lead to some odd  plot holes if they are not careful.

Then again “everyone” hates trash like A Certain Magical Index so who really cares outside of the Japanese audience? I mean other than me who looks forward to the next episode.

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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Had to Share This Message to Adolf Panel Sequence

narutaki I guess spoilers? This happens fairly early and isn’t too difficult to deduce.

Osamu Tezuka’s story of WWII and three men sharing the first name Adolf is a taut thriller.

These panels feature German officer Mr. Kaufman going to bed with his wife which morphs into his memory of murdering a young geisha. I don’t really have that much to say beyond: OMG so good. Mr. Kaufman isn’t a very sympathetic character but these panels do a lot to show how his actions haunt everything he does.

Ongoing Investigations: Case #204

Message to Adolf (Pt. 1) is one of those titles I’ve been wanting to read for years, having only heard of it by reputation from early English releases. This another one of those thick Osamu Tezuka titles that look really impressive on the shelf.

It takes place pre- and during WWII as many lives converge in Germany and Japan because of a secret about Hitler that could bring down the Nazis. Reporter Toge’s brother is murdered by the Nazis in Germany but not before sending his former teacher in Japan some important papers. This is the catalyst for Toge’s journey from being tortured by the SS to being blacklisted to a deadly showdown on a small Japanese island. Simultaneously  two young German boys named Adolf growing up in Japan become friends despite their parents objections. They both learn the secret of Hitler but vow to stay silent. One is sent back to Germany to join the Hitler Youth while the other stays in Japan with his Jewish community. Those we haven’t seen a lot of these two yet, this are certainly being set-up for tragedy.

It has quite a thriller vibe to it, at points I was feeling an Alfred Hitcock influence, too. It also gets progressively depressing with it ending in a very dark place. After reading this I had to then go watch a movie mocking Nazis instead.

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I see that Blast of Tempest is really divided into 2 distinct parts now that I am 19 episodes into the series. The first part is the rescue Hakaze arc and that is a somewhat pyrrhic victory as they get Hakaze off the island she is stranded on but they majorly change the world in the process. The second arc is the Mage of Exodus story where they deal with the fall out from the first part.

Overall the first part is half buddy adventure film mixed with a bit of a thriller. Mahiro and Yoshino are on the run while people die around them in their search to learn who killed one girl, kidnapped another, and also are orchestrating a sinister series of events all over the world. I know that Narutaki and I really enjoyed the battle of wits at the end between Yoshino and Samon which really capped off things nicely. Samon’s slow degradation as his plans crumble like he was in Death Note but Samon was Matsuda while Yoshino was L.

After that incident the whole show changes when the Tree Of Genesis gains the upper hand and basically becomes an autonomous force of martial law. And so the series gets much calmer as there is not the same rush to stop the end of the world and save Hakaze. It is a much more measured look into what led up to the existence of these godlike trees, who is the true chosen Mage of Exodus, and who killed Aika, a mystery that seems to be at the center of all of this.

The change in tone is pretty bold. I wonder how many people dropped the series just because the shift was so radical. The tempo really slows down and the biggest concern is about people showing up on time for meeting more than who will live and who will die. It does not help that the newly introduced Megumu is a loser even though he is the lesser Mage of Exodus. Although Megumu’s coolest moment will probably being the only person to figure out on his own that Yoshino was dating Aika.

My only question is when are they going to show us the Tree of Lamentations or Deuteronomy.

But in all actuality I am really just waiting to see in we are right and Junichirou is the true chosen Mage of Exodus. I just don’t trust that guy.

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