Ongoing Investigations: Case #022

For the 40th anniversary of Shonen Jump they released three new special anime episodes on their website subtitled in English. Romance Dawn was the One Piece addition to the line up. Romance Dawn is the name of one of several prototype manga that would influence One Piece. This anime take the version with Silk instead and modifies it to be a part of the current One Piece continuum. Luffy gets separated from the rest of the crew and has to save a village from the pirate Crescent-Moon Galley. It was an enjoyable little filler story. While not amazing, it is an effective little wink to any big fans of the series which I think all of these special episodes are supposed to be. If you already knew that Eiichiro Oda made three separate prototype manga named Romance Dawn then you should have already watched this if you already haven’t.

Read Monkey High! volumes 2 and 3 and it continues to be a sweet romantic comedy that doesn’t dwell on minor miscommunications. The second book has an epically long chapter that the manga-ka talks about at the end, apparently it was for a special issue. The kids participate in a quiz show to much laughter and antics but we also saw a little more of Haruna’s home life and her strained relationship with her father. Also in the second volume there is some hilarious commentary at the end by the manga-ka depicting her reactions to the many postcards she receives. She also goes on to say that she can’t believe girls think Masaru (the main love interest) is cute. Volume 3 deals with the ever popular Valentine’s Day and as usual with this series it results in minor drama and much laughter. Both these volumes have Haruna attempting to communicate that she likes Masaru as much as he likes her amidst their ever meddling classmates. I am looking forward to the next volume, it always puts me in a good mood!

Cobra The Animation: The Psychogun is over the top, pulp, science fiction fun. Cobra is one of those so-silly-it-is-good shows that thankfully never takes itself seriously. Cobra is part bounty hunter, part space Lupin, and part Inspector Gadget. After Cobra wastes three space pirates in the intro he decides to dress as a priest to steal some diamonds. During his flawless heist, pirates attack the museum he is robbing and that means it’s Psychogun time. He eventually saves the sexy archaeologist the pirates are after. He follows her to Mars partially to hit on her and partially to kill more space pirates. Seems fine enough but it’s all the details that are crazy. The archaeologist Dr. Utopia More I like to call Dr. Space Thong. Every woman in the series is dressed in either a bikini or skin tight spandex. That is height of women’s fashion in the future. There is also the pirate commander who is a sarcophagus with arms and legs, flying skeleton robots, and a super stereotypical Mexican space pirate with mustache, sombrero, and bandoleer. Cobra himself has a sexy female android, about a dozen gimmick cigars, and his uberhax Psychogun that puts Megaman’s blaster to shame. Oh and Cobra not only tosses women around he uses Newton’s law of universal gravitation as a pick up line. Good times. I can’t wait for the next one.

I always wait anxiously for the next book of Kekkaishi, so I was very happy to finally get volume 15. At the end of the last volume we saw a small girl and were unsure of her powers. In this book she proves to have a totally cool ability to make friends with inanimate objects and specifically rope in the story. She is then able to have it do things for her and even use it as a weapon. She totally needs to take the place of lame Sen. Along with her, enter some cool villains with the power to paint boxes and make them into walls, portals, etc. We also meet the librarian for the Urukai, lots of interesting characters showing up recently. We also see characters fight that we hadn’t had a chance to yet. In addition to all of that, Yoshimori starts to pull more power into his zekkai and Tokine starts developing more of her ability to manipulate space. They are growing and the questions about Karasumori are coming to surface as well.

The Bleach: SOULs Character Book is a very pretty book. The first part is some very nice colored art and stickers. The second part is detailed character write-ups of just about everyone, locations, items, and concepts in Bleach up to the end of the Soul Society arc with a preview of the Hecto Mundo Arc. There is also an interview with Tite Kubo and Masakazu Morita who plays Ichigo. We then have an original prelude comic and the prototype comic for Bleach. I was amused that Ichigo and Orhime had crushes on each other in the original draft of Bleach. It also has palm sized Rukia for most of the story which is either super silly or super awesome depending on who you ask.

My recent obsession with the Vocaloid phenomenon has sent me to many a great fan artist. I like this person’s overall style and they happened to do a few pictures of the series as well. So this is the pic of the week:


Ongoing Investigations: Case #015

Samurai Deeper Kyo 30 was very Samurai Deeper Kyo. We got some villains named after playing cards thrown at us. I keep waiting for a group of villains named after popular fast food chains. Though we at least get some good back story on Hotaru finally. And with the return of Kyoshiro and the discovery of Kyo’s body we may just be entering the final arc of this series. I am very grateful.

GTO: The Early Years 7 and 8 are entertaining as always. I sort of miss the raunchy buddy comedy of the earlier chapters. The sex comedy parts occasionally appear from time to time to break up the action but it has mostly turned into a Bosozoku fighting manga. I had been waiting see the story of the original Midnight Angel Masaki who is so important in the finale of GTO. Without reading Shonan Junai Gumi it seems sort of random for this character to suddenly be mentioned out of nowhere and then be so important to Onizuka. Now we finally get to see who he was and how he effected Onizuka’s life. This makes his appearance in GTO a cool little nod to those who have been reading Tohru Fujisawa’s works since the beginning. Also man, oh, man could fujoshi go to town on this series if they wanted to (and possibly did). The amount of unintentional homoerotic subtext you could read into the predominately male cast interactions are hysterical if you think about it.

Ah, my shojo love is returning! I mentioned a few weeks ago I was in a bit of a shojo slump but thanks to Mixed Vegetables and now Monkey High! I feel my spirit reawakening! Monkey High! is a very funny and sweet romantic comedy about an unexpected relationship. Haruna has just transferred schools and thinks all the kids at her new school are a bunch of monkeys; they are rather loud and wild. And the ring leaders are best friend duo Atsu (tall, handsome, charming) and Masaru (short, cute, goofy). Now you are probably thinking, “Oh I know where this is going.” But you are wrong! She totally starts crushing on silly Masaru and essentially ignoring Atsu’s antics and advances. Not only that but they start dating before the end of book one. And we are off on a ride of fun, non-angsty, new love. The setting is very typical but the characters are well written and charming. I was also quite relieved to see the problems that crop up in shojo manga, like misunderstandings, not linger on for too long. They were put out there, explored, and resolved in a easy manner. Masaru is hard not to love, he remind me a bit of Otani from Love*Com, but not such a curmudgeon about his height. I’m am excited to pick up the next book in this series.

I read Del Rey’s Phoenix Wright: Official Casebook volume 1 manga. It is not the proper Phoenix Wright manga but a doujinshi anthology much like Galaxy Angel Party. So it is gag stories rather than new cases which I am sure is a disappointment to some people but just fine by me. I always like to see different artists takes on established characters. Plus the stories are short so if you don’t like someone’s art style or interpretation you are on to the next before you know it. I was overall happy and nothing was eye or brain meltingly bad. It is no substitute for a new game but it is certainly not a bad supplement while you wait. Also I am slightly surprised that there was not one appearance of Ema Skye. I wonder if this was produced before she was added as a character in the series. I am also curious if Del Rey ever plans to get the main Phoenix Wright manga. I assume they are waiting to see how well this does before they fork over the cash for the main series.

Finally got around to watching the first five episodes Code Geass and really enjoyed it. It has a great and diverse cast. So much so that I can’t dislike any of them, atleast not yet, and certainly can’t pick a favorite. Lelouch’s descriptions didn’t do him justice, I needed to experience this character. The dichotomy of his personalities is fascinating and at this point he hasn’t killed any civilians. The opposite side of the coin, Suzaku, is an equally good study of the differences in the human condition. They really are after the same things but are going about them in completely different ways. So far I am impressed.

I see why some people draw comparisons between Code Geass and Death Note but it is mostly looking at apples and oranges. They have more that is different about them than in common. It does suffer the Sunrise robot show curse of taking several episodes to get up to speed. I know everyone we were watching with was really only sold on the show after episode three. I feel everyone should give Code Geass a shot to shine or fail on it’s own merits and flaws. I can’t say that I have picked the Lelouch or the Suzaku camp as of yet if I even wind up picking either. If I had to pick anyone to root for it would be Euphemia li Britannia, if for nothing else my predisposition to support girls with pink hair. I did want to watch Gundam Seed just to see what was up with Lacus and if she was cool or not. Euphemia seems like a cool character but she was hardly in it enough for me to make a solid choice.