The Speakeasy #074: Neon Genesis Detectives, Orphan Black, Wonderfest, Avatar the Last Airbender

Ongoing Investigations: Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary (vol. 1) by Takumi Yoshimura, Orphan Black by BBC America, K-ON! College (vol. 1) by kakifly, Avatar the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow (vols. 1-2) by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru, Hayate the Combat Butler (ch. 517) by Kenjiro Hata.

Food for Thought: Which Character From Last Year Needs a Cool Figure?

Topics: Wonderfest, YALSA 2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Rumiko Takahashi Nominated for Eisner Hall of Fame, Ghibli’s Isao Takahata to Receive Annie Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Osomatsu Coverage Leads to Pash! Magazine’s Highest Ever 1st Printing, Dagashi Kashi Double Circulation, Funimation Making Free-to-Play Games.


And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Too Cool for School

  • 1 oz coconut rum
  • 1/2 oz mango schnapps
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
  • 2 oz orange-pineapple juice

Serve ingredients above in a cocktail glass, shake beforehand. Or double amounts and serve in a tall glass.



Ongoing Investigations: Case #223

hisui_icon_4040 Recently the Binbougami ga! manga came to an end. It was just a series we randomly decided to watch during the SWAT reviews on the off-chance it might be enjoyable. But since then it has become a staple of my comedy manga diet along with Hayate and Yamada and the 7 Witches. But it seems just as quickly as I found the series I discovered it was coming to an end. Overall 15 volumes is hardly a series cut short. But when you enjoy something like this it seems to come and go in the blink of an eye.

But in the end that might be for the best. 15 volumes distinctly lets the plot play out nicely with some mystery involving why Sakura has all the fortune energy she does. The pace let each story arc have a big reveal towards slowly but  surely building up Ikari and Kana’s story and then how it fits in the present. When Ikari is finally revealed he does not seem to be teased for too long but at the same time he does not just pop up out of nowhere.

The final storyline is fairly conclusive. All the major plot lines are tied up strongly while still leaving some things moving in the background. I was a little surprised that the ending had a distinct bittersweet quality to it but it is a wonderful send off to Sakura and Momiji’s awkward but delightful friendship. It was probably the best way for those characters to say goodbye to each other.

It is interesting that the story did become a bit of a fighting series by the end. When Ranmaru and Nadeshiko are really integrated into the storyline they tended to get an opponents they needed to fight at the end of every major story arc.  That really started with the Tanpopo story arc but in many ways the Tanpopo arc is not just a major turning point it is the official start of the middle of the manga.

I still think chapter 23, the photo booth story, was my favorite chapter. It was a simple one chapter story that perfectly encapsulates the main characters personalities and what makes them great.

If anything Sakura’s mother probably gets glossed over the most. Her father gets a whole storyline devoted to him so I assumed the same would happen for Sakura’s mother. But the closer to the end of the series I got the more I realized it was just not coming. Sakura’s mother clearly appears at the end of the manga but overall she just never got a chance to be in the series.

Just an odd observation.

Man. Binbougami ga! was a really fun ride. Sadly when the anime ended they never even got up to the point where Nadeshiko formally became a cast member and was not just some odd rich ninja girl who appeared in side segments. I really hope that now that the series is over they will go back and animate the rest of the series. Some of the later stories are just begging to be adapted. Also nothing else I am sure that Narutaki wants this and this. And we can all agree that is a good thing.


narutaki_icon_4040 Limit vols. 4-5 made me say both “AHA! I knew it!” and “OHO! I didn’t think it happened that way!”

The intensity really ratcheted up once one of the survivors died because everyone was already on edge and suspicious. The added new death just tore the already precarious truce apart. I of course enjoyed the added mystery element of this part of the story as well.

The next volume is the last. I’m very curious what kind of ending Limit will give us, will it get a tragedy or will rays of hope pierce through the gloom?

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 #213

As a Type-Moon fan there are a lot of major parts of the company’s works that are relatively easy to find. All of the anime can be found with only minor difficulty (and a good deal of it legally), the visual novels are at least partially translated, and most of the manga has at least a few chapters available in English. But there are still a few rare gems for the truly hard-core. One of them I finally found are some translations of some of Takashi Takeuchi’s old Valkyrie Profile doujinshi Valkyria.

Valkyria, Valkyria 2, and Valkyria NEAV SAGA each focus on a different Valkyrie who follows around a chosen hero in hopes that they might be able to capture their soul to make them their Einherjar before they die. All the heroes are slightly (and often rightfully) worried that their Valkyrie might be tempted to kill them to make sure they can properly capture their soul as opposed to just waiting for them to die normally.

The Valkyrie series is interesting to see for a variety of reasons. The first is that the series is a clear look at Takeuchi’s art style before Tsukihime. While his art style has clearly evolved from this, to this, to this you do not get a full understanding of his journey as an artist until you view his even earlier work. When you realize that Ciel was heavily based on Clobette from Valkyria 2 it is easy to see a straight line of progress.

It is also one of the few times you get to see Takeuchi do his own story and artwork in a manga format. That means you see the stories that Takeuchi would tell without working together with Nasu as well as how he lays out panels when his art is not just character designs and mostly static images in a visual novel. It does make me wonder what a long running manga series from Takeuchi would look like. It also might provide some good clues into what parts of Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night are Nasu’s and which parts are strongly Takeuchi influenced.

The stories themselves have a distinctly short format. But considering these were sold at Comiket it then makes perfect sense. You have to quickly tell your story to an audience that you may never see again. Therefore all the stories are very self-contained even when they have a slightly bit of a shared story. On the other hand there is an assumption that you have at least a passing familiarity with Valkyrie Profile. But that is a common conceit in a good deal of doujinshi.

I’m not going to pretend this is the greatest work out of what would go on to be half of Type-Moon. The stories are charming but ultimately very light stories. It was nice on the other hand to see the humble beginnings of Bamboo Broom and think about how that would eventually become the larger machine it is today.


 I was sent a review copy of the self-published e-book book An Otaku Abroad which is a travel guide for first timers heading to Japan.

There is a great overview in this book from deciding when and how to travel all the way to visiting temples. And a whole section is dedicated to studying abroad which I thought was a very thoughtful piece and a really common way a lot of young people get to Japan, too. This was the author’s ticket to Japan so she had a lot to say on the subject.

Since this book is written by an individual there were some sections that she didn’t have as much advice for such as flying domestically within in Japan. While she did research the subjects she was less familiar with, it might be helpful to have another contributor or two to add to these portions to round things out.

Since it is a digital book, one of the cool things is having links right in the text that can take you to handy supplemental sites. I learned of a few places and added them to my bookmarks for my mythical trip to Japan someday.

Even though the title says otaku, the guide doesn’t really focus on anime/manga related things which I found a little disappointing. There are a few mentions throughout the locations section and a very nice Top Ten Anime Sites list at the end. I’d like to see the anime/manga part of the guide bulked up to really give it that special hook.

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