S.W.A.T. Reviews: Winter 2014 Pt. 1

The premise of these reviews is simple: watch the first episode of a series and then immediately sit down to record a review mini-podcast. The reviews are five- to ten-minutes long and entirely off the cuff. As always we only review new shows (so no sequels or continuations) and try to avoid anything that just looks outright awful. These are the first batch from the new season:

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #192

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narutaki As I creep closer to the end of Kekkaishi, I’m comforted by Yellow Tanabe having another work out that I can jump into. Laughter in the End of the World (chs.1-2) is another great excuse for her to draw monsters.

I’m already impressed that out lead (he has no name yet) is different from Yoshimori of Kekkaishi, his attitude is more subdued yet confident and he is at a point further along in his life path. He carries a distinct mark on his cheek which people believe makes him a demon, but none of that is at all clear yet. Instead we know he hunts demons and that is what he is up to in these first two chapters.

We also get a flashback through a priest who lived through The Afternoon of Darkness which lead to the appearance of the White Demon and all demons thereafter. The White Demon was seriously freaky and gave me the chills, I can tell the horror bend of this series will be a bit stronger.

The first fight only begins in the last couple of pages of the second chapter so we’ll have to wait to see how that plays out. I admit I’m really curious about it and our leads powers.

Good start, looking forward to more!

We here at the Reverse Thieves have been pretty big advocates of Kekkaishi since we learned about the series back at Otakon 2007.  So when it was announced that Yellow Tanabe started her newest series we were both pretty excited. The series is called Laughter in The End of The World and while it is clearly very different from Kekkaishi you can see seeds of the series in her previous work. But if you are expecting a lighthearted romantic adventure this might not be for you.

Twenty five years ago an almost incomprehensible creature, called the White Demon (who is not Amuro Ray), devoured 70% of the world’s population and was only stopped after a 7 day long battle with the greatest holy magicians. Since then certain people have been marked with “the mouth of the demon.” Those people become immortals shunned for their connection to the monster. The main character is one of these cursed immortals, who along with his sister, specializes in killing his own kind.

While parts of Kekkaishi were mainly fairly straight shonen action the series did dip into the macabre with storylines like Heisuke Matsudo and Byaku. While Laughter in The End of The World is still distinctly in the shonen mold it seems to be tapping into the darker slightly more seinen parts of the pool. In a way that might position it to be a possible hit outside of Japan. Series that feel older but are rooted in the shonen mold have a better chance of gaining an audience in English. In fact if it were not running in Shonen Sunday I would assume it would have a distinct chance of becoming popular or at least gaining a strong following.

The story distinctly has a Book of Revelation feeling to it all. The White Demon seems to be based somewhat on the beast from the sea and the church in this world has distinctly Christian feel. But at the same time the world seems to have a very gray morality. The first immortal that the unnamed protagonist is hunting seems to have murdered several people. But it seems to come after repeated attempts of the villagers to kill him in various gruesome manners. So there are serious sins on both sides of the equation.

The main character himself is still a bit of an enigma much like the world itself. He comes off sort of cocky with a bit of a dry humor to him. But he seems to have the experience to back up that attitude. The real test will be when he throws down with his fellow immortal. Yoshimori has such an unusual fighting style so I hope to see something similar here.

I’m glad to Yellow Tanabe staring off on the right foot. I think Laughter in The End of The World has a good deal of potential so I look forward to the story fulfilling it.

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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