All Points Bulletin: Berserk Guacamole

If you have any suggestions for what to highlight on an APB drop us a line via email or Twitter.

narutaki_icon_4040 Kate’s picks:

  • McMario
    The ultimate team-up: McDonald’s putting Mario toys in Happy Meals.
  • Final Fantasy: Disney Damsels
    Nice looking roster, I think we need a Final Fantasy Tactics game with Disney characters, don’t you?
  • Help the Creator of Fresh Guacamole
    I hope you’ve seen this Oscar-nominated short, it not check it out now! The creator is hoping to fund his next film through their online store. The next short will also feature creative food!

hisui_icon_4040 Alain’s picks:

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narutaki_icon_4040 Because I laughed.

Ongoing Investigations: Case #184

I finally caught up with Motorcity (2-12) not that I had fallen too far behind, but it is nice to be current. Though there is no word when the next episode is due out yet. This show has really gotten some traction as the later episodes focus on individual characters and developing parts of the world.

From the Duke of Detroit to mutant terrorists to crime bosses, Motorcity has its share of seedy characters. This really brings flavor to the world under Deluxe and thematically works to highlight Deluxe’s true price for clean, streamlined perfection. And in the world of Deluxe the force of its army and machines against The Burners and Motorcity is steadily increasing.

The last aired episode was a stand out as we learned about Dutch’s family who still live in Deluxe. And in a lot of ways the series went out of its way to make me not really think about who the Burners were related to and how they were affected by what’s going on. Up until this point, not much has been said about people’s home lives with the exception of Julie.

Speaking of. I definitely request more Julie! She has the greatest conflict of the series but we just don’t see her enough.

There is a special quality to a one book manga. Sometimes a story needs more room to breath than a one shot but is not suited for a long 10+ books run. Romantic stories can really suffer because of this. There is enough meat to their story as to need some time to for a relationship to develop but if the series goes on for too long you start having to add in unnecessary complications just to keep thing interesting while delaying the inevitable conclusion. The pointless rival character (or characters), the silly misunderstanding, or the unnecessary delayed confession can all extend a story by several books but can frustrate the reader at the same time. If you have a strong tent pole beside the romantic conflict you can extend a story with far less effort but then the romance becomes a background element. But being one book long sometimes gives you exactly what you want without leaving you feeling frustrated.

While Sakuran is hardly focused on romance it does have a story that I think is perfectly suited to being one book. There is some romance in the book. In fact the whole climax is centered around it. But it is more of an accent on the story than the raison d’être. I think that Moyoco Anno was wise to tell the story she wants to tell in one go. Sakuran mainly focuses on the fact that Kiyoha’s life utterly stinks. She can’t escape the life of being a courtesan. Her life is better than being a simple prostitute but in the end it is just that she is in a slightly nicer prison cell. No matter how she rises within her little world she can never really break free.

A single chapter does not fully show her struggle. You really need to see her trials as she rises in the ranks. You need to see that she keeps rising in her little world but her problems just change but never go away. She is always property and she is always chained to her destiny. But I think that beyond maybe another book or two the story would feel claustrophobic and mostly just misery porn. It is not really a story that can be episodic like say Bartender. Although if someone wants to write a story about a prostitute who always finds the key to their client’s problems with some unusual sexual act I assure you there would be an audience for such a title. You could also focus on the politics of the brothel but it would have really changed the tone of the story. It was just the right length for the story that was told.

I will say that on of Moyoco Anno’s real skills is letting characters shine despite adversity. While Hiroko Matsukata’s life in Hataraki Man is infinitely better than Kiyoha’s they are both women who are brilliant as they rise to a challenge. They both have a unique beauty as they defy their position. They both try to find happiness in places that where it can be hard to see. But obviously Kiyoha’s battle is a much more desperate one. And on some levels it makes it more beautiful if somewhat depressing at the same timel. She is someone who could have been so much if she was born in different circumstances.

I was also impressed with the delicate use of paradox. Being a courtesan she is an extremely glamorous prostitute but in the end she is still just a prostitute. Now matter how fancy her dress or elegant her manner she is still beaten if she steps out of line. She still has no real freedom. Also she is in a sexual and sensual profession but there is nothing sensual about it. All the sex is technical. A means to an end. A show and a game. All the intimacy is a deception and everyone involved knows it but props up a lie.

Overall this is a great mature story with some good bang for your buck. If you want a short series to read in one go it is something to check out. One and done. Just don’t read this anywhere where you would have people looking over your shoulder that you don’t know too well. When the book is graphic is unabashedly frank. But if you are in a safe space it is a strong tale for adults.

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 #165

My roommate bought the hideously expensive Fate/Zero Season 1 box set. For this I am very grateful as there is no way I could afford that. So we sat down to watch the special features the first of which is the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room. I was super excited because these were written by Kinoko Nasu himself just for the box set.

We were in for a rude awakening when we discovered that the $369.98 box set did not bother to sub the Consultation Room episodes. That was certainly aggravating. But eventually we were able to find some subs of the skits but those REALLY should have been included for the price the set went for.

That bit of anger aside the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room is a pleasant little distraction along the lines of the science lessons from Gunbuster. Irisviel and her amnesiac student Zeccchan (who clever people just might recognize as a younger version of someone they know) go over little details about the Holy Grail War that fill in details that might not have been clear in the TV series proper as well as expand on some ideas only hinted at in the show. The Consultation Room proper only starts in the third episode were they talk to Assassin and get a bit of back story on him while they “help” him with his psychological issues.

The part where the two consultants circle around Assassin like in the infamous scene where Risei and Tokiomi stroll in a circle around Kirei was priceless.

The end of the third episode clearly indicated that the next box set would have more consultation sessions with the Servants to die in the next half as well.

Overall it was a fun trio of omake episodes. It was really only for the hardcore fan who wants all the little details but that is why you put episodes like this on the collectors edition box sets. Still Irisviel is filled with a warm charming grace so the more we see of her the better. I cannot wait to step into the consultation room again. It is just a shame that I had to go to less than legitimate means to experience that fun.

The eagerly awaited second season of Game of Thrones has finally started.

The first episode starts with a seemingly huge recap of the previous events proving just how much happened in ten episodes. Our story restarts closely to the end of the last, everyone reeling from upsets in power and the arrivals of a handful of self-proclaimed kings. The introductions of Stannis, Davos, and Melisandre The Red Witch are welcome. But I find the actress of Melisandre is not what I pictured at all and she doesn’t exude the intensity of the character.

With new characters also came new pieces of the opening map which is brilliant every single time you watch.

The first episode is brief in showing some of the most interesting pieces of the story, sadly, like Jon on the Wall, Arya traveling the road, and Daenerys seeking out for land. There is plenty of Tyrion though which is nothing to be sad about.

The story starts to change in episode two, I can really see a lot of decisions being made to make the epic more linear for ease being brought in. The second episode was full of surprises thanks to it. Sansa hasn’t appeared much which is a blessing since she spends most of this book being beaten down. They also seemed to have reined in Arya a bit on her violent tendencies, not sure how I feel about that.

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