Ongoing Investigations: Case #119

The last episode Gundam Unicorn left us with not so much a cliff hanger as a short pause before the crescendo that is the battle that opens up The Ghost of Laplace. While we get some conversation and character moments this episode is mostly a series of battles. Thankfully these battles are story relevant as opposed to lovely but time-wasting mecha porn filler. The battles are as engaging as they have been in the past although we don’t get much action out of Full Frontal. He mainly seems to be doing the Char the Manipulator not Char the Action Rival shtick this episode. We learn quite a bit about Marida Cruz and how she ties into previous Gundam material. We also get some mandatory Newtype nudity and trippyness as is a UC Gundam tradition. I did realize at the end of the episode that my Snarky Reductionist Theater title for the show would be Mobile Suit Gundam: National Treasure. It seems the main plot shall be Banagher Links pretending to be a calm version of Nicolas Cage as he goes around the historical sites of the Gundam universe solving puzzles that will unlock Laplace’s Box as he is chased by agents of various secret societies.  The end of this episode will seem VERY familiar to anyone who has seen a good deal of Universal Century Gundam but it continues the tradition of getting the audience excited for the next episode of Unicorn which is important in an OVA series like this.

I watched the short animation Out of Sight from Taiwan by recommendation from Twitter. It features a little girl whose bag is stolen, her dog then chases down the thief leaving the girl on her own searching the city for him. This is a brilliant piece of work incorporating all five senses in order bring the world to life. The design is stand-out while the little girl wanders the city as it comes in and out of focus. Beautiful, sweet, excellent.
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Ongoing Investigations: Case #118

I finally finished up Part 1 of Saint Seiya: Lost Canvas thanks to Crunchyroll. The destined for tragedy friendship between Tenma, Alone, and Sasha and the fate of not just the world of Gods but also man maintains its level of melodrama very well. And the violence and battles that the series is so well known for is here at an enjoyable rate. It doesn’t come off like Saint Seiya for the modern viewer, it is just another line in the Saint Seiya world which is fine by me. However, this doesn’t make it very new viewer friendly as the series is filled with the familiar faces of the Gold Saints with little explanation. New additions though get a good amount of screen time like the amusing Yato, totally cool Yuzuriha, and of course head strong Tenma. These three are a lot of fun as a team, though nearing the later half of the series we don’t see them as much. However, the final episode promises excellent moments to come. Part 1 ends at a turning point, but by no means has any closure. I’m looking forward to Part 2 which has recently started up.

One of the main purposes of Ongoing Investigations is to talk about things that might not warrant a whole article but show what Narutaki and I read and watch outside the articles we write. It is also where we talk about things we utterly hate. And so I talk about Vampire Cheerleaders which has to be one of the worst thing I have read in recent memory. It is actually two stories in one with the first part being the titular Vampire Cheerleaders who are a squad of catty blood sucking mean girls who take a shy goody two-shoes girl and turn her into an undead ho to fill a hole in their squad. For an OEL manga it is remarkably like its Japanese counterparts in the sad fact that it is one of those racy comedies that it is smutty enough that it feels it does not need a good plot but never quite racy enough to be good as pornography. So you are inundated with cheap fan service strung together with lame jokes that never goes all the way. One of the characters actually uses the phrase “riding the meal missile to Mars” as a euphemism for losing your virginity. Theoretically none of this has to be this bad. I always thought that Exploitation Now did this formula right but I found every one of the jokes in Vampire Cheerleaders fell flat due to annoying characters and tepid delivery. After the main feature and the threat of a sequel there is the bonus story called the Paranormal Mystery Squad. While this was not as bad as Vampire Cheerleaders it is still light years away from good. The Paranormal Mystery Squad starts of as all girl squad mostly so they can be the PMS girls which is a joke I thankfully missed at first but the comic helpfully beat me over the head with. The PMS is a monster slaying service that is hounded by a PETA analog (cleverly named PETM) with a nerdy overseer who wants them to capture monsters alive. One of the girls fails to heed the words of Friedrich Nietzsche and winds up becoming a werewolf. This causes conflict in the group and leads to the stories’ oh so charming title that I will not torture you with besides saying it is quite awful. In fact the whole thing is quite awful. The art in Paranormal Mystery Squad was slightly more detailed but the character designs were less attractive. It is very obviously try to sell itself as manga as it reads right to left despite its American origin. But in the end it does not really matter if it is a bad manga or a bad comic; all you have to know is that it is just bad.

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Secret Santa 2010 Project Reveal

And now the part you have all been waiting for. The Secret Santas are revealed, the ancient conspiracy is foiled, and the destined couple finally consummate their relationship. This is the master list of all the participants, what they reviewed, and who gave them their recommendations. I know that several people are not going to finish on time because of various mishaps during the holiday season. So I will do my best to update this list at least once a day as reviews come in. Hopefully everyone watched something a bit unexpected and maybe learned something new about the range and scope of anime. Other than that Happy Holidays and I wish you and yours the best of luck in the upcoming year.