Ongoing Investigations: Case #060

I received a copy of Oh! My Brother 1, one of the latest series coming from CMX, and by the same manga-ka as their other recent release, The Name of the Flower. This short two book series revolves around Masago who is rather average in all things and her brother Shiro who is rather extraordinary in all things. When Shiro loses his life saving Masago from a speeding truck, he doesn’t actually go away. In fact, his spirit gets implanted in Masago so he can help her and take care of some unfinished business on Earth. Masago is tied between blaming herself, feeling inferior to her brother, and helping him because she loved him so much. And she is in love with his best friend. Sure that sounds complicated but the story is rather tame, it’s unclear whether or not Masago will really change or grow, in this first book she doesn’t seem to. The story is not surprisingly, rather silly and highly dramatic at times but never seems to do either extremely well. With this premise I expected the comedy to be turned up much higher. I found this better than The Name of the Flower but on the whole it is just a serviceable little series. 

I am very curious to see what my friends that started Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 at the same time I did have to say about the series as a whole. It was an excellent show with a unique premise. By taking such a tremendous but mundane event as a major earthquake you get all the power and excitement of a fantastical plot but with all the weight of story feeling of reality. The major divide in people’s feelings will come with the fact that each third of the series has a different feel. The last third will either make some viewers claim it as one of their favorite series of the year or it will make them walk away feeling very disappointed or even betrayed. It is an ending that has to be experienced fresh for maximum impact. Therefore I suggest you avoid spoilers for this show until you finish it and then let the actuality wash over you. No matter how you feel about the ending you can not deny that it made you feel something. Continue reading

Ongoing Investigations: Case #031

I finished the last few Patlabor DVDs and so things just sort of end. Overall it was really enjoyable but isn’t a show for everyone. It has all the benefits and flaws of being a realistic robot show or at least as realistic as you can be in a show with building high police robots. It all depends on if you need your robots to be firing GETTER BEAM and HEARTBREAKER! I was a little surprised when Kanuka Clancy’s six month training was over she really went back to the U.S. She pops up again time to time but not excessively. I liked the writing of the show which is usually pretty smart but not going out of it’s way to be anything more than a procedural cop series.  The comedy episodes were pretty funny especially the episodes where they have to explore the sewers and where one of the mechanics transfers to the American division. I also found the inclusion of one or two supernatural episodes really odd considering the rest of the series is played totally realistic. They slowly built up the two overarching story lines about the Griffin and the Babylon Project well. Like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex they will have a storyline episode in between regular episodes. I wished they had wrapped them up in the TV show proper and not the OAVs which I don’t currently own. Did any of our readers read the original manga? Is it worth reading for 22 books? How much does it differ from the TV? Does it complete things better than the OAVs?

I finally bought Rocket Girls, I have been contemplating it for a while. I have watched the first half of the show so far (six episodes) and couldn’t be happier! It is really a delightful little show with a good blend of comedy, space, and friendship. At one point I felt Yukari was getting annoyingly demanding but they reigned her in pretty quickly. It is great to see the two girls have their strengths and help one another on the mission. They have yet to really introduce the third girl, although we did glimpse her in the beginning. Sure the premise of taking high school girls and training them to be astronauts is out there, but who cares! It is fun. And I haven’t found the show to be fetishy. The animation is rather nicely done. Oh and it also has a great opening!

Tentai Senshi Sunred is still funny is it’s dry wit even on episode 13. The fact that Vamp is a considerably more likable and decent guy than Sunred is a delightful little detail. I also have been enjoying the other branch leader of Florsheim who is a porn fiend. The evil animal force is also usually really good whenever they show up. I have to say the odd mixture of the real wold and the sentai world is in the right proportions to make even very mundane things quite funny. I am curious if anyone who reads the blog has tried out any of Vamp’s recipes. They are rather simple so I might try one myself.

Read the conclusion to The Girl Who Ran Through Time manga, which was only 2 books long. It was certainly much different than her niece’s story in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. This is a great thing since it makes both piece worth learning about, however the shortness of the manga really left some questions. Especially since the other time mover in the books has very different motives for his actions. I also didn’t find the semi-love-triangle in the manga as engaging as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’s. A good read but left me wanting more, like the actual novel. Also made me want to watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time again but that feeling probably would have manifested anyway.

I saw Nana Mizuki’s Live Fighter on Blue-Ray. It was a two day concert and the first day was the Blue concert and the second day was the Red concert. They both had similar song selections with a few differences on each day as well as different costumes. Nana Mizuki is definitely a cute woman with an attractive singing voice. I have to say that Japanese concerts can be extremely flashy with a good amount of production value. Nana flies through the air during her first song and is suspended in the air on a garden seat in the middle of the concert. In fact there is almost always something going on. There is a rock battle in the middle of the concert, a Blue Man Group style performance, and children acting as cheerleaders during one song. She also has a stage set up to walk into the crowd and perform. I liked her main Red outfit because her Blue one was this hideous blue and white sailor getup. There was also some behind the scene footage that would have meant much more to me if I understood Japanese. The concert didn’t turn me into a Ota-gei but I enjoyed it. I would like to thank Moy for letting me come over to his house and see the concert on his totally sweet set up. He is going to be running a contest so you can win the DVDs some time in the future so that is worth looking into.

I was initially attracted to Love Round!! because of the cute cover and back color artwork. Hinako Takanaga has a nice style that translates well from her color pieces to her line art. This BL story seems less typical that what I have encountered so far. Our two boys, Kubo and Kaoru, run into each other on the street. Kaoru knocks Kubo, who is training to be a boxer, out with one punch after he makes an off hand remark. Kubo eventually convinces Kaoru to join the same boxing gym as him, and thus love begins to blossom. Kaoru may have a pretty face but he is feisty and has a short temper thanks to constantly being teased for his looks. Kubo is hilariously blunt and naive despite being a powerhouse boxer. Their relationship is fraught with funny misunderstandings, a knockout meter, and moments of laugh out loud commentary. Not surprisingly boxing and the gym are merely back drops for the developing feelings between these two. This short one book is a lot of fun and has some really cute moments amidst the calamity. There is only one medium graphic sex scene to top off the ending. Love Round!! is the first BL manga that I am keeping for myself after reading it. There is a nice preview of it up, too!

And because it is so lushly animated I had to pick a Tentai Senshi Sunred picture this week. A scene of domestic bliss: