Galaxy Express 999: Have Gun–Will Travel

hisuiconI have always heard of  Galaxy Express 999 as one of those shows that people talk about but not many people have seen unless they are devoted to the classics.  And among those fans people who have actually seen the TV series as opposed to the movies is fewer still. But I am surprised that no one who has ever watched the TV series has ever mentioned one thing that shocked me greatly. Almost everyone in Galaxy Express is amazingly amoral. Even Tetsuro and Maetel seem to often seem to plunge right into full on amorality.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #034

Picked up the Gundam SEED movies in a Right Stuf sale a few weeks back and just sat down to watch the first of three. I was pretty blown away by the amount of fan-service inserted into just a 90-minute movie. Kira, Athrun, and Cagalli each have an individual shower scene. Flay is also pimped out quite a bit throughout her appearance. And one scene between her and Kira that was merely implied in the TV series, is full blown in the movie. It was almost laughable how quickly events were flying by but since I’m watching these after knowing the plot it didn’t really matter. I was looking for an abridged version of the series that I could sit down and watch once and while because I loved SEED that much! It’ll be interesting to see the other two now, where is the Mu fan-service?

I for one appreciate more naked Cagalli and only regret there is not more. They seem to focus on the battles as opposed to the people. This makes for good robot porn but makes the people less important which was not the case in the original TV series. I guess in a way the purpose is to increase the fan-service while giving you a good recap of what happened. I think the SEED movies really only work as a supplement to people who already saw the TV show. You could figure out what was going but it would take some effort. That should not be the case. On a somehwhat unrelated note is it ever important that they discovered an alien skeleton in the Gundam SEED series? They make such a big deal about it in episode 14 and then it just fades into the background like it never happened.

I had been wanting to try High School Debut out for a while, I finally found a copy of the first book on the cheap at the Strand. The basic premise is as follows: Haruna was a complete tomboy who did nothing but play softball in middle school, now in high school she has made it her goal to be more girly and find a boyfriend. She totally sucks at this and decides she needs a coach, like in softball, enter tall, dark, totally cool Yoh. After some coercing, he agrees to be her coach on the condition that she DOESN’T fall in love with him. Now, I have mentioned before that a predictable plot doesn’t really bother me if the characters are good. Haruna is a rather enjoyable protagonist and it did have me laughing out loud a couple of times. However, it wasn’t sticking out of the crowd and it used its tropes a little too frequently. I’d say pass on this series, even though Yoh is incredibly cute.

After going to NYCC, having Mr. Scott VonSchilling talk about it several times, hearing generally good reviews, and finding a buy one get one free sale I picked up Scott Pilgrim volumes one and two. I guess I was curious about this title in two major respects. How was it as an OEL manga and was it entertaining overall? The first question is simple. It’s not an OEL manga no matter how some people may market it. It’s a comic from someone influenced by manga but it never tries to pass itself off as anything other than an American comic. This is certainly to its benefit because it does not try to fit itself into to some fictitious manga template. In fact,  most OEL manga would be much better served to adhere to this philosophy. As for the entertainment value, it was entertaining but nowhere near the level of awesome the hype would have led me to believe. Scott Pilgrim is a unemployed slacker dating a high school girl until he meets a girl in his dreams that he can’t get out of his head. If he wants to date her, he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. It has a quirky sense of humor and likes to make music and video game references. It sort of reminds me of Blue Monday in that respect but the sense of humor is different. The main characters are interesting but the side characters are numerous and not as developed. That might change as the books go on but they mostly seem thrown in for no reason other than to be there. Its quirky sense of humor will either endear it to people or turn them off. It’s mostly a matter of having a resonance with the author.

Read Kekkaishi 16 and loved it through and through. Karasumori is really getting out of control and everyone is starting to take notice. Even giving an appearance to a character we had only heard tell of. It is great to see the overall mystery of the series starting to be explored though we are still without too much information at this point. Middle of the book are some funny chapters about a girl who falls in love with Yoshimori when he saves her after she falls off the roof of the school. She then proceeds to stalk him much to the amusement of the audience and the chagrin of both Tokine and Yoshimori. These chapters were just supposed to give us a break between arcs but it was nice to see Tokine finally taking a little more notice of Yoshimori. There were a number of cute moments throughout this book. And we end, where I had been reading the Japanese, with the start of Yoshi helping his brother on a mysterious mission. I love that they always give Masamori two-sides when he appears. You can just never really figure him out. Great as usual! Why isn’t everyone and their mama buying this again?

They are too busy reading Soul Eater so they can’t be bothered to read Kekkaishi. And so I weep for anime fandom. I finished off the original Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Overall an enjoyable show that earns its place in the pantheon of anime space operas. Though it’s a little more pulp sci-fi than stuff like Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Banner of the Stars. It stays the story of one ship vs. the most powerful armada in the galaxy. The plot would probably throw feminists into hysterics because the alien invaders have a military made of beautiful women who use trickery and deception to beguile men’s minds. While it can be seen as misogynistic, it’s mostly done so they can have willowy women on the screen. Tadashi Daiba and Kei Yuki sort of fade into the background as the series goes on in favor of the man that is Captain Harlock and his amazing ship/friend the Arcadia. They realized that Harlock is the selling point of this series. The audience wants more Harlock then you better give it to them. But every named member of the crew gets their day in the sun with at least one episode having back story. I must also point out that randomly in one episode we have full frontal nudity in a series without that much fan-service. It also has the odd habit of having episode titles that clearly says who dies and shows them being killed in the preview. I would suggest fans of old school anime should check the series out but I think most of those people have already seen Harlock.

Because one must ALWAYS share the Kekkaishi love, this is the pic of the week:

Ongoing Investigations: Case #030

I randomly downloaded the first two episodes of the BL OVA Kirepapa. Since the OVAs were released almost 11 months apart, I am unsure if there is more planned in the series. So the title basically translates to Beautiful Dad, but let me assure you I went to great pains to make sure there was not incest. So far so good. The story centers around Chisato who is an aspiring author and his son, Riju, who is he very protective of (like a Dad who is super protective of his lovely daughter). Chisato is convinced that everyone, including his son’s best friend Shunsuke, are trying to get close to him. But actually Shunsuke is in love with Chisato, and Chisato can’t keep his eyes off Shunsuke. Now let the games begin. The show is, in a word, hilarious. The comedy is over the top and the serious moments are sooo overly dramatic that it is entertainingly funny. The animation quality is passable but the show is littered with a ton of bishonen. When I say a ton, I mean that every character that appears in the show is a bishie, including the grandfather, Shunsuke’s dad, and Chisato’s boss. It was truly enjoyable and I recommend it to BL fans in need of a laugh.

I finally got the Genshiken Fan Book I had pre-ordered a while back. I found it entertaining overall but some parts of the book puzzled me. The book was obviously written before the end of the manga because several important scenes are never mentioned in the appropriate sections. It starts with your standard premise of the manga and character profiles, and relationship guides. There is also Madarame’s otaku commandments which is basically the best of Madarame’s hard core otaku moments. It then has a guide to Kujibiki Unbalanced with a complete script to the first OAV which I felt was completely unnecessary and just pads out the book. There is a totally original Fanzine from the original Genshiken members that acts as an amusing piece of nostalgia for any older fans. We then have an interview with the (in)famous Ken Akamatsu about doujinshi. I am always surprised that Ken Akamatsu while not stunningly good looking is not that unpleasant to look at. There is then some original fan-fiction stories written by professional authors which were some of the better original content. There is then a guide to being an otaku with a little conversation about gal games between Sasahara and Madarame. The book ends with Shimoku Kio showing what shows he was actually talking about when he wrote up the Genshiken club members profiles as omake in the manga. It finally let me know what shows I was right about and what shows I had no clue about. I was amused that he picked everyone’s birthday and blood type based on what Gundam it would make them in the Gundam fortune-telling book. The book has the odd habit of explaining anything that might be unfamiliar as if the reader was not any type of otaku which is slightly odd. You would assume most people picking this book up were already in deep. Over all I enjoyed the book as a look back on Genshiken and what a great series it was.

Since Natsume Yuujinchou has been officially put up on Crunchyroll I have been catching up with the first season. I watched episodes 5-13 and cannot praise this show enough. It has a slow pace that builds a kind of kinship between you and Natsume. Each piece is a beautiful little story with many a melancholy end. Also good to see some human conflict coming up with the appearance of exorcists as well as others who can see youkai. I really like his interactions with Tanuma their friendship is really nice and was fun to watch in episode 13. I am still looking forward to learning more about Madara since he has sort of taken a backseat in many of these episodes. Wonderful show worth checking out by all!

To steal blatantly from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Captain Harlock is about men who are real men, women who are real women, and small blue haired girls from cruel orphanages who are real small blue haired girls from cruel orphanages. Everyone else is a lazy bastard or corrupt. Harlock definitely has moments of epic space opera goodness but it also has scenes of Gatchaman level camp and some odd comedy. It is at its best when it deals with Harlock being a manly man with his own theme song doing manly things and whenever we deal with the main plot of the alien invasion. I always assumed that the whole series was serious business so I was not expecting Harlock looking after a little girl and the wacky antics of his crew. Also I did not realize there would be such a large divide between the character designs of people like Tadashi Daiba, Kei Yuki and the rest of the crew. Also any time a scientist gets killed in the series they make it almost as dramatic as someone important dying in Blade of the Immortal.

Read Here is Greenwood books four and five. It continues to be hilarious fun dorm life. I really enjoy when the characters talk to the manga-ka or she appears in the chapters. For example, at the beginning of the fourth book Shun and Hasukawa are pondering what Shinobu and Mitsuru were like as first years. There is then this hilarious exchange as the manga-ka laughs maniacally and tells them don’t they realize they just wrote themselves out of the story. Other such occurrences are frequent throughout the series. 

I decided to look at the first two episodes of Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger even though I never finished the first season. The only reason I never finished was I bought the series for my ex-roommate and he took it with him when he moved. Which reminds me I should pick up that series for myself. Since I had a good idea of who all the characters were from I had almost no problems settling in. They have a quick rather unobtrusive recap in the first episode to get anyone with a passing understand back up to speed. We have the standard Ippo has a HUGE penis jokes, Ippo’s slow moving relationship with his would-be girlfriend, and of course the real draw awesome boxing action. The boxing is a middle-ground between being ultra realistic and super move silliness. People have techniques and named moves proving Ippo is firmly shonen fighting but they are mostly grounded in reality with some pseudo-science to back up the rest. The series starts with the spotlight on Ippo’s rival fighting the Australian champ and his mysterious Blood Cross technique. Man oh man does this series lend itself to yaoi doujinshi. They even lampshade the homoerotic tension in the series between Ippo and Ichiro in a playful manner that is a trademark of the series.

Since I have been watching so much Natsume Yuujinchou, this is the pic of the week: