Ongoing Investigations: Case #150

UN-GO is one of the few shows of the season I have finished up. It is a very odd mystery show kind of in the vein of Demon Detective Neuro where the answers come from both deduction and supernatural means making them rather impossible beyond just guessing. It also has a bizarre sense of humor, too. The cases keep getting stranger as the show goes on bringing future technology like AIs into the mix as well further complicating any and all cases. The detective team of Shinjuro and Inga and later Kazamori combine with the tag along Rie make for an eclectic mix of talents and personalities. Shinjuro is a good lead detective that I came to really like, he has the observation skills but does use Inga a bit too much though the reasoning for that is more obvious later on. I like the last two cases a lot but truly they are more about experiencing the atmosphere. In fact, I am incredibly interested in the world surrounding these things like the seemingly militaristic Japan, there is a lot of world to explore but sadly there isn’t much time to do so before the end. Sadly there probably won’t be anymore either with the exception of the 0 episode (which I think will give us Shinjiro’s backstory) since only incredibly popular Noitamina shows get sequels. UN-GO is based on a novel but again sadly I won’t be able to read it either.

I finished UN-GO and I still don’t have a firm grasp on if I liked it or not. I will say that I do not regret watching it. It was unusual enough that it made the experience worthwhile. Sort of like the latest BBC Sherlock the series takes the post WWII mysteries of Ango Sakaguchi and puts them in a future setting. This odd juxtaposition gives the show a unique vibe of old and new. At the same time as I mentioned in my last look at the show it is also a clear example of why Knox wrote his rules of mysteries in the first place. Inga’s powers always make the mysteries feel unusual and sometimes the solutions feel unearned. The episode with the movie set was undoubtedly the most surreal episodes of the series. At times the show felt a bit strange but these episodes take that feeling to an entirely new level. The last three episodes distinctly feel like the end of a season but not the end of a story. There is the movie I have yet to see but that is just a prequel. I have to wonder if they hoped that this would do well enough to get a second season or did they just not want to put a cap on Ango Sakaguchi’s stories even if it is a heavily modified version of those stories. I can’t say everyone will like this show. It can be a very easy show to dislike. But it is worth checking out just to see if you like it as there is little else out there like UN-GO.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #141

I got to read Gen Manga volumes 3 & 4 back to back. Reading both volumes in succession makes me realize that the storytelling in Gen is somewhat compressed compared to your normal mainstream manga experience. While the storytelling still has a distinctly manga feel you don’t get the impression that the stories contained within are assuming they are going to run for 20+ books. They seems to be primed to end in a book or two but could run longer. Mainstream manga seems more designed to run for a long time but could be cut short if forced to. The individual chapters still have a more manga styled decompressed flow but chapter to chapter it seems more compressed. But all the compressed vs. decompressed storytelling talk from Ogiue Maniax might be why I am noticing it more. Vs Aliens is still my favorite story in the anthology. It has a very quirky story with some unusual twists every chapter. The only problem is that is quickly coming down to the big reveal of what is actually going on. If the final reveal is lame is going to really hurt the overall story. The boxing story is Wolf is still solid but I am not sure if I really care for the added element of the hyperactive flat chested girl vs the distant chesty girl love story. My feelings on KAMEN are still up in the air as I am interested in the story but not deeply invested. There is a promise of a big fight scene in the next chapter. How well the fight is pulled off I might help me solidify my feelings. I still don’t really like Souls. Volume three ends one arc and volume four starts a new arc. Volume three ended a bit lighter than I assumed it will but this genre has just never been my cup of tea. In volume 4 there is a one shot story called Sorako. This really feels like an American indy comic. It is the story of a small town girl who feels trapped in her small life under the backdrop of looking for her dog that ran away. It is slice of life in a way that really feels like an American comic more than a Japanese style of same formula. Gen is still an interesting experiment in the U.S. It has the feel of a doujinshi anthology but will a more consistent schedule. I am curious how well it will do here.

With great elation, I started the new season of anime by watching Bakuman S2. We start the season with Ashirogi Muto waiting for their editor to come to the studio to go over their contract for serialization. It is an exciting time and they are also invited to the Shonen Jack New Year’s bash. This episode is really about them getting acclimated with their new positions, getting assistants, and meeting some new people as well as getting to know others better. It is mostly a set-up for things to come and I can’t wait for those things!

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #112

I happily finished up Jellyfish Princess right on schedule, it was a nice way to end 2010. All the things I loved in the first episodes, the humor, the understand of female geeks, and the budding relationships, were kept intact throughout its run. However, things like fashion and business being major plot threads were surprises. Perhaps the most unexpected part of all was how much the story became about Kuranosuke, and him actually having the most growth in its short time span. Tsukimi was not relegated to the side, and she certainly had forward movement of her own, but Kuranosuke seemed changed the most by their encounters. Their relationship, budding into romance or no, had a nice coming together in the final test of getting on stage. This is by no means the end of course, as the manga continues to run, however it was a good stopping point if not truly satisfying.

hisuicon This week is mostly me reflecting on anime that ended really well from last season. As predicted Kuragehime was another great show that proves that the Noitamina block is always the show to watch any season. Kuragehime just like House of Five Leaves was based on an ongoing manga series and they both picked a solid place to end in overall story. With fate of the Amamizukan apartment building resolved and everyone one having gone through a solid bit of character development you would be hard pressed to currently find a better place to end. All of the relationships are still up in the air and somethings are unresolved but if it ended here I would not be utterly frustrated. Tsukimi and Kuranosuke are sort of interacting  something closer to normally by the end of the series which I think is major progress for both of them. It was always surprised to see female nerds in a non-fetishistic light in anime. I know that Melissa Tanaka found the girls a bit too over the top for her tastes but I thought it was a major step forward in presenting female nerds as more than male nerds with breasts. It is a fun series and I hope to see its exposure through streaming get someone to license the manga so we can read the ending.

 

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