Ongoing Investigations: Case #155

All good things must come to an end and so I wrapped up Carnival Phantasm season 3. Last week I wrote about Fate/Prototype but it was just an extra added in with the last disc of Carnival Phantasm. Otherwise the last 4 episode stick to the comedic tone of the rest of the series. We start with the best new episode right out of the gate. The Holy Grail Grand Prix is just amazing. The Lion-Go will win your heart with its cuteness, Gilgamesh pops in during the middle to ruin everyone’s day (like he always does), and it is nice to actually see Assassin get to participate in a sketch. A good deal of joke time bombs in this episode. The Akiha story is straight out of Take Moon with Kohaku up to her normal tricks but the Brainwasher Detective skits that end the episode were the star of the show. The third episode is a Final Destination homage all around Lancer and his Kenny like tendencies. The final episode wraps everything up with the conclusion to the dating plan from the first disc and a round-up of all the pieces of the Type-Moon universe. While they were not voice acted they included characters from Fate/Zero, The Garden of Sinners, the Mobile Site, and even Notes. I am sad to finish Carnival Phantasm but maybe one day down the road we will get another season after a few more games come out. Surely Mahou Tsukai no Yoru, Fate/Apocrypha, and maybe even Girls’ Work will warrant revival of the carnival.

Thermae Romae came to an end just after three episodes. But a delightful three episodes they were. In each subsequent adventure Lucias spent more and more time in Japan soaking up the culture. Because he celebrates each new experience in Japan with such enthusiasm, it spills over to the audience (maybe because so many of us non-Japanese fans long to go as well). And each time he returns to Rome things get weirder from smelly bandits to being courted by the emperor to a village of baths. Perhaps a few more episodes wouldn’t get stale but I definitely think they let the series go out while it was still a quirky surprise and that’s a good thing.

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Shirabe Ako and the Eye of the Beholder

Pretty Cure is in a strange place where they have a glass. 50 percent of the glass has liquid and the other 50 percent does not. The question is do you see that glass as half full or half empty. Depending on your view of anime, magical girls shows, and fandom it tends to shade your view of the series and its fandom. Everyone agrees that the fandom of Pretty Cure is made of mostly of two categories of fans. There are the young girls who the show is ostensibly aimed at and the older male fans. Depending on your disposition who you think the majority of the fandom is, who the show caters to, and how much it curries the favor of either segment of the fandom depends on if you see that glass as half empty or half filled. I think recent spoiler filled issues in Suite Precure bring that reaction to the forefront. How you interpret recent changes on the show is very influenced on how you see the series before you even view a single episode.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #142

I along with thousands of others rejoiced to hear that Sailor Moon would finally be rereleased in English and thankfully with a new translation to match. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, there are also lovely color pages! Rereading something with such nostalgia for so many of us can be precarious sometimes because there is always the possibility of being let down. Sailor Moon is not that type of title if you are going in with the knowledge that this is a title meant for little girls; a mighty entertaining fantasy adventure that hits all the right notes for little girls. The strength of friendship is central to the series and it really takes hold of that right away. Equal is the intrigue (totally transparent to the audience) of Tuxedo Mask. The pace is happily brisk as Usagi whisks through villains and gains new guardians. The dialogue is rather stiff at times but not sure whether to attribute that problem with translation or not. The art of course shines and doesn’t feel aged though you can see Ms. Takeuchi getting better as the story goes which is only natural. Sailor Moon is a legendary title that changed a genre so that also means that it isn’t a perfect piece. But not being perfect doesn’t prevent it from being point of delight full of naive fantasy. It is great experiencing it all over again.

Well, if Natutaki is talking about the mother of fighting magical girls shows I might as well talk about one of its most modern grandchildren. I have been enjoying Suite Precure even if I have not mentioned it since episode 12. But since episode 35 is the accumulation of a lot of reveals I think it is worth talking about again. In that time the show has had the birth of Cure Beat,  a major power-up, the many reveals around Cure Muse, and of course the unmasking of the true villain of the series. The birth of Cure Beat was in itself pretty cool but as Narutaki mentioned the transformation from Siren to Ellen was sort of lame. It is like after she officially became a Cure some one switched her from evil to good like she was Krusty doll. The reveal of Cure Muse was better of it does require some Superman/Clark Kent and Batman/Bruce Wayne levels of ignorance. Also the reveal of Mephisto not being the big villain was pretty important as he would have made far to weak a foil especially as compared to previous masterminds. Overall I am still enjoying Suite Precure but 35 episodes in it is clear it will never be as strong as Heartcatch. But I am OK with that.

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