Ongoing Investigations: Case #232

narutaki_icon_4040 Mao no Kyoushitsu is a one-shot by Miki Yoshikawa done with her usual zany flair. This time she takes us to an elementary school class whose teacher just happens to be Satan.

The class is of course terrified at first, then they come to think it is all an act but is it!? Manami and her friends set out to find the truth, she being the only one who believes he must truly be Satan. I really enjoyed the repoire between all the kids from their over the top reactions to young cynicism. A wonderfully bizarre setup and fun romp that I wouldn’t mind reading more of.

Surely the best part is when The Devil commends Manami for attempting to burn him alive (it was an accident!).

hisui_icon_4040  It was nice to be able to track down a one shot story from Miki Yoshikawa in the form of Mao no Kyoushitsu. All too often we never get to see little stories like this from even well-known authors let alone lesser known artists like the author of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan. It can even be hard for the Japanese audience to read some of these stories let alone us Yanks.

Before I get into anything else I would like to mention that I thank goodness they translated chuunibyou as poser “nutjob-itis.” I feel like we are just getting out of the grips of small segment of people throwing around the term Chuunibyou all the time. So a somewhat silly English version fits with the scene were the kids are trying to figure out Mr. De Mon’s deal all the better. I don’t feel you have to translate every word into English for a good translation but here the adaptation of a complex word here adds a lot to the scene.

Other than that the strongest part of the story here is the characters. Manami is a great protagonist. Her desire for school to be more fun if Mr. De Mon’s story is true is really infectious. At times it makes her an unreliable narrator but that makes the story even more enjoyable.  You are sort of wondering if Mr. De Mon is really a hell spawn the whole time too. Also her reaction faces are great.

Mr. De Mon is equally fun. In a way he is the type of character that Miki Yoshikawa excels in. She knows when to play him for laughs really well but is not afraid to pull back for a little emotional softness when the time is right. The key is to go for the emotional moments at just the right time or they come off as lame. Also too much serous emotion makes the character overly dramatic and weighs down the comedy.

I also really like the delivery of the line, “”He likes pretty girls. Earth shattering.” A wonderful use of deadpan.

And the story ends nicely. You get the feeling there are more stories with Mr. De Mon but that is where the curtain closes. I feel that Miki Yoshikawa is a good enough author to continue the story of The Demon’s Classroom. She is really good at creating new avenues in a story that other authors would just use to tell variations on the same story. But at the same time this is a great place to end the story as a happy short story.

If you never read anything by Miki Yoshikawa this is a great place to get to know her as an artist with a minimum time commitment. It is a story that showcases some of her best features in a single story. If your already a fan I’m sure your hunting down this story as we speak.

Bonus: If are a fan of Miki Yoshikawa you will see an elementary school version of Hana Adachi in the last panel of page five.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

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All Points Bulletin: Berserk Guacamole

If you have any suggestions for what to highlight on an APB drop us a line via email or Twitter.

narutaki_icon_4040 Kate’s picks:

  • McMario
    The ultimate team-up: McDonald’s putting Mario toys in Happy Meals.
  • Final Fantasy: Disney Damsels
    Nice looking roster, I think we need a Final Fantasy Tactics game with Disney characters, don’t you?
  • Help the Creator of Fresh Guacamole
    I hope you’ve seen this Oscar-nominated short, it not check it out now! The creator is hoping to fund his next film through their online store. The next short will also feature creative food!

hisui_icon_4040 Alain’s picks:


narutaki_icon_4040 Because I laughed.

Ongoing Investigations: Case #201

Narutaki, my roommate, and I ventured to downtown Brooklyn to see the unboxing of a new table top roleplaying game magazine called Gygax Magazine (named after Gary Gygax who was one of the co-founders of Dungeons and Dragons). We trekked on down to the Brooklyn Strategist to see the event. I had never been to the store before so it was nice to see another gaming store in the area.

If nothing else Narutaki learned that not all stereotypes are baseless slander. The Brooklyn Strategist was hardly a huge shop so when the place was packed with people you had to get pretty close to most of the attendees. So we got very clear proof that the archetypical unwashed slightly balding guy was out in full force. Not everyone was like that but the gamer smell was strong. I want to go back to that store when it is not as crowed to get a better impression of what the place is like normally.

But during the event we were able to pick up the first issue of the Gygax Magazine which is a pen and paper roleplaying game magazine. While the name would imply a wholly Dungeons and Dragons themed magazine it is a general pen and paper roleplaying game magazine with a D&D slant. Some of the content was purposely generic swamp town write-up to the very specific like modified Pathfinder feats.

I really liked the Cosmology of Role-Playing Games article. It tried to create a galactic map of American pen and paper roleplaying games from 1974 until today. It states up front that it is clearly incomplete. Any complete guide would be a monumental undertaking but overall it seems fairly comprehensive and at least touches up some of the smaller independent titles. I think they could have broken down the groupings a little better as opposed to sort of throwing very disparate games of the same wave in with each other. But at the same time creating very distinct blood lines might have overcomplicated an already pretty monumental article. So I liked what I saw. I just wanted more. That said I think anyone other than hardcore tabletop players will find one or two titles on the list they would probably want to look into on name alone. Stars Without Number and Gumshoe seemed interesting to me.

Random thought: A modified Traveler could be used to run an awesome Legend of the Galactic Heroes game.

Leomund’s Secure Shelter is pretty much the rules lawyer section of the magazine. I will also say that the Keeping Magic Magical is pretty much my philosophy to a tee. The Banshee section was quite good at laying out different ways of playing a classic monster that would work in almost any fantasy setting.

I would have liked a few more sci-fi, horror, historical, or other style of RPG articles but it is the first issue. They did have a Godlike article which is a historical superheroes so it was hardly all fantasy all the time.

As always What’s New with Phil & Dixie is a classic strip and always enjoyable.

I liked the magazine a lot and I hope they can continue creating compelling content in the future.

As I have just started playing Dungeons & Dragons, this new quarterly Gygax Magazine promising insights into the game and others got me curious. It is also available digitally which might be how I’d read it in the future.

The first issue is a mix of history delving, anecdotes, and ways to add new experiences to your current games.

Some of the shorter articles felt as though they had a lot more to say but get cut off before they could. I understand space restrictions of course, but in the future it might be better to structure the article to be short as opposed to just cutting it off at its limit.

It was fun reading about other DM experiences in “Still Playing After All These Years” as well as the piece about the storytelling of Gary Gyax from his son’s perspective “The Gygax Family Storyteller.”

I found the piece about running a campaign for your toddler rather fascinating! Before reading it I didn’t imagine it really possible for that age group but it sounds pretty fun from the writer’s experience.

The comics in the back are a fun extra. I really loved the one from Girl Genius creators What’s New with Phil & Dixie.

I liked this magazine even though I’m a newbie player.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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