NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Minori Chihara

hisuiconWhile there were several Japanese industry people at NYAF most of them were only present for the what they were presenting and never appeared in any formal panel where you could ask them questions about anything outside of what they were there to present. But voice actress and singer Minori Chihara not only had a panel but she also had a concert to promote her appearance in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. I would assume almost everyone who went to see her was there because of her work as Yuki unless Sakutarou has a huge fan following I was unaware of. And a lot of fans were very thrilled to see her at the convention because of that.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #067

Having never seen the second season of Haruhi I have yet to be embittered by the franchise. Therefore I have happily gone and picked up the The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya novel. It’s hardly brand spanking new territory for those who watched the TV series but it does go in depth into the creation of the movie that makes up episode 0 of the original TV series. It does shed a good deal of light on events that occur during episode 0 if you were not already aware of them such as why occasionally people are busting out powers during the filming of the movie and why Kyon’s cat talks only in episode 0. Other than that there are no major plot revelations or character development. It tells the story you already mostly know but gives you the behind the scenes details into how that movie was made. It is mostly a fun little romp with Haruhi as the Japanese Ed Wood. I think the novel is a good cure for those who still want to like the Haruhi series but were burnt out by Endless Eight.

The latest Detective Conan Movie, the 13th one to be exact, titled The Raven Chaser was a really enjoyable addition to the Conan library. This one involves a rather clever serial killer who leaves Mahjong tiles at the scenes of his victims and that is only the beginning of the string of clues our boy detective must unravel! This movie did plenty of things right while keeping it just grounded enough. You can follow Conan’s logic even if you can’t figure things out a head of time, which is a plus. Also this story throws in a lot of favorite characters including Heiji and Kazuha, plus the addition of the Black Organization makes the movie a well plotted trip. The final confrontation is a high adrenaline sequence involving Tokyo Tower that isn’t to be missed. Also no surprise but the movie looks great. Highly recommended!

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #043

I finished the Contraband arc of Liar Game. It ended pretty strongly with a equal mixture of  success and failure for our main characters. I really liked that it was neither a total victory nor a total loss. Nao and Shinichi are definitely in a tight spot going into the next round but they did much of what they needed to do. Liar Game stays a smart series that challengers the reader but does not pull its plot twists out of thin air. How the game works and how the characters pull off their schemes are set up before the reveals are given. A clever person could probably figure out the answers in advance. Norihiko Yokoya has obviously been set up as a reoccurring villain which is the first in the series. Nao is still oscillating between being girl-who-needs-to-be-saved and Shinichi’s partner but at least her character is growing. I am hoping by the end she will have her own unique perception and tactics. I am a little surprised that Fukunaga is staying on as an important side character.

Picked up Key to the Kingdom a while back but just started reading it. So far books one and two have impressed me, it is a wonderfully put together shojo fantasy. We start with Asta, the youngest prince, who has no desire to rule nor to hold a sword. So when the country’s rule lies in the hands of whoever can find the “key to the kingdom” it seems he will be free of such troubles. However, fate has other things in store as Badd, a retainer, drags him into looking for clues to its whereabouts. When a Dragon Man appears on their path it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems. A diverse cast emerges along the road as Asta resists but gets caught up in the complexity of the country’s history. There are many things going in this story including action, politics, mystery, and love. I was surprised that the series is only six years old because the art certainly has a late-80’s or mid-90’s feel to it. A great start to the series, highly recommended!

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