Ongoing Investigations: Case #202

narutaki I checked out the new WSJ USA title World Trigger. In it our world has come in contact with another dimension which spills out monsters (known as “neighbors”) who begin wreaking havoc. But an organization named Border suddenly appears with the technology to fight them claiming they’ve been training for this for years. The world settles into a routine of monster attacks but with relative normal life surrounding it.

Osamu, a high school student who is picked on, lives in the city which Border headquarters resides in. He befriends the new and odd transfer student Yuma. As you might imagine Yuma has something to do with Border. He has a rather carefree attitude and doesn’t shy away from the bullies at school.

Yuma reminded me a bit of Allen from D.Gray Man with his look, his power manifestation, and his pet. Osamu did surprise me a bit at then end which gave the story a boost.

I found the first chapter a bit unremarkable otherwise. The fight nor the monsters nor the powers have distinguished themselves yet. But it certainly seems worthy of following to see where it leads for at least a little while.

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The first 2 chapters of 87 Clockers reinforces the idea that you can make a manga about anything if you are clever enough. This time Tomoko Ninomiya’s is tackling the topic of overclocking PCs. Which after writing Nodame Cantabile it is a bit of an unexpected change in subject manner. That is not to say that Ninomiya has completely forgotten about classic music because the main character is a violinist. I have to wonder if the protagonist is a violinist because Ninomiya is just that much of a musical aficionado or because she wanted to create a link for her fans to a rather obscure subject with a hook that ties into her blockbuster title. Not that the answer would make or break my enjoyment of the series. I’m just glad to see Ninomiya writing a new manga. It is just an interesting question.

87 Clocker centers around Kanade Ichinose who is an amazingly passive guy. He is currently studying the violin and is good enough to get by with great grades but nothing in his life has sparked his interest. He goes out of his way to avoid conflict so he has never really lost but at the same time he has never done any better than marginally better than acceptable. But when he meets a strange girl named Hana standing barefoot outside in the cold he unexpectedly finds himself seduced both by her beauty and drawn into her world of overclocking.

You don’t get much geekier than a manga about modify computer hardware to make it go faster in a competitive setting without making a manga about abacus tournaments or Star Trek trivia contests. So far the first two chapters mostly introduce the idea of the manga and don’t get too much into technical talk. But I can feel the pages wanting to explode out like a particularly wordy chapter of Initial D. When Kanade and Hana go to Akihabara the hardware talk starts to get serious but so far it is not a tech manual packed into a single page but more just color for the story of the characters. How long that continues is something to be seen.

The main thrust of the story seems to be Kanade’s growth from a herbivore male to someone with passion and ambition. The fact that he is perusing Hana romantically at all is a sign that there is still something left in side him that can change. Presumably getting into the world of overclocking will show him his inner strength. At first he is totally gung-ho about Hana when he thinks she is this wilting flower that needs to be saved. Then he is nearly heartbroken when he thinks she is dating her roommate.  But then Hana says that Mike is not her boyfriend Kanade is reinvigorated. Part of me wants it to be revealed that her roommate, is her fiancée or husband. I think a forbidden romance would be wonderful. Just not enough scandalous romances in manga.

Hana is a strange character. At first she seems like Mike’s clueless assistant. Sort of the girlfriend who participates in her boyfriends hobby but is hardly an expert. But the second chapter reveals that Hana is just as knowledgeable as Mike. I really hope that Hana grows as a competent female character. One of the best parts about Nodame Cantabile was that Nodame was a genius. She was always very odd but her talent was undeniable. Hana has the ability to be just a great. I hope her potential as a character is more than just a love interest.

The only problem with 87 Clockers is that is pretty much licensing poison. If the infinitely more assessable Nodame Cantabile was bomb in English I can’t see this burning up the charts. Maybe someone like JManga would give it a shot but I would not hold my breath.

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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Ongoing Investigations: Case #197

This might be a slightly controversial analogy but I would say that  The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke is to Zettai Karen Children as Legends of the Dark King is to Fist of the North Star. They are both prequels that show how an overpowered villain came to be the head of his own army before he started clashing with the heroes. But the thing is Zettai Karen Children is hardly Fist of the North Star therefore the mass murder of soldiers by the protagonist of The Unlimited is a bit of a shift in tone from the normally comedic series.

The best way to think about The Unlimited is as if it were one of those silly OVAs from the 90s. It has lots of action and killing but it does not have the gore and tits you would find in an 80s OVA. Hyoubu Kyousuke has always been very much a dark reflection of Koichi Minamoto but his darker activities are usually alluded to in the main series more than seen. Here we see him in his full Magneto mode.

The story of the first episode is pretty simple. Kyousuke purposely gets captured so he can break someone out of a prison for psychics. While on the inside he meets a seemingly powerless psychic (who of course is hiding a super powerful ability) and they team up to stop the evil wardens who are killing prisoners to use their bodies to make super soldiers. Kyousuke defeats everyone almost effortlessly and then nukes the facility with his powers.

He also saves a pre-teen girl because this is still a prequel to Zettai Karen Children. No amount of bloodshed gets a leopard to change its spots.

The real question is if fans of Zettai Karen Children are going to like this series and vice versa. I’m going to say that Zettai Karen Children readers are more likely to be happy with The Unlimited than people who new to the series via the Unlimited are going to get into the main series. While there are some harder themes and action in Zettai Karen Children for the most part it is a goofball comedy. It shares many of the themes of the X-men but not nearly as much action. So I see people being a bit bored with the antics that make up 70% of Zettai Karen Children. One the other hand Kyousuke is popular enough that I see more (but not all) Zettai Karen Children fans wanting to see an action series that is the same universe is more likely. Some fans are going to check out of any series without the Children or the light feeling they bring without a doubt. But I feel like anything with Black Phantom has eased Zettai Karen Children into some darker stories.

Still a fun little series if a bit trashy. I think it is worth a look if you like a popcorn action series.

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Barrage came to an end before its time. I thought it had a lot of fun elements. Also there was a space whale!

But anyway, things were wrapped up with ch. 16. Everything after they defeat the rock bandit takes place in a town that was supposed to be under military rule but has been corrupted and taken over by the aliens. There aren’t a lot of humans left, and those that are either end up underground or as slaves. Astro and Tiamat meet the heavily armed Tiko who is out to take down the aliens one at a time.

I could tell that Astro, Tiamat, and Tiko would have had a good dynamic were the series to go on. I was really pleased that Tiko was had a lot to offer in the end and she plays a role in the major town battle and even gets her revenge.

I thought they were able to get a lot in, reveal the most important mysteries (and surprise me!), and have an enjoyable final confrontation. So even though it was clearly supposed to be longer, it wrapped up in a satisfying way.

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.

Continue reading