Ongoing Investigations: Case #041

Overall I really enjoyed Toradora!. The last episode capped off the series as well as I could have asked. Everything came together and there was a distinct feeling of closure. I may have not liked everyone in the show all the time but I came away with a positive reaction to all the characters overall. The ending wasn’t shocking because I felt it was telegraphed from episode one. Heck, just one look at the title should have given you a clue. The thing was every step of the way brought a smile to my face. It was a well done show. I liked the dialog and the humor. The series parts were often high melodrama but it worked even though I know it turned off some people. I will definitely buy this when it comes out on DVD and watch it again. It is one of the best recent shonen romance shows. I would also like to see someone license the light novels. I guess I have something to pimp at Otakon and AnimeNEXT now.

I saw some of the art from March on Earth at New York Comic Con and was instantly struck by its adorable quality. I resolved to pick it up instantly. The story follows Yuzu who is the sole guardian for her nephew after the untimely death of her sister (who had been caring for Yuzu after the death of their parents). So we aren’t starting out on the happiest of moments and the story is mostly a series of her trails through caring for a young child. Most of the comedy comes from the neighboring family who she often spends time with. The older son is hilariously in love with Yuzu and is constantly acting like a lovesick loon at an attempt to get her attention. It was a decent start but almost every chapter is about the same thing, the bond between her and her deceased sister, how she will stay strong, etc. and sometimes using the exact same dialogue and scenes to convey this. WE GET IT ALREADY. It comes off clunky and its most entertaining parts aren’t at the heart of the story.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #029

I have stayed up to date with Toradora! and I think it has been worth it so far. It has been continuing to mix comedy and drama while keeping the story entertaining. I think all the characters have grown on me and continue to impress me. The most impressive thing about Toradora! is how I have warmed up to Ami. At first I felt that she was the loud, bitchy girl who you are supposed to feel sympathy for after one bit of drama ala Sheryl from Macross Frontier. They have avoided this trap by slowly letting us see her complexity. By not trying to change our perception of her like a light switch it makes her a richer and more sympathetic character. I do not love her with the passion that others do but I actually now enjoy seeing her in the story. Minori has also revealed herself to be beyond that of a silly airhead especially when at Ami’s villa and during the school festival.

Finally picked up a copy of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, the first hardcover collection. It is great to see Jim Lee doing Batman again, he is just incredibly, insanely talented period. And he has only gotten better as time has gone on. There are some really intense pieces which Scott Williams really enhances in this series including one where Batman is holding up little Dick Grayson, here is a scan. I wasn’t aware this series was starting with a Robin origin story, not that I am complaining, on the contrary it was a pleasant surprise. True to Frank Miller form he writes Batman as a borderline psycho which always keeps you guessing. And it certainly does boast an all-star cast, as the title implies, with appearances from the Joker, Bat-girl, and Cat-woman in just these first few issues. Oh, and Batman and Robin making fun of the Green Lantern, hilarious. Looking forward to more!

I am not quite certain why I keep reading Ken Akamatsu stuff. For some reason his books entertain me even if I can’t really say they are good. I just read Negima 19 and 20. Since the school festival arc is over it means they need a training arc before they move on. Ah, the staples of shonen fighting mixed with the staples of shonen romance. And I enjoy this why? Oh and because we did not have enough tsundere girls in the series we had to add Anya, Negi’s childhood friend. I did like her crazy boobie conspiracy theories though. I am always a little scared about how well researched the magic and Latin is in Negima. It’s like finding out that porn you just watched had a team of historical consultants.

Continuing reading of Switch, just finished the second book. It keeps itself moving between intense cop drama and humor pretty well. We wrapped up the story involving the famous model with some serious business. Kai and Hal are a good pair. Then we have a short bust with the help of the department’s analyst, Kuzui, she has a most hilarious crush on Kai. We end on another longer story, which continues into the next volume, involving a high school gang. I have to admit to enjoying seeing Hal and Kai having to infiltrate a high school to get a drug bust. Oh so 21 Jump Street! Though Hal is only posing as a teacher.

I watched the first 4 episodes of Turn A Gundam again. I had started watching a long time ago but then some computer trouble wiped out what I had downloaded so I stopped there vowing to watch it after I finished the original Gundam. Since we are currently watching First Gundam for the blog I decided to restart Turn A. It’s an unusual Gundam series even though it is directed Yoshiyuki Tomino. The initial steam-punk technology of Earth is strange and there are no colonies, only men from the Moon. Loran’s role as a double agent is definitely unique because he has best wishes for both sides. Sochie Heim is a likable character but so far she is getting kicked pretty hard by life and I don’t expect that to change. I will also say it’s amusing to see quite a bit of nudity of both sexes so far. I guess they really wanted to sell you on this 20th anniversary Gundam series.

I was so happy to see the Tower of Druaga second season start up. While I didn’t think the first series was the most incredible story ever written, I really enjoyed it and it left you on quite a cliffhanger! So getting back into it was fun. A little time has passed since the end and we start out with some interesting new mysteries. Fatina remains my favorite character and her interactions with Jil are nicely thoughtout. As with the first season, the opening is unrelated but very well done and a joy to watch. I really appreciate when the staff thinks about the placement of the text in an opening, as opposed to just slapping it over their beautiful animation.

And now my pic of the week (or Hisui reveals herself to be a Turn A Gundam shipper):

Ongoing Investigations: Case #004

Banana Fish ends, as all classic BL manga do, with tragedy. I enjoyed the series. It ended well and rounds out the last book with a prequel story and an epilogue. I’d recommended it to people who want to test the water on their enjoyment of BL and can get over the fact that Ash Lynx is the bestest guy at everything. On a side note it might come off that I dislike Ash but I found him a charming if rather messed up character. I am mostly warning our readers of what to expect. Plus it’s fun to make fun of Ash.

Pretty Cure, wouldn’t you know as soon as I start watching this it comes up by Toei for download! Hurry up and catch up to where I am! This series is a more modern Sailor Moon. Why 4Kids licensed this and never put it on TV has slipped into many a conversation lately. I’m about to buy the license and become rich by getting it on TV because it would be that big. It is magical girl to a tee, nothing more and nothing less. The two girls are very different from each other and they start an unexpected friendship since, ya know, now they have to save the world together. They have cute outfits and cell phones that transform them into their other identities (Cure Black and Cure White). I do find their little familiars incredibly annoying. And even if you can’t get into this show, I dare you to watch the opening and/or ending and NOT get it stuck in your head.

I have watched about as much Pretty Cure as Narutaki has and I only have one comment. Dear Internet: Nagisa and Honoka are not lesbians. Get over it. I don’t see this lesbian subtext people go on and on about. If you want there to be this subtext A. you are extremely creepy or B. admit that it’s all in your head. They have a perfectly innocent female friendship. It seems guys can be just as bad as fujoshi in self-delusion.

Mach Girl is a new show and the first short episode is streaming online in Japanese. This is a spin-off series of Speed Racer. The styling of the show is what most interested me, it is a meld of American and Japanese. Certainly Flash created and has the cutout feel (and extreme simplicity) seen in a lot of Cartoon Network original shows. Also has very Hanna-Barbara type villains.

I just finished Tower of Druaga. I enjoyed it. It’s nice to see some fantasy anime again. I was obviously much sadder about one character’s death than Narutaki was but I think it was mostly because I liked that character more. Seeing how Gonzo is in big trouble, I really hope they can finish Tower of Druaga. I can’t say I would be devastated if they never finished it but I do want to see how it will all play out. I am most curious to learn more about Neeba’s motivations. In many ways the reasons for his actions will determine how much I go on to recommend this series overall.

I <3 Neeba

Just got around to reading the first book of Two Flowers for the Dragon. It is shaping up to be a good fantasy shojo romance. It has a competent female lead who is willful and spiritually powerful. Her two suitors (quite literally fiance #1 and fiance #2) are different from each other but not polar opposites. And neither is pretending to dislike our heroine (thank goodness!). There is also a story beyond this love triangle dealing with the kingdom, her missing father, and hopefully more to come. I’m glad to see CMX continuing to pick up some obscure but delightful titles.

That’s it for this week’s investigations! Look for new ongoing investigations every Friday!