Saturday, November 22, 2014
With this all the servants are introduced, Rin gets a cute Tsundere moement and Shinji recemnts his reputation as the resdient cum bag of the series. While large parts are expostion dumps about duty and the nature of a servent and their free will (or lack thereof. this continues to be a rather thoughtful series, in between the action scenes and bits of school days banter although Archer continues to be a mixed bag for me coming off as a cynical misogynist, but also dealing with some kind of past that still has not been explored. Animation continues to be top notch along with voice acting, while paceing is slow but fits the grim epic tone of the series.
With volume four not only does the requisite training arc begin but we get yet another loli, this being Lucca (she's called an Ekblatt which are like Dragonar's version of wood elves). Mostly she's kind of melancholic shy and withdrawn. A nice change of pace to the raging Tsundere that is Eco. While even Eco gets some character growth finding that she's softening to Ash, yet for the most part this is Ash's story trying to help Lucca out with her problems with her steed Gawain and figure out how to be the best master for Eco. While there is fan service a plenty from a beach scene to Jessica constantly wanting Ash's “seed” her out bursts are for me are the funniest part of the volume, mostly it's an exploration of the history of the world they live in and some well paced action scenes interspersed with comedic elements. Making for a volume more focused on world building and low fantasy sword play than harem antics and fan service. None of it feels slow or as if Mizuchi-Sensei, is spinning his wheels, Ran-Sensei is able to restrain himself from the excesses of the last volume, still the character design is cute for the young looking characters and buxom and almost over developed for Rebecca and Sylvia. Also hints of the tentacles from last volumes back up story, reappear so I predict plenty of tentacle service next volume. Thematicly it's a well handled quest to do what's right while also building the mystery of the dragon kingdom up with questions of duty and self sacrifice nothing particularly deep but positive and affirming none the less. SO I can only hope the low fantasy aspects of this series are not completely drowned out by the fan service as I think Mizuchi-Sensei is on to a interesting turn of events with the end of this latest volume.
This is probably the raunchiest, Manga I have read in recent memory while this does not reach Eiken levels of lewd, it comes awfully close. The majority of the volume is this odd division between heavy fan service and solid character writing, all around the idea of finding the stalker/potental killer who seeks Kimihito's life. From the beginning date with Mia and Mero with Mero's NTR fantasies going into over drive as she tries to put Mia together with Kimihito, it's both kind of sweet and little creepy at the same time. While the date itself is a nice chance for some growth in Mia and Kimihito's relationship, but also introduces one of the most disturbing elements of the volume in that of the Dragonet Drago who has been stalking Mia. this leads to an almost rape of Mia, which is thankfully interrupted and leads to a sweet moment between Mia and Kimihito, while the next chapter is Poppy and Suu and this is were you remember that this series started out as a 18 + web comic. With this Kii the Dryad who has an hatred for humanity but thanks to Poppy's scatter brained ways has been left in a forest, going on a rampage that can only be solved by Kimihito sucking the poison out of her while Kii fights an over sized Suu and restrained Poppy with vines. Words can't really describe who over the top the fan service in this scene is and it's the sheer over the top aspect, of it that I enjoyed that Okayado-Sensei wasn’t afraid to go that far especially in the current some times chilled atmosphere of Manga these days. While the storyline dealing with Centorea introduces a mischievous loli devil who trolls almost everyone until Rachnera catches her and than well I'll just say lewd things happen and it's again kind of spectacular in the level of over the top raunchiness. Than the strongest part of the series and my favorite group of characters The Mon Squad decide to try and flush out the stalker, by going on dates with Kimihito while a new letter in the form of an ominous poem surfaces as well. This part is almost all about the Mon Squad girls from Tio, who is simply fun and light but also conscious about her height, to Zombina who enjoys messing with Kimihito through most of their date but finds herself drawn to his kindness and acceptance. To my favorite story in the whole volume which is Manako the cyclops and her date and even the little moment at the beginning were she blushingly admits that she like the creepy sounding poem from the mysterious D. Showing someone who is self-conscious but also skilled at what she does, it's well handled and all of the character interaction when it's not leaning towards fan service is either well handled character development or decent comedy. While art is hit or miss with faces always being a weak point in all of Okayado-Sensei's art work, while small details from clothing, to the fact that Zombina's eyes are two different eyes even her stitches are detailed to degree that could be seen as fussy yet add to the overall mood and tone of the story while also making the characters individuals. At five volumes this is a series that has found a formula that works and isn’t stale considering how one not of a premise this could have ended up.
With volume three the stage is set for the next generation to battle the cockroach menace again. With a fresh crop of recruits and a new generation of genetically modified fighters, new battles ensue while the plot itself does not move along much cutting between long narrative expositions of the various procedures the characters have undergone to the strides in technology. Switching tense gory fights between the crew members and the Terraformars and explanations of the insects their new powers are based on. These are the least interesting parts of the story for me feeling over written and as if Yu Sasuga-Sensei was trying to write a novel, while the internal monologues and flashbacks do help develop the characters making the few deaths of significant secondary characters mean something instead of simply being mere cannon fodder. While the best fight of the entire volume has to be Marcos after he accesses his crab spider based powers in a scene that captures Kenhichi Tachibanna-Sensei's use of motion and almost byzantine levels of gore and aggro from smashed skulls, decapitations, and dismemberment to bludgeonings with the severed heads of enemies. While several mysteries are laid out for future volumes now it is simply seeing the forces of humanity unleash death on the Terraformars, while trying to figure out how to treat the mysterious virus that is killing of people on earth. Along with the revelation that the Terraformars have acquired the previous crew's ability and may be intelligent enough to follow orders from others. This makes for an twist I didn’t see coming as it felt from the first two volumes that the cockroaches were simply going to try and defeat the earth forces by sheer numbers, and had little in the way of stratagem. Still gore, violence, and sadness are the rule of the day in this series with small amounts of camaraderie between the crew members in particular Akari and Michelle with Michelle playing the Tsundere to Akari's “dogged nice guy.” While the cliffhanger at the end feels cheap as if to keep the audience in suspense (which I know is what a cliffhanger is supposed to do), yet this can throw the pacing of a story off and leave to a annoying “stop start” style of writing that makes it frustrating to follow. In conclusion this has been a volume that takes it's time revealing thing about characters and the environment while not holding back in the action making for an alternatively introspective and dour along with a blood and thunder penny dreadful feel.
Friday, November 21, 2014
An entire episode dedicated to Adolf, and while the scenes of him releasing his electric eel based powers, are impressive the murky color scheme makes it hard to see as every thing looks muted and overly dark, while the use of flash back works in that it shows his past as opposed to having some one exposition his past to an ridiculous degree. His story is that of a child held by the German government who offers to enter the old Mosaic procedure as a child to spare his friends, what proceeds to happen is a story of isolation, torture, and betrayal by the one person who had ever been kind to him. It unremittingly bleak but this series has never been one to trade in easy optimism. This episode makes the series more than a mere slaughter fest of "mook" cockroaches getting killed. Showing the inner workings of the crew in squad Five. It's probably the most insightful and introspective this series has been ever, making up for the slow pacing and hacky editing of the first few episodes. In short the series is on an uprsurge and I can only hope the next episode continues on this improvement.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Erina's first outing as a hero, fails noly to be revealed that it's due to her disdain for twintails so Soji decides to engage in special traing with her while Aika goes to fight more Elminaliens. Beyond the over the top action and the obvious aspect that Erina is actually some kind of exhibitionist powered by Soji looking at her. Is a little funny but that's all this show is a little funny with the fetish powered sentai style armor that looks like rejects from some iteration Saint Saya. Dumb and gleefully perverted in this show is a train wreck that is only enjoyable in seeing how low it's going to go as nothing of any merit exists the characterization is still one dimensional and the action is not even paced well giving the feeling that the budget has run out and now it's simply coasting to a safe non ending.
Prophecy by Tetsuya Tsutsui: I know the "Vertical Zombies" will snap this up regardless of whether this is any good because "ZOMOMG it's dat Vertical title". Yet seriously Prophecy is a bad title that tries to sound profound and insightful yet says nothing deep and profound. Dealing with online vigilantism and the dark side of the internet the things said in it are the same criticisms and questions people have been pondering for years about anonymity on the internet and cyber crime. Also the big "twist at the ending is not that inventive. In short this is "baby's first social criticism". Spell of Desire by Tomu Ohimi: The first two volumes of this series should make me hate this as it has a bland put upon heroine in Kaoruko who is either sexually harassed by the main love interest the stoical Kaname who kisses her against her will to keep her magical powers to keep from going haywire. When she's not fending off guys who do to said magical powers come dangerously close to raping her, or dealing with evil spirit and witches that want her or her powers. These sides apart Kaoruko is a likeable heroine and there does seem to be some growth between her and Kaname so while it's disconcerting in some places the growth of the relationship is handed in a way that makes me hopeful for the next volume and keeps me invested. Along with the unanswered questions about Koruko's mother who is the sovereign of the black witch clan who Kaname has sworn allegiance to. Food Wars by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki: Never has the term "food porn" been so literal in this Shone Jump food manga in which the protagonist Soma makes food that alternatively is the gastronomical equivalent of the best sex ever or tentacle rape if he get "inventive." This is all the stranded Shonen Jump story structure of the hero who wnat's to do his best and be the best but this is such an odd series visualy with that the hide shop worn Shonen tropes can be forgiven as it makes every thing big, loud, and over the top in a way that captures the joy of eating while also having a secondary cast of oddballs that make up for the one dimensional characterization of Soma