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Otaku Review: Detective Conan/ Case Closed

Conan as a kid

Take a genius crime-solving teenager. Put him in the body of a six-year-old child, give him a tranquilizer dart, a shooting clock and some other high tech tools that would make Q jealous. Sprinkle it with 800 plus episodes and 20 movies riddled with crime and corpses and there you have it. Detective Conan (aka: Case Closed) is the longest running detective series in the world…and also one of the most violent series imaginable. In virtually every episode someone dies in a gruesome and mysterious way.

1
A corpse has been found!

Kundo Shinchi was tailing some men in black who knocked him out and fed him an experimental drug that shrunk his body. Since this would put some real strain on his hobby of solving crimes, he came up with a brilliant ploy. He got his friend, Dr. Agasa to make him a bunch of gadgets to compensate for his size and age. Conan then moved in with his friend and potential love interest: Ran.

2
Conan and the kids from his class

 

Incidentally, his childhood friend has a father who is a drunken womanizing gumshoe who jumps to conclusions and sucks at solving cases. Fortunately this turned out to be easily rectified, as Conan drugs the poor sod and proceeds to imitate his voice every time a suspect is about to be exposed. This gave the man the nickname Sleeping Kogoro, and a lot of fame (which in turn attracted even more cases). Naturally Conan has to keep it hidden from everyone else, lest the men in black who shrunk him in the first place find out he’s alive, and the proceed to kill everyone he loves and cares about.

4
SCIENCE!

Mind you, he’s quite capable of getting them almost killed himself due to the abnormally high crime rate in Japan. I can assure you that when he and his friends are about and at it, corpses will fall from the sky in a flat, featureless desert.

5
Kogoro, random stranger, Rans friend, Ran and the kids
6
I want those spy glasses!
7
Suspension of disbelief, Ran is a black belt.
8
Rule of awesome beats reality!

Every now and then he is also joined by his fellow classmates and Heiji, who is also a detective, and Ai, who was part of the organization. She too, shrunk herself into a child with the mysterious drug. It should by now be worth mentioning that the first episode of Detective Conan starts with a couple getting decapitated in a roller-coaster, which means that the series can get quite bloody and absurd at times. Most of the time however, it’s quite down to earth (if you ignore the absurd number of explosives that show up in the movies and his inflatable soccer ball dispenser).Some suspension of disbelief is needed, since the whole reason Detective Conan keeps up the masquerade from his friends does become quite arbitrary. It’s not that hard to deduce that this kid is too smart for his own good. But then again time does not seem to move much in the series, even when the technology is updated. The author has clearly done his research, and for the most part it’s accurate and wears its inspiration on its sleeve.

Watch it on Crunchyroll
http://www.crunchyroll.com/case-closed

Njål Sand

Haven Review: Log Horizon

Log Horizon

In an online world within our world, several thousand players got stuck as their avatar within Elder Tale, as the newest expansion pack was released. The series mainly follows Shiroe, the devil in glasses, and his merry followers who struggle with all the problems that occur as the online world slowly becomes real and larger than life. As a seasoned strategist and highly ranked player, he ends up taking taking control as the world keeps throwing new curve-balls his way. Luckily he has a strong supporting cast and is well versed in the art of “plans within plans”.

Yes this is the hero of the story.

There are many a tale in our world about adventures in other worlds. So what makes this series worth watching? It has a lot of char, political intrigues and a huge selection of colorful characters. What really sets it apart is the sense of mystery and the well thought out pacing. The biggest folly of many such shows is they either focus too much on the dialogue or flood the viewer with action. The style and character designs are often all over the place and the use of conspicuous CGI can throw some people off. Unlike some series, the characters here are dressed in a practical way and the artist doesn’t stack gear upon gear. Mind you, they look great. They just don’t fall under the category of costume porn. The intro song is also very decent to the point of becoming an earworm.

One of the major plot points within the series is the mystery behind the event that occurred. How will they deal with their new life in a world where they have player powers, yet the NPCs don’t?

And how will they get home, if it’s possible at all?

Do not question the hairy goat slime.

More than anything it conveys a most human outlook on the nature of mankind and its ability to adapt. A very noticeable thing I just have to mention is the lack of a truly violent tsundre character, accidental perverts and panty-shots. Sure they have some jokes about it, however it’s quite tame and family-friendly in that department.

The Log Horizon anime is apparently based on an ongoing light novel series which got adapted into 25 episodes of animated awesome. I can truly say that I enjoyed this series a lot and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes mystery and world-building. Now if I only could get hold of more. Yes it is highly addictive, and binge-watching is a quite real and possible outcome.

For anyone interested, it’s possible to see it on Crunchyroll and it should be available for most of the world. Just follow the link bellow.

http://crunchyroll.com

Njål sand

Otaku Review: Himouto! Umaru-chan

Now I normally don’t watch a lot of anime online; I prefer to download soft fan-subs from websites. But I kept hearing about Himouto! Umaru-chan, so I had to look into it. Luckily Crunchyroll is streaming the subtitled version completely free, so I took a look at it.

Himouto_umaru_chan_umaru_happy_stitch_by_jonesy974-d921nroThe series is based around an incredibly popular high school girl named Umaru Doma. She is referred to as super attractive and a perfect “straight-A” student whom everyone simply loves. But that’s only how she is outside of her house.

When she returns home, Umaru turns into a super hardcore gamer who bothers her brother constantly, and whines to get her way (much like a few people I know in real life). Besides all this, she lives on a diet comprised almost solely of soda and chips.

Each day she lazily sits around reading Jumpu, her manga of choice and playing video games. But as the story progresses, you get to meet her current friends, watch her make new ones and explore her relationship with her brother, Taichi Doma.

Now the series for me raised a lot of questions; namely, why is Umaru living with her elder brother and what happened to Taichi‘s mother. I’m aware there is a manga adaption to the show as well, and I tried looking into it on Wikia. But I haven’t come across much, so the series leaves a lot of blank spots that make me wonder a lot of things.UmaruChibi

At first I hated the series and really disliked Umaru as a character, with her whining, begging, and demanding her brother get her everything she wants. Taichi is constantly being used as a punching bag or “door mat”, to which his name loosely translates.

There is no real plot to the entire series, and it just goes along with random daily stories of the brother-sister relationship, as well as Umaru‘s interaction with her friends. The story barely explores her formative years or how she was raised.Vlcsnap-2015-08-06-14h43m21s205

But the series is enjoyable, and after a while you get used to Umaru and her antics. Eventually she begins to mellow out a bit, as her brother tries to help her grow into a person who will be able to fend for herself one day. The animation style is really superb as well, not to mention the constant barrage of easter eggs and jokes they make throughout the series. The story tries to give as many references as it can to what it’s drawing inspiration from.

Vlcsnap-2015-08-11-23h20m52s114Overall, Himouto! Umaru-chan is a short series and very enjoyable. The first episode is quite rough, but the more you watch the better the show becomes and I suggest checking it out when you get a chance. Again, you can watch for free on Crunchyroll.

-Daniel Clatworthy-