Tag Archives: Japanese Manga

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

Otaku Review: Vandread

My first encounter with anime, as I’ve come to know it, was Vandread. Everything prior to it was either Pokemon or Moomin. In the Vandread universe, men and women live on two different words, which are at war with each other. The beginning sequence follows a ceremony where a new flagship is to be launched and Hibiki has lost a wager and is trying to steal a Mecha. Just as a team of pirates strike, stuff blows up and the prototype ship fuses with the pirate ship. From there on a space adventure with a very unlikely and gender-segregated crew begins.

The show has 26 episodes divided into two seasons; a move that condenses the plot into 75 minutes and a manga. The main theme of the series is the different perspective between men and women who are learning how to live together after being raised on separate worlds…a true culture clash of epic proportions. This is all wrapped inside a deeper plot, complete with character development, tastefully ecchi content and beautifully drawn characters. We follow the shenanigans of the crew and the stubborn, cocky spiky-haired main character, as well as the ditzy alien-loving Dita, who keeps referring to Hibiki as Mr. Alien.

Indeed, this is bonafide scifi show after all, with 3D animated space fights, where he can “merge” his Mecha with the female fighter crafts. This results in some awesome combinations with some rather suggestive cockpit and crew placements! The supporting cast is nice and varied, though they borrow quite a lot form stereotypes. Luckily there is no violent tsundere as the main love interest. Too many shows includes a headstrong, sexually insecure girl whom beats up the boy for just looking at her, even when it’s an honest accident.

In an ocean of questionable animation quality, this is quite pleasant to look at and very decently animated. Due to 3D being used in space, it does not feel out of place at all, even though the 3D has not aged that well. However, it’s a very nice way to avoid the uncanny valley. Naturally there is a stupidly catchy theme song that will probably get stuck in your head. I can’t go too much into the plot details, since that would ruin the story. However the whole series is on YouTube, it seems. The dub there is not too bad; however it’s still a dub.

I enjoyed it, as I’m sure you will as well.

-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