Tag Archives: volume 1

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kogoro, random stranger, Rans friend, Ran and the kids
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I want those spy glasses!
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Suspension of disbelief, Ran is a black belt.
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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-

Otaku Review: One Punch Man

One-Punch-ManOne Punch Man

Let it be known, I’m not an otaku, but I still enjoy the hell out of this show. In a world much like our own, monsters fight men over and over again. This has become a disturbingly common thing, so a man decided to fund a hero organization that employs anyone willing to fight. Naturally there is a system to determine how dangerous a threat is, and heroes are put into grades ascending from “E” to “A”…with “S” at the very top. Japan loves this grading system it seems. Each city is just referred to by a letter.

The protagonist is a simple and bald man, who became insanely strong. Anything he fights he can beat with one punch. Essentially he is an unbeatable superman. If this had been any other show he would be considered a Gary Stu.

Ladies and gentlemen, our shounen hero.

L

Luckily he is a flawed man with too much power in his hand, yet he struggles to kill a small mosquito; go figure.

Since Saitama is just too good at beating enemies, the author brought in a cyborg called Genos, who has a lot more flair in combat. Naturally he is also a bit inexperienced so he takes a lot of damage. He’s pretty much the stoic and overly serious hero type, that often goes into anti-hero territory. Mind you, he is a very awesomely designed mechanical man.

Dpiccolo-whyue to the highly detailed art direction, most of the monsters look creepy as hell and clearly inspired by other series, such as Dragonball. The premise is simple. Monsters of the week attack, hero fights monsters and hero becomes stronger and looks epic while doing it. Keep in mind though, the show plays the tropes straight, subverts them and then punches them to death and plays them straight again.

Every now and then the chapters focus on the other heroes and by Jove there are a lot. The whole generic freak troupe and more is all over the place. Need a ninja? There is one. How about a guy with a tube haircut and a baseball bat? There is one of those as well, and more.

Genos

 

One of the most noticeable aspects of the series is how beautiful and detailed it is drawn; especially the manga. It’s on a level of its own. Apparently it started as a one shot story online. But then Shounen Jump caught wind of it. There is only one big problem, it’s a very new show, so there is a lot of waiting time between the episodes. Same goes for the manga chapters. Which means that there is always more to look out for every month.

 Njål Sand