This week I went to Kumoricon 2012, in Vancouver, WA. You may have seen me there wearing an old Whiskey Media T-Shirt. I've given my thoughts on the convention in a Vlog. Enjoy!
Thunderbird Hotel Fire video courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/KimonoMK
The Most recent episode of the ANNCast I could find with Carl Horn is this one - http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/anncast/2012-02-03
Kumoricon's web page is https://www.kumoricon.org/
It's YouTube Channel is http://youtube.com/kumoriTV
As of this recording, I had not read Oreimo Vol. 1. Once I've finished reading it, I'll put up a text review, and add the volume to the Anime Vice wiki. Also, Carl Horn, Dana Lewis and Toren Smith should probably get added to the Anime Vice wiki, due to their role in translating and bringing various anime and manga to the US, back in the old days.
I haven't been doing many video blog posts on Anime Vice for a while, primarily because my videos haven't particularly been related to Anime. Well, this one has something of a connection, albeit a tenuous one. I'm reviewing the New Japan Pro Wrestling & All Japan Pro Wrestling co-promoted event, "Wrestle Kingdom" from 2007.
What's the anime connection, you ask? Well, the Tiger Mask gimmick is taken from the manga of the same name, and Jushin "Thunder" Liger gimmick was influenced by (and his entrance music was taken from) the Go Nagai anime series Jushin Liger.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the review.
After far too long a break, I'm going to continue with Silent Mobius.
Chapter 4: Katsumi Liqueur
Well, we get some fan-service right off of the bat in this chapter, with Katsumi changing out of their uniforms and into their street clothes, with a nice clear view o their lacy knickers. This kind of makes me wonder - do they not have sports bras in Japan? Considering the amount of running around (and getting thrown around) that comes up in their line of work, a sports bra would be more comfortable and practical than, sexy lingerie. Though, on the other hand, if he drew his characters in sports bras, Asamiya-sensei wouldn't be able to expense or deduct lingerie catalogs and gravure magazines as "research".
Anyway, it's been pretty quiet for the past few weeks, but things are about to change, as Katsumi is contacted psychically by a Lucifer Hawk. After she, Kiddy, and Yuki leave work, they're confronted by the Hawk, disguised as a human in a Harlequin suit, advertising a store. The Hawk tries to goad Katsumi into a fight, but she doesn't want to risk civilian casualties. So, the Hawk levels the area, leaving the AMP members alive, but killing hundreds of people in the area. Yuki faints, and is caught by Kiddy.
Meanwhile, at AMP HQ, Rally senses something is up and heads out of the office to investigate, leaving Lebia to monitor and call in Nami, just in case they're needed. Back at the fight, Katsumi is pissed. She tries to cast a thunder spell, but the Hawk senses the attack coming and clobbers her. Katsumi tries some of her most powerful spells, but ultimately she's knocked out. The Harlequin Hawk escapes, but not before sensing Rally's presence in the distance, and sensing something different about her.
The next day's news report gives a better idea of the scope of damage - an area of Tokyo from Yotsuya through Ichigaya have been leveled by the fight. If someone who knows more about the size of Tokyo could tell me how big this is, let me know.
At AMP's HQ, things are going poorly - Katsumi is comatose, Lebia and Kiddy are fighting, Nami's brow-beating them, and Yuki is crying. Finally, just to make things worse, Katsumi, while being subconsciously contacted by another source, steals Dewey, Lebia's motorcycle, and the Harlequin Hawk shows up to challenge Rally directly.
Katsumi arrives at a obelisk-shaped monument, where the psychic voice identifies itself as Grospoliner, King of Swords, and that she should free it from its prison, as it's bound to her bloodline. It also reveals that its last wielder was her father, Gigelf. She sticks her finger in a small hole in the monument, and it crumbles, allowing the sword to be released. Back at AMP HQ, while Rally manages to suppress Harlequin's power, the other four members of AMP are unable to defeat it. Katsumi races back on Dewey, swinging by her home briefly to get some proper clothes. As they travel, Grospoliner reveals Katsumi's Lucifer Hawk heritage, and she takes it extremely well, especially in comparison with the Anime. In the anime she had another of her many Heroic BSODs on learning this (compared to the manga where she's had no Heroic BSODs to speak of.
Katsumi returns to HQ and calls out Harlequin, who has decided to stop clowning around and reveal his true form. As an aside, Grospoliner is much bigger in the manga than in the anime. Here it's bigger than in Katsumi. Katsumi forces Harlequin to retreat, but in the process he annihilates the building's wards. Yuki reveals a premonition of AMP's HQ's destruction, so Rally has the building evacuated.
Katsumi suits up and pursues Harlequin. Katsumi is unable to get the the upper hand. On the fly, Grospoliner teaches her some more powerful magic. Katsumi almost wins, but is stopped by some humans working for Nemesis, lead by a tall, dark, and handsome bishounen (not named at this time, but I'm pretty sure it's Ganossa Maximillian).
Ganossa fries Harlequin for endangering their plans by attacking Katsumi, and then annihilates AMP HQ to "even" the score. Ganossa departs, but not before threatening Robert Device. we wrap up the chapter with Katsumi naked, in bed with Robert. Nothing implicit about this sex scene.
Chapter 5: Yuki Saito
We have a flashback to Yuki's time in the program. We cut back to the present, where Yuki is feeling like she's getting in the way of field work. From a Dungeons & Dragons 4e standpoint, I'd describe Yuki as a lazy lord, but without the healing abilities.
The next day Yuki discovers to her horror that she's gained weight, and swears to go on a diet. At work, Lebia suggests diet pills, which triggers Yuki's PTSD from the program. Yuki already has been eating poorly (just apples and water), so between her poor diet and the stress, she faints. Rally gives her a week off, so Yuki gets back in touch with another of the children from the program, and agrees to meet her at a restaurant. She arrives but is kidnapped from a different girl from the program, along with one of the program's scientist, Professor Tajima. Annie reveals that she's killed all the other kids - and only Yuki remains.
Annie reveals that the program was meant to turn them into Esper weapons. Annie psychically attacks Yuki, who teleports outside, into the waiting arms of Kiddy. Kiddy reveals that Yuki was being used as bait to draw out Annie and Tajima. Inside the lab, Katsumi and two uniformed officers confront Tajima who, when called "crazy" says, and I quote, "All scientists are crazy!"
There is quite simply not enough face-palm in our galaxy for that line. Maybe all the face-palm in the universe would be significant, but not our galaxy.
Anyway, Tajima offs himself. Outside, Annie has beaten kiddy, tying her up psychically with some underground cables. However, not satisfied with this, Annie decides she wants to go on an Akira-esque rampage before offing Yuki. Yuki asks Annie to stop, causing Annie to turn on Yuki. This is Annie's final mistake. Yuki finally displays her true power, the ability to turn enemy's attacks back on their wielders. This kills Annie, blood pouring from almost every pore on her head as she goes down.
Chapter 6: Lebia Maverick
To make up for the distinct lack of nudity in the last chapter, we open this volume with a two page spread, practically a centerfold, of Lebia half asleep on her bed, stark naked, with only she shadow of her blanket keeping this from truly being full frontal nudity.
As an aside, when we get fan-service in modern anime and manga, we don't get a lot of women like Lebia. Women who have graduated high school and college, who have more... average sized breasts (B or C cup), and a generally nicely rounded figure. Instead, adult characters tend to be a D-cup or larger, while characters with smaller bust sizes tend to be high-school students or maybe, maybe, college students (as in Genshiken). That said, this could very easily be a case of selection bias - not only in terms of the material I'm choosing to read and watch, but also in terms of the material that's been licensed for US release. Something to think about.
Anyway, Katsumi and company have let themselves in to Lebia's apartment to use her indoor pool, as it's summertime. We also learn about the third of Lebia's AIs (aside from Huey, the satellite, and Dewey, the Motorcycle), there's Louie, who runs the computers in her home, and who looks a lot like one of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey - something that Katsumi points out. As an aside, Huey, Dewey, and Louie were all satellites in the anime. Oh, and it also merits pointing out that Viz deliberately misspelled Dewey's name in the manga, instead spelling it "Duey". I presume that this was done to avert the Wrath of Disney (whether they were actually at risk or not). Being that they're all girls there, Katsumi goes skinny dipping before putting on some lacy lingerie to lounge with her team-mates.
Being that this is also pay-day, Katsumi checks her bank account and discovers that her paycheck deposit was automatically withdrawn just as soon as it was automatically deposited. Through some investigation, Lebia discovers a bunch of similar deletions and alterations throughout computer systems across Tokyo. Lebia gets dressed and contacts one of her contacts in Junk Castle - basically a Tokyo black market.
Lebia buys some viruses and tries to sick them on the hacker, only for them to be reflected back on her. She realizes that this means war, and that she's going to have to use her abilities as a Visionaire - basically an uber-hacker, ala The Major from Ghost in the Shell. As she goes online and the chapter ends, she learns from Rally that the virus attack is spreading, and that she 24 hours to stop it. If she fails, all the data in Tokyo will have been deleted.
This week I have another book review, covering one of the nominees for this year's Hugo Awards, but, sadly, not this year's winner - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jensen. I also do a break down of the various facets of the fantasy genre.
This week for my little video program, I'm taking a look at one of the nominees for this year's 2011 Hugo Awards: the book The Dervish House by Ian McDonald. I've also got a little bit to say about what I consider Cyberpunk.