By Nomad (back in action, and rarin’ to go) Otto
*to a very small value of everything
I’m back from flatland, and ready to produce a work of staggering genius, so awesome it will completely blow all y’all away. Or at least that was the original plan. Of course, that would require an idea about what to write about, along with a thesis and all that good stuff. So, instead, you get another edition of me reviewing crap. Whee. However, it’s good stuff (mostly) that I’m reviewing this time, so it’s not like there’s nothing to be gained by reading this. If, on the other hand, you find me being rude amusing, well, it’s not ALL good stuff, so you won’t go home unhappy either. So, what are we waiting for? See y’all below the fold.
For those of you who thought that I was gonna talk about GGG, sorry, but no dice. On the other hand, I am gonna rant about Geass, Games, and a Good slice of life manga, which is like GGG, but has fewer magical children who are Jesus. Because I’m feeling punchy, we’ll start with the last, and work our way back.
Good Slice of Life Manga:
Many of you may know that I’m not a huge fan of the “slice of life” genre. This is mostly because slice of life shows are 1) boring and 2) creepy. By boring, I mean nothing happens, and by creepy, I mean well, creepy,, in this very “male gaze”-y sort of way. One of the things I’ve noticed about slice of life and quasi-slice of life shows is the lack of male presence, which is a big source of the creepiness. It’s like they live in some bizzare, matriarchal alternate universe in which men are few and far between. To this end, I propose a new standard of judging slice of life shows, based on the the so-called Mo Movie Measure, to wit:
The Nomad Slice of Life Scale
1) there are at least two named male characters, who
2) talk to each other about for at least a couple of panels
3) About something that doesn’t make them completely unlikable
I’ll read stuff that doesn’t pass the scale, but, it needs to be pretty funny and/or original in order for me to stick with it. So, when I say I’ve found a slice of life manga that not only passes the scale (halfway through volume 1, even) AND is pretty funny, AND is getting an anime adaptation in the near future, your response should be to shower me with flowers and accept the arrival of your new reviewing overlord, NOMAD.
The name of the manga in question is Hyakko, and it’s pretty decent. I don’t wanna go on record as saying that it’s the second coming or anything, but it’s a nice filler manga. It’s about a high school student, Torako, and her coterie of friends, who are amusing in various ways. It’s a standard sort of large-cast high school wacky antics with one slight difference, most of the characters are loons. Imagine Azumanga, except in the first chaper, Tomo jumps out of a second floor window, throws a brick through a window on accident, and punches a teacher in the gut so hard he collapses. Yeah, it’s slick like that.
Story: Torako is an energetic, friendly high school student who has the habit of taking things a little too far. This is her story. There’s not much in the way of plot, it’s wacky hijinks of the month sort of thing. However, the hijinks are done REAALLY WELL. I’d recommend this over freakin’ art-school-nothing-happens in a heartbeat (take it, BigN, feel the burn).
Art: a little weird to get used to a first, but, he does a good job at conveying the emotions he needs to, especially blind rage and terror. No other major comments.
Ease of Reading: Fairly Easy: furigana + conversational vocab make a pretty simple read.
Other comments: Dude illustrated a light novel called Logical Elements. I should probably read it at some point, but, light novels are a pain in the ass to read, at least for a functional illiterate like myself.
Alright, with that out of the way, time for our second G, Geass. I’ve now read three different manga adaptations of Geass, along with looking at two artbooks, and, sadly, I was not impressed my most of them. Of the three manga, two more or less follow the plot of geass to some degree or another, while the third is basically a different story using the geass characters from time to time. It, Nightmere of Nunnaly strangely enough, is the best of the three.
Of the two that are adaptations of the show, uh, they kinda suck. Lelouch of the Rebellion is drawn by someone with no understanding of proportion, or, for that matter, pacing, panel layout, or how to draw facial expressions other than “vaguely creepy.” The other, Suzaku of the Counterattack, sort of has the opposite problem. It’s clearly designed for people who like pretty men. People who like pretty men who like other pretty men. People with a purient interest in California marriage law. Friends of Friends of Dorthy, if you will. Alright, I’ll stop.
Now for the artbooks. I’m not a huge collector of artbooks, in general, but the geass artbooks aren’t bad. The Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: The Complete is a standard Newtype complete collection, it has VA interviews, character designs, mecha designs and stills from various parts of the episodes. It’s not bad, in fact, some of the commentary is pretty interesting (the Geass Count, for example, is both interesting and useful, it lists everyone Lulu’s Geass’ed during the course of the show), but it’s blown out of the water by the other artbook, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion illustrations Rebels (pew, that’s a mouthful, and the i in illustrations isn’t capitialized in the title on the book either.)
Illustrations Rebels doesn’t have all of the fancy features of the Newtype collection, but it’s got a collection of high quality color pictures. Really high quality. As in, I would put this book up on my wall except that would involve destroying it. It, too has some concept sketches, but they’re not as many or as interesting as the ones in the other book. The only real problem with this book is that, too often, breaking up the illustration over two pages makes some interesting part fall on the spine, so you CAN’T FREAKIN’ SEE IT.
Yeah, enough of that. Time for the last G in our powerful lion of justice, Games. I’ve been playing Super Robot Wars W for a while now, and I figured I should at least talk about SRW, as it’s a long running series of games which are pretty damn popular in places other than the states, and it basically exists for the sake of giant robot fans, which at least some of the people who read these little diatriabes are.
So, SRW. Imagine the weird crossover fanfic that someone wrote which involves, like, 15 different series and includes a set of orginal characters. That’s Super Robot Wars. It basically takes a huge stack of robot anime and mashes them together in a turn-based strategy game. The game itself isn’t bad, and the fact that certain things are different in SRW continuity (i.e. GAI DOESN’T DIE) make it a fun play.
The biggest problem with SRW is the problem with most JSRPGS (Japanese Strategy etc. etc.), in that everything is taken to 11. By the end of the game, you have a huge stack of characters, add-on parts, machines, and skills. You’re being asked to control 15 guys against something on the order of 25-30 AI guys, and most of the battles don’t really require any interesting tactics other than being precise about your movement and making sure you have the right spirits up when you attack the boss. Everything takes a long time, and it starts to get repetitive. However, by this point, you’re usually like 5-10 stages away from the end, so you soldier on and finish the thing. So, not to be a huge rain on the parade or anything, but, if you’re not a big fan of giant robots and you find turn based strategy sort of slow, you won’t like this. if, on the other hand, you want to see GGG charge into battle supported by the Nadescio and Golion, you’ve probably come to the right games.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now. Expect to hear more from me again soon, though!