Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here, here! It is the buckling of these hideous pants!

I have no idea why this character's first appearance on the blog is still getting hits to this day, but let's see if she works her magic again.

This time out, Princess Resurrection takes a bit of a break from the Universal/Hammer motifs as they encounter a Shinto god, pay tribute to "unstuck in time" flicks like The Day Time Ended, and make a detour into giant robot vs Godzilla-alike.

The overplot advances incrementally once again, but on top of that Mitsunaga's developed a habit of glossing over the actual fighting; his interest seems more in the weird set-piece/homages rather than turning the book into a dedicated battle manga. It doesn't do any special harm to this volume, but we may not get any kind of payoff at all; this seems to be the last English-language installment for the foreseeable future, since this came out about a year ago and future releases appear to be caught up in Del Rey's closing down/relocating their manga operations. Here's a provisional eulogy, then, in case we never see another volume: Princess Resurrection peaked early (volume 3 was definitely the best) and never quite lived up to the "invincible corpse-fighter" legacy of 3x3 Eyes or Hellsing, but it was always an amusing, cheesecakey trifle. I'll miss it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pinky Pinky Love

Welcome to Round One of Funimation's double-barrelled load of Yoshihiro Nishimura, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, which is probably his most mainstream movie yet. Mind, that's an extremely relative term, as much of the humor involves self-mutilation and some truly grotesque blackface.

I actually don't have as much to say about this one as I'd have liked, it's basically a sappy/campy romance of the kind Andrew likes to rail against, only with occasional scenes of extreme(ly hilarious) gore. It has a fairly charming candy-colored pop aesthetic going on, but there's not that much happening underneath; calling it a parody would be giving the script more credit than it deserves. You can kind of tell this was based on a manga because the focal point of the love triangle is an annoyingly bland milquetoast, but then I guess that's why his name isn't in the title, he's just a toy for the eponymous duo to fight over.

The male lead's charisma vacuum is only a mild problem, the big one is that the movie is almost paced in reverse; the most effective/random sequences come up front and things sort of gently peter out as it goes on. A shaggy-dog twist at the end almost justifies the actual plot, but not quite.

After letting it sink in for a few days, I think VG vs FG dethrones Samurai Princess as the weakest Nishimura production I've seen, if only because it's the least audaciously weird (although I should repeat that we're grading on a pretty strong curve here, we do still have Kabuki Frankenstein running around). It's fun to see once, but nothing's really stuck with me. I still have high hopes for RoboGeisha, though!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baccano 1710: Crack Flag

Baccano 1705: The Ironic Light Orchestra was one of the better books in the series; a tightly focused book with an unusually small cast for Narita: three characters, two we already knew, and one who clearly did not end up becoming immortal. Indeed, later books reveal that she died in 1710, so this book was always going to be the story of how she met her end.
Narita admits in the afterword that he found it incredibly difficult to kill her off, and declares that he will never do this again. It really sounds like he wrote himself into a corner he couldn't get out of. He doesn't seem to have had any actual story to go with what we already knew, so this book ends up like an insanely boring Cliff's Note retelling of something like two years of disconnected scenes that never add up to anything. It felt like the plot didn't actually gel till page 282, and it ended another twenty pages later. The embarrassing framing device involving this narrative retold by a poet drives home just how tedious and leaden the whole affair is, and the M. Night Shyamalan worthy series of bad idea shocking twists towards the end makes this the single worst thing Narita has ever written. Hopefully he knows it and will avoid ever forcing himself to write a book he has no interest in actually writing.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Strange Tales of Del Rey part 2

I'd figured the omnibus releases were just cutting losses on less-profitable titles, but it looks like it was foreshadowing them getting out of the biz entirely. Except, sort of not at all? As he so often does, Chris Butcher lays everything out cogently.

I hope to god this more or less ends up as Del Rey taking over Kodansha USA's publishing instead of the other way around.