momentum for march, manga edition

Hayate the Combat Butler 78

Maria is moe.
Schoolgirl Maria is more moe.
Schoolgirl Maria with glasses is even more moe.
Schoolgirl Maria with glasses in typical harem situation destroys space-time.

Kemeko DX 6

“A swimming battle between beautiful girls!”

I’m liking Kemeko DX more and more. The latest chapter had the same vibe and spirit of any Umisho antic, and I still have no clue wtf is going on. But I like Kemeko… that’s just a ridiculously inspired mecha design, especially with all the outfits weirder than the previous one. I mean… look at the aspect ratio of Kemeko to Izumi… it’s wrong, so wrong, but so hilariously wrong. I always enjoyed manga that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and there’s no way to take this manga seriously with Kemeko around.

Welcome to the NHK 40 (Final Chapter)

“This is not an ero game!”

I enjoyed NHK manga, and I was disappointed to see it end fairly abruptly and non-epically. I mean, it was building up to something big, but aside from the hut and the plot collapsing, nothing really of note happened. Satou and Misaki finally confess their “love” for each other, but nothing really develops after that. I felt a bit cheated that Satou’s hikikomori antics didn’t crescendo. The ending definitely felt rushed, and I haven’t been this let down since Pretty Face (a must read for every broken reader). Oh well, maybe it’s for the best as they were running low on ideas as the manga was beginning to be hard to take seriously as a hikikomori story with Satou running around outside so much. I think the manga started losing it when it strayed too far from that beaten path.

Mirai Nikki 26

“How did it turn into this?”

Have I professed my love for Yuno Mirai Nikki recently? Still the top prospect in anime’s farm system. I can’t believe that Yuki let Yuno live, even if she’s even crazier now than, oh, one chapter ago. I definitely can’t believe that Yuki actually got out of Yuno’s love nest trap alive. I also can’t believe that Kemeko in an apron is the 8th diary holder. Fantastic manga that just keeps getting better. I have no clue how it’ll end nor do I have any idea what studio could possible animate this one and not screw it up. One thing I hate about this manga: the monthly wait between chapters.

High School of the Dead 17

“It gave me pleasure to make him suffer!”

High School of the Dead‘s in a similar boat as Mirai Nikki in that it’s a great prospect that I just can’t see becoming a well-implemented anime. But I can definitely see Gonzo turning it into the next Dragonaut*shudders* Unlike Mirai Nikki which has a plot that grips harder and harder as it rolls on, High School of the Dead becomes more and more ridiculous as it goes on. Any semblance of a plot or story is well out the window, and now it’s accepted its role as a purveyor of mindless zombie slashing and plump melonpan. And, honestly, that’s more than enough to be a top prospect. I’m definitely interested in seeing where the story tries to go (even if it’s not very successful in going there), and I’m even more interested in finding out what happened to the orgy party bus. I mean, what other non-h manga out there has an orgy party bus in the middle of a zombie infestation?

Imouto wa Shiskunko 10

“Onii-san, let’s play!”

Dug up something I read a long time ago, but Imouto wa Shiskunko is a 4koma about a boy whose sister loves him a bit too much. Good for a few quick laughs, and I felt this manga could use a bit of love itself. I think it’s a quirky, hidden gem. Chapters 1-2. Chapters 9-10.

Tomoyo After 1

I feel like Tomoyo After is a huge afterthought to Clannad both literally and narratively, but then again, a strength of the visual novel format is the ability to spawn-off copious amounts of alternate endings. I’m not sure why this aspect isn’t explored more. If I were adapting an anime from a visual novel, I’d go nuts with alternate endings like Higurashi. While I’m happy that there’s a Tomoyo continuation past the Nagisa dead end, where’s my Kyou path?! Or Kotomi-chan?! Kyoto, if you’re reading this, you need to take the Tess’ day idea and apply it to Kyou. As for the Tomoyo After manga itself, well, it has something in similar with the Gainax retelling up next…

Evangelion Gakuen Datenroku 1

“Sorry, Misato-sensei.”

With this type of post, I always try to pimp a new manga. No different this time around, so here it is. I like Gainax a lot, especially when they take a chance and come up an with original work. Sure, they came up with Konomini, but they also came up with Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. Kyoto has yet to reach that level (sorry, Munto fans, if you exist). However, Eva was a bit too popular, and over a decade later, Gainax is still milking the franchise; this time around in Evangelion Gakuen Datenroku.

What’s different about Gakuen Datenroku is that it’s an Evangelion retelling without giant mecha. Instead, Eva takes life as a cross between shounen superpower action like D.Gray Man or Tokyo Majin (not exactly two blockbuster franchises, but bear with me a sec) and itself. The cast is the same, with similar roles, but they seem different. For one, Rei is still the beat-up, quiet Yuki Nagato prototype, and Asuka is still the tsundere tease Haruhi Suzumiya prototype. Misato is the authority figure as their teacher (what’s with Gainax, their Hall of Fame melonpan, and teachers? I keep expecting to see Please Teacher remade by Gainax… I disgress). The Angels and the Evas are more like entities and powers, similar to Persona, Darker Than Black, and that ilk.

But one big change: Shinji isn’t the same old Shinji. He’s no longer a 1,000% parody of Mark Hamill in A New Hope, and Shinji’s become more like Yuji in the first season of Shana. This change alone (plus Misato-sensei, who desperately needs more pagetime) makes Gakuen Datenroku interesting. However, a part of me still thinks it’s just a cynical attempt to launch another shounen superpower action manga and trying to differentiate from the millions out there already by using familiar Eva terms and characters. (Seems very similar to how Macross Plus was rewritten to be a Macross story rather than a random standalone OVA. Or how Tomoyo After could really have been about new characters, but they chose to use the Clannad cast for recognition and support.) But it works… I’m hooked; I’m intrigued enough by where it’s going, and the fact that Shinji is at least bearable only makes it better. It’ll score major points with me once we get to the Misato fanservice and the Shinji gar moment. (I can’t believe I just wrote those three last words.)

Definitely worth checking out. Turtle Paradise has scans.

36 Responses to “momentum for march, manga edition”

  1. Damn it, Clannad has ended today… well, at least KyoAni’s animation was better than TOEI.

  2. >>NHK
    I have this stalled. I still think the anime is one of GONZO’s finest works.

    >>Mirai Nikki
    Poor Yuno… ;_;

    >>Pretty Face
    The ending made me hate this manga. At least Mx0 is waaay better (I spent last weekend marathoning this up to the latest chapter… awesome shounen is awesome).

    >>Tomoyo After
    I should have the last chapter finished… after I watch some CLANNAD subs.

    >>High School of the Dead
    This is on my to-do list this weekend.

  3. I’m so behind Mirai Nikki. Glad to see that Yuno is as lovable as ever. <3

    Tomoyo After manga kinda sucked. Didn’t like the lazy art, or the slip-shod writing.

    By coincidence, I’m also catching up on Welcome to the NHK. And while I think the ending was a little abrupt (another chapter on what the characters are doing now), I thought Sato’s declaration “I’m going to fall in love with you” was quite romantic.

  4. >> I mean, what other non-h manga out there has an orgy party bus in the middle of a zombie infestation?

    Hey, that was part was hot. In a “what would you do if the world end today?” way.

  5. Schoolgirl Maria with glasses in typical harem situation AND with thigh-highs, it doesnt get any better than that.

  6. >> HSOTD
    I have two weaknesses in life: One is delicious thigh meat, and the other is B-rated zombie entertainment. This delivers in spades so hard, it makes me wonder why it hasn’t been tried before. While I would agree that the story has gone out the window (but who needs a story anyway after chapter 6?), at least it has a one-up over my other zombie literature (World War Z) in the fact that nukes were used.

    >>Mirai Nikki
    Ha ha, oh god! The Higurashi girls, Kaede, School Days, and all the other yandere. They were all made in preperation of Yuno. Every scene where she smiles and stares vacantly gets my blood boiling. I’m extremely interested in what happens between Yuki and Yuno after the Stephen King’s Misery arc. I can see it going two ways: The bad ending, where Yuki kills Yuno (boo! Would kill the heart of the series), or Yuki becomes extremely wary of Yuno, causing Yuno to slowly crawl further down into possessive psychosis (Oh god, I’m getting excited just thinking about it!)

  7. If you liked High School of the Dead’s derailment into melonpan and zombies,try “Reiko the Zombie Shop”. It’s the Evil Dead films if they were directed by Russ Meyer. It doesn’t even try to say anything other than “Boobs and zombies and a busty necromancer-for-hire – just go with it.”
    No scanslations – this is one you’re going to have to buy.

  8. Horror films have shown for a while that audiences liked to be scared and tittalated in equal parts. Although I am not sure HSotD is that scary…

  9. “at least it has a one-up over my other zombie literature (World War Z) in the fact that nukes were used.”

    Eh? IIRC, in World War Z, Pakistan nuked Iran into the stone age and the Chinese government got nuked by an admiral opposed to their suicidal tactics. Although it doesn’t beat the Russians figuring out who’s infected with the zombie virus by gassing everyone and shooting the zombies when they get back up.

  10. “Nagisa dead end”? Bah.

  11. I assume it is not wrong to be yelling “Take her now!” at Hayate.

    Actually she looks 16 there rather than 17 or 18. But I’ve found Japanese women tend to look younger (by western standards) than they really are. Especially when you find 40 year olds that can pass for 20 year olds.

  12. Shinji and Gar are a contradiction of terms >_>

  13. i really need to start reading Mirari Nikki

    HSOTD – Saeko-chan just needs a real man with chains and a whip. I agree a HSOTD anime would be too tone down to make it worthwhile unless it was a OAV or movie.

  14. Yes, two more Pretty Face readers! But I agree, the rushed ending botched an otherwise hilarious series. Too bad the Japanese didn’t like it very much.

  15. Pretty Face, I love Pretty Face… my first gender bender, but damn the ending was tragically not so good, because of the rush cancellation… I hope Mx0 a much longer run (its almost doubled at the moment…) Saddened at the NHK ending as well, and am tempted to read the light novels.

    Ah, all this manga reminds me I have so much to catch up on T___T

  16. ….. tomoyo after was so touching and such a twister right at the end…..

  17. Well NHK was good but really got away from the whole “NHK” part not to mention the whole “Hikkikomori” part.

    MxO is great for a Jump series… it’s not every day that your shounen action hero is the weakest person in a fight, and isn’t an idiot.

    Evangelion Gakuen Datenroku right now is the masterpiece of Eva spinoff manga. On the other hand, Eva spinoff manga is a bunch of hideous crap. Sadamoto’s non-spinoff Eva manga itself has been running for a decade and isn’t even over yet… anyways, the good thing about Eva manga is that Shinji is never as big of a pussy as he was in the TV series.

  18. Oh, I had intended to check out that NGE spinoff manga but forgotten all about it. Proceeding to download…

  19. Evangelion Gakuen Datenroku = complete opposite of NGE the anime… which means no whining, no painful to watch loser-like activities… and a Kaworu who’s far less disturbing and not so prone to making passes at Shinji. Definite win in my book so far, especially with the action. It’s like the Toast Universe NGE… but with action and less campy harem stereotypes. And more Misato. Mmm.

  20. Hmmm I personally though Imouto wa Shiskunko blew absolute chunks. I mean it was just series after series of awkward moments between him and his sister, good for a few half-hearted chuckles I suppose. Got old fast in my not-so-humble opinion. And Hmmm, never finished Pretty Face. I do kinda like Mx0 however.

  21. Thanks for the tip on Kemeko DX jason- very good thru 6 chapters.
    Helps that I have a serious weakness( among other hthings) for Izumi types

  22. Pretty bold words Haesslich … considering not even one volume is out and its running on a SHOUJO MAGAZINE!

    And in my opinion is not the opposite of the anime, you still have the “I must not run away” … there is really not much to make any case for it.

  23. Drakron: I’ve read Angelic Days, and I’ve leafed through Girlfriend of Steel. I’ve read the first four chapters of this – it’s still heads and tails above the anime as far as the characters are concerned, and Shinji does repeat the line… but at the same time, you dont’ want to slap the life out of him for being such a pathetic whiner. Yes, he complains about being asked to take on the role… but he does step up to the plate once his protective instincts kick in, as then proceeds to start doing things. That part is like the anime, but you don’t see him literally trying to run away from his responsibility.

  24. Depends Haesslich, in the original (Anime) there were very good reasons for Shinji being that way (the fact he was that way AND the fact he was a pretty awful EVA pilot at the start was quite a departure from the usual mech) and he was getting better until Anno snapped and started to do horrible things to the characters …

    Also why you think Kaworu usually shows up sooner in the manga series? the original is very flawed in many aspects and they have tried to correct then (and good luck on fixing the terrible ending, EoE is no help either since Anno was too busy in trolling the NGE fans to actually do something about it).

    As for “Evangelion Gakuen Datenroku” … its too soon, Asuka already is the Tsundare, Rei being the more “human” Rei (of course that is hard not to be considering how in the original they kinda forgotten about her and when they did … well “hello there Reset button”) with Kaworu being … Kaworu (I am smart, in the know and also seem to be GAR for Shinji) as for Misato not even having anything yet besides showing her once as being the class teacher.

  25. Drakron: He was an awful EVA pilot because he wasn’t trained, and this was a deconstruction of mecha shows where people are eager to be heroes and are experts. He was an awful character to watch because he wasn’t just cowardly, but because one got the sense that, had an Angel walked up to him early on and said ‘hey, if you throw this battle I’ll let you run away and live’ that he’d have done so without a second thought.

    Kaworu’s arrival in the original manga is earlier to help set things up… and certainly makes him creepier. His earlier arrival in EVERY other manga spin-off of the series (except I don’t recall him in GoS) in a less bastardized form is useful, especially since you want to like him even if he might turn out to be a kitten-murdering bastard… and his ‘come-ons’ to Shinji don’t feel quite so out of place.

    As things stand, they’ve only begun to set up the story but it looks far more interesting than Angelic Days was, and has some action to keep the action fans happy while putting in some more development into the way the other characters are portrayed (Asuka doesn’t look like a sociopath in the making, Rei doesn’t appear completely uninvolved with the world, and Shinji gets some nice Trauma Switch time without becoming completely useless). The art’s decent, and the story is promising… far more promising than NGE’s was even halfway in.

  26. Yes Haesslich, it was a deconstruction … same with his character that is not really keen on jumping aboard a mech and getting himself killed just because his father (that abandoned him years ago) says so.

    Also do not call Shinji a coward, he did run away a few times because of the pressure but remember, he originally entered Unit 01 without any training knowing full well his chances because of Rei, many times he shown courage but he had a tough time in dealing with the pressure (he did got better until things started to fall apart)… besides have you forgotten when he, with damn good reason, walked out and returned (in the middle of a battle) just because he was the only one that could do something? he could very well stay in the shelter and wait for the end of the world …

    As for Kaworu … if GoS is like the game Kaworu have no reason to be there (Kaji is the supporting character) since GoS is about Mana … also in the anime the whole part about Kaworu is just … awkward, its too fast (no reason for the audience to understand why Shinji would be so upset about him, he was there for 10-15 minutes before “LOL! I am a angel”) to the point it makes Gunbuster romances look proper developed (including Noriko X Male Pilot that gets killed in the same episode he shows up).

    Look I do not mind Kaworu, its not as if there is a lot of material on his character on the anime to start with.

    Also Asuka does not look a sociopath in the making? have you read the last 3 chapters were she snaps at Shinji in the Yggdrasil and then later in the fighter against the Angel?

    Its either Tsundare or Yandere …

  27. GoS was a manga as well… and I won’t speak about it either. As has been noted, most manga spin-offs of NGE, barring the ‘retelling’ version have been uniformly awful.

    And yes, NGE was a deconstruction before Anno had his breakdown and decided all his characters needed to have one too – that’s why Shinji wasn’t an instant expert, and a reluctant pilot. The reason he went in the very first time was because, if he didn’t, he’d have died either at his father’s hands if the Angel didn’t get him first because Rei would’ve gotten stomped to pieces in her condition. It was a matter of survival at the time – however, later on he DOES run away… and only gets back in due to either emotional blackmail (Rei looking like his mom, who he does remember subconsciously, tends to have that effect) or else because he’s got no choice (see End of Evangelion).

    As for that episode you’re referencing… I believe that, at that point, he was pretty much at the point of a psychotic break ANYWAYS, which is why he charged out, boarded 01, and then got eaten by it. As for Asuka here… no, she just looks like a normal tsundere rather than a sociopath in the making. Her first appearance made her out to be an arrogant foreigner, much as she appears here in the manga. Her LATER appearances showed a need to be recognized that bordered on psychosis… something that probably contributed to her breakdown after the Eleventh Angel. She verbally attacks Shinji here, unlike in the anime where we saw physical assaults or emotional battering on a regular basis. In Datenroku, it’s more like ‘for crying out loud, stop whining and give me a damned hand here!’.

    It’s still a heck of a lot better than the anime was, so far, and better than most of the spin-offs I’ve read.

  28. That episode is already in “Anno descend”, its actually good (it REALLY shows what Instrumentality IS on the next one) and I have to say its not a “psychotic break”, he left because of the plug system … Shinji shown something that is called “enjoying having free will”, we REALLY do not like to be used as puppets and that was what he end up being done and considering who did it his backlash was understandable (even Misato understands that, look the difference of that and the first time he tried to leave also by train).

    I guess this is what NGE is … even after a decade we are STILL talking about it, not because its good or bad but because it is both …

  29. I forgot … no, he would not died … Gendo was many things but what he said was “if you are not going to pilot it, you have no use for me” … he would not “kill him” and Rei looked nothing like her mother … in fact I doubt he even remembers his mother (too young, he could not even have a image of her during Instrumentality), he did for the reasons displayed … he was not going to let a half dead girl to get from half dead to full dead, not from fear of his father were he would enjoy getting ANY reaction from him.

  30. I’m posting on Jason Miao’s blog!
    I’m Shining!

  31. That’s odd – I always got the impression that Gendo would have permanently ‘discarded’ Shinji if he’d walked away early on despite any lingering affection he may have borne for his son. Certainly the only close tie to anyone that Gendo had was to Rei, being both the means toward a controlled Third Impact as well as a link to his lost wife by dint of her genesis. And she DID look like her genetic forebearer, from the images that I recall. And wasn’t one of Shinji’s problems his spinelessness? You could bully him into almost anything.

  32. Gendo had no need to kill Shinji, also when you say “discard him” you mean he could just get him out … even if there are problems with that considering how Shinji was a key piece on Gendo own scenario, Gendo simply pushed the buttons he knew would work.

    Also you are ignoring EoE, Gendo had issues with expressing his feelings … its funny how the fact his actions were a gambit to reunite with Yui, breaking SEELE own scenario for his own.

    Also I believe his tie with Rei was exactly the same as with Naoko and Ritsuko … she was a tool and I think Rei even understands that since it come down to Shinji or Gendo, Rei at least favored Shinji over Gendo.

    And Rei is really … not … like … Yui … at all, even if facial features are similar (then again Shinji=Nadia) her behavior is quite different, I think it shows Rei loved Shinji NOT in a motherly way … she was not Yui, she was Rei.

    And for “bully him (Shinji) into almost anything” … well considering A LOT was pure emotional blackmail (and mind games) and he was never actually bullied with physical threats and STILL you could not talk him to get out of Unit 01 after the plug system was used to override him.

  33. I’m not ignoring EoE – but at that point in the series, he may have cared about Shinji… but he wanted Yui much, much more – the only reason that Shinji was there was because Yui cared about him too… which is the whole premise behind why those EVA’s were able to sync so well with their pilots. If he thought killing Shinji would’ve gotten Yui back right away, I fear that Gendo would’ve pulled the trigger without a second thought; he may love Shinji.. but he loves Yui way, way more (and obsessively so).

    Rei was indeed a tool, since (as has already been pointed out) she was the key to Third Impact… but at the same time, there was more honest affection for her on Gendo’s part than he had with Ritsuko or Naoko… who were only means to an end, and their bonds of love to him were tools which made them both pliable as well as a way to predict and limit their actions – they wouldn’t go against him THAT much, and any damage they did would be minimized because they wouldn’t go too far and thus break off the relationship in the process. With Rei, Gendo could be more comfortable… which until Shinji’s arrival made him THE most important person in Rei’s life.

    As for Rei = Yui, did I write that they were identical? No – they LOOKED alike, and that may have been what helped foster the immediate protectiveness that Shinji felt towards Rei to start (unless he has a fetish for infirm and injured girls, and EoE leaves that question open). That certainly may have been part of why Gendo treated her well (outside of needing her willing compliance in order to bring his plans to full fruition). On a subconscious level. this may have influenced father and son’s attitudes towards the blue-haired one, due to being a reminder of the person both loved in their own ways.

    I do believe that I mentioned the emotional blackmail earlier – it’s probably the best approach to pushing around the person who embodies the ‘Hedgehog’s Dilemma’ – since the emotions hurt worse than the physical attacks ever would, and he’s willing to do anything it takes to get away from the pain.

  34. I held the idea EoE was Anno trolling the NGE fanbase.

    Gendo in EoE shows regret of not being a father to Shinji, I think that was intentional because Gendo human side is usually ignored (despite attempts to make people notice Gendo was not a bastard he seem to be) so I really cannot see him doing that.

    Gendo and Rei is not really that complicated, remember … “if it is a boy, we will name it Shinji and if it is a girl we will name her Rei”, I doubt its so much as Yui but the daughter they did not had (Rei is not just Yui clone) as Gendo had issues with dealing with Shinji.

    Also Rei and Yui are not that much similar (most of the female cast have the same general facial features) … also I would not say Shinji acted that way just because “she looked like mother” since as I said you do not even have Shinji with a mental picture of his mother … he could not relate to start with.

    And yes, there is that scene in EoE … something that leads credit to my “trolling” notion of EoE.

    I think Shinji comes down to this, its not designed to be a instant likable character … reason I can understand him is because I can relate.

  35. Gendo’s human side is ignored primarily because we see the negative aspects of it – the obsessions, the manipulative parts, the ones which basically show his utter ruthlessness in using anyone and anything in order to get Yui back. No matter what the cost, no matter how much blood is spilled on the way… he wants her; and that’s a very human thing, as base and monstrous as it is; the type of selfish love which makes women in anime go yandere and in real life makes them murderers or spouse-beaters. Being a bastard doesnt’ mean he’s not human, but just that he’s a very obsessed and at times contemptible one.

    Yes, Rei was named after the daughter Gendo and Yui never had, and he did treat her better than he did his ‘real child’, although how much of that’s fatherly affection despite to the circumstances of her creation, and how much is due to his need to have her compliant and willing to break SEELE’s plan is left to the viewer’s imagination. Her resemblance, as slight as it is, may have been enough to motivate him at the below-conscious levels to behave better towards her than he would’ve towards Shinji, due to the way his priorities were set after her death during the early EVA experiments.

    From what I recall, Shinji says he doesn’t remember what his mother looks like… but he sure seemed to remember the day she died, given that he was there if I’m remembering it correctly. I’d argue that he does remember her, but most of those memories were blocked out due to the trauma of the experience. In Episode 20, when he’s dissolved in the Plug, he seems to be flashing back (or at least, we’re being pulled along for the ride) to memories of his mother.. although we don’t get to see any faces, IIRC.

    I’ve found I have the opposite reaction to Shinji – I can only relate to ihm so far.. before I find him utterly disgusting, not that he doesn’t seem to feel the same way regarding himself by the end of the series. Touji or Kensuke I can understand, and relate to, much more because they’re relatively normal folk who don’t wallow in their angst the way he did throughout the series. There’s tortured and ‘coping’ (Misato and her booze, Ritsuko and her need for Gendo’s approval), and there’s tortured and denying that one is angsty (Asuka)… and then there’s Shinji.

  36. … there’s a BL vibe in Datenroku, or a semi-vibe, and I’m not sure how to take it. Asuka’s still danged attractive, though.

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