RahXephon, Noir and Girls Bravo
a bi-weekly column by Don Houston, John Sinnott, and Todd Douglass
This week's column is short but sweet. We have reviews of two new boxed sets the stylish and action filled Noir, and the mysterious and intense RahXephon, as well as the first volume of Tactics. If you have any money left over after Deep Discount DVD's 20% off sale last week, Holly has some bargains that'll tempt those last dollars out of your pocket. We wrap up this week's installment with reviewer Todd Douglass' look at Girls Bravo, the manga that the anime series was based on and our table of upcoming releases.
If you're looking for an offbeat and unique show then you'll definitely want to check out Manga’s new release Tactics. This interesting series follows the life of a young boy who is an exorcist and novelist extraordinaire. Ever since he was child Kantaro has dreamed about finding a demon-eating goblin and naming him into his servitude. In the first episode of the series he does just that and what follows is a monster of the week style of storytelling. The adventures here are great with involved plots and characters that develop through the course of this first volume. There’s almost a fairytale or poetic atmosphere to the series and we'll see if future volumes can carry that same magic.
If you look at the cover of RahXephon don’t simply write it off as another Neon Genesis Evangelion rip off. This show is its own monster and worthy of its own audience. The series takes place in the future where an alien race known as the Mu has overthrown Tokyo and created a bubble of sorts around it. Time moves slower here and strange forces are gathering that threaten to destroy the outside world. A young boy named Ayato is lead to a large Dolem creature known as RahXephon and set out upon the world to do the will of a strange entity. When he makes contact with humans from the outside everything is turned upside down the things really kick off. The action is intense, the tale is mysterious, and the show is a blast from start to finish.
FUNimation continues with its release of Case Closed (or Detective Conan as it's known in most of the world) with volume 1.2, the second disc from the first season. Having previously release seasons four and five, the company is now going back and putting out the earlier stories. This time around Conan has his work cut out for him as he faces a cursed piano, has to save a friend who's been kidnaped by a serial killer, and encounters someone who claims to be Kudo's girlfriend. The pint-sized detective also gets some new gadgets including a solar power skate board. With an ample six episodes included on the disc, this is a fun release.
There’s nothing quite like a good assassin story whether it’s live action or anime. With several implied nods to Leon the Professional, Noir is a series that will grab a hold of you and drag you along for the ride. The series follows the lives of two female assassins who get caught up in mysterious events surrounding their past and a group known as the Soldats. Each episode features a new mark and a little bit of development for the main girls Mireille and Kirika. The stories are fantastic but what really makes an impression with this series is the way its tales are told. The action sequences feel like a stylistic dance and each episode is so well written and each character so well crafted that it’s simply impossible to deny the quality of work. If you’re looking for a thinpak collection that is worth every penny definitely pick this one up.
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Talk Looks at Manga
Before the Girls Bravo anime was garnered and released by Geneon here in America the manga was a hit in Japan. In case you are unfamiliar with the title the best way to describe it is a harem with magical elements and tons of fan service tossed in for good measure. Quite honestly, both in the animated version and printed, there is so much cleavage and other bits that it could be considered ecchi. To be fair though the anime version seems to have more nudity than the publication does.
The series' main focus of attention is a wimpy guy who is inexplicably the object of desire for several women. Yukinari Sasaki is your average teenage boy for the most part and you’d think that this type of affliction would be a welcome curse. Unfortunately due to his short stature he has been picked on by girls his whole life. This incessant taunting has driven him to the point that he has become allergic to females. Whenever he gets too close to one or in some cases even thinks about one he breaks out in hives.
One day he bumps into his friend and neighbor Kirie while she's at his house using his bath. Well, one thing leads to another and he inadvertently walks in on her while she's buck naked. Naturally Kirie's reaction is to bust Yukinari's skull so she does just that. The poor kid gets knocked head first into the bathtub.
Now, you’d think that would constitute a first class trip to the emergency room, but for some inexplicable reason (ie: Magic) he was sent to an alien world. Given Yukinari's fear and allergic condition to women it's ironic that the planet he lands on is populated by ninety percent female. A crazed and ridiculously busty woman named Maharu tackles him and begins calling him husband and all that. Luckily her spunky younger sister (Miharu) saves him and winds up going back to Earth with him through the bathtub portal.
From there the manga starts rolling along with its insane content and outlandish sense of humor. Yukinari hides Miharu in his bedroom and keeps her a secret from his parents. Together they go through day to day life as Miharu follows him to school, gets hit on by a world class shmuck, and gets drunk off of pure alcohol in chemistry class. The antics are funny but the gags essentially break down into two categories: Miharu being ignorant about the ways of Earth and Kirie beating Yukinari within an inch of his life. Rinse, wash, repeat.
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