Aimless Wanderings 2 – The Smell of Magenta
As I’m sure none of you remember, I wrote an article outlining which shows I was particularly looking forward to for the spring season. If, by some chance, you have read that article, you would also know that it was far from complete; an issue I plan to somewhat remedy now. This will concentrate on things I never thought to check out, as opposed to an update on my opinions of the spring season. If that’s what you’re looking for, here’s the short version: everything has, so far more than lived up to my expectations, and if you aren’t watching the shows mentioned in the aforementioned article, you should be.
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, it’s time to look at what I neglected to tell you about last time:
Jormungand is the one series on this list that, despite my vast information network, I had no idea was even happening. An action manga that started in 2006, it tells the story of Koko Hekmatyar, a weapons dealer, and her nine bodyguards that comprise the Europe/Africa Weapons Transport Division of the shipping company, H&G Logistics Incorporated. The team has recently picked up a new squad member, a child soldier named Jonah, and he is getting used to his new line of work.
I have been loving this show ever since I heard about it, although it is one of the few series where I far prefer the anime to the manga, mainly due to the abundance of action shots required to tell a story like this. As a whole, the show gives me the same feeling I got from Black Lagoon, another one of my favourites, and if you haven’t seen that one, check it out too. It has been a good long while since I have seen an anti-hero centric series anywhere close to Jormungand or Black Lagoon, but hopefully the wait won’t be too long for the next.
I hope you weren’t expecting any coherency in the themes of the shows this issue, because this next one is about as far from Jormungand as you can get. Hyouka! follows Oreki Houtarou as he enters his first year of high school, much to his dismay. Not that he is worried about failing, in fact it’s pretty much the opposite; Oreki despises expending more energy than he needs to, hell, his motto is “If I don’t have to do it, I won’t. If I have to do it, I’ll make it quick”. Obviously, his plans fall apart quickly, as he is pushed to join the school’s Classics Club by his older sister, where he meets Chitanda Eru, the top student in the grade, who also happens to have an insatiable curiosity for anything relating to mysteries. Luckily for her, and perhaps unluckily for him, she discovers Oreki is a brilliant problem solver, and she drags him out of his cocoon and all around the school to solve mysteries.
A charming and amusing series if nothing else. Unfortunately, information is not very readily available, as is with a lot of animes based on novels that didn’t make it across the Pacific, and the show hasn’t advanced enough to fully mature in my eyes as a new viewer yet, but I definitely like where this one is going.
Haruyuki is the easiest target for bullies on the planet. He’s small, fat, ugly, weird – let’s just shorten the list and say that I am one of the biggest nerds I know of, and I would take this kid’s lunch money. Luckily for him, there’s cyberspace and about fifteen years ago, neural uplinks began being implanted at birth, so everyone is connected almost all the time. He escapes to his little corner of the internet to play a mini-game nobody else wants to, and he holds all the high scores. After a particularly bad day, he goes there to find his high score beaten by a considerable margin, and he is approached by the student council president, who is also the most sought after girl in school, to install the Brain Burst program. Despite having almost no information, he installs the program, and he is brought into a virtual Mad Max environment based on the real world, where people change into avatars to fight for experience to level up. It’s basically the ultimate RPG, but if your Burst Points (what the experience points are called; increase when you win, decrease when you lose, scaled for what level you’re fighting, etc.) ever reach zero, the program automatically uninstalls, leaving no trace. This wouldn’t be a major issue if it weren’t for the ability to spend a Burst Point and “accelerate” while outside of the virtual world to increase your brain function by orders of magnitude, effectively slowing down time for you, allowing for you to completely evaluate the situation before making a decision. Certain Burst Linkers ie. users of Brain Burst, use this ability to excel in what they do, especially sports, and become dependent on it so much that it begins ot be like trying to steal heroine right out of an addict’s hand.
Accel World (that’s the name of the show, I realized I hadn’t mentioned it yet) is here because it’s unique in my mind for being one of the most believable near future shows out there. Everything is beautifully done, and it has one of the most rich lore that I have seen, with comprehensive explanations of how nearly everything works. You are definitely missing out if you’re not watching this one.
In closing, I want to tell you to go check out the new Lupin III anime. It has a bit too much of a niche market with its very film noir atmosphere, which is why I’m not doing a full write up, but if that’s for you, go watch it. Now.