Welcome one and all to the latest issue of Plight... I'm ignoring the rules a bit and doing a movie instead of a cartoon, mainly because I haven't watched a cartoon that wasn't already covered since the late 90s, and I didn't feel like digging around to refresh my memory of Darkwing Duck.
... and with that out of the way, lets get to the meat of the post, shall we?
Rurouni Kenshin Restoration is a 2 book revamp of the original Kenshin manga, both draw and written by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Its basically a revisit of the story, with tweaks and changes to bring the manga to be more in-line with the live action movies.
Now, before I get too into the talky talky bits, let me reiterate (or explain for anyone new to my antics) that I am a HUGE fan of Kenshin, and I found the live action movie to be a really good retelling of the original story (with concessions for the medium, of course). So when I read about a reboot of sorts of my favorite manga of all time, I was parts sceptical, wary, and excited.
And as it turns out, I wasn't stupid for being excited, at least. I do feel a bit sorry that Watsuki is basically 'forced' to revisit a series that (I'm assuming) he sees as complete, but I am glad to have something even slightly new from the RK universe to read.
Everything about the manga is clean and tight, from the art to the story to the dialog to the little diatribes that give you a peek into the mind of the creator.
Starting from the meeting of Kaoru and Kenshin, and ending with quite a few fights with a variety of enemies (some of whom didn't make their original appearance until the end arc of the manga), the manga is decently paced if you take into account the movie-time its mimicking.
Popular characters (both friends and foes) return, with smaller characters making appearances in the background or getting a bit of the limelight momentarily. However, anyone looking for a long run will be greatly disappointed, as the manga spans two volumes and was completed back in June-ish of last year.
Overall, its a good jumping point for anyone who hasn't bothered to read the original manga, and an interesting retelling of beloved stories for those who are already familiar with the source material.
I was originally hesitant about this movie, mainly because the title is something I could see someone yelling as an exclamation in a manga (
dattebayo), but the movie quickly dismissed my misgivings and kept me entertained throughout.
Focusing on Woochi, a Taoist wizard (well, apprentice wizard) of great renown (well, great infamy), the movie spans across eras as Woochi goes from robbing nobles in the past to battling 'goblins' in the present-day to protect a magical flute and, in the end, win the affections of a lady whom he had met in her past life.
... that sounds overly complicated and weird, but trust me on this: This movie is fun as hell. It has interesting fight scenes with excellent choreography, endearing characters with entertaining dialog, and a well thought out story that pulls together everything that happened from 500 years ago to 'present day' 2009.
It's still on Netflix as I type this, so anyone with an account should give it a go.
I've been a fan of Lupin ever since I caught the show on Toonami, so many years ago... Even with their dubious dubbing (not in terms of quality, but in terms of their dialog choices), the characters and and settings always proved to be entertaining and, usually, hilarious to boot.
So I was a bit shocked going into The Woman Called Fujiko Mine to see that the beloved master criminal Lupin only starred a secondary role... But really, when her name is plaster across the title, what should one expect but for Fujiko to steal the show?
Revolving around everyone's interactions with Fujiko, as well as her clouded past, the anime spends most of its time setting up Fujiko as she always appears to be: a fast woman with quick hands who is willing to do just about anything to get what she wants... and what she wants is usually expensive.
All the regulars make appearances in the show, but as this appears to take place before the previous anime (or even the movies I believe), their relationships are new and fraught with trust issues and double crosses, which bring about most of the conflicts in the show (both action-y and emotionally). It also introduces Zenigata's second-in-command, Oscar, who proves to be both a deep and quirky character (though he was somewhat annoying through most of it) and an interesting addition to the already stable dynamic of the regular cast of miscreants.
Everything is top quality, from audio (both the music and the voice acting (Japanese and English) are top notch) to visual, from dialog to story... which I won't really go into because it loops and twists all over the place while still tying up nicely at the end.
One thing that really struck me about the show was the art style... some people will hate it, but I absolutely loved it. It make heavy use of blacks and almost hatched shadows to give it a really cool visual style that accentuates the character design quite nicely.
Clocking in at 13 episodes, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine offers just enough to get you going but, like Fujiko, leaves you wanting more (but luckily, with your wallet & pride still intact).
Available on Funimation's site.And there you have it.
Another lovingly crafted issue of Plight, that was not in any way rushed or procrastinated on until the last minute... And anyone who says that I only got this started 40 minutes ago is a blatant liar and should stop snooping on me when I'm working...