Anime Lounge #05: Kaicho wa Maid Sama Ep. 1-12

Kaichou Wa Maid Sama

Series: Kaicho wa Maid Sama

Episodes: 1 to 12

Anime-LoungePremise: Misaki Ayuzawa is the student council president at a formerly all-boys high school. She also works at a maid cafe on the side to earn money to support her family. Misaki has problems relating to the male members of her class so she comes off a little more than brusque and overbearing. One of her classmates, Usui Takumi, happens upon her by chance as she’s being intimidated by a group of men. It just so happens that he comes to her rescue as she’s working so he learns her secret. Thus begins the saga of Misaki and Usui, she trying to keep her secret and he trying to get her to open up to him. It’s pretty obvious from the beginning that Usui is in love with Misaki but she’s about the only person in the cast that doesn’t realize it.

Is it worth watching?: Yes. It’s a fun story about maid cafes and hardworking students. Also, with the “she’s in love but doesn’t know it yet” angle, it’s worth keeping up with the series just to see when Misaki will make the connection between herself and Usui’s continued presence and actions.

Breakout character: Usui Takumi. Yes, you could make the case for the cross-dressing Aoi, but he doesn’t exactly inspire the way Usui does as the lead. Besides, Aoi is just a kid who manages to show up and try to grab attention that he doesn’t really need. He’s cute enough already. Usui has that leading man act down by the third episode and never really lets up after that.

Funniest episode: Episode 6 — Man, Ayuzawa School! — Misaki manages to have her photo taken as a maid and Usui finally says something to her after the photo gets out into the open. Not to spoil it, but expect romance in this episode and Usui nearly killing himself trying to be romantic.

Where it’s going: Just who is going to find out — if ever — that Misaki is a maid is the future. And will Misaki and Usui ever get together?

Marvel Character Highlight #14: Spiral

Name: Rita WaywordSpiral

Affiliation: The Sisterhood of Mutants, Mojo, Longshot

Special abilities: Spiral is a master-level magic user who is also a master of sorcery, genetic engineering and robotics. Her magic proficiency is enough that she was considered to be among candidates to succeed Doctor Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Spiral is able to open dimensional gateways, travel between dimensions, teleport and time travel. Spiral has an immunity to possession by others, and is also superhumanly acrobatic and strong.

Background: Spiral began life as Rita Wayword, a stuntwoman on Earth. She became involved with the humanoid Longshot after she was attacked by her evil future self in a paradoxial time loop. Within the loop, she, Longshot and another companion traveled to Mojoworld to take on the villain Mojo. While there she was captured by Mojo and subjected to torturous experiments and enhancements that created her extra four arms. She went insane and became loyal to Mojo, who then sent her back in time to find Longshot, completing the loop. She later became involved in the Psylocke/Kwannon mind swap and joined forces with other evil female mutants to create the Sisterhood of Mutants.

Relationships: Mojo (employer), Longshot (lover), Red Queen (ally), Lady Deathstrike (ally), Chimera (ally), Lady Mastermind (ally), Martinique Jason (ally)

First Versus game appearance: X-Men: Children of the Atom

Appearances in other media: X-Men the Animated Series (animated), Wolverine and the X-Men (animated), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (video game), X-Men 3: Mojo World (video game)

Property review: God Loves, Man Kills

God Loves, Man Kills scan

God Loves, Man Kills

Marvel Comics, 1982

God loves, but man kills discriminatively

In the dark recesses of the human soul lies a need to persecute. Every being that can afford to call itself human has the potential and inclination to sling labels of acrimony, to breed hatred for the sake of promoting themselves in the hierarchy of life. In the Marvel universe, it’s no different and yet maybe, somehow on a deeper level it’s worse. On a different plane of persecution from the normal homo sapien banter sit mutants. Homo superior knows that minute difference in makeup means jealousy, anger and retaliation. They also know it means the difference between staying alive and using super powers for good and dying a martyr for the cause.

God Loves, Man Kills is the culmination of Marvel’s attempt at framing the differences in mutant-human relations. The chilling murder of children, racism and classism — all for the sake of someone else being different — are effectively told through the eyes of the X-Men and various mutants who come into contact with the group and the antagonist, William Stryker. If you’ve seen the excellent X2 film, this is the main arc that makes up the bulk of the story. The movie, for all of its interweaving of characters and plot elements from various other arcs, is merely the entry point to the source material. But, what’s depicted is far worse. Stryker’s violent and horrific past that led to his crusade against mutants is the backbone for the present-day acts of brutality. Where the story succeeds is showing the genesis of Stryker’s cause and his means of achieving his goal: The eradication of the mutant population.

The excellent storytelling is obvious through the purposeful exposition and writing. It may not always be clear through the prose of characters like Professor Charles Xavier or Cyclops, but the main goal of all of the characters in the arc is nicely made bare in what is relatively short work. The art has a vintage ’80s inking and coloring to it, and the level of detail is outstanding.

The X-Men arcs have always had a story to tell, and God Loves, Man Kills is no different. The quality of the storytelling, the way it deftly weaves violently opposed viewpoints and the well-paced action make a powerful combination. The most interesting part of it all, however? How it so closely parallels the ills of today’s real society. This is another notch in Marvel’s favor toward its ability to relate to the real world at hand.

 

Plot: 10

Art quality: 10

Writing: 10

Overall score: 10

 

How we grade

We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in the case of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of maximum of 10 per category, and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Top 5 on The Strip: The Super family

 Superman

Superman — The Man of Steel himself is probably the best incarnation of the super family. He was the originator of the series and thus carries the name on when other incarnations drop in and out of the DC continuity, like Supergirl. The others in the lineup are literally just watching the throne.

Superboy Superboy — There have been several versions of Superboy but the most prominent is the little boy who would become Superman. DC has since stated that Superman didn’t have adventures until he became an adult but that hasn’t stopped the multitude of other versions, such as the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths being.

Supergirl - Kara Zor-El Supergirl — Supposedly, the story goes that the daughter of Zor-El — Superman’s uncle — survived the explosion of Krypton since she was living in Argo City, which was cast off into space when the planet exploded. Kara Zor-El was the last survivor, giving Superman one of his only living clansmen known to have survived the catastrophic event that created the lore. Her existence is removed during and restored after the 1985 arc Crisis on Infinite Earths.

KryptoKrypto the Superdog — Superman might have godlike powers on Earth, but on Krypton he had decidedly human emotions and that extended to having a pet. Krypto was used as a test subject to experiment with rocket flight. Jor-El — Superman’s father — realized Krypton was going to explode and wanted to test a way to get himself and his family off the doomed planet. Krypto was sent out into space, but the rocket was knocked off course. Drifting through space for years, the dog was found and rejoined Superman during his Superboy years.

BizarroBizarro  — The ultimate in “the evil clone/twin did it” storyline, Bizarro exists only because Lex Luthor, as usual, was messing around with things he didn’t understand. Luthor recreated the duplicating ray that was used previously on Krypton by Gen. Dru-Zod and on Earth to accidentally create a duplicate version of Superboy. Luthor also creates a version of Bizarro after the Crisis on Infinite Earths arc while trying to create a clone of Superman.

Strip Talk #15: I’ve learned a few lessons from cosplaying

Lyndsey-101612-cutoutI had a reason to cosplay once again. I usually only have the urge to dress up and take on different characters once a year, and that’s because I’m going to NashiCon. My first and only anime convention to date, I popped my NashiCon cherry in 2009 with an attempt to dress up as Akuma. The next year, I went as Afro from Afro Samurai. I managed to miss 2011 and 2012 for various reasons, but I made a special trip to the convention this year. NashiCon is held every year in my hometown of Columbia, S.C., so I have every reason to go and celebrate anime.

For reasons known only to myself, I decided that I would attempt to cover NashiCon 2013 for GI. You may have even seen our coverage on the front page of GI.com. Next year will be different, I promise, because I’ve got a mission to uphold. Next year involves a new character to cosplay from any of the various anime that I’ve finished and all-day photography from the minute the doors open on both days.

This year, as I wandered through the halls of the convention and escaped outside for a little while, I took note of the elaborate work needed to pull off some characters. Cosplaying is hard work, something to put dedication and efficiency into to make complete. And to my surprise, there were so many different series represented that I knew. I have never regarded myself as particularly knowledgeable about anime, but this year I recognized so many characters from series new and old that I finally felt anime smart. That has always been step No. 1 in improving my cosplay technique and efficiency.

Step No. 2 will come in the form of preparation. This year taught me a good lesson: Having a plan in place if you’re going to cosplay is a good idea. Also, it’s fine to cosplay by yourself. You don’t have to cosplay in a group and trying to coordinate costumes is all fine and well, but it’s not always feasible. One of the pitfalls of the weekend was the fact that I couldn’t attend both days with fellow GI member Brandon. Add to that the problem that when we did make it there the second day, it was near the end. I also ran into the problem of not being able to visit more of the panels that I had planned to see. If I’d stuck to my original plan, things might have turned out better. Planning is everyone’s friend.

The final step is dedication. I have realized that in recreating a character there has to be a high level of dedication to seeing it through until the end, the end being when I walk out of the convention hall for the final time. There were people who were completely in character, perfect down to the strands of hair placed correctly. That takes work folks. A lot of work. But if you’re going to do something such as dress as a completely ridiculous character, be prepared to go all the way or go home.

So, with my steps in mind, next year’s issue will be ready well ahead of time, and I’ll have all the time in the world to enjoy dressing up as some inane comic book or anime character I’ve only dreamed of being.

Lyndsey Hicks is the editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 6

Light learns a few lessons while wheeling and dealing in Death Note Vol. 6

Brandon-2012-cutoutWelcome back for another edition of Otaku Corner! As all of you know, this is my little corner of GI where I bring you the best in manga and anime that will keep you entertained and free from having reader’s remorse in time and money spent.

I’m continuing the most epic battle of wits mixed with a splash of ethics and a good pinch of the supernatural. We’re following up with Death Note, written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata.

Death Note volume six continues the story of Light Yagami, a high school genius who obtains a Death Note, a notebook belong to the death god Ryuk. With the Death Note and Ryuk, Light vows to rid the world of crime. However, when criminals worldwide began to die in record time, the ICPO calls in L, a legendary detective to bring in the serial killer. With L closing in each day, how long will Light be able to retain his noble goal and his life?

In volume six subtitled “Give and Take,” the task force was able to determine that Death Note Vol 6 coverthe new “Kira” has been working to commit murders among the Japanese business community that not only benefit himself, but also the Yosuba Group. However, there is debate among the task force members about the methods of capture, which causes a brief rift. Light and Ryuzaki decide to use Misa to further gain information on the current Kira and the seven Yosuba members’ plans. During an interview to become a Yosuba spokesperson, Misa was briefly reunited with her Death Note’s shinigami, Rem, who tells Misa not only about Light being the real Kira, but also reveals the current Kira: Higuchi.

Upon learning that Higuchi was the third Kira, Misa pretends to go on date with Higuchi while secretly recording him stating that he was behind the recent killings of Yosuba’s rivals and regular criminals. As a result, Ryuzaki plans to use Sakura TV to trap Higuchi using Matsuda as bait. When Higuchi discovers that Matsuda is still alive, he sets off a high-speed chase throughout Tokyo, while at the same time trying to kill Mastuda. In the end, Higuchi fails miserably as the task force and a small contingent of police officers led by Aizawa and Ide trap Higuchi, which leads to major changes for all of the main characters in the next volume.

Brandon Beatty is editor-at-large for Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email atbrandonb@gaminginsurrection.com