Friday, August 12 2011

AsoIku book 8, finished

Sada-yan gets all the girls. Chiba-chan and Kin-chan get some maid-time as well, but Sada-yan is The Man.

And they did what with the space elevator?

And gosh, where-o-where did that third box of chocolates come from in Kio’s bookbag? Is it finally time for a third confession?

Also, the Americans-as-bad-guys thing is getting old. Yes, the villains have been pulling their strings for a very long time, and it’s the country they draw most of their local resources from, but it feels like there’s a bit of authorial axe-grinding mixed in. Given the post-war history of Okinawa, I can understand it, but I find it more distracting than perhaps the Japanese audience does.

If I were assembling a second season of the anime, so far I’d have two episodes to hit the highlights of books 5 and 6 as a recap and new-villain introduction, three for the mix of fun and non-enemy-driven crisis in book 7, and two or three for book 8, leaving room for some filler before the big action-packed finale. What I don’t know yet is if book 10 can be that finale.

Book 9 is side stories, one of which was already used (quite well) as episode 9 of the first series. From a casual skim of the pictures and contents, book 10 has major conflict, but I don’t know if it will make a satisfying finale, and a lot of the things they changed or skipped for the anime will make it hard to adapt. Director Kawasaki has a significant role, and Jens-in-exile is a much more sympathetic character (which will take a lot of work; anime Jens is about as warm and cuddly as a hacksaw). And then there’s The Ichika Problem; she’s hooked into the story any number of ways, and the OVA’s casual revelation that no one is surprised she’s a catgirl is problematic. They definitely shouldn’t bring in the Shureio crew at this late date, but they still have to explain how she’s connected to all the players, and spend some screen time getting the other Catians familiar with her (pleasepleaseplease use the drinking party with Chaika).

For good filler, I want Aoi’s family history, which I only know about through the Wikipedia entry. Unfortunately, that would bring in a good chunk of books 12 and 13; to make it work, they may need two episodes, and I’m not sure they can fit it into the continuity. That might also make a good OVA, if they never get another season.

Am I still enjoying the books? Yes, but their serial nature is a bit annoying sometimes. If I could read them at full speed, the developments among the supporting cast wouldn’t seem so agonizingly slow, but as it is, they tend to show up for one or two scenes, have an interesting moment, and then vanish again without resolving any of the open questions. For instance, I have a real problem with Ryunnu still not knowing that Jens is on Earth. Not only are they both running around in Tokyo, but Ryunnu has been hacking around behind her boss’s back to find out what’s really going on, and Muttley is now her assistant and confidant. I know this all comes to a head in book 10, but a lot of their actions are driven by their connection as sisters, and it’s been months.

…and now book 9 is nothing but side stories. Good ones, I expect, but still, it will drag things out for me. Grumble.