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MadMac

04-01-2011, 01:55 PM

I'm just reserving the first post for now, that actual review is coming up soonish.

Ghost Sweeper Mikami! It's totally a show! From the 90's! That I'm watching for no real reason! Here's the OP! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNsjRP180Ww)

(It's a little catchy, admit it.)

Ghost Sweeper is a semi-obscure anime from the mid-nineties that was recently (Like, this year) released on DVD in English for reasons understood by absolutely no one. It's based on a fairly long running manga by Shiina Takashi, better known these days as the creator of Zettai Karen Children, a series I may (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?491282-WIW-Zettai-Karen-Children) have written a few words about in the past. (Short version: It's pretty damn awesome if you can get past the first couple episodes, and the manga is even better.)

So basically, all I know about this series going in is the premise and that it's based on a comic book written by a gigantic nerd with a twisted sense of humor, an outspoken appreciation for boobies, unexpected injections of SCIENCE! and an unseemly lust for the Sega Dreamcast.

Also, the main character is apparently a fiery, eccentric redhead with supernatural powers:

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af178/madmac_bucket/GhostSweeperBirthday.jpg?t=1301690860

I won't question the outfit, because 90's, dammit, but I think she could stand to go a little lighter on the eyeliner. Of course, I'm sure she's completely different then the female lead of ZKC, who is a...fiery, eccentric red head with supernatural powers...dammit.

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af178/madmac_bucket/ZKCCalender1.jpg?t=1301691142

On the other hand, the difference in character design is like a textbook on the shift from the 90's to today. Seriously.

Anyways, actual episode 1 review will be up a little later today.


RK_Striker_JK_5

04-01-2011, 02:23 PM

I have heard of this one, from an Animerica review IIRC.

Subscribed.


MadMac

04-01-2011, 04:37 PM

Episode 1 Here Comes the Super Sexy Exorcist!

After the opening, we cut straight to what looks like construction workers facing down a giant angry ghost squatting in an abandoned office building, and by negotiate, I mean mostly whimper and wet themselves as soon as he starts breaking what's left of the already broken windows.

I understand this, to a point, but what kind of construction project requires you to show up at midnight? This is also evidently a world where disbelief in the paranormal is like being a flat earther, given that the ghost is just parked up there in plain sight daring someone to bring it.

From behind the ghost, an obvious butt monkey appears! He's doing his best to sound cool, but I saw the opening and can't possibly be fooled.

Yeaah, BM doesn't even finish his speech before deciding that he was actually talking to some other, friendlier ghost and making a desperate sobbing dash for freedom. I do believe I'm just going to call him Shaggy from now on. He ends up cowering behind our heroine, who calmly introduces herself and recites the same speech the moron was attempting earlier--Don't know what your problem is, don't care, but I'll be banishing you now kthxbye.

The Ghost furiously increases in size until he brushes the ceiling before diving down on her, but Mikami calmly unfolds a sheet of paper with an official looking seal on it, and then absorbs him instantly and sticks the sheet of paper back in her...her...No I'm sorry, let me rewind a bit and see if I can figure out where she was carrying that. It was in her hand the whole time, apparently. Of course it was. Pockets are for inferior exorcists, and Mikami Reiko is the best in the business.

Out of nowhere, we get what looks like a broom handle pop up and begin explaining things. See Ghost Sweeper. See Ghost Sweeper take shower. See her "assistant" Shaggy (Yokoshima, if it matters) who does it all for his burning sense of...adventure, and also doomed peaking attempts, but mostly the doomed peaking attempts. Judging from the last assignment, she only keeps him on staff as easy monster bait.

Mikami is obviously older then your typical anime heroine, so instead of getting worked up and storming out naked so she can punch him out the window, she just "accidentally" brains him with the doorknob on her way out and chides him to stop setting himself up for humiliation.

She does it all for the money, you know, the wonderful, beautiful money. Her and Lina Inverse would get along just fine as long as somebody else was footing the bill. She made a million dollars for one nights work? The hell does she spend it all on? She's got a nice pad, sure, but not that nice.

Rest assured though Shaggy still gets paid exactly what he deserves-almost $3 dollars an hour. His demand for a 40 cent raise is met with stony silence and the obligatory sound of birds chirping. Oh look, she already picked out the next big job! Lets both pretend you never suggested anything as ridiculous as paying you full minimum wage!

Now see here, Shaggy has bills to pay too and refuses to work for your ridiculous slave wages another second longer unless you mention the next gig is at a hotel out in the country with an outdoor bath because even Ataru has more self respect then this poor schmuck.

Naturally, he gets to carry both of their luggage. That and running just a little slower then the protagonist are what useless sidekicks are for.

Mikami believes in the strength of youth and crap, so she happily ditches him with the expectation that he'll catch up with her eventually.

Oh dear, Shaggy seems to have acquired a stalker dressed like a Miko I'm going to pretend I didn't see in the opening. Oh no, she accidentally hit you with a ferocious flying side kick! She's such a klutz! Are you hurt! (I don't know who you are, manipulatively evil Miko girl, but I like you already.)

Shaggy suspects foul play for all of three seconds before his raging teenage hormones kick in again and deprive his brain of precious life giving blood. He does his best to act like a decent concerned human being while Miko girl reveals that her chronic illness has flared up again and she needs her medicine immediately so she can live just a little longer. Could he go get her medicine, pretty-pretty please? Over in that obvious trap that looks like a Vegas Circus Tent with flashing arrows and signs and everything?

Even Shaggy isn't quite that stupid, it seems. Miko does her best to assure him it's totally not suspicious at all. Brain wars with...other brain for a few seconds until she touches him and it's a complete route for little Shaggy.

He may have all the smarts of an inbred ape with a head injury, but his survival instincts are top notch. That must be the real reason Mikami keeps him around. One tentative step towards the obvious trap and a boulder bigger then my house drops from the sky. Nice dodge, Shaggy.

Miko girl immediately begins crying. Why is she such a failure? Why won't anyone just let her murder them, why? And then she vanishes. Obvious Ghost is obviously one messed up ghost.

Ha! Nice timing there with Shaggy just sitting there a few seconds before zipping down the road screaming his head off for Mikami to come save him.

Mikami, currently enjoying a lovely meal for one, isn't particularly interested. A ghost of a teenage girl? She's not getting paid for that, man, her target is the spirit of some dirty old man.

Shaggy foolishly tries to play the "I almost died out there" card, like anyone is going to miss him when he's gone. Look, if you want to pay her to investigate with that salary she's not paying you, she'll think about it, okay? And then she mentions the bath to distract him from the fact that she didn't save him anything to eat, either. Worst. Boss. Ever.

Apparently that annoying wooden thing mounted on a rotating box serves as a spirit detector of dubious utility. Nothing. Butt Monkey suggests the ghost won't come out unless there's a woman in the bath for obvious reasons.

Heh, his plan almost works too except Mikami bumps into the ghost they're looking for on her way to the dressing room. He looks an old guy with a beard, winter clothing and goggles. He's up in the mountains freezing to death! Please help him!

Shaggy suddenly jumps in with an epic rant about timing and reading the mood before you step in and ruin everything he's worked most of his life to see, you impertinent, clueless, ghost bastard. He's on his knees howling and punching the floor now, while the ghost asks Mikami what that kids problem is and she just tells him to pretend he didn't just see that.

This particular ghost is an easy-going sort, he just wants someone to find his body and give him a proper burial. Shaggy still wants revenge, but Mikami tells him those seals run $30,000 a pop so unless he's planning to foot the bill, shut it.

So you'll show us where your body is, then? *Ghost nods*

*silence-------------------*

Shaggy: You're going to make me do this by myself, aren't you? There's still snow up there!

Mikami: *smile* Have fun!

And so they set off and it's just as harrowing as Shaggy deserves. The ghost assures him that he knows this mountain like the back of his hand so nothing could possibly happen! This is about as convincing as you'd expect from a guy who got lost and died in these exact mountains.

Ha! Ghost Mikol is back and thinking that perhaps she just needs to simplify her methods a bit. Drop rock first, make introductions later, that kind of thing.

And then out of nowhere the Ghost Mountain Man gets frisky and tries to suggest a nice spooning spot in the frozen skull of the last giant monster to ravage Tokyo. *facepalm* Shaggy doesn't swing that way, dammit! Dying, freezing, and bromance are three of his least favorite things! He'd rather avoid experiencing all three at once, thank you kindly and good day to you, sir!

I'm convinced now, his raw survival instinct is the only reason Mikami keeps him around. He rockets past Ghost Miko so quickly that her cunning plan to brutally beat him to death with repeated application of boulder to skull hits the old mountain man ghost instead.

We get about the sixth moment of comedic silence in ten minutes of this episode before he tackles Ghost Miko, because I don't know, he's insane. Even ghost girls don't wanna put up with his crap, so she flees the scene with a suicidally horny teenager in pursuit.

Evil glowing voice in the skull cave of obvious evil admonishes the Mountain Ghost for failing him and warns of dire punishment should he not catch the human this time.

We cut to Mikami relaxing in the bath and wondering if she should stick around and sponge off the hotel a few days to make up for the not so great paycheck. Naturally, just as she's meditating on world peace all hell breaks through the fence around the bath.

Ah, casual nudity would be another 90's thing before Japan got stricter with their broadcast standards. In any case, Ghost Miko hides behind Mikami, Ataru/Shaggy adjusts his aim in mid air and Mikami punches him straight in the chin with satisfying force while Ghost Miko cheers and Mountain Man stops short in sheer terror of Mikami.

After the commercial bumper, everyone is dressed and Shaggy gets to tell his sad sad story no one has any sympathy for. Ghost Miko is named Okinu, and she's a priestess who died 300 years as a volcano sacrifice. Because they do that in Japan, apparently. She was supposed to become a god, but...not so much.

Mikami understands killing a dude so they can take over your region restricted haunting grounds and allow you to roam free, but why this idiot? Okinu just figured Shaggy was so used to being used and abused by women that he'd be cool with it.

The Ghost Sweeper understands, but first she's got business to take care of up on the mountain. At the entrance to the cave she asks Shaggy to hand over her sacred staff (She still can't be bothered to carry her own gear after all) and he gives her that lightsaber looking handle from the OP.

Stalactites falling from the mouth of a cave and blocking off their only escape? Well of course. Conveniently, the dumbass left all their equipment behind so she has an excuse to actually use her sword this time. They go in deeper following the genre required evil echoing laughter.

They come to the secret haunted hot spring in the depths of the cave and the Ghost Sweeper demands that monster of the week show himself. His big reveal gets cut short by Mikami quickly and concisely describing him as the ghost of a stupid old man who fell into this exact hot spring 400 years ago and has been haunting the region ever since.

Ha ha ha, but of course Mikami's spiritual power tells her everything as long as she's reading from a script provided by penitent mountain man ghost! Mountain Ghost begs her to kill his master and free him, but no one really likes him either at this point so she just kicks him out of the way.

Now look, Mikami doesn't care what you want to get attached to in this world, but cross the line and she'll send you straight to the next world. She makes a few gestures over her staff and it erupts in glowing runes. She uses it to block the ghost and he comes crashing down on her, but despite holding him off with sparking lightning from the blade, declares that he's too strong for her.

She rips off the pendant from around her neck, calling it a "Spirit Stone" and uses it to blind the ghost before legging it around the corner. She doesn't mince any words in saying that the Spirit Staff didn't even hurt the damn ghost and they're all probably going to die. Shaggy doesn't like that much, even with Okinu cheerfully explaining she's living proof that there's life after death. The less said about the agonizing pain involved though, the better.

Mikami asks Okinu to slip outside with her phasing trick and grab her best talisman ($750,000, geez) while she and butt monkey do their best to keep the bad guy of the week distracted.

Okinu does her level best to try and squeeze the talisman through the cave in somehow while Mikami mostly just blocks a lot and Shaggy cries, because he's still useless.

Okinu tears the talisman and things are getting dicey inside the cave. Mikami suggests they combine their spiritual power but, you know, still a worthless crapweasel.

And then...a thing happens. WTF, SHOW?

Err...I mean...I just...*sob*

*Ahem* Simply put, Shaggy accidentally cops a feel in the mayhem, causing his latent spiritual powers to suddenly become intensely focused on two precise points and the monster is blown away by the resulting energy surge from Mikami's lightsaber And then she beats the shit out of him and leaves him to die on the mountain.

Even by 90's anime standards, that's just...:confused:

To wrap things up, Okinu is a good girl and no one could possibly love the mountain as much as Mountain Ghost does every night when no one is watching, so Mikami suggests he takes over for her as God of the Mountain and let Okinu pass on. Everyone is agreed, so The Ghost Sweeper breaks out another chant that causes Mountain Ghost to swap out his goggles and climbing kit for a robe and bow and he ascends in a pillar of light to learn how to love the mountain even more and become a proper regional minor deity.

Okinu, too, is ready to pass on, and will never ever forget Shaggy no matter how hard she tries. She'll be sure to pass on the story about the man so horny he tried to get busy with a ghost so that the legend will live on forever as a caution to naive girls everywhere.

And then she too ascends into heaven in a pillar of light...and then comes right back. Heh. By any chance do either of them know how to get to Heaven? She's never actually been there, you understand.

Mikami sighs and explains she must have gotten too attached to the earth after being bound to it all these years and will need a proper purification ritual.

Okinu: You can do that for me, right?

Mikami: Okinu, dear...

Okinu: Yes?

Mikami: Do you have any money?

------*silence and the blowing wind*-------

And so Mikami hires Okinu as an additional assistant for an amazing 30 cents a day. This is our heroine, folks. I'm forced to assume the exorcism industry is entirely unregulated.

So that's our core team. An evil, greedy, slave driver, a ghost priestess who was more or less a screw up in life and hasn't gotten better since then, and a terrifying fusion of Shaggy from Scooby Doo and Ataru from UY.

Next Episode: The bank gig sucks, so Mikami decides to team up with the ghosts and rob the joint. No really, this our heroine.


So basically, my thoughts after watching this first episode....Sweet Cthulhu, what have I done? I figured I knew what to expect from a Shiina storyline after ZKC, but...damn.

That said, this episode was funny as hell in places, in Shiina's usual "I can't believe I'm laughing at something so utterly wrong" style, and I do intend to stick with it as long as I can hold out.

Edit: Bonus art for this episode, Okuni:

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af178/madmac_bucket/Okuni.jpg?t=1301703717

Cutest undead attempted murderess ever.


Lewd Beholder

04-01-2011, 06:39 PM

oh I haven't heard of this in decades

this show rocks ....carry on. :)


Goblinardo

04-01-2011, 07:02 PM

Hey, I actually watched this on TV! :D

Good times. Mikami is such a merc. But hey, ghost sweeping is an expensive business to run.


MadMac

04-01-2011, 07:08 PM

this show rocks ....carry on

I will!

I'm kinda curious as to how many people around here have actually seen or at least heard of this show before. I've been watching anime for a while but this one still slipped completely under my radar until recently.


Just for the record, I'm watching this show on DVD. (Which means little or no screenshots, unfortunately.) For anyone interested in following along, I know the show is (or was, at least) available on anime network, along with presumably other places but it's pretty old so good luck with that. I suppose Netflix might have it as well, since it just got a DVD release.


Hey, I actually watched this on TV!

Did it ever air in the US? I know it was on t.v. in Mexico and a few other places but I'm not sure how much exposure it had over here.


Good times. Mikami is such a merc. But hey, ghost sweeping is an expensive business to run.

Those seals definitely aren't cheap. I wonder how much of a profit margin she runs on a typical assignment.


Kurotowa

04-01-2011, 07:20 PM

Didn't see the anime, but I have read the manga run. It's a lot cruder than ZKC. And I mean that in both the sense of the quality of the plots, and the level of the humor. There's a lot of times that it's obvious he's making it up as he goes along, seeing what characters and plots work and which don't. Plus I understand the anime is mostly the gag-heavy first half of the manga series, and not the more serious plot heavy second half.

Still, I expect to be entertained by this thread :D


Tiran

04-01-2011, 08:03 PM

I'm kinda curious as to how many people around here have actually seen or at least heard of this show before. I've been watching anime for a while but this one still slipped completely under my radar until recently.

I've heard of it before, but I've never seen the show, and don't know much about it besides it being a show about exorcising ghosts.


DrunkenGrognard

04-01-2011, 08:24 PM

Oh wow, this series sounds like a winner. I need to see if the local Blockbuster got it...


Unka Josh

04-01-2011, 09:39 PM

This series is a lot of fun. And very, very odd in places. And I gather that it doesn't even get as weird as the manga does...


MadMac

04-02-2011, 09:35 AM

Have I mentioned yet that I hate the new boards? Because I do.

Unfortunately, starting this thread yesterday was a spontaneous decision, so I don't have any kind of buffer going. I'll try to get an episode in by tomorrow, though.


Didn't see the anime, but I have read the manga run. It's a lot cruder than ZKC. And I mean that in both the sense of the quality of the plots, and the level of the humor. There's a lot of times that it's obvious he's making it up as he goes along, seeing what characters and plots work and which don't. Plus I understand the anime is mostly the gag-heavy first half of the manga series, and not the more serious plot heavy second half.

Nothing wrong with that. You could say much the same as UY, and that was still a beautiful disaster of a comic. I'm pretty much expecting loads of random strangeness from this series and not much else for the moment.


JohnBiles

04-02-2011, 10:34 AM

I'm not just aware of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, I've seen a ripoff of it too.


MadMac

04-02-2011, 10:45 AM

I'm not just aware of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, I've seen a ripoff of it too.

I did too! When I heard about this series, I was thinking about some other very similar short series I watched once with a ghost-busting redhead heroine who had a lipstick lightsaber and so on. Such an unbelievable rip-off now that I've seen the original. (Well, the first episode of it, at least.)


GaoGaiGar

04-02-2011, 12:56 PM

I did too! When I heard about this series, I was thinking about some other very similar short series I watched once with a ghost-busting redhead heroine who had a lipstick lightsaber and so on. Such an unbelievable rip-off now that I've seen the original. (Well, the first episode of it, at least.)

Yuugen Kaisa, relased by Pioneer as Phantom Quest Corp... among their first US anime releases. 4 episode OVA. Though the lead in that spent her money freely on drinking and karaoke, while Mikami is a tightwad. Maybe she's planning to build a money bin to swim around in.

GS Mikami was a show I tried to follow when it was airing, not an easy proposition in those days... I was glad to see it finally, somehow released on DVD and was even considering doing a WiW for it. Too late now though!


MadMac

04-03-2011, 07:24 AM

Lets hurry up and get the next episode done, shall we?

Episode 2 Armed Robbers Have No Tomorrow!

The episode title says one thing, Mikami in a catsuit and holding a silenced submachinegun with retractable shoulder stock sitting on a bag of money says something else entirely.

We start this episode with a pair of sweaty bank robbers sitting in a car in the pouring rain trying to psych themselves up. The tall one has the hat/bandanna combo while the short one has settled for a Casper mask and they both ooze incompetence.

...And that's how those poor bastards died, trying to swerve out of the way of a particularly malicious looking cat and spinning out of control. Between this and actually seeing Okinu tossed into a volcano last episode I'm now expecting more unexpectedly grisly deaths from this series then a detective mystery show.

In short, this is why the bank has been haunted the last few weeks by ghosts no more competent then they were in life and stricken with an irrational terror of cats.

Mikami looks slightly embarrassed to even take this job, but will do it for $90,000. The bank owner suggests 1/10th her asking price. He's going to regret that.

Tense laughter all around as Mikami silently curses the bank for being such tightwads (like she can talk) and the Bank Manager fumes that she's a shakedown artist.

In the lobby, Shaggy so loves a horde of girls in uniform until they find out just how broke he is and in unison begin scrupulously ignoring him.

Someone mentions a robbery drill in front of Mikami, and she now has a plan. (Ah deceptive previews, how I love you.) Notice how she walks by Shaggy and tells him to stop being stupid without caring the slightest as to what he's actually been doing.

The ghost brothers are starting to think they're just not cut out for this robbery business when Mikami suddenly strolls up, kicks the cat statue they've been terrified of to pieces, and announces they're going to help her rob the bank.

Back home, Mikami has brought the ghost brothers along and is explaining her plan. Shaggy has concerns. He's too young and pretty to go to the slammer, dammit!

Mikami assures him that it's just a game, after interrupting his latest monologue by smashing his face into her desk. However...

We cut back to the bank. Ha! Mikami convinced the bank manager to let her keep anything she steals. The catch is that they don't have to pay her if she fails. Poor, poor bastard doesn't know who he's dealing with.

Well, he has confidence, at least. They're Kanegura Bank, damn you all! Their insane security measures are borderline illegal in any civilized country! No one has ever managed to rob them and escape justice!

Mikami's cunning plan is to hit the place early in her red convertible with her only concession to disguise being shades. She points out that they're expecting her anyway, which is a fair cop. Shaggy should never, ever be trusted with handling a live firearm but Mikami assures him it's loaded with "special" bullets. Suuure it is...

Heh, they send Shaggy in first disguised as an old lady. As soon as he draws the gun, Mikami and the ghost brothers come storming in. It's a good thing the bank is staffed entirely with women, or that jumping up on the counter wearing a mini-skirt bit would be a very unfortunate choice.

The ghost head into the back to get the cash. The bank manager nods to a girl who goes for the hidden alarm button but Mikami shoots her three times in the chest before she can reach it. That woman is stone cold.

Also, her special bullets are actually blobby ghosts she hired for the low low price of 500 yen an hour which amusingly is more then Shaggy and Ghost Miko make combined. Mikami: They're more useful then you are. Heh.

No one else present has any desire to get shot with the hideous things which is why they're all huddled in the corner now.

Mikami has spent waaay too much time prepping for this, to the point where she's counting down the time until the police are contacted with a stopwatch. The ghost brothers manage to steal about three million dollars between them when Mikami orders everyone to lie down and then makes a break for it.

They manage to take off just before the police arrive, and the apparently successful heist is enough for the ghost brothers to pass on instantly. In the end, they didn't even last half the episode and their total screen time probably added up to about 4-5 minutes.

Of course, Mikami has every intention of holding unto the money. The manager does his best to act unconcerned about the "drill" to the police while secretly ordering private security forces to tail Mikami, because you can't have a bank heist without a car chase scene, it just isn't done.

Rest assured that Mikami Reiko does all her own stunts, even insane stunt driving to shake off pursuit. Of course, in a car chase, there's always more mooks and they can just teleport ahead of you to keep things interesting. Mikami has Shaggy take the wheel while she stands up to do some shooting.

...I'm not even sure how many security flunkies have been killed or injured at this point just so Mikami can walk away from this job with more money she doesn't need. She's actually cynically planning to use the ghosts did it, I'm innocent defense in court.

The bank manager quietly authorizes the super secret plan and then we cut back to Mikami boarding her private two-seater plane. If nothing else, this episode is answering the "what does she do with all that money" question nicely.

Yes, she is planning on fleeing overseas to a remote island somewhere so she can keep the money, what else did you expect? Shaggy has some more predictable fantasies that I'll overlook because it involves Mikami doing a full on Tarzan impression.

Heh, Mikami knocks him out cold and ponders pushing him out of the plane after they get airborne. She's just straight up evil, isn't she?

Naturally a line of cars show up to block the runway and spill out a horde of masked vigilante's carrying assault rifles. Goodbye GS Mikami, you were a lovely plane while you lasted.

Also, I'm calling it now, the last ditch black stormtroopers are all bank tellers. Yup. Man, they're just fired up with company pride, unlike a certain other employer I could mention. Shaggy hands over the money with a little too much enthusiasm, because hot. Mikami starts crying because she was this close, dammit, this close.

The bank manager celebrates just a little too early while behind him, Okinu puts the finishing touches on her 9 million dollar account transfer. Using access restricted computers is so much fun! That ghost is evil, I'm telling you. Adorably, huggably evil.

As soon as the Bank Teller Chicks take off, Mikami's crocodile tears get replaced with a wink at a camera. I just...wow. The main characters in this series are bastards. I don't think I've ever watched anything that reminded me of Urusei Yatsura as much as this show does, even though the plot is completely different.

Next Episode You know they had to fight possessed dolls at some point. It's mandatory for any ghost busting series.

Another bizarre episode, although aside from the twist at the end I didn't like it as much as the first one. Seeing Mikami outsmart humans isn't nearly as fun (or sympathetic) as battling evil spirits. Plus we barely got to see Okinu at all and the new ghosts weren't very interesting. This feels like a series that really needs a strong support cast to work, at least at this stage where Shaggy gets really annoying for long stretches.


DJorgensen

04-03-2011, 01:00 PM

Yuugen Kaisa, relased by Pioneer as Phantom Quest Corp... among their first US anime releases. 4 episode OVA. Though the lead in that spent her money freely on drinking and karaoke, while Mikami is a tightwad. Maybe she's planning to build a money bin to swim around in.

GS Mikami was a show I tried to follow when it was airing, not an easy proposition in those days... I was glad to see it finally, somehow released on DVD and was even considering doing a WiW for it. Too late now though!

Don't forget Geobreeders, another GS Mikami knockoff.

I saw the first 8 episodes of GS Mikami as fansubs back in the 90's and read the entire manga last year.


MadMac

04-03-2011, 06:35 PM

Don't forget Geobreeders, another GS Mikami knockoff.

That's...not a connection I'd have made by myself, but I can kind of see it. Certainly a less egregious knock-off then Phantom Corp at a minimum.

I haven't worked out an update schedule for this thread yet, but I'll try for an episode every other day until I've got at least a little bit of actual content here.


David J Prokopetz

04-03-2011, 06:50 PM

I may be totally off-base here, but does it seem to anyone else that this show's visual style owes something to The Real Ghostbusters?


GaoGaiGar

04-03-2011, 09:18 PM

I may be totally off-base here, but does it seem to anyone else that this show's visual style owes something to The Real Ghostbusters?

Both shows were animated by Toei Studios, at least. What elements are you seeing in common?


David J Prokopetz

04-03-2011, 10:10 PM

Both shows were animated by Toei Studios, at least. What elements are you seeing in common?Mostly the way the scenes are laid out and the specific colour palettes* used for various environments - though they also share a great deal in terms of the visual design of the various ghosts and monsters.

* It's not so obvious in cartoons these days, but back when animation cells were actually inked and painted on celluloid rather than being finished digitally, a particular show's colour palettes could be as distinctive as a fingerprint - and often as difficult to reproduce, as particular inks would go out of production and be replaced with new ones over time.


TonyC

04-03-2011, 10:34 PM

Don't forget Geobreeders, another GS Mikami knockoff.

I saw the first 8 episodes of GS Mikami as fansubs back in the 90's and read the entire manga last year.

I really don't see Geobreeders as a knockoff. Having read all the available Geobreeders manga and the GS Mikami ones, I can say that while the early part may have some similarity, by volume 4 or so the feel has branched quite far. The similarity I probably will put under "must hook the readers in somehow" tactic that pretty much all mangaka does and the tropes that was popular during that period (see also: Gunsmith Cats), but while GS Mikami stays pretty much a gag manga throughout, Geobreeders turns into a pretty serious (and grisly) story, with multiple conspiracies, betrayals, and so on. Heck, there's so many threads tangled up in Geobreeders that I'm worried the author would not be able to tie them all together, and given the several years hiatus it had in the middle I think I'm justified in worrying.

GS Mikami is also pretty episodic. Mikami may have saved the world several times and new characters introduced here and there, but you could pick any volume, start reading, and be able to follow the story. With Geobreeders you'll soon be lost.


MadMac

04-05-2011, 07:27 AM

Episode 3 The Empire of Haunted Dolls

Right after the OP, we jump to the top of a building on a dark and stormy night, where a furious looking Mikami stares down something while Shaggy takes up his usual "huddled on the floor" position and Okuni looks generally concerned.

Mikami goes into a flurry of acrobatics to dodge a hail of magical bolts and then pulls out her seal. Any night where where makes over half a mill for 10 minutes of work is a good night where Mikami is concerned. Shaggy looks more then a little burned out by comparison. Ten minutes for you, maybe. Who's been on 24 stakeout for this mission, huh?

Mikami suggests men who complain are pathetic and he should try to be more energetic like Okinu, who just pulled a pair of totally not cursed dolls out of the trash and started playing with them with her usual childlike enthusiasm.

One predictable perv joke and the resulting smackdown later, and Shaggy begs Okinu to just throw up the episode title while he pulls himself together.

...Chibi Mikami is not cute at all. That is a face that should never be seen on a child.

We cut suddenly to a little girl with blue hair sleeping in a room with lots of old fashioned toys and her piggy comforter. Let this be a lesson to kids everywhere--If one of your dolls starts calling your name in the middle of night and begging you to save it, let it go, and for heaven sakes don't go wandering outside at night trying to find it.

Back at the office, Mikami is so agitated she barely has the energy to rough Shaggy up for his usual transgressions. She's doing some sort of fortune telling using what looks like straws, and is horrified to discover that her next client will destroy her if she doesn't accept the job, no matter how terrible the pay is. For Mikami, could there be a worst fate then this? Quick, Shaggy, put the closed sign on the door before a customer shows up and forces her to do something even slightly altruistic!

No, too late. Ghost Miko is back from shopping and brought a customer with her. Isn't that like totally awesome!

Faced with a 5 year old client, Mikami is still insisting they're closed today. She refuses to work for free, dammit! I mean, unless a baseball out of nowhere smashes a vase she paid most of last nights profits for. Oh fine, you win writers, you win okay? But only for this episode!

In this version of Tokyo, Ghosts are so common they even blatantly still barbie dolls from little girls. Also, that's a lot of hair.

Mikami appears to be in physical pain over there forcing herself to accept a job for 300 yen. She's just going to be grumpy about this the entire episode, isn't she?

Little girl brings the team home. Heh, Mikami just stalks in right past the mother after throwing out a "Don't worry, I can see from your house you don't have any money."

Mom wants to know why her little baby is bringing rude strippers home. Telling her she's a Ghost Sweeper isn't helping much. Shaggy does it all for love, because he certainly doesn't get paid, and Okuni has really got to learn that appearing out of someones chest is not the way to make a good first impression, no matter how cheerful you try to look about being a ghost.

Mikami just wants to get this stupid non-paying episode over with and goes straight for the little girls room. Also, she can totally sense evil spirits because they make her hair billow.

The spirit viewing goggles are a new tool, even if they look more like a masquerade mask. Simply put, the little girl has a portal to a hellish subspace in her window. That can't be good for property values.

Don't worry Shaggy, if you get killed Okuni will, like, totally be your ghost sempai and show you the ropes! It's fun when you get the hang of it!

Mikami has a chant for everything, apparently. She opens the portal and her team jumps in. And then the little girl follows them after just promising Mimaki she wouldn't because BARBIE-CHAN! (Technically, they're Moga-chan dolls, but same difference.)

An army of giant sized dolls, of course. What else would it be? Spirit of the week even managed to collect the one Reiko played with as a seriously not cute little girl and has the writing on her back to prove it.

In short, this is all Mikami's fault because she lost her doll after it had absorbed some of her psychic powers. Weirdly, this seems to be the most flustered we've ever seen her. Raising an army of dolls to take over the world. That sounds like a toy that takes after Mikami, all right.

In the brave new world, dolls play with you! Shaggy nervously asks if that means he has to be Ken, which just gets a giggle from the entire army. Silly Shaggy, Ken is supposed to be handsome. You get to be Barbies mistreated and underpaid houseboy! So...no change for him, really.

Mikami has had to listen to one too many cracks about her doll being just like her and will end this here and now, dammit! For the sake of her own self-esteem and not the world!

Ringleader Barbie plans to make Mikami their first victim of their specialized glowing red eyes soul capturing treatment plan, but Shaggy has no desire to end up as collateral damage and even Okuni looks nervous as the ring of dolls closes in.

Mikami activates her sword and tells them to bring it, but her action scene gets hastily aborted when little girl shows up to distract her with the expected "Evil soul-sucking dolls are people too" nonsense.

Apparently the soul sucking is done by the dolls transforming into tentacles. Don't ask. Mikami starts fending off their attacks with her sword while everyone else huddles behind her. She yells at Shaggy to stop being useless and spot the leader for her so she can exorcise it. Now is not the proper time to assign guilt, Shaggy. Not if you want to live long enough to become a legal adult.

Look, Shaggy is a guy, all right? All these barbies look the same to him. Mikami grits her teeth and mutters darkly about how she should have demanded the title to the house for this stupid assignment.

Naturally, little girl can recognize her doll anywhere. Seeing five dolls combine their strength to trip a five year old is so hilariously unintimidating. She of course frees her barbie with the power of love and she ends up putting the leader in a hammerlock for easy identification. Another Exorcism complete.

With the spell broken, all the dolls go back to the original owners, and Mikami assures Shaggy that she'll just need to seal hers with a special talisman. Of course, that means she's now a million and a half in the hole for this stupid mission. Lets just say it's been a very rough episode for our greedy heroine.

Back at the office, Mikami is trying to remember every childhood toy she ever neglected. It's a long list, and we end with a toy panda slumping on the coach and leering evilly.

Next Episode Gremlins and Satellites are a bad mix. Ghost Sweeper in Space!

This show really is entirely episodic so far. Aside from the first episode, I get the feeling I could watch these in any order and it wouldn't make any difference.

Shaggy is still a little annoying, but he feels like he's being toned down and he plays off Okinu well when they're both on missions.


MadMac

04-05-2011, 10:06 AM

Mostly the way the scenes are laid out and the specific colour palettes* used for various environments - though they also share a great deal in terms of the visual design of the various ghosts and monsters.

That's an interesting comparison. I feel like I'd be better able to opine on this if I had last watched the Real Ghostbusters sometime this century, though.

Now I want to see someone make a GS AMV set to the Ghostbusters theme song...


David J Prokopetz

04-05-2011, 10:17 AM

That's an interesting comparison. I feel like I'd be better able to opine on this if I had last watched the Real Ghostbusters sometime this century, though. I'd provide examples, but I admit that I'm mostly working for memory here, too - the DVD collections for The Real Ghostbusters have terrible colour transfer.


MadMac

04-05-2011, 01:17 PM

So apparently there's also a GS movie I didn't know about. I doubt I'll get a chance to see it, but I'm curious--anyone know what it's about or if it covers part of the manga the anime doesn't?

As for the show, I quite like Okinu and the "hurry up and die so we can be ghost buddies yay!" vibe she's giving off, but I'm really wanting to meet some of the other characters in the OP. How much longer before they start showing up?


GaoGaiGar

04-05-2011, 01:41 PM

So apparently there's also a GS movie I didn't know about. I doubt I'll get a chance to see it, but I'm curious--anyone know what it's about or if it covers part of the manga the anime doesn't?

As for the show, I quite like Okinu and the "hurry up and die so we can be ghost buddies yay!" vibe she's giving off, but I'm really wanting to meet some of the other characters in the OP. How much longer before they start showing up?

The movie comes across an an "event" movie... big threat and big thrills on the big screen, and made during the show to capitalizes on its popularity, and I think an original story. All of the people in the opening are in the movie too. Manga Video released it in the US some time back... it might not be too hard to find.

I believe episode 6 is the first one with one of the OP supporting cast members, two more a couple after that.


Unka Josh

04-05-2011, 02:02 PM

The movie doesn't really cover any of the major plot stuff from the manga, if it's the one that I saw a few years back-- just another movie of a fight with the BIG MONSTER OF THE WEEK.


Ad-Hoc

04-05-2011, 05:21 PM

I've read the Manga but had no idea about the Anime. Should be a fun one to follow.


MadMac

04-06-2011, 06:11 PM

I've read the Manga but had no idea about the Anime. Should be a fun one to follow.

You appear to be in good company. I take it the manga is much more accessible then the anime in fan circles.

As for the movie, I'll keep an eye out for it when I get close to finishing the anime, which is to say no time soon enough to be worried about.

Rest assured that your regularly scheduled viewing of Mikami Reiko in SPAAAACE! has not been canceled, merely delayed a little.


dkellis

04-06-2011, 11:49 PM

Don't forget Geobreeders, another GS Mikami knockoff.

Oh wow, I haven't thought about Geobreeders in a long time. I kind of miss it; I wonder where I can get the manga.

I'm really not sure it's a ripoff as such, though. I mean, there are a few similarities, but it shares more with, say, Black Lagoon (which came much later, I know).


MadMac

04-07-2011, 10:25 AM

All right, I've stalled long enough I think.

Episode 4 Ghost Sweeper in Space

Man, it's been forever since I've seen one of those NASA space shuttles animated. 80's mustache man is analyzing the satellite from a dozen display panels while floating, because he's hardcore like that.

Suddenly, Klingons on the Starboard bow! I mean, Gremlins on T.V.! Also screaming, because his mustache is giving him Alien flashbacks.

We cut to Mikami answering the door and discovering two nervous looking businessmen. They're from the local Satellite network. You can't prove that Mikami has been hijacking your signal dammit, and she's not paying any user fees!

With a business face like that, it's a wonder Mikami gets any assignments at all. Those doors are huge, though. Just how big is her house? Strangely, she seems to wear more reasonable clothes (Well, it's a China dress, so still flashy.) when just lounging around the house and saves the cleavage for fighting evil spirits.

Mikami aces her Knowledge (Lower Planes) check and ID's monster of the week as a gremlin. We get the WW2 origin explanation as I'm sure it's a slightly more obscure bit of folklore in Japan.

The important thing is that there's nothing Gremlins love more then sabotaging machinery and this one probably hitched a ride and got stuck. Shaggy hasn't done anything to get his face wrecked yet this episode, so he starts blathering on about how the Satellite reception has been crap lately. Why, they were just watching your station an hour ago, and...

Mikami wins. Flawless Victory. Brutality.

In conclusion, the great Ghost Sweeper Mikami Reiko does not watch television and certainly doesn't owe anyone present years of back payments and late penalties. Any questions?

Tubby there has a wife and kids he'd like to see again some day so they're skipping straight to the job offer. Mikami will do it for the low, low price of *Dr. Evil* One Bi-llion Dollars yen.

Take it or leave it. If you don't like her price go get an exorcism quote from NASA and see if she gives a damn.

We cut straight to the space training routine, which is mostly just an excuse to see Mikami jogging in an uncharacteristically practical t-shirt, shorts and 80's hairband. With all the running Shaggy does in your average episode you'd think he'd have a bit more stamina. He just wants to know what the hell is left for Mikami to buy with all the money she's raking in. So do we all, Shaggy, so do we all.

The training montage continues, just to show that Mikami is in peak physical condition while Shaggy's scrawny muscles have atrophied under the burden of being constantly overworked and underfed. Also, I don't think bungie jumping is part of the normal space preparation program, and sticking him in the bottom of the swimming pool with a weight chained to his ankle looks more like attempted murder. Impossibly, Mikami even suggests there's a raise in his future if he does a good job. 10 to one odds this will never be mentioned again.

Mikami loves a good workout. Shaggy just wants to live to see tomorrow. What's the point of putting him through all this pain, man? He's just your gopher. Oh, don't be silly! YOU'RE THE ONE GOING INTO OUTER SPACE, after all.

Shaggy is convinced he didn't hear that last part correctly, so Mikami gleefully spells it out for him one terrifying syllable at a time. What, her workout? She's gained a bit of weight lately, and now she's lost *checking* two whole kilos, Yaaay!

Shaggy wants to live to see tomorrow and has a long list of objections to this plan, not least the part where she separates his soul from his body so it can travel into space. Mikami tries a bit of positive persuasion before falling back on "You're technically a man, so do it or I'll fudgin kill you."

On the other hand, the entire mission is being broadcast, and Shaggy always wanted to be on Television. I do like how the satellite station decided to try and get their money back by making the exorcism into a live T.V. special. More importantly, the reporter sisters are fricken hot.

The Ghost Sweeper finally pushes him over the edge by reminding him that being a hero comes with certain...benefits. Why, Shaggy has never been scared of space for even a second! It's just something that needed to be done, is all.

The anchorman wonders what could possibly be driving this brave young man to take such risks. You don't want to know, believe me. Oh, and Okinu is coming along too because someone has to work the camera! Also, she mispronounces cameraman, because adorable, dammit.

Mikami has already prepared the magic circle, so once Shaggy is seated she launches right into her incantation. She really does have an impressive amount of versatility that helps her feel more like an exorcist/spellcaster then a superhero with a limited suite of powers.

And then she finishes the spell by clobbering him with a baseball bat. Heh. Now hurry up and complete the mission before your body dies! Okinu hands over a backpack containing the McGuffin he'll need to beat the Gremlin, and Mikami points out the spirit cord connecting him to his body before he and Okinu set out for space. (What is the top speed for Astral travel, I wonder?)

Okinu is still waiting for him to die so they can really be together, if you were wondering. They finally reach outer space, and Shaggy notes that his soul cord is getting thinner. Back home, the doctor confirms that his vital signs are dropping. Mikami shows a flash of actual concern and takes a moment to weigh his funeral (literally) against the pile of money she's getting for this gig. I think we all know who comes out on top. Worst. Boss. Ever.

Mikami has his body sprawled out on her lap so she can communicate with him mentally and reminds Shaggy that his (relatively) good health is all he has going for him, so don't lose it, okay?

Somehow, Shaggy manages to get jealous over his damned cheating body having all the fun without him and this renews his energy by tapping into power source: horny teenager once again.

I have no idea what "sun wind" is supposed to be, but it nearly blows them both of course. They right themselves after it blows past, and in the peaceful void of space Okinu takes a moment to admire the beauty of the earth. Shaggy takes a moment to admire the cuteness of Okinu admiring the beauty of the earth. If only she wasn't incorporeal, dammit! (There's an easy solution to this little problem, you know. Only a matter of time, I suppose...)

He also spaces out and goes into an embarrassing monologue about getting laid for this mission while Okinu films ever second and ensures he never even gets first base out of this episode with anyone on the planet. Lets just say small children all over the country assume he's the gremlin.

The episode is more then half over, so they finally stumble across the satellite. Note to children everywhere, satellites are very fast. "Oh I think I see it twinkling in the dis-"*SPLAT* Oh, Shiina, you and your science at completely random points.

The soul cord is being stretched out in a hurry, so he'll have to make this quick. Also, Gremlin wants to eat your tasty, tasty soul. The Gremlin seems to have animal level intelligence (it even walks on all fours) but it has no problem batting Shaggy around like a toy. Mikami thinks something is off about it's behavior. Even worse, it decides to start chewing on the soul cord. Okinu moves in to give it a good scolding, but he knocks her aside and she loses her grip on the camera which goes spinning away and cuts off the signal.

The broadcasters threaten to suspend payment if they aren't able to film the entire operation, so Mikami naturally orders Okinu to chase down the camera instead of helping Shaggy. Completing the job is important too, of course. It's time for the mystery weapon to be revealed!

Shaggy wishes for a hand grenade, an assault rifle, and a bazooka, in roughly that order. What he gets is a tape recorder, because gremlins are weak to singing or something. He's about to play a tape of the opening theme, I bet you anything that doesn't cost money.

Never has a man put so much effort into trying to make pressing play on a tape recorder look awesome. The gremlin is already cowering, which means this is going to backfire horribly somehow. Heh, someone forgot the batteries. Looks like you'll be taking that trip with Okinu sooner then you thought.

The gremlin crushes the useless tape recorder and chases Shaggy around the satellite half a dozen times before mauling him. Vital signs...gone.

Shaggy wakes in a field of flowers, because duh. Like, heaven is full of candy and strippers and strippers named Candy, man, so hurry and cross over the bridge into the next life!

Mikami doesn't want him to cross that bridge. Come to her instead! No seriously, get your ass back here so she can get paid because she loves you or something. Whatever, just do it. It's a difficult choice, but in the end Shaggy has to go with his number one hopeless infatuation.

In reality, Mikami is throttling his corpse and demanding he come back and finish the mission. ONE BILLION YEN, DAMN YOU! DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THAT IS?

Shaggy blissfully wakes up in the arms of his trusted employer a Gremlin trying to eat his face. Mikami needs you to win this fight, understand? Sing, sing like a little schoolgirl with everything you have!

Scratch singing off the list of Shaggy's potential talents, now and forever. Fortunately, Okinu is back in the nick of time, and she's awesome at this singing stuff. Of course, she's like 500 years old so she's singing a traditional refrain rather then some pop number, which is a nice touch.

Gremlins simply can't abide cuteness is any form, which means Okinu's singing is his kyrptonite, and he flees with all the haste he can muster. With the camera back in action, Shaggy starts to break out his hero speech, but cuts off when they both spot a large speckled egg.

Baby Gremlin mascot character? Eh, why not? It's already imprinted on Shaggy and Okinu always wanted a pet that's as much of an adorable walking disaster as she is, leaving Mikami with no choice but to let them keep it.

VCR tapes are ideal food for barely hatched gremlins. True fact.

The preview did a good job keeping that little twist under wraps. I had no idea that was coming.

Next Episode Mikami battles a ghost hound that seems to be immune to all her tricks.

That was actually a really fun episode overall, showing that even a Shaggy heavy episode can work when he's given something to do besides generic lusting. I'm pretty sure he never got that raise though.


MadMac

04-07-2011, 05:46 PM

I'll definitely have another episode up tomorrow. Maybe even two if I'm feeling unusually motivated. I'm still collecting dvd's, so it's possible I'll run into a bottleneck at some point.


MadMac

04-08-2011, 03:59 PM

I'll definitely have another episode up tomorrow. Maybe even two if I'm feeling unusually motivated.

Lies! Sweet, sweet, lies.

I see that none of you were fooled however. You know me all too well.

Seriously though, I'll make getting episode 5 watched a priority. I've collected the series up to episode 30-something, so it's not like I'm going to catch up anytime soon.

As an apology, I'll give you some crossover fanart from the original author.

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af178/madmac_bucket/gszkc.jpg?t=1302303533


MadMac

04-09-2011, 06:36 AM

Episode 5 The Howling of the Haunted Mansion!

We get Shaggy cosplaying as a dog, because someone, somewhere, wanted to see that. Probably.

We start this episode off with a close look at flickering street lights, and then what looks like an condemned building in the middle of the city. Also, construction equipment. An enormous shadow wolf emerges from the ground, shreds the vehicles to pieces with it's claws and then hops on the roof of the building and begins howling.

We cut to Mikami charging her usual borderline rip-off service fees, 500 million yen this time. Accountant flunky is outraged, but old guy likes her spunk and is happy to pay it.

Old guy goes from laughing to crying in a split second and decides to tell everyone his backstory for no reason whatsoever except senility. He came from a wealthy family that ended up poor because of a bad business decision and that's why he decided to become rich or something. He gives Mikami a check for half the payment up front and also has an annoying lapdog that seems to have somehow mauled Shaggy off-screen.

Dammit Shaggy, you got your ass handed to you by a five pound dog, even if he is evil incarnate. Feel some shame, man.

Mikami comments that the old geezer must really love dogs, and maybe that's something else you lost from your childhood, eh old man?

Yes yes I'm sure Kojiro was the best dog ever and I already see where this episode is headed. Yep, childhood promise that he'll come back one day as long as his dog protects the place in 3...2...1...My question is how the old guy could possibly not know he was buying his childhood home. Senility only goes so far.

Before he leaves, Mikami gets stuck dogsitting because evil pup is a perv or something. Shaggy's attempt to grab the dog leads to ill-advised groping and the attendant consequences. Mikami, Okinu and the already annoying dog settle down for a tasty steak dinner while Shaggy gets cup of noodle. Only Ghost Miku feels any pity because she still seems to have a bit of a thing for him for unfathomable reasons.

And then the dog kicks his noodles unto the floor because he hasn't been enough of an asshole yet. I can only hope ghost hound ends up eating the little bastard because that would be delightful.

Seriously, that dog is a bigger perv then Shaggy and I didn't think that was possible. Unsurprisingly, Shaggy continues to be blamed for everything because being the hapless buttmonkey is his only purpose in life.

Half way through the episode and they're finally getting around to starting the assignment. Quick, use the annoying lapdog as bait! ...Please?

Mikami orders everyone to stand their ground and don't show any fear at all or it will attack. Shaggy and Scrappy's evil question have already assumed the official submissive position.

Suddenly tripling in size is probably bad. Mikami hurls Shaggy out of it's path and tells everyone to make a break for it. She proceeds to pry open the door of the mansion, throws out a spirit stone to keep the dog off their backs for a second and then seals the door with a talisman. Hiding inside the haunted mansion is a novel approach, I admit. Mikami explains that canine spirits are more vicious and powerful then human spirits because eh why not?

Someday, Mikami will be able to use her most powerful seal without Shaggy conveniently losing his backpack and making it impossible, but that day is not today. She goes totally ballistic on Shaggy for being utterly and completely useless for five episodes now. Why can't you ever, ever do anything right, you stupid, useless, waste of a man? You know, Mikami, you are the one who hired him. Is it just that difficult to get good help in the exorcism business or was he the only one willing to accept your slave wages?

In any case, the dog has nearly broken through the barrier, which means Shaggy gets to experience the only thing more terrifying then his boss raging--Her "Have I got a suicide mission for you!" smile.

Mikami has no idea what you mean by that but it's your fault for dropping her gear so get your ass outside and get it back. Wow, I've never seen Okinu yell like that, not like anyone is listening to her and her "now is not the time to be fighting" nonsense. Shaggy tries to pass off responsibility to Scrappy, which just causes them both to be thrown outside.

Ha! He really did hurl Scrappy across the yard and use him as bait. Sadly, he doesn't get eaten just yet, but I'm still hoping. Shaggy makes a dash for the item but it draws the ghost hound's attention his way. Mikami knows how to motivate him to run just a little bit faster, but he's not allowed to find happiness in any form so Scrappy trips him at the last minute and grabs the case instead. Man and dog battle on for the right to leap into the Ghost Sweeper's...arms, but in the end manage to trip themselves up and she just snatches the scroll out of the air and lets them KO themselves against the mansion wall.

Mikami uses the talisman to charge up her lightsaber, and then we cut to the old man showing up for an on-site inspection because obvious ending is still obvious.

Mikami spars with the ghost hound long enough to confirm that even getting the sword power-up was a waste of time and then the old guy gets tackled by Kojiro and then moderately heart-warming cliche resolution occurs. Also, Kojiro fails to pass on because...I have no idea why, really, I just hope we never see him again.

Next Episode Mikami doesn't like new characters. The "Princess Exorcist" eh?

That was kind of a weak episode, but eh, they can't all be winners. At least I get to finally meet another one of the supporting characters next episode.


MadMac

04-09-2011, 09:02 AM

Only five episodes in but so far I can see the series is still sort of stumbling around trying to find it's legs. I know everyone says the series doesn't really get serious and less episodic until after the anime ends, but I'm still interested in seeing how much it evolves over the course of the series.

I've read enough comics now that I think I've internalized a bit that no series ever has quite the same feel at the end then it does at the beginning. The art changes, the characters evolve... (And I don't mean entirely planned evolution. Characters always start out painted in broad strokes that get refined into more specific quirks and running gags. Some characters end up becoming almost a different person.) The storyline always seems to lean towards a more drama/plot heavy direction over time, too. I can think of gag comics that remained gag comics to the end, but I can't think of any series off hand that become notably less serious towards the end.

Animation is a little different, of course. Aside from the shonen powerhouses that run for years, most anime adaptions are put together in a much shorter time frame and tend to be more thematically consistent with themselves, to the point where they'll often tweak adaptions of early stories so they fit better with later ones.

I suppose this is all a long winded way of saying that I don't expect this show to change too much before the end but I'm curious to see how it develops all the same. :)

That aside, why do I get the feeling that Mikami is going to dislike all the secondary characters for a variety of reasons?

Also, I want to point out that I really like the basic setup between Mikami and Shaggy, even if he gets annoying sometimes. In any other series, Mikami would be a tsundere or there would be some sort of sexual tension there, but no, he really is just expendable cannon fodder as far as she's concerned and any conceits he has to the contrary are just his delusions.


TonyC

04-09-2011, 10:59 AM

Oh man oh man I so want to tell you spoilers. :)

Judging from the title, is the next character another exorcist like Mikami?


MadMac

04-09-2011, 11:01 AM

Speaking of things I didn't used to know about this series, apparently it was also a video game.

http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/2277/pcd0084003gsmikami011.gif

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzOj6BgpdUM

I can't help but feel it would be better if the power-ups didn't disappear after one hit.



Judging from the title, is the next character another exorcist like Mikami?

Yes! It's the one from the opening who summons a horde of hungry demons or whatever.


MadMac

04-13-2011, 08:53 AM

Poor, neglected Mikami. I haven't forgotten, but I'm so busy this week I probably won't get to the next episode for a while.


dshaffer

04-13-2011, 04:32 PM

Just so long as it doesnt end up like #4 on your list, there...


MadMac

04-13-2011, 08:51 PM

Just so long as it doesnt end up like #4 on your list, there...

Hey, it's not my fault Wizards actually went and released what was basically an updated MM that fixed most of the stuff I was busy griping about. Stop killing my motivation by doing awesome stuff, you bastards!


MadMac

04-19-2011, 04:05 PM

The good news is that my busy week is over. The bad news is that it may be at least two days before I feel alive again...Still, expect the next episode to be up sometime in the nearish future...

In the meantime have the inexplicably english version of the opening theme. It's not like there was ever a dub...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bsi_GWMqGE&feature=related

Also, the full version of Okinu's lullaby she used to scare away the Gremlin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj-XyZzx-XA&feature=related


Dawgstar

04-19-2011, 05:32 PM

It's a very minor question, but I wonder if Mikami ever wears anything else, or is it a case of the studio being too cheap to worry about different models.


MadMac

04-19-2011, 05:52 PM

It's a very minor question, but I wonder if Mikami ever wears anything else, or is it a case of the studio being too cheap to worry about different models.

The animators can be pretty cheap but Mikami does (briefly, usually) sport a different outfit at least once per episode on average. Her default outfit is something she only seems to wear on assignment, weirdly enough. A flashier outfit helps her build name recognition, maybe? It would explain why basically everything else she wears is a lot more conservative.


MadMac

04-20-2011, 08:22 AM

Episode 6 The Princess Exorcist

We open this time with an outside look at a western styled mansion, and soft piano music. An old guy is seated across from new character girl and isn't even slightly happy about being surrounded by politely attentive monsters. They're a widely varied bunch in both size and shape. You've got a purple and green glowing snake, a spiky legless eyeball rat, a shadow monkey, a Ki-rin, a tiger-shark, a silly looking dog, a small lizard, an oversized bunny, a huge shadowy bison thing, a giant fuzzball, a bat dolphin and probably more.

The princess exorcist pads across the room wearing tasteless puppy slippers and as soon as she opens her mouth you just know she's going to be annoying as hell. She's got that trying waaaay too hard to sound refined voice down perfectly, and both her outfit and jewelry are like an obvious rip-off of a certain main character.

Oh, she knows the perfect exorcist for you! (she lisps, while polishing a treasured picture of a slightly annoyed looking Mikami. Oh my, I wasn't expecting this.) Why her sempai-senior-idol-role model for life Reiko is the most amazing exorcist ever.

We cut to Mikami being showed today's mission, which is a huge mansion swarming with generic evil skull souls. Exorcising over a thousand spirits at once is too big a job for any one sweeper, so they figured they'd hire two.

Mikami has a bad feeling right off the bat. Heh, just hearing new character girl calling out R-e-i-ko-chan is sending chills up her spine.

http://sp6.fotolog.com/photo/6/38/46/haru_mikami/1270916471245_f.jpg

It's the pretty-princess-fangirl-stalker-exorcist. Run!

Meiko is the one that suggested they work together. Isn't that just so awesome!

*crickets*

Actually Mikami just remembered she has to go somewhere anywhere else. Bye!

Meiko catches hold of a handful of the Ghost Sweepers hair and starts bawling. You're so mean, Reiko-tan-sempai-chan! Mikami is already rolling her eyes so very, very hard.

There are other exorcists in this country dammit! Go share a job with one of them! Meiko is in full-on tantrum mode now. She could never do it work with another exorcists other then you! NeverNeverNeverNever...

Suddenly, Shaggy interrupts, because you've seriously got to introduce him to your new hottie friend over there. Mikami beats him bloody apparently just for suggesting that Meiko and her our more then extremely distant acquaintances and she should really have shelled out money for that restraining order after all.

Meiko Rokudo cheerfully introduces herself to his Shaggy's corpse, which is enough to instantly restore his HP's back to full. Nice to meet you. Shaggy wants to know that he's loved you all his life. Even Okinu back there is face palming at that line. True love transcends time and space and character development!

Shaggy tries to push his luck because he's unbelievably bad with women and upgrade their relationship straight to the kissing phase. Meiko gently warns him that he shouldn't be doing that. Shaggy perseveres. Repeat about 6 times until her shadow erupts into an instant army of overly-protective monsters and suddenly I can understand why she can afford to act like such a naive girly girl.

So, those monsters...that fuzzball is all teeth, I think the snake is half electric eel and one of them just breathed fire. Meiko's "come on guys, like, you don't need to go that far" isn't exactly calling them off.

Mikami just rolls her eyes again that it's what he deserves for trying to tackle a girl who has 12 Shikigami at her beck and call at all times. We get rapid-fire names for all of them, but man, I'm not even going to try other then to note that one of them is apparently a walking black hole and the humanoid shaped one is liquid or something.

The important thing is that they they've all lived in Meiko's shadow since she was a tiny little girl and that makes them like the most over-protective siblings ever. Pretty-Princess Exorcists brushes aside the exposition to get back to the more important thing, which is working with her beloved Reiko-sempai-chan.

Mikami refuses to work with annoying brats, dammit. Unless you cry. and cry. AND CRY. Ok FINE YOU WIN JUST STOP ALREADY. Meiko immediately goes for a hug to seal the deal. That's exactly why she loves you so much, you know. You're just so nice to her. Mikami looks about as happy as if she was hugging a man eating tarantula.

Okinu decides to giggle. You're such a sweetie, Mikami! The ghost sweeper just growls under her breath that certain people can get away with saying such things because they have no idea what sort of horrifying things can happen when that woman cries. Also, Shaggy is already halfway devoured but it's not like anyone cares really.

Getting down to business, the Mansion has a uniquely impractical design that's all windows and Mikami proposes that it's acting like some sort of magnet for evil spirits. Just an exorcism isn't going to cut it. Any suggestions, pretty-princess fangirl exorcist?

Meiko suggests that Mikami creates a barrier while she holds off the ghost army. They quickly hammer out a plan, demonstrating that they are professionals in the end.

For a mission on this scale, Mikami is forced to unveil her greatest invention--the Bat Ghost Sweeper utility belt! Perfect for missions so dangerous that actual pockets are highly advisable. I notice she's added a gun, a knife, an ammunition bandolier and an entire stack of seals to her usual arsenal there.

Meiko and Okinu are both suitably impressed while Mikami continues posing and showing off for a bit. And then Meiko totally ruins her rhythm by throwing out a cheerfully extended "Haaaaaaai" like some sort of over-eager grade school kid.

For the first stage, Meiko summons Basara the gigantic shadow Kirby to clear the entrance. Even Mikami seems a little taken aback at how powerful Meiko really is while she begins summoning three more of her helpers. Heh. She actually rides the Ki-rin sidesaddle.

For some reason Okinu is stuck with babysitting the building owner outside this mission. Meiko is trying to get her idol to ride the nice demon pony with her, but no. It brings back memories of their first destined meeting, you know.

Mikami isn't the stalker here, so it takes some reminding what she's talking about. Flashback! Ghost Sweeper Certification Exams!

Mikami wasn't a pro yet back then so she had to wear modest business attire like the hoi poloi. That's one ridiculously long line for a job that ostensibly requires supernatural talent. Young Mikami has trained so hard for this day, so hard so she can finally pass her exams and begin shaking down every ghost infested business in the greater Tokyo area.

And that's when Meiko swept in on a black not-horse too consumed with worry over passing the test to worry about little details like trampling and scattering prospective Ghost Sweepers in her path like so much chaff. She's just such a failure at life, you know? She's shy and weak and indecisive and doesn't like getting hurt and her parents are always yelling at her to shape up and...and...and she just brained herself by riding under a doorway without looking. Good job kiddo.

Unfortunately for everyone in the same zipcode, the word "fell" sounds a little too much like the word "fail" and when little Meiko goes berserk her Shikigami go postal on everyone in reach. Including our heroine, who doesn't much enjoy being electrocuted, even if she's badass enough to put up with it for a little while before hurling the eel-snake away and screaming at Meiko to pull it together already.

You get your pet monsters under control right now or so help her Mikami will fudgin kill you, understand? And so, Mikami was the first stranger to ever talk to our reclusive princess, and a terrifying fangirl was born. What Mikami wouldn't do for a chance to completely redo that event...

What Meiko doesn't understand is why everyone else on the planet avoids her, you know? Mikami mutters under her breath that it's not like she wants to hang out with you either and we get a brief bit of ghost bashing to confirm that Meiko's uber monster is running out of tummy space.

Outside, Okinu and and the building manager have a civil and utterly pointless argument about tea.

We're up to barrier creation time, so Meiko has her monsters form a wall while Mikami runs around pasting seals on windows and Shaggy mans the ladder. Meiko begins sniffling that she can't last much longer as the infinite horde of spirits press in, but Mikami brushes her off saying she's only got three more seals to place.

Meiko is still very bad at being assertive. Shaggy figures now is his chance to be a hero and score some action, because he's just that oblivious to her real crush. Of course, he's useless, so he just manages to get caught in the crossfire, but such is the path of the butt-monkey.

Mikami is slashing spirits with one hand and placing seals with the other at this point. Meiko is looking increasingly nervous. Even mook spirits can eventually figure out that going after the incredibly squishy summoner is a more productive strategy then attacking her uber minions.

MIKAMI IS A LITTLE BUSY RIGHT NOW SO PLEASE HOLD OUT LONG ENOUGH FOR HER TO PLACE ONE MORE TALISMAN AND THEN SHE'LL SAVE YOU SO STOP WHINING ALREADY.

Oh dear, one of the ghosts just nicked Meiko and made her bleed her own blood. Judging from Mikami's reaction this is an extraordinarily dangerous thing to do. Yep, tears. Tears are bad. Mikami drops the last seal in her haste to dash over and put a band-aid on her booboo or something but it's too late. Meiko cries, rocks fall, everyone dies, and don't even ask me about the property damage.

Outside, the discussion of which brand of tea is superior is beginning to get a trifle heated.

Well, look on the upside, guy, with no building left to haunt you don't exactly have a ghost problem anymore, do you?

It's time like this that Meiko is so glad she has a dear sweet friend to help her shoulder the responsibility (and financial burden) or her own blunders, you know?

Also, blob with teeth is still chewing on Shaggy, because the taste isn't half bad once you get used to it.

Next Episode More new characters. The immortal alchemist Dr. Chaos and his robot girl assistant! Wow, is that alchemist circle magic that predates Fullmetal Alchemist? Interesting...

I've been away a long time, but I really enjoyed this episode for one obvious reason.

http://mangaswitch.com/nerieru.com/forum/avatars/GSM/meiko.gif

Fight on, Pretty Princess Fangirl Exorcist!


MadMac

04-22-2011, 12:04 PM

Episode 7 Dr. Chaos's Challenge

We open with Shaggy leaving the local convenience store and bemoaning that his pay is so lousy that he can't even afford those crappy box lunches. I'm not even sure I would classify instant noodles as food, technically, and that's speaking as someone who's had to turn to the ramen diet more then once in my life.

The annoying puppet thing pups up to explain that while normally Shaggy's brain is wired to think exclusively about sex 24/7, being on the edge of starvation is leaving him awkwardly aroused at the thought of steak and ice cream.

Oh look, cute robot girl is lying in wait and is totally not about to kidnap you. Oh come on, Shaggy, I know your brain is shrinking from malnutrition and all but she obviously has antennas. Antennas!

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af178/madmac_bucket/GSRobotgirl.jpg?t=1303493205

Also, she comes straight from the 60's B movie sexbot school of android design. No one is accusing Dr. Chaos of being trendy.

(Note that she's wearing a fairly normal dress in the episode right now. That's a character portrait, not a screenshot.)

Such is Shaggy's hunger that he almost passes up the chance to get his face smashed in by a new girl so he can go home and tear into a hot cup of steamy, tasteless, ramen. Almost, mind you.

Why hello there, presumably harmless and blank faced girl! Shaggy, an ordinary and extremely trustworthy young man with no ulterior motives is, like, totally offering to escort you home for your own safety and crap.

No facial expression change, and no words. She's not an especially convincing android. She does have flashing red eyes and clumsy vice hands, however. Shaggy is somehow convinced this mean's he's charming, instead of her merely holding him in place so that Dr. Chaos EYEBROWS OF DOOM can jump out of the shadows and flash him while cackling madly and Shaggy begins screaming.

I've barely seen Dr. Chaos and I already love him. He looks almost like a classic mad scientist crossed with Dracula.

Back at Mikami's lovely little mansion, Shaggy is late for work. Mikami calmly suggests that maybe he finally died of hunger while reclining on her couch and eating sushi. I may have mentioned this before, but the heroine of this show is a terrible human being.

Okinu goes to answer the front door, which promptly explodes and sends her flying. Oh dear, the Pretty Princess Fangirl Stalker Exorcist has figured out where Mikami lives. Now no place is safe!

It's not often you see a ghost faint with terror. Mikami does her best to revive her while scolding Meiko for keeping her monster legions out when she's not using them. Oh but horrible tentacle and eyeball monsters need time to play and snuggle too you know! Ewwww. Mikami finds this about as disturbing as I do.

Finally getting down to business, Meiko dropped by today because she heard some hot gossip about Dr. Chaos. Mikami offers mild surprise that the old geezer is still alive. You see, hundreds of years ago, alchemists labored to turn lead into gold, and Dr. Chaos was one of the leading researchers of the 18th century or thereabouts.

Also, he managed to become immortal through secret alchemist magic and happens to be in Japan today for no particular reason. Meiko even ran into him at the airport and got his autograph! Isn't that awesome?

Mikami seems slightly wounded that she isn't the only person that Meiko goes into total fangirl mode over. We get a flashback of the event and GOOD LORD THE MAN MUST BE SEVEN FEET TALL. He's so old his wrinkles are wrinkled and one eyebrow can serve as two mustaches for lesser men but he could probably crush that security guards head with his bare hands.

OH HO HO, Dr. Chaos can't let slip too much, but he's here in Japan to do secret research on his new secret technique that he can't tell you anything about because totally secret but it lets him soul swap peoples souls and bodies. Mikami and Shaggy switch bodies this episode, I'm calling it now.

Also, while we're not talking about totally secret subjects he has to keep secret, he's looking for a very powerful psychic to try this on. You don't happen to know anyone, do you young lady? Oh does she ever!

And that's the wonderful story of how the Immortal Alchemist is on his way over to steal your immortal soul and why Meiko is your bestest best budster ever. Also, you might want to start running.

Heh, we see Meiko pouting as she sulks out of the mansion with her monster brigade behind her. Why is Reiko-chan always in such a bad mood? And after she came all the way over to tell her about it, too!

And so, back in his secret lab where robot girl still has Shaggy pinned, Dr. Chaos announces that the whole plan has now been explained. Like hell it is! You didn't even say anything to him, dammit!

Hush you, the viewers at home know what's going on now and that's the important thing. Also,the robot is named Maria and is totally better then 80% of the crummy humans on this planet. Hey, she can talk. She's got a mean streak in her, too. I get the feeling she considers roughing up humans a job perk.

Shaggy's inevitable disappointment out of the way, we go straight to Dr. Chaos and his flawless plan to steal Shaggy's body and use it to slip past Mikami's defenses so he can steal her body and take one step closer to becoming god. This is a well thought out plan that isn't going to hilariously backfire at all. I'd mention all the evil laughter, but it would be less work to point out the instances where he doesn't punctuate his sentences with over the top cackling, which happens to be never. It's hard to overstate how amusingly retro the guy is. He's like a bad 60's cartoon villain right down to his poorly drawn and nonsensical evil laboratory filled with flashing lights and switches that don't do anything.

The immortal Alchemist has an magic circle inscribed on his chest, which means all his magic is done by flinging his coat open in the fiercest way possible. Also, there's chairs and electricity involved, because swapping souls without two chairs and a switch just isn't done.

Oh Maria, you're restraining entirely the wrong person. Shaggy takes the opportunity to leg it in his old man body and almost gets run down by a train for his trouble. Must...run...faster...dammit, old man body isn't built for this.

Dr. Chaos finally convinces Maria she's got the wrong punk teenager. Perhaps even his masterpiece has it's flaws...I APOLOGIZE MASTER. MARIA WILL NOW STOP AND REFLECT ON HER SHORTCOMINGS....and then slumps over. Is she switching over to sleep mode? Dr. Shaggy Chaos just screams at her to go chase down his body already. I think they didn't actually switch voice actors for this ep, so you've got both of them trying to do the other persons voice which is actually funnier.

Old Man Shaggy tries to phone home but Okinu doesn't know anyone with that gravelly voice, sorry. Did he catch a cold or something?

Further explanations are put on hold by Maria showing up and shattering the payphone with one punch, and the chase is on again. They do a good job of making Maria move in an stiff/unnatural sort of way that leaves no question she's a robot.

Back at the mansion, Mikami will go take a shower now for the sake of the long suffering fans, but warns Okinu to be on guard--never forget that anyone could be Dr. Chaos in disguise.

It's sad, but I think this show is actually recycling shower footage at this point. Okinu goes to answer the door with a baseball bat and construction hat on. Poor Sushi delivery guy and his unfortunate height never stood a chance.

Shaggy tries to ditch Maria by taking a cab, but...c'mon you know where this is going. Yes, yes the bit with her lifting the rear axel off the ground. It's a classic sketch for a reason. Lets just say the chase resumes again and Maria doesn't even notice cars crushing themselves against her.

Okinu is so busy trying to hide the evidence of her killing the sushi guy that she barely even notices Dr. Chaos nonchalantly walking in. He must have done his homework, since he takes her out instantly with a trapped bottle.

That's an awfully long shower she's taking over there. She steps out in a towel and asks Okinu to grab her a beer, but Dr. Shaggy is happy to do that instead, seeing how he already stashed ghost girl in the fridge and all.

Her back is turned, her guard is down, now is his chance to pounce! No, too late, she's on to you. One flying knee drop later, and he's down with Okinu's jar rolling out onto the floor.

Dr. Chaos wants to know how she knew. Elementary, my dear mad scientist. Shaggy would never not try to peek on her in the shower, even if she chained him to the floor first. Well, dammit, he miscalculated, but this isn't over yet! *dramatic shirt lifting* Ah, wrong body, right. Of course it is. He wouldn't have forgotten that mind you, being a respected scientific genius and all, but...How about they just call today a draw? BYE!

Mikami isn't going to let him get away that easily, but young old man collides with old young man and somehow, that makes them switch back. Look, there was no good way to get them both back to the lab, all right? Just roll with it.

Dr. Chaos hastily exposits that this must mean the secret technique is still incomplete, and then Maria charges in, they switch back and forth over and over, and well, it's a disaster all around. Finally, they come to quiet agreement to save their own skins and simultaneously sick Maria on Mikami instead.

I never thought Mikami would take having her house wrecked so calmly. She tosses the sealing jar to Okinu and tells her to use it on the real Dr. when he reveals himself and then goes back to trying not to get killed by the berserk robot.

But how is Okinu supposed to know...Oh, right. Mikami loses her towel for a brief moment and a certain mad scientist is instantly screwed.

Of course there's still an unstoppable crazed robot to deal with. And Meiko, because dropping in on Mikami only once a day just isn't enough. Robot, meet overprotective demon army, Princess Exorcist, meet Robot.

I think having her entire house wrecked has shattered Mikami's spirit too much for her to get angry about it. It's a ferocious battle, but Meiko carries the day this time.

And so, in conclusion, the day was saved because Meiko is a stalker and Shaggy has a one track mind. Even with the follow-up punches, as far as he's concerned, this is the closest he's ever come to a happy ending.

We close with a battered Maria standing over a bridge, failing to spot Dr. Chaos as he's washed downstream in a bottle. He'll get you for this someday Mikami! See if he doesn't!

Finally, the puppet wraps things up by saying this is the sad fate of yet another man ruined just by coming into contact with our terrifying heroine.

Next Episode Some old guys just don't know when to give up.


Ah, that's more like it. I figured things would start picking up once there were more characters for the main cast to interact with, and so far I'm pretty pleased. I really underestimated how kooky all these side characters would be, though. I don't even know what to expect from the next character introduction now.


MadMac

04-22-2011, 04:17 PM

So now that I'm seven episodes in, I'm curious. I know that judging from the early responses, the majority of people following this thread seem to be people who have read the manga and never seen the anime. (Understandably, it's easily 15 years old and never had an official English release before now.)

So how reflective of the early manga are these beginning episodes? Any big differences or interesting details I'm missing out on? Or you know, anything else you feel like adding. These write-ups are a lot of work you know, so talk to me dammit! :p

I'll tackle episode 8 either tomorrow or the day after. I do have a Fairy Tail episode I should probably get around to watching sometime soon.


GaoGaiGar

04-22-2011, 05:45 PM

I've read the manga and seen the early anime at the time (and am picking up the Sentai Filmworks subs to continue). The manga stories are mostly one 19 page chapter long. The first episode was the first two unrelated chapters mashed together... Mikami helps the mountain man become a spirit and frees up Okinu-chan while in the hot springs. The "getting trapped in the cave with a powerful monster and no gear" elements took place on a skyscraper in Tokyo. Some episodes are padded out from the original chapters and some chapters haven't been made into episodes yet, but the introduction of the other cast is in the same order. Everyone you see in the opening credits has shown up by the third volume of the manga.

There are some bigger stories and team-ups later on, including a big look at Dr. Chaos's past. Some of the chapter introduction pages are quite fun... one is a take on the Platoon movie poster with Yokoshima raising his arms towards the heavens, another is Mikami dressed as Maetel from Galaxy Express 999 getting on a train. Mikami is seen nude just as frequently in both versions, no more and no less. Okinu's lower body sometimes becomes wavy and indistinct, as is traditional for Japanese ghosts... I guess she has feet all the time in the anime as that's easier to animate, especially since she has the foxfire always moving by her too.


MadMac

04-22-2011, 07:08 PM

It might not have been the most inspired big-budget horror game we’ve seen, but The Evil Within was still, despite its familiar ideas, a thoroughly unforgettable game that proved Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami knows what fans of the genre want. If the base game was “a terrifying patchwork of nightmares,” then its first DLC is more of that, with moderately better execution.

I went into The Assignment with a cautious optimism that the talented folks at developer Tango Gameworks would be able to pick up the numerous unfinished narrative threads left by The Evil Within and construct something around it that’s worth playing.

That’s exactly what they did, and I couldn’t be happier to return to this twisted world.

This DLC is the first half of a two-part story that follows detective Juli “Kid” Kidman — Sebastian’s woefully underdeveloped partner — that, aside from offering more scares, aims to answer some of the many lingering questions about her, and specifically her connections to the shady Mobius organization and where the hell she went off to for a substantial chunk of The Evil Within.

I was disappointed when I realized how little screen time was dedicated to Juli, who’s voiced by the consistently wonderful Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”, Quarantine). Her character is finally given the time to shine, and shine she does. She’s far more intriguing to me than Sebastian or his goofy sidekick, Joseph Oda.

The Assignment does a wonderful job of answering some questions that needed answering while at the same time bringing up a few more that I can’t wait to see answered in the follow-up DLC, The Consequence.

Warning! Below, there be spoilers!

Mikami has called The Evil Within an answer to the more action-oriented direction the Resident Evil series has taken since Resident Evil 4, which he also happened to direct. That remains true in this DLC, which continues to put an emphasis on its stealth mechanics. Running in guns blazing was never an option in the main story, and it’s even less of an option here.

As an agent of Mobius, a mysterious organization that’s responsible for the horrific events in The Evil Within, Juli was supposed to infiltrate Sebastian’s team in an effort to find Leslie, whose mind has everything they need to complete the STEM system, within which all of this takes place. Think of STEM as a hellish version of The Matrix, or like Inception, if DiCaprio’s adventures had been limited exclusively to nightmares.

Mobius would fit in nicely as the evil organization in basically any Saturday morning cartoon. They’re not all that intimidating, mostly because we’ve seen groups like them done better so many times before in other video games, movies and television. This doesn’t change, but I stopped caring when Juli starts fighting back.

This also happens to be exactly when The Assignment really gets interesting.

From take-off to landing, it’s about 3 1/2 hours. During that time, we’re treated to a veritable sampler platter of scary things, some of which will be familiar to those of you who played The Evil Within, while others will be completely new.

The biggest difference here is Kidman herself. She spends most of the game unarmed, and the upgrade system has been removed. This forces players to embrace those polarizing stealth mechanics. In addition to the tried and true bottle throwing mechanic, Kidman can call out to enemies from cover and she eventually gets a stealth attack, which I found pairs nicely with the lure.

And when the situation calls for it, she can also run considerably longer than Sebastian. It’s a good thing, too, because there’s a lot of cardio involved in this DLC.

Without Sebastian’s physical prowess or his array of weapons and gadgets to defend against enemies, playing as Kidman can be tough. I died a lot, and the source of that frustration usually came from the game’s purposefully wonky, old school controls.

I thought the added challenge would be frustrating, but there’s an element of nostalgia to this that reminds me of the golden age of survival horror games, where being underpowered and outnumbered was expected. The Assignment offers more of a challenge than the game whose story it’s trying to expand upon, and I loved (almost) every second of it.

I’ve lamented the lack of quality DLC for horror games, but The Assignment gives me hope that The Evil Within will buck that trend and give fans a reason — or three — to return to this fantastic horror game. The Consequence cannot come soon enough.

The Final Word:The Assignment takes the best aspects of The Evil Within — namely the stealth, unsettling enemies and the strategy that’s required in combat — and successfully builds a bite-sized adventure around it that never outstays its welcome.

bethesdadlcjulie kidmanreviewshinji mikamitango gameworksthe assignmentthe evil within



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