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Dated 4 October 2022: Which Gundam? Witch Gundam

Aerial
Everybody has a plan until they get Gundamed in the face.

Despite blogging about anime for more than 20 years, I know surprisingly little about the Gundam franchise as a whole. Aside from some inescapable tropes and details, basically everything that I do know comes from Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny (the only installments that I've watched). Oh, and the compilation movies for the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but that was a long time ago. However, after the prologue to and the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury), I'm fairly confident in assuming regular-type Gundam TV ain't normally like this. And I'm not just saying that because the lead character is a girl.

Suletta and schoolmates
Be nice to the new girl.

I've seem multiple fans describe Mercury Witch Gundam as Utena Gundam, which seems about right to me, with the heavy caveat that I don't know anything about Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) either. It at least fits the stereotypes I've encountered related to Utena. Maybe nobody has turned into a car yet, but it's only been one episode. Basically everything that did happen in the first episode was absurd, and that also fits with my secondhand impression of Utena. Y'know, maybe it's not that weird. Maybe Gundam is always like this and I just never knew. I'm at least aware people get slapped in Gundam, and there is slapping in the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo. Maybe it's not that different after all.

Dated 13 August 2019: I might have delayed this Star☆Twinkle Precure entry because I wasn't sure I was using the correct ☆

Hikaru
Is it racist to refer to those aliens as bananafish?

Actually, probably the real reason I haven't written about Star☆Twinkle Precure yet is because it's fine. I've watched every episode of Pretty Cure. It's been running non-stop for more than 15 years now. That is, quite frankly, a LOT of Pretty Cure. Most of the seasons are reasonably good. Some are great. And even the ones on the bottom of the list aren't actually bad. So it's not as if Star☆Twinkle Precure isn't good, it's just that I don't have much to say about it. What I should have done was provide a end-of-series write-up for Hugtto! Precure, because that was bananas. No promises, but maybe I'll go back and eventually give Hugtto! Precure a proper sendoff. At a minimum, I've got to say that Hugtto! Precure ended in a totally unique way that differed dramatically from how every other series in the franchise dealt with its main antagonist.

Elena
Bonus secondary transformation in episode 27.

Seeing as how Star☆Twinkle Precure is only a little past its halfway mark, there are plenty of opportunities left for it to go off the rails. I mean, its squad of legendary warriors already includes actual space aliens, one of which has so many different personas that I'm losing track of which one is her "real" one. It's arguably the embodiment of the idea SDS applies to Cure Sword. At a minimum, it has a lot of diversity and no shortage of new ideas. However, through 27 episodes, I'm still waiting for Star☆Twinkle Precure to do something dramatic enough that I'll want to revisit it in the years to come. That's surely not a fair demand to place on the latest installment of a show intended for small children—one that's been running since 2004, but that's at least where I'm at in 2019.

Dated 21 January 2005: Planetes manga versus anime

The Planetes (See also ΠΛΑΝΗΤΕΣ) manga is substantially different from the anime. Many of the themes are the same, but the plot and storylines are different; there are stories in the manga that do not appear in the anime, and vice versa. There is also less initial character development. The story jumps right into the mix in the manga.

Hachimaki and Tanabe
Hachimaki and Tanabe

Some other notable differences include Tanabe's absence from the beginning of the manga. There is also much less time devoted to setting up her relationship with Hachimaki. A few pages tell you that months go by, and rather suddenly you're expected to accept that the two of them are getting along much better now.

I also don't care for the character design in the manga too much.

The manga is quite a bit more serious, with much less comic relief, and there are fewer characters, so it focuses more on the main leads.

I am also displeased with the editing in the Tokyopop volumes. It occasionally contains stupid errors like mixing up "your" and "you're" and there are some typos. There are also dumb errors like lines about "finishing all 12 bottles" when the frame clearly shows cans. On the whole, it frankly makes it feel rather amateurish.

Planetes
Hachimaki, Tanabe, and Yuri during a mission

Overall, I do like the Planetes manga, although I like the anime a lot more, despite the fact that it can be quite silly on occasion. I suppose the manga is a worthwhile read if you've already watched the anime—some of the stories are quite different, so it stays fresh and interesting even if you've already watched the anime.

However, I would not recommend reading the manga first before watching the anime as the manga spoils nearly all of the best parts of the anime. Moreover, the storylines and events contained in the anime but absent from the manga are sometimes kinda annoying. I.e., if you read the manga first, you'll spoil the best parts of the anime and have a lot less good stuff the look forward to, but if you watch the anime first, you may spoil parts of the manga, but at least there are interesting different stories in the manga that will still be new.