Thoughts On The New Ms. Marvel

Kamala Khan.jpg

http://marvel.com/news/story/21466/all-new_marvel_now_qa_ms_marvel

A little while ago, Marvel announced that a new Ms. Marvel comic series is currently in production. However, with Carol Danvers abandoning the Ms. Marvel mantle to become the new Captain Marvel last year, a new character named Kamala Khan is set to debut as Ms. Marvel in the All-New Marvel Now one-shot in January, followed by the new ongoing series in February.

The new Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani American teenager living in New Jersey and there’ll be a part of the book focusing on Kamala’s attempts to reconcile living as a teenager in America with living with her conservative Pakistani family. Another part will focus on Kamala developing shapeshifting powers and becoming the new Ms. Marvel to follow in the footsteps of her hero, Carol Danvers.

The first thing I want to say is that I can’t wait to see how this series will turn out. I’m always very interested in stories about other walks of life, and since there aren’t a whole lot of positive depictions of Muslims in western comics, (let alone those that star in their own series) the new Ms. Marvel could turn out to be very interesting.

That being said, I’m well aware that Kamala isn’t the first Muslim in US comics. M debuted in the X-Men franchise in ’94, and Dust also made her debut within the X-Men franchise in 2002, not too long after 9/11 happened, and more recently, DC Comics has introduced a new Lebanese-American Green Lantern named Simon Baz, who has even gone on to become a member of the Justice League of America.

With all that being said, I want to say again that I’m excited to see this comic come out and I can’t wait to see what Kamala’s adventures are going to be like.

Kamala’s already made a brief cameo appearance in Captain Marvel #17, and she’s set to make her first full appearance in January in the All-New Marvel NOW! Point One one-shot before her ongoing series debuts next year.

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The Moe Corner: Love Live

This took longer than I expected.

Love Live is definitely one of the sweetest, most heartwarming anime that could’ve come out of the industry in recent years.

The story for Love Live focuses on Honoka Kousaka as she discovers that her high school is in danger of being closed down and, after discovering the school idol scene, she forms an idol group with her friends, Umi Sonoda and Kotori Minami, to save the school, later being joined by freshmen Hanayo Koizumi, Rin Hoshizora, and Maki Nishikino, and seniors Eri Ayase, Nozomi Tojo, and Niko Yazawa.

Love Live’s characterization is simply wonderful. Honoka is an excellent protagonist, and her energetic, eager personality is one that I simply could not forget about even if I wanted to.  Nozomi is one of the most entertaining characters I’ve seen in a while, and Nico is absolutely adorable. In general, though, the cast of characters is well-developed and endearing.

As far as visuals go, Love Live is very well-put together in both its art direction and animation. You have Sunrise to thank for that, and while this isn’t the kind of show you would normally expect from the studio behind Gundam and Code Geass, I’ll state that there is quite the number of teams at Sunrise, so the fact that they have talent capable of providing great entertainment in a wider variety of genres should not really be a huge surprise. But I’m drifting off topic. The art style for the anime is absolutely gorgeous, and the well-done animation makes everything move smoothly and consistently.

But of course, with the show’s themes, it goes without saying that it needs to have some good music to it, and the musical direction is wonderful. While the BGM is well-executed, the highlights are the amazing songs performed by the characters, with the catchy, upbeat Start;Dash and the Akiba-centered Wonder Zone being especially noteworthy.

Now, before I get ahead of myself, I’m going to admit that Love Live isn’t perfect. There are a couple of areas in the voice acting where it doesn’t seem to hit the mark. In particular, Kotori’s voice is very high-pitched, and doesn’t match her personality exactly the way it should, and Hanayo sounds a little softer than it needs to be at times. That being said, though, neither case is unbearable, so I can’t really say that counts against it, and aside from this, the acting is actually pretty superb.

Overall, Love Live is one of the best moe anime to come out recently, and one that you owe it to yourself to watch all the way through at least once.

Final Score: 15 out of 15 (Amazing)

Positives: Excellent visuals, great characterization, amazing music

Negatives: Some parts of the voice acting could have used just a little bit more work.