Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Space Family Carlvinson, vol. 4

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Space Family Carlvinson, vol. 4, by Yoshitoo Asari, Grade: A

Hateshinaki Boutou (Limitless Wild Pitch)

Strong Man's son, Strong Boy, is showing off his batting skills, which leads to the introduction of a baseball tournament. Andy, the half-robot, wants to take the opportunity to sell sports gear to the two teams, but no one on the planet actually knows what the rules for baseball are and therefore aren't lining up to buy gloves and stuff. Belka tries explaining the game, then gives up. Corona is the starting pitcher for the rival team, and hits every single one of the batters with a dead ball. The game ends with Corona scoring a perfect KO over Strong Boy's team.

Otousan no Himitsu (Dad's Secret)

While sleeping on the empty husk of Noumad, Belka has a strange dream that three battle robots resembling Dad had gotten destroyed somehow, possibly by Dad himself. When she wakes up, she takes Noumad to Andy to see if he can extract Dad's memories from it (from when Noumad had tried sucking everyone's brains). At about this time, Corona falls into a well and Dad goes into full riot mode to save her. When the ruckus is over, Belka returns to Andy's shop only to find that the robot has torn Noumad to pieces and can't put it back together again.

Kowai Haishasan (The Scary Dentist)

The regular doctor is called out for a house visit so when Turbo, the Cerebellum pet squirrel, develops a toothache, the only one in the clinic to help him is Dad, and Dad is desperate to try out all the surgical equipment on his new "patient".

Fuyu no Dekigoto (It Happened in the Winter)

It's winter, and Corona and Belka notice one of the little black furballs frozen in the snow. Normally, the furballs run around with a tiny heating iron to burn people and then enjoy the heat radiating off from them. As Corona and Belka are watching, Ken, the wandering lizard, points out that the furballs like to run up a snowbank, melt the snow with the iron, and then accidentally fall into the hole and freeze into place. Somehow, all of the furballs merge into one giant unstoppable monster, and it's up to the demon Raika (Belka's archenemy) to save everyone.

Kyou ha ○shii Hinamatsuri (Today is a --up Girls Doll Festival)

Corona is playing with one of her Hina dolls when the head falls off. She tries getting Mom to buy a new one, but this fails. Dad buys the last one in stock from Andy's shop, but Strong Man steals it when it appears to be something valuable. Corona goes into a pout, so Dad tries making a replacement, with a 6-foot tall head. The chapter ends with Corona happily accepting the 30-foot tall Hina statues Dad carves in a cliff face, and Strong Boy gets heckled for playing with dolls.

Suna no Hin (The Object in the Sand)

Turbo has a dream that Dad has killed a battle robot that resembles Dad, and together they've buried it in a field. The next morning, Dad does everything to prove that it wasn't a dream and Turbo thinks he was an accomplice to murder. When the rest of the troupe actually locate the corpse, they discover that it's not dead. The black duplicate hands some kind of documentation over to Dad, which Belka hopes is proof that they know each other, but Dad shreds it before anyone can see it. Belka really wants to learn more about Dad's past, but Mom reminds the entire troupe of why they're there in the first place - to care for Corona. Dad's past is unimportant. But now, the rest of the troupe is curious and speculate over what would happen if Corona found out that Dad was a killer, a thief or worse. Each of the scenarios end with Mom and Dad gassing themselves in shame. Mom ends up talking to two of the duplicate Dads, with one claiming to not know who Dad is, and the other realizing that it's better if they just leave the planet now to avoid further complicating everyone's lives. Then, Dad plays a piece of military music on a toy piano, and the two duplicates start crying as they take off.

As a side note, Mom tells Belka that the troupe's job is to keep outsiders away from Corona, and not share their secret with anyone. These outsiders include Raika, the invaders and the Super Family.

Epilogue: Andy confronts Mom, telling her that he knows Dad's secret, that he was a Commodore of the Wesner System Independent (Independence) Air Force, along with Generals Ajean, Dowar and Chetore (Ajean is the black robot, and Dowar was the one with him in the previous chapter). As a team they were unstoppable, and racked up a body count well over the tens of thousands range. All the information is on Noumad's memory disk, which Andy leaves with Mom.

Nazo no Enban UMA (The Puzzle of the Spaceship UMA)

Nazo takes the kindergarten kids out on a fishing trip, but Corona doesn't want to fish with live bait (a box of sandworms), which Dad ends up eating anyway. She forms a brain out of flour, and Turbo corrects her to get the shape just right. The alien invaders do a good job of catching fish, with one of the invaders using a second fishing line to fillet the fish in the air so it lands on a plate as finished sashimi. At sunset, the others go home while Corona stays out and continues to try her luck. She catches something HUGE, which threatens to pull her into the water. The line breaks, and Dad rescues her while she's still in the air. Ken claims that it was an UMA, mis-defining it as Unidentified Flying Object. His explanation is that it's an unidentified mysterious animal, ala the Loch Ness Nessie. When she finally goes home, Mom asks if she caught lots of fish, Corona answers, "I got one", with Dad hanging on to the end of the line with his mouth.

Yousai Kei Matsuri (The Holding the Fortress Festival)

Strong Boy, the alien invaders and Corona stop at a shop to get ice cream (which Strong Boy buys to bribe everyone to be his friend). Strong Boy then shoots Corona in the forehead with a soft-air pistol, causing her to drop her cone on the ground. The aliens all run away, knowing what's coming next. Corona starts crying, and Dad arrives in full battle armor to kill whoever's harassing her. 15 seconds later, he forgets why he's there. Upset that the aliens turned on him, Strong Boy runs home and tells his father that Dad was bullying him. Strong Man sees this as an excuse to look good in front of his boy, and goes to teach Dad a lesson. In the next scene, Strong Man and Strong Boy are trying to take refuge in the sheriff's office, demanding that Belka save them. Dad opens full fire on the jail, slowly whittling it to the ground, while immediately forgetting why he's doing this. Belka and John resign to their fates, until Corona runs up to let Dad know dinner is ready. After the smoke clears, John asks if they should have tried leaving through the back door; Belka bops him on the head. As Strong Man and his son walk home, Strong Boy quietly asks if his father really is all that strong. To cover his embarrassment, Strong Man demolishes the next passing train, making his son happy again.

Akarui Nakama (The Cheerful Friend)

A strange robot shows up in the playground and attacks anyone that looks like they're having fun. One of the invaders suspects that it just wants to play with them, but all attempts to come up with the right game result in the robot yelling "Titan Punch" or "Titan Beam" and smashing the others into the ground. Mom arrives and invites the robot to stay the night, but this turns out to be a mistake and she doesn't get any sleep, what with all the "Titan Punch" shouting in the air. The next day, the railroad crew recognize the robot and explain that it's part of their construction team. The lead engineer then wonders why he hadn't noticed Titan missing the day before, as Dad shouts "Titan Beam" while pulverizing some rocks.

Shuyaku Soushitsu (Disappearance of the Lead Actor)

Corona wakes up one morning only to find out that the house is surrounded by a black cloud. Outside, John runs to the jail to get Belka to come out and look at the latest weirdness. There's a barrier surrounding the spaceship that Mom, Dad, Turbo and Corona live in. The barrier seems to be made of dry ice and cotton wadding, but any attempt to touch it results in massive sparking and the destruction of whatever is doing the poking. Belka tries using a truck with an electromagnet on top to punch a hole in the barrier, but all that happens is that the truck explodes. Then, there's a deep rumbling sound, followed by the emergence of a huge Typhoon (one of the giant one-eyed, multi-legged monsters on the planet is called "Typhoon"). The typhoon is headed right for the ship. It hits the barrier and is stopped. The barrier is revealed to be a giant colander covered in cotton. With the barrier up on one end, and the typhoon stuck on top of it, Corona and the rest of the family can finally get out to play. The troupe wonders where the barrier came from, while Dad quietly hides in his room, reading an article in a hobby magazine on how to make barriers out of a colander and cotton.

Yami no Koi (Voice of the Darkness)

Nazo takes the school children out for mushroom gathering in the woods. Corona uses the aliens to determine which mushrooms are edible (obviously, it's those that don't cause any of the aliens to die). Suddenly, the kids break out in mushrooms, and Nazo tries to figure out why. Even Rainbow Man is stricken with the strange disease. After several days, the kids yell that being covered in mushrooms is fun and Nazo should try them herself. Before she's forced to eat the mushrooms, they all fall off the kids at the last moment. Seems that the mushrooms on this planet have a very short growing season. Back at home, Mom surprises Corona with an all-mushroom dinner.

Manga Saiensu (Manga Science)

This is kind of a call-back joke to the Science Manga series Asari used to draw. Mom is cleaning Corona's ears with a Q-tip, and Turbo says that he'd like his ears cleaned, too. Problem is, he doesn't actually have ears. To prove everyone wrong, Turbo tries to find out where his ears are, and Corona nearly kills him by accident in trying to conduct experiments to help get him an answer. Turbo gives up and uses the Q-tip to clean out the areas between his brain folds. Corona thinks it would be faster to just use a vacuum cleaner. This causes part of Turbo's brain to unfold. Corona assumes that putting him in a washing machine will fix the problem, but now his head is like one big mochi. Corona hangs him out on a clothesline to dry. Mom sees the big sheet on the line, thinks it's a bed mattress, and uses a swatter to slap all the dust out. The narrator tells us that it takes one month for Turbo to completely heal again.

(Ken = Ken)

Comments: Frozen furballs for the win! Barriers of dry ice to stop Typhoons! Dad murders his former friends but they get better! Details at 10! Highly recommended.

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