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Let's Read Fairy Tail OR Zettai Karen Children
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Let's Read Fairy Tail OR Zettai Karen Children:

I've read the first 20 or so pages of both Fairy Tail and Zettai Karen Children on One Manga, and they both look interesting. I'll read whichever one the denizens of this forum prefer.
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 2 Clarste, Tue, 12th Jan '10 7:33:25 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
Huh. Want me to flip a coin? ...tails, which to me means second on the list, which I suppose is ZKC.

edited 12th Jan '10 8:49:09 PM by Clarste

 3 Willy Four Eyes, Tue, 12th Jan '10 8:05:30 PM from Darby, PA, USA Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Shulkamaniac
Aw...I wanted to see a ZKC LR. I've already read bits and pieces of Fairy Tail. tongue
 4 Clarste, Tue, 12th Jan '10 8:48:27 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
I could go back in time and alter history so the coin flip comes out differently, if you like. Once sec...

Edit: Done

edited 14th Jan '10 2:59:47 PM by Clarste

Two votes for ZKC so far. Waiting until tomorrow for more votes.
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No one else has voted, so Zettai Karen Children it is!
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Chapter 1: Angels with a Devil

We start with a kid named Minamoto being told that he's too smart for high school and should enroll in a special program. We flash forward to Minamoto expositioning to some firefighters: the "precog department" says there's an 86% chance of a fire occurring at the gas station he's standing in front of. The Boss Subtitles tell us that he's now 20 years old, his first name is Kouichi, and he's a First Lieutenant working for a group called "The Children" (though the laptop he's holding says B.A.B.E.L.). Suddenly, an old-fashioned airplane rushes toward the gas station. We see three girls wearing rather goofy schoolgirlish uniforms. One of them complains about being kept waiting. Minamoto is annoyed but shouts, "Government ES Pers 'The Children' limiters released!" I have a strange suspicion that this line was at least partly originally in English.
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Minamoto's cell phone says "LEVEL 7 AVAILABLE" (in Japanese). We see the blond girl's ring, the black-haired girl's earring, and the red-haired impatient girl's watch light up. "Awesome!!" shouts Impatient Girl. She stops the plane with a force field using an attack called "Air Pointing". The Boss Subtitles tell us that Impatient Girl is 10-year-old Kaoru Akashi, a "Level 7 Psychokinetic". The black-haired girl does something I don't quite follow (I guess she's teleporting onto the scene) and we learn that she's Aoi Nogami, a 10-year-old "Level 7 Teleporter". (The Firefox spellchecker refuses to admit that "teleporting" and "teleporter" are words.)

I won't be going into this kind of detail for the whole thing, but it seems to be the norm around here to be extra detailed for the first chapter. Rest of Chapter 1 coming later today.
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The white-haired girl (Shiho Sannomiya, Level 7 Psychometer, age 10) explains that the pilot of the plane is having a heart attack. Aoi says she'll teleport in an ambulance. A guy standing nearby with a sinister thin mustache (Base of Backing ESP Laboratory Bureau Director Taizou Kiritsubo, age 53) comments that "The Children" are incredibly powerful. His secretary, Oboro Kashiwagi (there's a question mark for her age so she'll probably turn out to be Really 700 Years Old) notes that the chance of a fire is still at 86%. Kaoru impulsively decides to telekinetically help the pilot's heart, and when Minamoto warns her to let the paramedics deal with it, she telekinetically shoves him against the wall (!). Kaoru fixes the pilot's heart, but she's let go of the actual plane. There's a big explosion. Oops.
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Info Dump time! The narrator informs us that in the 21st century (isn't that now?), "ES Pers are on the rise" and are a crucial resource affected the international balance of power. There are 7 levels of psychic power, and apparently all Level 7s can destroy stuff and fly. Higher level ES Pers are rarer. Since this is published in a Shōnen magazine, there's a good chance Level 8 powers will be introduced somehow. The Children are the only Level 7s working for the government (presumably the Japanese government).

Back to the girls. They appear to be lightly injured. Kaoru says what happened wasn't her fault (actually, it was). They're standing next to Minamoto's hospital bed. Looks like he's received nasty head and arm injuries, either from the explosion or from being thrown at a wall. Kaoru says what happened was a freak accident and they should "pretend it was a dog bite and forget about it quickly." They try to give Minamoto get well presents, but he just yells at them. What Kaoru did was really stupid, but I still think he's being a bit harsh. Director Mustache shows up and the kids appeal to him with their Moe. He gives them a hug and tells them it's not their fault. The narrator informs us that The Children "have attitude problems and should be treated with caution". Kaoru certainly does, but the others seem fine so far.

Cut to Director Mustache angrily spouting Techno Babble at precogs lying in machine pod things. He then tells Minamoto that The Children, being higher level than the nameless precogs, "can be either angels who save Earth or devils that can destroy it" and should be treated "carefully". Minamoto thinks Mustache isn't cooperating with him enough. We get an Imagine Spot of The Children as older teens, wearing outfits even sillier than the ones they're wearing now. Oboro (the secretary) reveals that according to the "Problem No. 666" the precogs are working on, The Children have a 26% chance of turning out as "angels" and a 29% chance of becoming "devils", with the remaining 45% not yet computed. There's a computer graph and everything. It's kind of a Narm.

edited 14th Jan '10 6:38:23 PM by silver2195

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I'm starting to suspect that no one is actually reading this liveblog. Oh well.

Mustache explains that he intends to be nice to the girls and it's Minamoto's job to disipline them. Minamoto says that Kiritsubo (I can't keep calling him Mustache or I'll forget his real name) is being irresponsible (which he is), but Oboro defends him (the translation at One Manga doesn't make much sense here, but I think she's saying that the fate of the world is less important than job satisfaction).

Cut to Kaoru undergoing a medical examination while drinking an energy drink and reading a magazine with scantily-clad female models in it. She asks why she has to undergo so many examinations, and suggests that he faps to her "growing body data". Minamoto is clearly Squicked and responds with the question I want to ask her: "Why the hell do you act like a sleazy old man?" The girls all tease Minamoto some more, and he asks why they don't act like normal 10-year-old girls. Kaoru points out that they never went to a normal school or hung out with normal kids, which would explain a lot of odd behaviors, but still doesn't explain Kaoru's behaviors for me. I like that this manga isn't making the assumption that Kid Heroes behave like normal children or normal adults, but Kaoru's behavior so far comes across more as appeal to a creepy Periphery Demographic than psychological realism.

Kaoru blows up some of the medical equipment pretty much because she can (it's Played for Laughs). She's becoming The Scrappy for me. Maybe she gets less obnoxious later on. A nurse shows up and says there's some sort of emergency and it's time for another mission.

Kiritsubo tells Minamoto that an aircraft is about to crash into a skyscraper (this would be considered Too Soon in America, of course). Meanwhile, Kaoru remarks to Aoi and Shiho that Minamoto will probably quit soon, like their previous bosses did. Minamoto suddenly realizes that the only aircraft around is the B.A.B.E.L. helicopter he's sitting in.

edited 15th Jan '10 12:42:30 PM by silver2195

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 12 Clarste, Fri, 15th Jan '10 12:41:14 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
I'm reading it, although I don't have much to say about it. Fundamentally, my instincts while reading a liveblog of something I've already read are to either become an apologist for the series or to provide unprompted spoilers. Or both, these things tend to overlap. Neither of these are particularly productive.

...and switching to full apologist mode, some of your complaints sound like you're taking it a bit too seriously. One of the things I enjoy about this is that it can be serious when it wants to, despite the premise, but some things are just going to be Rule of Funny. Also, I'm pretty sure the secretary's age isn't listed because you don't ask a lady her age. Or something like that.

edited 15th Jan '10 12:42:01 PM by Clarste

@Clarste: Nice to know someone's reading. I'm actually enjoying the series in general so far (though I haven't gotten far enough to form a definite judgement). I just don't like Kaoru's personality much.

Minamoto orders the pilot to get away from the building, but a "strong force" keeps him from controlling the helicopter. It slams right into the middle of the skyscraper (do they ever actually prevent disasters?). The helicopter starts falling towards the ground, but the building doesn't look do damaged (mostly just some broken windows). Aoi uses "Emergency Teleport!!" The helicopter teleports to the ground, and everyone appears dazed but unhurt. Minamoto thanks Aoi for saving the people on the helicopter (he doesn't seem very worried about the people in the building), but is shocked when he realizes that Kaoru is somehow outside the helicopter, lying in a smoking crater. Kaoru warns Minamoto to get away from her.

edited 15th Jan '10 1:05:55 PM by silver2195

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 14 Clarste, Fri, 15th Jan '10 12:58:16 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
Not sure if it's been made clear yet, but these are supposed to be the "devil children" who force all their supervisors to quit. Kinda like GTO, if you've seen or read that. And Kaoru is the ringleader. Thus, she's supposed to be a manipulative jerk, at this point anyway.

edited 15th Jan '10 12:59:00 PM by Clarste

@Clarste: My issue isn't so much that she's a jerk as that her Otaku Surrogate and Lovable Sex Maniac traits are unrealistic for a 10-year-old girl (no matter how weird her upbringing).

There's another explosion (this series seems to like those) and we see Minamoto lying in a second smoking crater. Kaoru explains that she seems to be suffering from some sort of Power Incontinence. Minamoto tries to activite her Power Limiter, but the watch it's attached to explodes. Aoi says she'll go get another Limiter. Minamoto explains that she probably lost control of her powers due to "minute damage to the brain cells" and she'll be back to normal in a few days. Kaoru suddenly screams in pain, and Minamoto realizes that her out-of-control powers could kill her. He gives her a Cooldown Hug and orders her to "settle down". She has a flash of insight and deprives her own brain of oxygen with her powers. Minamoto and Shiho are shocked. Minamoto returns her to consciousness with some CPR chest compressions, and warns her never to try that again. Aoi returns with a limiter and an ambulance. From the look on the ambulance driver's face, she must have teleported it there without asking permission. Minamoto lectures Kaoru some more, and she says that she wants to be normal, but... She doesn't finish her sentence. He has a flashback to being told he's too smart for a normal school, then says he'll take responsibility for what happened because it's his own fault for letting her skip the examination (but she blew up the equipment!). "You and your Psychic Powers are the problem, but you can stay here".

Back at HQ, Kaoru says she's taken the "first step into womanhood" because Minamoto grabbed her and touched her chest. Even for her, that's a pretty tasteless remark. Good thing he just did chest compressions, not mouth-to-mouth. Disturbingly, Shiho says she's jealous. Minamoto scolds Kaoru. Kiritsubo and Oboro, watching them on a giant viewscreen, remark that Minamoto and The Children "make a good team."

edited 15th Jan '10 1:50:29 PM by silver2195

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 16 Clarste, Fri, 15th Jan '10 1:37:52 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
That's where Rule of Funny comes into play. That said, I won't deny that the apparent target audience for this is really creepy.

edited 15th Jan '10 1:38:02 PM by Clarste

@Clarste: The target audience for Kaoru's antics or the series in general? This was published in a Shōnen magazine, so presumably the Lolicon audience is a Periphery Demographic at best.

The first chapter ends with a revised graph of Problem No. 666. The outlook has improved: Angels 35%, Devils 33%, Uncertain 32%.
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Chapter 2: The Invisible Guardian (First Part)

The chapter begins with the ridiculously-dressed future!Children (Aoi's outfit isn't as silly as the other two in this picture), the present!Children flying through the sky, and other silly non-plot-related images of the sort the Shonen manga always have at the beginnings of chapters.

The actual chapter starts with a building on fire. Kaoru deals with it using an ability called "Psychic Dropping...Closed!!" but it's not clear exactly what she's doing. Shiho says that the building will take time to cool down but they've dealt with the flames. The firefighters comment on Kaoru's "scary" ability to extinguish flames with telekinesis (which doesn't make much sense to me), and the narrator repeats his Info Dump from the first chapter.

The Children are relaxing on an outdoor bench. Minamoto tells them that they did well but the mission isn't over yet. Kaoru responds by hitting him with telekinesis. They all have an expository conversation revealing that The Children are going to school tomorrow, they should pretend to be normal humans, and they're excited about it by Kaoru is annoyed at having to keep up The Masquerade. Minamoto gets Kaoru to promise not to use her powers at school, and Kaoru gets him to promise to buy them something if they're good girls and don't blow stuff up.

We see The Children in their school clothes, and this is the first time they aren't wearing something ridiculous. They get introduced to the class, and a girl with hair clips notices their jewelry and apparently recognizes Power Limiters, though she says nothing out loud.

Meanwhile, Kiritsubo gives Minamoto a special camoflage suit that somehow looks goofier than anything The Children wear. He explains that the Department of Education will stop admitting Esper kids if something goes wrong, so every precaution must be taken to avoid "commotion like in the simulation." There's some small-size and untranslated flashback panels of Kaoru presumably doing something stupid.

edited 17th Jan '10 1:10:25 PM by silver2195

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Kiritsubo gives Minamoto an anti-Esper stun gun, but expects it to be used against "bad people" rather than The Children themselves.

The Children are talking with their classmates and trying to explain why they all moved at the same time, where they live, etc. They answer awkwardly, but the other students don't pry further. Hairclip Girl and another girl invite them to play in the park. They accept. Hairclip Girl reveals that she's Chisato Hanai, Level 2 Telepath, and she realizes that Kaori, Aoi, and Shiho are Espers too. Reading off pieces of paper, they truthfully reveal their specialties but claim to be Level 2 as well. The other girls don't notice the paper but notice that they seem emotionless when they say this.

A boy (or a tomboyish girl?) named Masaru Tohno says that having four Espers in the class "sucks" and tells The Children not to remove their Limiters. The other girl, who has a single pigtail and a Gratuitous English T-shirt, says that Tohno hates Espers. Chisato starts to defend him, but Pigtail Girl cuts her off. Then Tohno calls the Espers ugly and Kaoru throws an eraser at him with telekinesis. Tohno gets angry, Kaoru wants to fight him, and Tohno says she'd lose even with her Limiter off. Kaoru gets even angrier. Minamoto draws his gun, and the chapter ends.

Kaoru is a more likable/interesting character when there's no adults around for her to be creepy towards. At the moment the biggest issue I have with this series is that Aoi and Shiho don't really have any characterization beyond being Kaoru's sidekicks.

edited 17th Jan '10 5:51:46 PM by silver2195

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Chapter 3: The Invisible Guardian (Last Part)

"Psychic..." begins Kaoru. Minamoto points the stun gun at her but remembers that it will be useless if she uses a Level 4 power and grabs her arm. Kaoru seems to realize what's happening and says she won't use her Esper powers because she made a promise. She's winning the fistfight when she stops just before the teacher shows up, and tells Aoi that she saw Minamoto's face (which she seems to think was her imagination) and restrained herself. Minamoto and Tohno both remember that, since she threw the eraser, she didn't quite keep her promise. Tohno feels that Espers are all underhanded.

During gym class, Kaoru and Tohno continue to be aggresive towards each other, and Chisato explains that Tohno is a childhood friend of hers and always knew she was an Esper, but after she revealed that she'd read his mind, he got angry.

edited 17th Jan '10 6:10:34 PM by silver2195

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 21 Clarste, Sun, 17th Jan '10 6:11:25 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
Why do you end your posts randomly mid-sentence before editing them to completion? Seem awkward.

It's a bad habit. I do it when my typing gets interrupted by something in the real world. I also sometimes edit posts that end with a finished sentence to add lots of stuff, but I do that deliberately to avoid double-posting too much.
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Shiho says that people don't like it when she touches them either, with one exception (she doesn't say who). She advises Chisato to read his mind some more (from the way she says it, she's probably not serious).

It's gym class again (I guess it's the next day). Tohno is about to throw a ball at Kaoru rather too hard. Kaoru (or is it Kaoru?) trips Tohno with her powers. Minamoto raises his gun. Tohno yells at Kaoru to prove it wasn't her.

Minamoto realizes that there were two camoflage suits and unmasks Director Kiritsubo, who is standing nearby in the suit. Wait What Woah! Was he trying to sabotage Kaoru's education? No, he just wanted to protect her from Tohno.

Kaoru and Tohno have another fistfight and somehow seem to become friends because of it. Minamoto gives Kaoru a pair of skates, Shiho a giant teddy bear, and Aoi some sort of gadget. It's revealed that Kiritsubo is paying for it all.

Good chapter. Kaoru actually acts her age, we get a glimpse of how normals feel about Espers, and Shiho starts to get some characterization (though Aoi still has none).

edited 18th Jan '10 9:20:21 AM by silver2195

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Chapter 4: Grand Touch Investigation Trail

We start with an infobox on Shiho's powers, along with a picture of her in a new costume (which is quite silly). Shiho can learn stuff about the "past and/or present" of someone or something she touches. It seems to be deliberately vague what this means in practice; it's probably going to become a Green Lantern Ring.

Shiho determines who committed a murder, how, and where the body is by touching the knife used. Minamoto objects to Shiho investigating such sordid things, but Kiritsubo explains that she's the only one who can solve some difficult cases. They're in a room with several objects related to other important cases. The National Police Agency Director, a man with Scary Shiny Glasses, walks in and explains that he ordered Kiritsubo to have Shiho investigate the cases. Oh yeah, and he's also Shiho's father.
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Shiho seems happy to meet her dad and doesn't object to solving crimes. She asks to see the crime scene for one of the cases.

Kaoru and Aoi arrive at the crime scene. Kaoru is excited and impatient as usual, but is disappointed to learn that the body has already been moved away by the police. Minamoto asks what Kaoru and Aoi are doing there, and Shiho explains that she called them there. Shiho and Minamoto explain that there have been 10 mysterious deaths in the same area, which some have theorized were caused by a toxic gas. Shiho asks Kaoru about ways the deaths could have been caused by Psychic Powers, and she comes up with an obviously wrong idea that Aoi shoots down. Minamoto guesses that the killer could have telekinetically attacked hearts and brains.

Shiho tells her father about Minamoto's idea (actually, she makes it sound like her own idea). Dad thinks the idea is worth considering, and Shiho asks the local detective assigned to the case to take her to the other crime scenes. Aoi and Kaoru note that Shiho has been awesome lately, and I agree. Kaoru has a rather creepy Imagine Spot involving an adult Shiho as a cop interrogating Minamoto.

edited 19th Jan '10 1:25:26 PM by silver2195

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