laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
OMF you guys, I wish that I could go to Comic-Con!! So many cool people are there! I would talk to Faith Erin Hicks and Bryan Lee O'Malley! And Joss Whedon and Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion and everyone else and their moms!

Luckily, people who are there are taking pretty pictures of the cast of Dr. Horrible!

And these pictures are less pretty, but it describes most of the Dr. Horrible panel, and includes multiple video clips.


I know that lots of anime announcements are made at Anime Expo. Do they make any at Comic-Con, too? Or does it just make more sense that they would make manga announcements at Comic-Con? I know that they announced a book about CLAMP's influence in America (which sounds AMAZING, by the way!), but I haven't heard much else.


Here I investigated for myself, before posting, and I guess manga announcements *are* made. Viz has licensed 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urusawa! That's the guy who wrote Monster (an amazing manga and anime series, if you haven't seen it), and I've heard good things about 20th Century Boys as well.

Oh, hey! And the new Studio Ghibli movie opened in Japan.

OMG, MORE BLACK LAGOON IS BEING RELEASED LATER IN AUGUST!

WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME THAT BACCANO! GOT LICENSED?
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Can I just say that Dr. Horrible (the character) is totally TEH SEX? I love that man's voice! And I didn't know that he's on How I Met Your Mother! Between him and Alyson Hannigan, I totally need to watch that next.

Spoilerific notes on Tsubasa, volume 17!

OMG, Fai's eye was gouged out!
Syaoran fought his own clone!
Lelouch Lamperouge Subaru showed up!
Kurogane TOTALLY LOVES Fai! What will he do to save him?!


The Twilight movie is coming, and I'll probably mock that, too.
This shit writes itself.

Actress playing Bella: He [Edward/Vampire Love Interest] always acts like wants to kill me, and what I find interesting is that she likes it.

THAT'S NOT INTERESTING, IT'S FUCKING CREEPY, and I pray to God it doesn't make creepy want-to-be-boyfriends even creepier than they already are.

EDWARD LOOKS HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE His makeup makes him look....I don't even know. TERRIBLE. Do you not believe me!? Look at the cover of Entertainment Weekly! HE LOOKS HIDEOUS. Who would ever kiss that?! Not only is his makeup job atrocious, but he looks like he's about to start drooling.

I thought that perhaps the movie might be better than the book because it wouldn't have such heinous narration. But I don't think I'm capable of watching it without laughing at Edward the entire time.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
A question for LJ people: Can someone please direct me to the post that explains how to get rid of the little white image and pop-up preview of every text link that goes to a page outside of LiveJournal? I had rectified this on my computer before I wiped it, but now it's gone back, and it's pretty annoying.

A question for anime people: I love watching Rightstuf.com, and keeping an eye on their sales. Are there other websites on the Internet that I should be watching?

Look at some sweet Scott Pilgrim art! The characters are super hero-fied. If you haven't read Scott Pilgrim yet, you totally should. Dave, I'm looking at you.

[livejournal.com profile] heyfoureyes linked to this in her LJ. Forgotten Detroit, a website with pictures of abandoned buildings in Detroit.

I haven't had time to read the entirety of this entry, but it's titled "Female, Muslim, and Mutant: A Critique of Muslim Women in Comic Books – Part 1 of 2," and it sounds very interesting.

Spoilers for Tsubasa, volumes 14 and 15 )
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
OMG, there are so many crazy people in the public library!

I am trying to get better at dropping books that are difficult to get through, rather than forcing myself to read things. Thus, even though I only had 100 pages left in Holly Black's Tithe, I dropped it. I can't get into Shelley Jackson's Half-Life, so I'm not going to force myself to read that, either (I'll still go to Wiscon Book Club, don't worry!).


I think that part of why I grow tired with fantasy novels is that world-building makes me impatient. Sure, it's dealt with in science fiction too, but supposedly the SF genre is grounded in possibility - something that could happen - and therefore the world, however futuristic, is inextricably linked to our own.

With fantasy, it seems like more time is spent explaining societal structures like governments and schooling than I care to read at once (interpersed information is much better than infodumps, in my opinion).

Anyway.

This is partly why I find it difficult to stay wholly interested in the manga series Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. The main characters are literally world-hopping, and each new world means another set of explanations to get through. Of course, they travel to a new world every time I get comfortable with the one I'm in. New worlds can be neat, but it's hard to care about every character, even though most of them are incarnations from previous CLAMP manga.

Of course, as soon as I am able to make sense of my mild dislike of the narrative structure of the series, I read volume 13.

Spoilers through the end of Volume 13! )
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
There is also a spoiler for Cardcaptor Sakura, but I put a code in so that you need to highlight it in order to read it.

Spoilers for these volumes lie behind the cut. )
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Yay, Fai icon! It is simple, but I really like the line art in Tsubasa (I think my love of the line art in the xxxHolic manga goes without saying). ALSO, Fai is always smiling, and because this is CLAMP, HE IS PROBABLY TOTALLY EVIL! We'll see, though.

My boyfriend Antoine has been following the xxxHolic anime since it came out, I think. He has now excitedly read the available manga in its entirety (almost all in one day, I think. There is a reason this man is my boyfriend!). Apparently, the cross-over value increases as both xxxHolic and Tsubasa go on, because he was opposed to reading Tsubasa manga before, but has since changed his mind!

Spoilers for these two volumes lie behind the cut )

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I don't have many notes on this volume - most of the notes I'm making are cross-over ones. I hope to put up a guide of what order to read the volumes in at some point, as I was annoyed that I couldn't find one for myself. Also, look forward to my post on my preferred order for reading CLAMP manga!

Spoilers for this volume lie behind the cut. )

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I must get a CLAMP icon!

To see my past posts on CLAMP manga, I recommend using the tag system to your advantage!

Can I just say how much I love Del Rey's publishing style? I wish that their manga wasn't so expensive ($10.95/volume). Their post-volume character guides, cultural notes, and cross-over notes are absolutely fantastic. Also, their honorifics guide at the beginning of each volume is stellar. Huge props to Del Rey!

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle

This will mostly be squee. References (but not particularly spoilery things) are made to the series Cardcaptor Sakura, X, Chobits, Legend of Chun Hyang, and xxxHolic.

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle notes )


xxxHolic

This will mostly be squee. References (but not particularly spoilery things) are made to the series Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

xxxHolic Notes )
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Chobits is an 8-volume series that takes place a few years after the 5-volume series, Angelic Layer. The events of Angelic Layer are not necessary to understanding those of Chobits, but if you are going to read both series, I recommend reading them in order.

Hideki Motosuwa is a 19-year-old man desperately trying to get into University (he failed the first round of entrance exams). He lives in a world where people's personal computers can be humanoid. They are called "Persocoms," and they walk and talk just like humans do. Obviously, they are very expensive.

Luckily, our protagonist finds one lying in a pile of trash one night. He takes her home, turns her on, and names her "Chi," the only word she can say after waking up.

More synopsis lies behind the cut; spoilers are blacked out, and must be highlighted to be seen. )

I'm almost ready to read xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. My only plans are to finish reading X/1999, and write it up. Here's a list of CLAMP manga I've read. If anyone has last-minute suggestions before I start their two current series, let me know!

Angelic Layer, Cardcaptor Sakura, Legal Drug, RG Veda, CLAMP School Detectives, Man of Many Faces, CLAMP School Defenders Duklyon, Chobits, Legend of Chun Hyang, Tokyo Babylon, X/1999, Magic Knight Rayearth.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I'm making it my goal to read most of the manga written by CLAMP before delving into their two current series, xxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, as the two contain lots of crossover elements. I'm also doing it because CLAMP has made a pretty large impact in the manga medium, and they have written in many different genres. To see my past posts on CLAMP manga, I recommend using the tag system to your advantage!

Technically, volumes 7-12 are called "Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow," and are numbered 1-6. Whatever.

This is the only CLAMP series that I had read once before (most of it, anyway). Like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura is an old favorite of mine. Sakura Kinomoto is a fourth-grader with a special mission: to collect the magical Clow Cards, each of which have a separate magical ability. The Clow Cards were created by Clow Reed, a magician with "supreme powers." Sakura opened a book in her father's study one day and met Kero, who looks like a cute stuffed animal that's a hybrid between a lion and a dog, with wings. He assures Sakura that he is only in this "cute" form because he is low on magic, and his "true form" is "awesome and scary."

The fact that Sakura was able to open the book means that she has magical powers. And thus, she uses them to collect the cards, with Kero's help. The only person who knows about her secret mission is her friend, Tomoyo. Tomoyo thinks Sakura's mission is so cool that she makes different elaborate outfits for every time Sakura goes out to capture a card. In Tomoyo's words, "When you do special things, you have to wear special clothes." Hence the frill.

Tomoyo (a girl) has a very apparent crush on Sakura, who is totally oblivious. Sakura is head-over-heels for her brother's high school friend, Yuki. Sakura's father married her mother when she was only 16 years old, and her father was a teacher!! Sakura's cousin, who is also Tomoyo's mother, is very jealous and angry at Sakura's father for taking away Sakura's mother. This also means that Sakura and Tomoyo are second cousins, and the love of Tomoyo's side of the family for Sakura's seems not to have left. Tomoyo knows that Sakura is completely oblivious to her love for her, but instead of pining and angsting about it, she encourages Sakura to express her feelings to the person she loves: Yuki. This is a very mature attitude for a 10-year-old!

Things grow more interesting when Li Sayoran transfers to Sakura's school from Hong Kong, and tells her that he is a direct descendant of Clow Reed, and therefore entitled to capturing the Clow Cards for himself.

Sakura is a pretty typical cute fourth grader. When Kero (Kerberos) tells her that uncaptured cards can do evil in the world, she asks, "Um, um, evil? Like stealing a snack? Or bending a flower? Or not doing homework? Or staying up late...?" Her cuteness (combined with her determination and courage) will make you love her; I promise.

And all of these plot points are from the first six volumes only (maybe even only the first 2 or 3, I don't remember).

Spoilers for the series lie behind the cut. )

This series is appropriate for all ages (although it might be difficult for very young readers to keep track of who likes who, as well as some of the plot points). It does not contain the references to panties that Angelic Layer does.

I love this series! It's one of my favorites by CLAMP, although nostalgia might have a lot to do with it, as well as its similarities in structure to Sailor Moon (perhaps my all-time favorite). The series is probably more focused on human relationships than on the Clow Cards themselves, although there are plenty of plot twists to keep that aspect of the story interesting, too.

I like that Sakura is strong in ways outside of her magical powers: she is athletic, and often shown roller-blading and otherwise being active in school. She is also a genuinely nice person, and a responsible role model for young children in that she's often shown taking turns with her older brother and father to take care of household chores.

I love that Sakura's father is shown cooking and cleaning in a way that isn't a hilarious joke. I love that there is gay love that isn't meant to be laughed at. The only thing in the series that made me cringe was the cousin!love and the student/teacher loves.

My favorite characters were probably Sakura herself, Tomoyo for her pure and honorable love, and Toya, for knowing so much but only acting when it was appropriate.

Cardcaptor Sakura looks like it will play an important role in CLAMP's current series Tsubasa Chronicle, as its protagonists appear to be aged versions of Li and Sakura. I look forward to reading it, and will be very angry if Sakura is a passive, useless heroine.

RG Veda

May. 4th, 2008 10:02 am
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I'm making it my goal to read most of the manga written by CLAMP before delving into their two current series, xxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, as the two contain lots of crossover elements. I'm also doing it because CLAMP has made a pretty large impact in the manga medium, and they have written in many different genres. To see my past posts on CLAMP, I recommend using the tag system to your advantage!


This is the 10-volume breakout series of the manga-making team CLAMP. I've been reading CLAMP titles in a roughly chronological order, so it was pretty jarring to shift from X/1999 to RG Veda, in which the artwork is obviously older, and not as good (CLAMP started making RG Veda in 1989). The heinous male hairstyles and ridiculously broad shoulders make a comeback. Still, it's possible to look past that, and appreciate the intricate clothing and dramatic storyline.

I've been reading CLAMP's X/1999 series for a while now, but I'm going to wait to blog about it, as I only have 4 volumes left to read. Still, the parallels between the plots in RG Veda and X/1999 are striking, in that they are two series with the exact same premise.

Taishakuten, the evil guy, is attempting to gather the "six stars" (people) "that will tear apart the heavens." Yasha, a protagonist, wants to gather the six stars for himself, to put an end to Taishakuten's tyranny. He travels with Ashura, a young boy/girl who is the last of his bloodline (and looks a lot like Chun Hyang, from another CLAMP title). Normally, Ashura is a polite and fierce young boy. Periodically, however, his mind and body are taken over, and he is able to kill ferocious enemies with pure energy. People are constantly following Yasha and Ashura, trying to kill Ashura.

Once the six stars are gathered, one of two things will happen: they will be the flame that incinerates all evil, or they will be the flame that turns the world into a burning hell. (So, yes. The exact same premise as X/1999!)

Yasha travels with Ashura because he is the one who awakened Ashura, despite being told that Ashura would one day kill him. Ashura is genderless, although he is referred to as a "he" in the English version, as the English language has no genderless pronoun. Ashura is constantly blaming himself for the deaths of others, and whining about how everything is his fault.

While it can sometimes be easy to spot phallic symbols in the media, RG Veda is notable in that there seems to be a number of background arches and the like that represent female external genitalia. Also, like X/1999, RG Veda has some female characters whose purpose is to literally be a sheathe for an important sword (sexual metaphor much?). In order for the sword to be born, the women must die.


This series has been made into a 2-part OVA, which I might be willing to try some day because it's short.

This series might be difficult to get your hands on, as I think it's out of print. Many thanks to the Brown County Library, for having all ten volumes!

Wikipedia tells me that Ashura, Ashura-o (evil!Ashura....unfortunately, the English translation does not keep the suffixes, so it's more difficult to keep them apart), and Yasha will appear in one of CLAMP's current series: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.


Overall: Not recommended for children due to the gore content. I'd rate it as a "meh." The plot is pretty predictable, and I feel like there was supposed to be some sort of plot twist at the end, but if there was, I missed it. It was fun to see how CLAMP started out

Legal Drug

Feb. 16th, 2008 02:17 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
This manga is only 3 volumes long, but it is also unfinished. Why?! Like Legend of Chun Hyang, I thoroughly enjoyed this series, and wish that there was more I could read right now.

Kazahaya Kudo is a runaway found in the snow by Rikuo. Rikuo brings him to the Green Drugstore, and the two young men live together and work for Kakei, the owner of Green Drugstore. Their default job is typical store maintenance, but from time to time, Kakei will send them out on special missions for extra cash. These missions usually require Kazahaya's ability to read people's emotions/memories to solve their cases (or obtain special items).

Kazahaya is the younger of the two protagonists, naive, and has a rather pretty face. Rikuo is taller and colder, and it's pretty heavily implied that the two boys might have subtextual feelings for one another (or, at the least, provide great fanservice for readers who might read and go, "OMG! They're totally gay! This is so cute!"

As a side note: This series is definitely not intended for young children!

I look forward to reading more of this, when more comes out. Wikipedia tells me that only 1/5 of the story has been told thus far, and that at Anime Expo 2006, CLAMP told people that they intend to revisit it in the near future.

Rikuo and Kazahaya will both appear in xxxHolic.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Magic Knight Rayearth is a 6 volume series (although the latter three volumes are also referred to as "Magic Knight Rayearth II, vol. 1-3). Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are three girls who attend different schools in Tokyo. Their classes happen to be having field trips at Tokyo Tower at the same time when they meet by chance. The three girls are transported to another world while they hear a voice calling them "Legendary Magic Knights," and asking them to save the world of Cephiro.

Princess Emeraude is the one who called the girls. Along their journey to save the princess (and thus, Cephiro), they are given weapons, armor, and a white ball of fluff that looks like a chubby rabbit, called Mokona. In the world of Cephiro, one is able to fight enemies with the strength of their will.

There is a nice plot twist at the end of the first arc, but it didn't really make the three volumes leading up to it worth it. I found the second arc to be much more boring than the first one. Especially disturbing was volume 4, when each of the girls felt the need to apologize profusely to their love interests for happenings that were not their fault. I think it was supposed to be romantic? SO NOT.

This series was more interesting than, say, Angelic Layer, but I still don't really care for it. In terms of having a girl (or group of girls) transported to another world, I like Escaflowne better (and possibly Twelve Kingdoms - I need to rewatch that series). In terms of magic girls fighting, I like Sailor Moon better.

This series was made into a 49-episode anime series, as well as an OVA. The OVA apparently changes the storyline a lot, but I'd be more willing to watch that than 49 episodes!

Overall: meh.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Hmmm, I was going to make one large post about three different series, but it's looking like I have more to say than I thought I did. Damn you, CLAMP!

This 5-volume series centers on the protagonist Misaki Suzuhara, a 7th grader who looks like a 4th grader. Her mom works a lot, so she has just moved to Tokyo to live with her aunt. She is quickly sucked into the sub-culture revolving a video game called Angelic Layer. In the game, players like Misaki are referred to as a "deus," and they control a small toy, usually about the size of someone's hand. The toy looks human, although they wear outfits designed by their deus, usually designed to look fantasy or sci-fi esque. The point of Angelic Layer is to have the "angel" (toy) of a deus battle another angel in a one-on-one battle, gladiator style. The deus controls their angel by putting on a helmet that covers their eyes, and using their mind.

Overall, not much happens in the series. Misaki is a typical shojo manga heroine: she is very polite and innocent, and receives help from lots of people who want to help her succeed in the video game of Angelic Layer. Misaki is a natural at the game, and goes through many tournaments with her angel. The entire plot of the series is Misaki battling these fights with her angel, Hikaru. There is one highly predictable sub-plot as well. Due to the lack of a plot that I cared about (guess who wins every battle?!), I was pretty bored throughout the series, and only finished it because I am a complete-ist.

I did enjoy the references to other CLAMP manga littered throughout. Every volume opened with newspaper clippings about Misaki's success in the Angelic Layer tournaments. Snatches of other articles were visible, including speculation about the "Man of Many Faces," and CLAMP School Defenders Duklyon having to go into rehab, due to their Angelic Layer addiction, :) In volume 4, Misaki is singing to herself, A field of peony pink... - from my investigation into the CLAMP School Detectives anime, I know that this is the theme song from that show! Unfortunately, it's not a great song.

Misaki also got the name for her angel from Magic Knight Rayearth. She names her angel "Hikaru," because she says that like Hikaru, she would like for her angel to be "a short girl, but strong and happy."

I would say that this series would appeal to younger kids. The gladiator fights provide action, and it's lack of a plot would mean not getting lost, as can often happen in manga (even for adults). The only caution I would have is that Misaki's friends seem to like to tease her by inexplicably knowing what color panties she's wearing. I think it's supposed to be funny, but I was a little WTF about the whole thing.

The internets tell me that Angelic Layer is set in the same universe as CLAMP's later series, Chobits.

Characters from Angelic Layer will appear in Chobits and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

This series was made into a 26-episode anime series, but I have very little interest in seeing it.

I LIVE

Jan. 19th, 2008 02:52 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I haven't had much to say lately, because I've just been at work and reading lots of books.

Fooding
I baked cookies a few nights ago. They looked like they had been cooked too long, but I did it exactly as long as the recipe told me to, and they're supposed to be a "crispy" recipe. Also, they were really small. Still, Antoine and I thought that they tasted really, really good.

I also just made soup on a whim. I was going to boil some Asian dumplings, but the back of the box told me I could cut up vegetables and throw them in too, to make soup. "I can do that!" I thought, and I did! Onions, mushrooms, green onions, some spices, and some chili sauce. It turned out all right, I guess, but I think I'll try and find a soup recipe before I try again, :)

Why don't people tell patients about potential side effects? THAT'D BE GREAT, KTHX
While I was at my parents' house during break, my dad assured me that Prilosec is meant to be a short-term drug, and I had been taking it for about 6 months. He told me to stop taking it, and if I still had problems, I should see a doctor. So, I stopped taking it for about five days. Every day, I felt terrible, no matter what food I ate. It felt like I was constantly about to throw up, but not in my stomach - more in my chest and throat. Dad told me to start taking the Prilosec again and see a doctor ASAP.

So, that's what I did on Thursday. After explaining things to him, his theory is that the acne medication I had been taking since either high school or middle school (minocyclene) has the potential to chemically burn a person's esophagus in the long-term, and that that is what happened. Fortunately, a couple weeks before this meeting, my dermatologist had prescribed a different acne medication for me, as minocyclene was doing jack, and I've been very unhappy with my face lately!

So now, I have to take Prilosec for 2 months straight (which is scary to me, as both the doctor and my father have explained to me why taking Prilosec long-term is really bad for you!) to get rid of anything bad, and let everything settle down, and allow my body to adjust to the new acne medication. If the pain immediately starts again after I stop taking Prilosec, or while I'm still taking it, then I need to go to the doctor so that they can stick a long thingie down my throat and see if I have a stomach or esophagus ulcer. WTF ULCER. How do people even get ulcers? I don't know.

I don't get squeamish about blood or broken bones, but the thought of people sticking cameras down my throat makes me want to throw up. I asked the doctor if they could knock me out, and he said no, because they want my gag reflex in case something goes wrong. THAT MAKES ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.

Yay!
Anyway, the high today is 0 degrees, but Anime Club (well, hopefully, anyway! It better not be just me!) is going to put up some fliers on State Street, and then watch some anime. Hopefully I don't die in the cold.

Media Update
I hope to write more extensively about these things at a later date, but for now, an update on the things I've been watching and reading:
--Volume 1 of Ex Machina comic by Brian K. Vaughan = win, but based on first volumes alone, I prefer Y: The Last Man

--I read the Magic Knight Rayearth manga. I have to say, I wasn't very impressed. I don't think that the series does anything that Sailor Moon doesn't do better. Speaking of Sailor Moon, I'd really like to reread it sometime soon. Since I've been going on a manga binge, reading all kinds of stuff, I'd like to see how well it holds up. (Please note that the Sailor Moon manga is much better than the anime!).

--I burned through the second Song of the Lioness book by Tamora Pierce - the series is so fun! But, I'm kind of slogging through the second Westmark book by Lloyd Alexander, The Kestrel. I have yet to see any of the dealings with PTSD that everyone was raving about, so I hope the second half pwns the first half.

--Buffy and Angel have both been really, really good lately. I wouldn't have thought that vampire flashbacks would be so fun. Bethany, you might want to check out Angel, season 2 (or at least, the first two discs so far!). Lots of stuff about Darla and Angel's past. It's pretty cool.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
CLAMP's Legend of Chun Hyang is a one-volume comic about a Korean teenager, although CLAMP has said that it would like to continue the series.

Chun Hyang is based on a Korean folktale. In CLAMP's words,
A long time ago there lived a very beautiful maiden named Chun Hyang.
(Image: Beautiful woman shrouded in a veil, surrounded by flowers, face is hidden)

Although she was born a commoner, she was accepted in marriage to the nobleman Mong Ryong. When fate separated her from her betrothed, Chun Hyang refused the advances of suitors, and for that she was put in jail.

Her one true love would be Mong Ryong.

In her native Korea, Chun Hyang's story has passed into legend.

Chun Hyang endures as a symbol of chastity and continues to be honored to this day.

However...this Chun Hyang is a little bit different.
(Image: Flowery girl in flowing robes....in a martial arts "just try me" pose)

Chun is a 14-year-old girl who lives with her mother, a mudang (medicine woman) in her village. The land of Koriyo (Korea) is divided into over 300 villages, each one ruled by a Yang Ban. Unfortunately, some of the Yang Ban are corrupt. One man, the Am-Hang-Osa, is given the authority to serve as a power-check on corrupt Yang Ban, and can punish them as he sees fit. Unfortunately, the Am-Hang-Osa is nowhere to be seen in Chun Hyang's village, and their Yang Ban is very corrupt.

Chun Hyang's village's Yang Ban is intent on securing Chun Hyang's mother (as a lover?) and tries to do so by force, but Chun Hyang is a headstrong sword-fighter, and will not allow this to happen. A traveler named Mong Ryong shows up, and Chun Hyang ends up needing his help before long. Eventually, the pair becomes a traveling unit that seeks out corrupt Yang Ban in order to punish them.

Unlike CLAMP's lighter pieces like Man of Many Faces, people actually die in Legend of Chun Hyang. Its comedy and light-heartedness rest side by side with anguish and despair. I also feel that the quality of the art is a step up (it was made after the Clamp School stories), and displays what I like about CLAMP art: elegant lines and curls, bold inkings, and intricate clothing.

I liked this as much as I liked Tokyo Babylon, if not more, and would like to own it some day. Because it's only one volume long, I think it would be a nice way to see whether or not you like CLAMP.

I really hope that CLAMP does continue the story, because it would be nice to see the relationship of Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong evolve.

Random Note: What is with CLAMP making a character literally trip and fall to the ground in a cloud of dust every time they have a WTF reaction. It's a very random way to show this emotion, and thus far it has been in every series I've read.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I hope it's okay that I don't worry about spoilers here. The series is only 2 volumes long, and it's so silly that I don't think any of you are going to be reading it anyway.

Clamp School Defenders Duklyon is another 2-volume series by CLAMP that (surprise!) takes place at the Clamp School. As CLAMP reiterates from previous series, the school is home to students from kindergarten through graduate school. But now, CLAMP has more to say in its description of the school:
However, where that many people gather, trouble usually follows....
Given the volume of brilliant and eccentric minds housed in this community, security is of utmost importance. As a result, the school founders established a secret organization. A unit to solve all problems quickly, and to maintain peace - a do-it-all unit, if you will. (Here, two armored, masked men with a gun and a sword appear). This, in short, is the CLAMP School Defenders. Or more commonly known as DUKLYON!


Notes on plot and characters )

This series is meant for the humor. When the Sukiyabashi/Eri storyline takes over, CLAMP makes fun of Kentaro and Takeshi for no longer being the main characters. Also, the dialogue is often just ridiculous:
(The enemy is in the cafeteria)
Takeshi: Can't we just seal off the cafeteria?
General: We don't have the right to deprive students of nutrition. Plus, lunch is the happiest time of day. CLAMP SCHOOL DEFENDERS DUKLYON! COMMENCE!
Takeshi and Kentaro: YES, SIR!!


My recommended order for reading these 3 series is Clamp School Detectives, Man of Many Faces, and then Clamp School Defenders Duklyon. I think that MoMF might come before CSD, but CSD gives a nice explanation of Clamp School, etc. Definitely save CSDD until after the other two.

Really, though, I recommend the three series only for people looking to read all of CLAMP's stuff. They're pretty silly, and don't offer much in the way of plot. Because they're so inter-connected, I kind of view them as a 7-volume series, instead of 3 separate ones.

The Internet tells me that Kentarou, Takeshi, and Eri will appear in CLAMP's current series, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Man of Many Faces is a 2-volume story written by CLAMP. It centers on Akira Ijyuin, a 9-year-old attending Clamp School. As you may remember, he is one of the three Clamp School Detectives. In Man of Many Faces, Akira periodically dons an eye-mask and a top hat (looking very much like Tuxedo Mask, from Sailor Moon!) and steals highly-prized items for his two mothers, who ask him to do so. In addition to stealing for them, Akira also does all of the cooking and cleaning for his mothers (remember, this is ALSO in addition to all of his work with the Clamp School Detectives, receiving perfect grades, being on the Student Council, etc.).

One night while evading the police, Akira happens to meet Utako Ōkawa, a kindergarten student at Clamp School who is nursing her broken heart. Verily, at the tender age of 5, Utako has fallen in love. With her teacher. See, CLAMP has this tendency to make young girls between the ages of 5 and 9 fall in love with their teachers, and it is oh, so romantic! Also, WTF. Oh well. Thankfully in this series, the teacher has refused her love, due to their 22-year age difference. Also, Utako is only 5. 5!

Anyway, the series is overall fluffy and cute, detailing their romantic encounters. At least, it's mostly cute except for my mind constantly going, But they are only 5 and 9 years old! WTF! They are impossibly intelligent and mature for their ages. But. Still. Weird.

It was nice to get a lot of characterization for Akira, as Nokoru and Suoh were the two who were most-developed in the Clamp School Detectives manga. The interwebs tell me that these three boys will also appear in X/1999 and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. I wonder if they'll still be elementary school students, or if they will be older. Utako will also have a cameo in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
My journey through CLAMP manga continues!

On the surface, Tokyo Babylon is a mystery series. Protagonist Subaru Sumeragi is an onmyouji, and spends his time performing exorcisms on afflicted citizens of Tokyo. He is aided by his twin sister, Hokuto, and a veterinarian named Seishirō Sakurazuka. The series starts out as a basic monster-if-the-week story, focusing on negative aspects of today's modern society (the people who need exorcisms range from those teased at school to elderly people who feel like they're a burden to their families). As the series progresses, however, details that began as odd little quirks develop into massively important plot points. Why does Subaru always wear gloves? How come Seishirō is always hitting on him?

I'd recommend this series. It's only 7 volumes long, and CLAMP uses a lot of blank space in this series. I think that I read all 7 volumes in 3 or 4 days, and that's including college duties. I'd say it's very doable to read all 7 in one day.

And now, on to spoilers! )

The library has CLAMP series Man of Many Faces and Clamp School Defenders waiting for me. I don't think that either one of those series is particularly gripping, but once I finish them, it might be time to read X. I have a feeling that I'm going to be extremely disappointed that X is an incomplete series. Why would CLAMP do that? So cruel!


If you are going to leave spoilers in the comments, please put a warning in the subject line of your comment, or make the font color of the text white, so that the n00bs don't get it ruined!

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
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