laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
Moon Child, volume 1 by Reiko Shimizu - I checked this out because the two co-authors of Anime News Network's House of 1,000 Manga column are finally ending the column, after a hell of a run. Each made a post with their own top-10 posts/series, and one of Shaneon Garrity's was their column on Moon Child. I never thought I'd find a weirder manga than Kaori Yuki's stuff, but here we are. Dumbfounded by the heinousness. But also 90s brooding, like, EPIC. Having to request these from outside the library system, so it'll likely take a while to get through the series. I really miss the publisher CMX, :/ I wish I'd been older when they were still around, & I had more disposable income and could've better supported their series. They released a lot of great stuff.

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser - Following up my run of Tudors! fiction/non-fiction, I wanted to read this because I never really "got" what this historical event was/its significance/whatever. It was SO FASCINATING. Clandestine Catholics disillusioned by a king who's not as Catholic as they thought he would be, Jesuit priests grappling with whether they can break the seal of the confessional to save lives vs. trying to argue with the would-be perpetrators and prevent the crime themselves, & also a tiny dude who went around building secret hiding places into the homes and properties of Catholics who hid Jesuits and other Catholics on the run. SO INTERESTING. OMG.
After this, I think I'm going to be jumping back in history to read some War of the Roses fiction/non-fiction. Although maybe also first some Mary Queen of Scots stuff.

Arata the Legend, vols. 16-22 by Yuu Watase - Lots of people lost their clothing for various "plot" reasons in a number of these volumes, :p
This series is at its best when it's balancing both of the two worlds, as opposed to focusing on the fantasy world of Amawakuni. The dread that Arata and Oribe feel as they're dealing with the horrors produced by Harunawa is palpable, and makes me connect with the characters' fear in a way that never quite happens with the characters in Amawakuni, save for the ways in which Arata and Kadowaki grapple with their feelings about each other/their friendship, as well as Mikasa's realization about her ~origins~. I'm about caught up to the English release of this series, which is also caught up the point where Yuu Watase had her hiatus. I'm really interested to see where this story goes, now that she's free from her abusive editor.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - A selection from the Sirens list. This was fan-flipping-tastic, like I was blown away by how great it is.

Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill - This has been making the rounds at comics club, and I really enjoyed the art while reading these true stories about real people from black US history that I'd never heard before. From people's reactions to that other comic series called "Strange Fruit," I'd say this one is much better, :p

Truth: Red, White, and Black by Robert Morales - or, The first Captain American wasn't Steve Rogers. I've heard of this before, but I think I requested it (not in our library system, :[ ) after some tweets by [personal profile] sparkymonster. In a country where Tuskegee happened, it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to think that the government would have created the super soldier serum by first testing it on black men. Morales pulls a lot of truths from history to tell a powerful story that leaves you reeling. The list of books about human subject experimentation & ethics in the back was obviously of great interest to me, so I added a lot of those to my to-read list on Goodreads.

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden - Checked out from the library after [personal profile] jesse_the_k was talking this up in comics club (I think?). Glidden goes on a birthright trip to Israel, despite feeling a little awkward about it because she has some serious issues with a lot of Israel's actions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She's very upfront in describing the the trip that she & her group go on - what they see, learn, & feel.

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire - SO FUN. Like, wow what a universe. I ended up rating this three stars, due to a truly absurd climactic battle that leads up to Ultimate Climax, as well as due to wayyyyy too many over-explain-to-the-reader moments. I wish McGuire would trust her readers to make their own logical conclusions once in a while. Like - "the store was locked, that's because someone just died, so that makes sense" - are the sort of things I write out when I'm logic-feeling my way through a scene that I'm writing? But then I rip out during editing, :p
That said, I <3 Dominic, I like the IDEA of a family of Slayers cryptozoologists who have broken away from the Watchers' Council the Covenant to stop killing all demons & instead figure out which ones deserve it, and study/protect the rest.
I suspect I'll like other POV characters more, so I'm eager to read both the other novels and the short stories set in the same universe that deal with her grandparents & great-grandparents.

Hawkeye #22 by Matt Fraction & David Aja - Sad to see this one end, even if it was a good ending. I kind of want to reread the whole thing. Mostly, I wish it weren't over.
laceblade: spoof on Berenstein Bears book cover, title: "Learn About Cylons." Brother Bear is aghast. (Truth about Cylons)
Arata the Legend by Yuu Watase - I've read about 15 volumes of this so far, and plan to keep going. This is the manga Watase was meant to write, imo. Or maybe her past experience has led her to the point of being able to produce a very well-paced manga. ALSO HER WOMEN HAVE HIPS. ALWAYS. IN MANGA. IT'S AMAZING. This series runs in Shounen Manga, but I believe that it is a Secret Shoujo Manga. Two young men named Arata exist in different universes. One is a high school boy in Japan who's been bullied and has no friends. The other is a warrior accused of attempting to assassinate the princess he was supposed to become [there's a shortage of girls in his clan]. Due to some sort of temporal rift, they switch places!
In order to help the nearly-assassinated princess restore her power, the Arata-from-our-world becomes a Shō, one who can use a sword-weapon that houses the spirit of a goddess. In order to get the power/weapon [I forget which, probably both] he needs, Arata needs the Twelve Shinshou of this world to submit to him. Clearly everyone thinks that submission is won through battle - EXCEPT THAT ACTUALLY IT'S BY LEARNING PEOPLE'S TRAGIC BACKSTORIES, UNDERSTANDING THEIR FEELINGS, AND HAVING THE PERSON SUBMIT THEIR WILL UNDER ARATA'S BECAUSE THEY DECIDE TO GIVE UP THEIR VENGEANCE/ETC.!!! This is why it is A Secret Shoujo Manga.

This has a lot of really good Oh, shit! plot twists. The plot has dragged for the past few volumes, and I thought the cover for one of the volumes was supposed to be a joke. In it, it's revealed that the spirit of everyone's weapon is an absurdly large-breasted woman. I'm going to go ahead and assume that this was not Watase's idea, but rather her editor's. She blogged about the abuse and harassment she received from her editor while working on this series I'm glad she got rid of him, and I hope she's back in control!

xxxHolic by CLAMP - the volumes I've read so far are rereads, but I never finished this entire series. The art is amazing. It's very peaceful. This remains one of my favorite series.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta. I borrowed this from the library because it was on the most recent Tiptree Award list. I started out pretty dubious about the premise - post-apocalyptic Scandinavian world in which a teenage girl's father performs the Japanese tea ceremony for a living despite the fact that water is hoarded and rationed in their community. The plot is vague, but the plot isn't the point.

Chime by Franny Billingsley - another one of those anachronistically written YA novels, but in this one the protagonist is dealing with a negative thought cycle that will familiar to people with depression.
laceblade: Risa of Lovely Complex, contorting thumbs & index fingers into a heart, winking (Love*Com: Risa Heart)
I've been trying to read LeGuin's Hainish cycle, somewhat in order. I really liked Semley's Necklace, which was a lot like Rip Van Winkle. Why doesn't more SF deal with the effects of FTL travel?
I enjoyed Planet of Exile and Rocannon's World mostly for the prose, but liked Semley's Necklace better.
I've also read "April in Paris," which is unrelated to Hainish stuff but in the same collection of short stories as Hainish stuff.

Phantom Thief Jeanne, vols. 1-3 - I really enjoyed these. I love Maron's hair, which is always perfectly drawn. Viz's release is very pretty.
I think this is the first time I've seen virginity explicitly/textually linked with mahou shoujo power. The threat of rape is used repeatedly in the third volume, which I really didn't care for.
The primary love interest also makes comments that he might not be able to "help [himself]," and wants Jeanne to stop being a Phantom Thief, :[ Very controlling, sometimes disturbing images of him holding her wrists against the wall while towering over her to argue. Ugh.
What does attract me is Maron's loneliness, her desire for strength/fortitude but eventual acceptance that she can and should rely on her friends while she's not yet strong enough to do everything on her own.
Also loved Maron's facade of cheerful strength, which covers up her loneliness. I hope to read more of this rerelease.

After volumes 19 and 20, I've finally abandoned One Piece. I seem to never be able to make it past ~20 volumes with shounen, or at least that's been true of this, Naruto, and Bleach. Fullmetal Alchemist is a well-loved exception.

Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary is hard to describe, but I absolutely loved it, definitely going on my list of favorites. I think it might be my favorite by Dean.

Vampire Knight, volumes 1-5 - I've read the first few volumes before, but now that the final tome has been released, I thought I'd reread & go straight on through to the end. I'd forgotten how heinous this is.
Everyone's hair always looks wet. Sucking of blood is used an excuse for everyone to bit/like one another while having mid-orgasmic facial expressions. The omake pages are literally titled, "Vampires covered in blood are forbidden from entering this page!" AMAZE. Self-aware manga-ka are the best.

One Salt Sea - Fifth Toby Daye, which I enjoyed a lot, possibly even more than #3, which had been my favorite.

Please Save My Earth, vol. 1 - This was a reread from a lonnnnng time ago. Sadly, my library system doesn't carry the rest of the series, and I'd have to outer-library loan every single volume after this. Not sure if I'm interested enough to keep doing that, but I'd also really like to see where the story goes, after only knowing the beginning for about a decade.

Fangirl - I pretty much devoured this. Over-identified in a few places, as I had a hard time making friends in college, spent a lot of time in my dorm room, etc. There's a lot of mental illness running through the pages of this book, so cw for that.

Arrows of the Queen - Someone at is reading a reread of these Mercedes Lackey books. Having never read any Lackey ever, I thought I'd join in to learn about "sparkle ponies" that have often been discussed at WisCon.
I think I referred to reading this book as like eating cotton candy. SPARKLE PONY SCHOOL?! WHERE YOU GO AFTER BEING CHOSEN BY A PONY TO HELP RULE THE KINGDOM?! Amazing.

Malice - another fantastic book by Higashino, although this one was NOT about Detective Galileo, as the last two published in the US were. I love the writing. I'm completely unable to guess how things fit together, and I just really love Higashino as an author and wish that more of his books were translated into English.

How to Save a Life - With this, I've now read all available Sara Zarr books, I think? I usually suck these books down in about a day, becoming completely enthralled, and this one was no different.

ATLA: The Rift, part 3 (final) - I really enjoyed this as an end to this third post-ATLA series trilogy. Is Gene Luan Yang doing more? I really hope so!

I know there have been a bunch of other comics I've read after borrowing them from people from comics club, but I'll have to do those after my vacation!
laceblade: fanart of Harry Potter in Gryffindor scarf, Hedwig landing on his outstretched arm (HP: Hedwig)
Rosemary and Rue - I got this from the library because I've been following Seanan McGuire on Twitter for a while & find her pretty cool. I'd bounced off of Feed a while ago, but thought I'd try this urban fantasy series. It reminds me of Kitty Norville in how in the first book, the protagonist is bucking away from the abusive paranormal situation she's been in for a while.
This one's a little different, though, because the protagonist spent 14 years as a koi, in a pond. Random, lol. I plan to read more!

March Story, vol. 1 - This was okay?! Paranormal stuff happening in what they call the 18th century but I'm pretty sure is the 19th, Europe. Very pretty art. Interesting thing with gender that I hadn't seen coming. It's a pity there only seems to be one volume out in English so far.

One Piece, vols. 13-15 - I found the first two volumes really boring. But now that Nami's sick & they're in a snow area trying to find the doctor, I'm finding it really interesting?! I like Vivi even though she's probably temporary. I like that Nami's illness shows how absolutely essential she is to the crew. I think in the first two volumes contained in this omnibus, I was having my typical shounen feelings - annoyed by neverending fights. UGH.

The Lives of Christopher Chant - I liked this WAY MORE than Charmed Life. Christopher is a much more interesting protagonist, and the I found the plot & world-building in this book to be much more fascinating, and I usually don't care about world-building so that's saying a lot.

The insights into everyone who becomes a character in Charmed Life are fascinating, and now I just want to reread certain parts of Charmed Life to see those characters later on. I really love Christopher, & plan to reread this book in the future.

I LOVED the Goddess/Millie. It's so important to me that she found a life she wanted to emulate through books, and let her fictional heroine guide her own actions in a time of crisis - staying loyal to her friends because that's what Millie would do - genius! So special.

Nineteen Seventy-Nine by [ profile] blamebrampton - The last year of Regulus Black's life, which I really, really liked. Even while getting in with the Death Eaters, Regulus checks in on Sirius to make sure he's okay. He accidentally bumps into Lily Potter, with whom he forges an unlikely friendship. This shows Regulus getting deeper & deeper into the Death Eater group, even while questioning some of their methods. His compromises & eventual inability to compromise are fascinating to watch. I appreciate the way that Lucius Malfoy tries to mentor him, too. I'm still looking forward to reading more HP fic by this author.
I think that reading Rowling's latest Cormoran Strike novel has made me really, really long for her to write some adult Harry Potter books, which is why I'm trying to fill the hole with politically intelligent fanfiction.
laceblade: fanart of Ohana turning to look beyond viewer. Coloring blue/moody. (Hanasaku Iroha: Ohana)
Buffy #3 - I read this! Written by Nicholas Brendan, which is sort of notable. It was amusing enough, although I'm probably not as excited as other fans are.

Plume 1-4 - I picked these up in the $0.25 bin at the comics shop. It's apparently based on a webcomic. It gave me a lot of feelings reminiscent of Min-Woo Hyung's Priest manhwa, but I think I like this heroine a bit more. The art style is really great. I asked my comics guy to order the fifth issue for me, which wraps up this introductory arc. I believe this printing was funded by a Kickstarter; to read the rest, I'll need to read it here.

One Piece, vols. 10-12 (omnibus) - A decent continuation of the plot from the previous volume. I liked Luffy's superpower actually being used (as opposed to a glaring continuity error). I also liked Usopp finding the will to fight after thinking about facing his courageous friends afterward if he hadn't.
I enjoyed the closure to Nami's arc - she's my favorite character. It's fun to see the gang finally hanging out in the Grand Line, even if it's not going as they expected. I hope that Tashigi sticks around. She seems like an interesting character.
For 12, I felt pretty meh of the denoument of this arc?! But the next volume starts a new one!!

Homecoming - This series used to be a childhood favorite of mine, & I was in need of a comfort read.
I still really love this, & it came at a good time for me. I like how the kids respond positively to being treated like adults, how much they trust one another, the way the entire book is about class privilege, and how awesome Dicey is.
I'm glad this comfort reread held up for me.

Dicey's Song - This is another reread; it's probably been at least fifteen years since I'd last read it. Dicey defying her teacher over something she wrote made me remember why I identified with her so strongly.
Even though I knew what would happen, the ending still made me cry.
I love this family and the community they create. The truths everyone teaches one another are comforting.
I'm really glad to have returned to this series, & hope to keep progressing.

A Dangerous Inheritance - This was a good follow-up to "Innocent Traitor," which I'd read back in April, & focused on Lady Jane Grey.
This book picks up where that one left off, focusing on the life of Jane Grey's sister, Katherine. I found Katherine Grey to be pretty stupid, but luckily this book has two heroines. Interlaced with Katherine Grey's life is the story of Katherine Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III. Both Katherines live mostly unhappy lives, manipulated by the people around them due to their bloodlines. They fall in love with people they shouldn't. And they both have an unhealthy obsession with what happened to Richard III's nephews, famously known as the princes in the Tower.
I like Weir's historical fiction in part because I know she's an historian and a lot of her plots are based on facts. Her afterward reveals what she made up, and from where she found her facts.
I loved the small glimpses we got of Elizabeth I in this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, which focuses on her: Captive Queen.

A True Novel, Book I - This is only the first "half," but the library only sends me one at a time, & at 450 pages I'm counting this as its own "book," even though I haven't read the second volume yet.

This is technically a retelling of Wuthering Heights. The characters are Japanese. It's a book about wealth, racism, westernization, the effects of World War II on Japanese society, and human nature.
I've consumed a lot of Japanese-created media, but this book is unlike anything I've ever read. Mastserful. I kept having to remind myself that it's fiction.

There's a family tree in the back - wish I'd known that all the way through.
I really hope they translate more of Mizumura's novels into English. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to book II.
laceblade: Sokka verbally comforting Toph on cliff-edge, sunset in background (ATLA: Sokka & Toph)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 & 4 - Wow, a crossover event that I didn't hate! This may be a first 0:)
People are fighting HYDRA - does this make Ultimates part of the same universe as CA:TWS?
Didn't care for the death at the end of the fourth volume, although I understand they're trying to mirror Peter Parker's story. I DO really like Mary Jane & Gwen Stacey. Maybe I need to see the Spider-Man movies with Emma Stone in them.
Anyway, I love Miles and I wish the wait at the library for volume 5 weren't so long.

The Broken Kingdoms - I feel less critical about this than other reviews I've read. While it's the second in a trilogy, there's a new protagonist with a completely different perspective on events, societal structure, and characters in the first book.

The Golem and the Jinni - I think this might be my favorite book of the year so far. Beautiful writing, lovely characters, interesting insights into Christian Syrian & Jewish immigrants living in New York City, in 1899.

One Piece, vols. 4-6 - What a ridiculous series! Even the omake pages are absurd and heinous. I love Nami.
Boring shounen fights are more tolerable in the omnibus format.

The Killing Moon - While many of the elements of this book sound like my catnip (ninja priests, political intrigue, people's closely-held truths turning out to be manipulative lies), but I just did not dig this book at all.
The last third improved due to action. Even the writing bugged me. Maybe I prefer Jemisin when she writes in the first person?
At any rate, there's enough here to make me willing to try the sequel, because I know it's from a different perspective.
laceblade: Sailor Venus in eternal transformation, holding fist in triumph (Sailor Venus fist)
• What are you currently reading?

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn - [personal profile] littlebutfierce has talked this series up, and I'm about 1/5 through the first one. It's a quick read, like many romance novels (although I'm not sure yet whether this will be romance?!). Kitty is a werewolf who accidentally starts a supernatural talk radio show. She gives a lot of life advice to vampires/werewolves/humans. I do find it really comforting to read the advice she gives to other people. It's like having a pocket therapist. Her relationship with her pack's alpha, specifically him forcing sex when in wolf form, makes me uncomfortable. But this seems to make Kitty uncomfortable too, so I'm willing to keep reading to see how things develop in terms of pack-dynamic.

• What did you recently finish reading?

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer - I really, really loved this. I've already checked out the sequel from the library. I think this will become a favorite for me, & I expect to return to it many times.

Trillium #1 - I picked up this series at the comic book store based on the cover. It's a split comic, with the first half being from the perspective of Nika, a scientist in the year 3797. She wears space suits and is trying to diplomatically harvest some specific flowers to save humanity from a disease that's already cut it down to 4,000 people. Flip the comic over, and the other half is about an ex-WWI soldier in 1921 who joins an expedition to Peru. After his party is attacked and killed, he climbs to the top of an Inca Temple, where he inexplicably meets Nika at the summit. I'm pretty excited to read more of this.

Dawn of the Arcana, volumes 1-3 = This is a new manga series I started. The protagonist, Nakaba, enters into a political marriage that nobody expects to last. The kingdoms of Balquat and Senan are constantly warring, and have political marriages to institute a false peace, which typically last about two years. There's also a race of oppressed people called the Ajin, who are part-animal and slowly starting a rebellion.
Nakaba has red hair, which brings shame to to her and the families she's been in her entire life.
The English translation is by Alexander O. Smith, whose work I enjoy (especially the Vagrant Story video game). There are very few words per page, which makes these volumes quick reads. The interpersonal developments (love triangle) can be a little dramatic, and I'm not wild about the art, but the politics and translation make this a pretty enjoyable read.

Cross Game manga - I read the final volume, which was poignant & great. Overall this was a nice series and I'm glad I tried something new.

Last issue of Buffy season 9: Was pretty good! I still liked Angel & Faith more, but Buffy season 9 was a pretty big improvement over season 8. The editor's notes at the end said there won't be any details about season 10 until New York Comic-Con, so for now there's a wait -_-

• Abandoned
Soul Eater manga. I was trying to get through volume 10 & just DID. NOT. CARE. about what anyone was talking about. It's this thing that plagues me in a lot of shounen manga - people standing around talking forever about the intricacies of how the ENEMY'S POWER works, & blah-blah. I started reading this b/c I liked the art & feel super drawn to Maka. There's not enough Maka to hold me in, unfortunately. I'm dropping this for good! Maybe I'd try the anime again some day. The action sequences are way more interesting that way.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
Who the eff knows, lol. I guess I got more Dawn of the Arcana from the library! I've also organized my Turtles comics. I'm over a year behind on those & really need to catch up & decide whether to keep buying, so (like I've been saying for months), I'd like to catch up on those & just decide. TURTLES IN A HALF SHELL...TURTLE POWER!
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
• What are you currently reading?
Cross Game, volume 7. Almost done?!

A Woman Wrapped in Silence - I've mentioned this before, basically the all-in-verse fic about Mary. In the passages I read over the weekend, Jesus was born - yay!
I'm not sure how I'll feel about this long-term. As implied by the title, it's basically about the silence/mystery surrounding Mary during moments of high emotion/drama. It's not really compelling to me for a woman's silence to be the most important thing about her, ;p

• What did you recently finish reading?
Basara, volumes 25-27 - Wow, the end! Yumi Tamura really knows how to pull all her threads together. As for the past/future after-stories, I really only cared for the ones about Sarasa & Shuri and the one about Hayato (OMG HAYATO). Someone should write a paper about how Sarasa views her own gender, kthx.
I just really loved this series. Definitely one of my favorites. I'll now spend my life hunting for these volumes in used bookstores!
Maybe now I'll read her current series, 7 Seed, like all the cool kid?? It's only available to me in scanlation format, though, & I vastly prefer reading manga in paper format. Before switching to another apocalyptic one, I'd like to finish some other things I have downloaded, like Gokinjo Monogatari.

Cross Game, volume 6 - Still gr9. I was wary about Akane at first, but I like her quite a bit.

The Last of Us #4 (final) - this was good, although as predicted, now I just want to play the video game for which this mini-series is a prequel. Unfortunately, it's for the PS3. Who knows, maybe I'll get a PS3 after the PS4 comes out & there's a price drop?? WE'LL SEE. I just love Faith's art. I'll read any story she's drawn/written. Post-apocalypse is so much the better. I'm glad I read this mini-series!

Mara #5 - That's how it ends?? Meh. I won't be keeping these issues, so look for my upcoming "take my stuff" post, because my current paper grocery bag marked "sell" is full ;)

Buffy, season 9 #23/24 (The Core, parts 3 & 4) - I love that Spike has Xander entered in his phone as "Wanker," :*) UMM THESE WERE INTENSE BUT I DON'T HAVE MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THEM?! The final issue comes out today. Overall, I've liked Season 9 more than Season 8.

Angel & Faith #24/25 (What You Want, Not What You Need, parts 4 & 5) (final) - umm, wow, I just really loved Angel & Faith a lot, this entire run. Go Christos Gage for being a great writer, & I really loved Rebekah Isaacs's art, too. The characterization has been spot-on, & the emotional arc was super compelling for me (I <3 angst-ridden stuff about finding your own way/meaning in life, so ymmv).
I'm sad it's over, & will definitely reread this. I loved it way more than Buffy season 8. I'm interested in the details regarding Buffy season 10 - when it's going to start, obviously, but what the partner titles will be, too.

X-Men #3 & #4 - I <3 the art in this series. I still don't know who the fuck anybody is, but I like it enough to keep going & I want to make an icon out of Jubilee working on a tablet from issue #3.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
I've been organizing/catching up on my comics (can you tell?!). I have a larger stack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which I'd really like to read & get through, & decide whether to continue to keep it on my pull list or not.
Since I don't know who the hell anyone is in X-Men, it seems like it'd behoove me to read some more X-Men stuff -_-
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
• What are you currently reading?
Ash: The Secret History by Mary Gentle - I got this from work's library! It's the all-in-one tome, so a little too big for me to lug back & forth from work :/ I'm almost halfway through, which I think means I've read most of Carthage Ascendant. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH?!?!

• What did you recently finish reading?
the numbness or the pain (so intense to feel) by [ profile] only_because3 - Glee fic set after Finn's upcoming death (which will happen in episode 3, as Cory Monteith died), trying to explain why Quinn wouldn't attend the funeral. (It was revealed that Dianna Agron who plays her won't be in the episode/wasn't asked to be in the episode.) This is the only fic I've read so far incorporating Finn's death, & it's because it was written by an author I trust. Short, pretty good. I miss reading Glee fic, & I should read more.

Gwen Ifill book on race in politics - I ended up liking this quite a bit, although I don't have anything more to say about it than I said last week.

Basara, volumes 22-24 - I'm circling toward the end and it's pretty good?! I think I'll probably be adding this to my list of all-time favorite manga. I just hope that I can find copies of the series eventually, & buy them for myself. I assume they're all out of print -_-
The plot/etc. is dropping off a little bit for me - the intense one-on-one battles that are all happening simultaneously can be a little ugh. BUT the artwork has really stepped up its game these past few volumes. So it's a wash.

Cross Game, volumes 4 & 5 (as released in the US) - This series is picking up a little bit for me. The baseball annoys me less, mostly because those scenes go really fast! And the relationships between the various characters are becoming more interesting, especially Aoba & Kitamura. Still, I feel like this series would be much more interesting to me if Aoba were the protagonist instead of Kitamura. The occasional pantyshots continue to telegraph to me, "This story is not meant for you!"
I love the background art in this series, & also the wordless panels and pages. Scenes change by showing the readers what life in this part of the city is like, by reminding characters of Wakaba, etc. I do really like the way the manga-ka tells the story. You can definitely tell he's been doing it for a long time.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
Not sure! I'm a little stressed out at the moment, so I could see myself turning to something for comfort. But probably mostly things I've still got checked out from the library. I'll also be rereading Saga for [community profile] beer_marmalade.
laceblade: Cardcaptor Sakura, smiling at viewer, surrounded by pink. Text: RESOLUTION (CCS: Resolution)
• What are you currently reading?
W.I.T.C.H., volume 1 - I own the first four volumes, so I'm reading them & later volumes from the library to decide whether I'd like to keep it.
Halfway through volume one & I'm feeling pretty meh - the writing is pretty weak but the art is fantastic. I'll wait 'til I've read all of the volumes before making a decision.
So far it's pretty standard: 5 girls discover they have magical powers! It's a very mahou shoujo storyline, but I think this was created by Disney.

• What did you recently finish reading?
Shugo Chara!, volumes 10-12 - These were the last three volumes in the main series.
I really feel like the storyline ended with volume 10, and volumes 11 & 12 were pretty useless additions.
I'm now kind of dreading picking up the sequel (Shugo Chara!-chan) which I've already got checked out from the library.
I think I said everything I had to say about this series last week: I like the premise more than the execution. If I still have the first two volumes in my stacks, I think I'll be adding them to my sell pile.

Cross Game, volume 3 (collecting volumes 7 & 8 as published in Japan - I read the first two volumes last year & haven't picked it up for a while. This is still a more-moving-than-usual sports manga about baseball.
Still, often when Aoba picks up a baseball & throws a hard pitch, there will be at least one panel that's solely a crotch-shot of her panties when she lifts her leg in the air to throw the ball. Also a swimsuit scene that had some girls near a pool and had some panels that were literally nothing but shots of the bottom halves of their swimsuits. It's a sign in neon lights to me: THIS STORY IS NOT INTENDED FOR YOU.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
More manga, & also selections about Mary Magdalene & women in the Catholic church from a handout I picked up Monday evening at a mass I attended - officiated by a woman Catholic priest (!!!).
laceblade: Shot of Tifa from FF7: Advent Children, looking at viewer, half of face cut off. Text: no white flag above my door (FF7: Tifa no white flag)
• What are you currently reading?
Batwoman #15

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez - I'm still feeling really moody about books & reading. Grabbed this out of my bedroom because it's short. I haven't yet read a Márquez novel, just some short stories. I can't even remember whether the stories I read were in Spanish or English translations.

• What did you recently finish reading?
Young Avengers #4 - so I wanted to stop reading this, but a new issue came out before I could tell my comics guy, so I bought it & read it. AND THEN IT ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER?! LOKI WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! So I guess I'll at least be buying the next one.
Kate feels like a totally different character in this series than she does in Hawkeye. While she originated in Young Avengers, I think I like her more in Hawkeye ^^;

Hawkeye #10 - this might be my least favorite so far? Stylistically interesting, the narrative did not budge forward at all.

this is not (a love song) by [ profile] thememoriesfire - one-shot I hadn't read yet. Faberry with Quinn as a serial killer. Haunting, painful, yet still believable in its own way. Mind the tags.

Captain Marvel #12 - Still digging this. I think I'm going to be sad when they switch artists from Filipe Andrade. The current style is just...really grand. I should find some Captain Marvel icons. Before the next in the Captain Marvel line, there's going to be a crossover event called "The Enemy Within." I'm excited to see Carol interact with other Avengers (especially after seeing the Iron Man 3 movie). I'm hoping it'll be more interesting than her appearance in Avengers Assemble, which didn't do much for me (and I dropped after about two issues).

Mara #4 - There's a really epic story going on here, but unfortunately I don't really feel emotionally connected to the protagonist. At all.

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) Rurouni Kenshi: Restoration - This was okay. It's like a retelling of the original Kenshin manga?? idk why they're redoing it, but the art is pretty great. For those unfamiliar, Rurouni Kenshin is the story about an assassin from the Bakumatsu who was fucking epic during the rebellion at the end of Japan's Edo period, getting rid of the emperor & taking shit over. However, Kenshin felt remorseful for having killed so many people, & at the start of the manga uses a reversed sword so that he can't kill anyone. His guilt/journey is appealing to me, & maybe I should read more some day? When I read it the first time, the endless battles with people never changing/etc. bugged me. Which is what bugs me about most shounen. Still, the manga is sort of a huge anti-war message, & I should probably read it.
Anyway, there doesn't seem much point in reading a retelling when I haven't read the original!

FCBD Dragonball: Harmless, but pointless, which is how I feel about all of Dragonball.

Buffy season 9 #21: "The Core" part one. We're finally in the final arc of the season! And shit is intense. spoilers ) There are lots of moments that I like in this, down to Andrew's Akira poster hanging on the wall.

FCBD: Mouse Guard offering - I don't buy single issues of Mouse Guard, but I do like reading the graphic novel versions when they come in at the library. Anyway, this was fine but mostly forgettable.

Glee fic, The Loneliest Number by [ profile] lazarus_girl - Set between 4.16 and 4.18. Restless and struggling to adjust to life as a single girl in New York, Santana finds an unlikely ally in Rachel. (NSFW)

Batwoman #7-11 (To Drown the World) - I've been neglecting Batwoman comics for a year, so my goal was to catch up & decide whether to keep buying or drop it. I just find this all pretty dull? idk. I like Batwoman as a character, & really liked her intro-book. But I'm just bored by this. -_-

Batwoman #12-14 (World's Finest I: Blood Tides) - This is a crossover with the new Wonder Woman series. The layouts & etc. got way more interesting in this arc, what I'd expect from Batwoman.
Batwoman's dealing with Medusa in her city, so that's why she gets Wonder Woman to team up with her. Wonder Woman's inner narrations are almost lyrical, and the way the two of them interact with & respect one another is pretty nice to read.

Lullabye for the New World Order: just gonna get my feet wet (until i drown) (aka: part 2) was posted on Sunday, by [personal profile] synecdochic and this is just...OMG FIC OF MY ID. AU where Tifa meets up with Tseng prior to the start of the game, & he gets Tifa and Rufus to talk and just OMG.
In this part, they go off to Nibelheim & find the things one would expect them to find in Nibelheim and just OMG. The Nibelheim flasbacks/etc. are my favorite parts of the game, so just seeing another set of things happen there is so great, so meaningful to me.
And OMG THESE CHARACTERS. It's [personal profile] synecdochic and [personal profile] traxits who have gotten me to care about the Turks & Rufus & Reeve AND NOW I CARE SO MUCH?!
But Tifa especially, my favorite character of all time, and she is just SO FUCKING COMPETENT in this fic, I love it so much.
I'll be reading & rereading this forever, I'm sure. A fantastic addition. I'm so looking forward to where this story goes, and I don't care how long it takes to get there, because in the meantime I can pour over this forever.
As this all takes place before the game begins, I think people could read it without FF7 knowledge.
I'm also seriously happy to be involved in group plays of FF7 with people in town. I did that one summer in middle school & it was like, the best summer of my life. I LOVE THIS GAME SO MUCH I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH EVERYBODY OMFG.

• What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, WisCon is in a week and a half so mostly I'm thinking about a billion emails that don't actually require action on my part.
laceblade: Sakura of Naruto, kicking some ass in pink (Shounen)
My panel write-ups are very note-like and not structured, but I figure they're better than nothing.

This was not an officially scheduled panel. I suggested the panel, but it didn't make the programming cut. So I'm going to push for anime/manga programming a lot for next year!

Anyway, here is the panel description I originally suggested:
Female Power in Shonen Manga
Panel Description: Japanese manga targeted toward boys is called “shonen manga.” How is female power shown in shonen manga? Who has power, and who is powerless? How are women’s bodies represented? Do readers get to watch women be powerful, or is their action shunted off-screen in favor of boys' action scenes? Which shonen manga series get it right?

There were no panelists, but present were myself, [ profile] oyceter, [ profile] joannkatana, and 5 other people whose names/pseudonyms I don't know.

We sort of drifted around a lot from the actual panel description, but I think it's mostly because we're so excited to be talking about manga/anime at WisCon. Also, there wasn't a ton of overlap in the particular series people had read.

I was not writing a transcript by any means, so my notes are more a listing of series than of substance.

We began by identifying the shonen manga we had read. [ profile] oyceter and I are shojo manga people, but I've also read a fair amount of Fullmetal Alchemist, Claymore, Bleach, Naruto, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Lately I've been reading seinen stuff, like things by Naoki Urasawa or Osamu Tezuka.

We discussed whether scars are used to signify survival in shonen manga. Bodies get blown up and put back together. A significant number of limbs are lost, as opposed to shojo manga by CLAMP, where characters lose eyes. Jet in Cowboy Bebop has a massive scar on his eye, which caused [ profile] joannkatana to wonder how he got such a scar without actually losing his eye. In addition to showing survival of horrific events, it seems like scars are used to say, "Look how bad-ass I am."

I brought up breast size as a physical marker for female power in shonen manga. For example, in Bleach, Rukia is pretty flat-chested, but she begins the series having literally lost her power to Ichigo. Contrasting this, the captain (whose name I forget....I just went to Wikipedia to try and find it. THERE ARE SO MANY CHARACTERS IN SHONEN MANGA WTF) has ridiculous cleavage, not only in size but also in low-cut clothing that nobody else seems to wear.
Tsunade, in Naruto, is also large-breasted. Is this always the case?
Evangelion was brought up as a counter-example. Rei seems pretty normally-proportioned, but she's still sexualized in the scene with Shinji falling on top of her and ending up with his hand on top of her breast, for example.
Additionally, Misato sends Shinji a photo in the beginning of the series so that he will know what she looks like, and she literally draws an arrow pointing to her cleavage.
I think Evangelion is doing a lot in its exploration of sexuality, but it still stands that bust-size is treated weirdly in anime/manga.

We also talked about Yukari-sensei in Azumanga Daioh weirdly introducing herself to her class by giving her measurements.
Lena of Slayers has a small bust, but she spends a lot of the series complaining about it.

We did cheer Fullmetal Alchemist for having normal-sized women and generally well-developed characters as women, for a shonen manga especially. GUESS WHAT Fullmetal Alchemist is written/drawn by a woman.

We discussed how protagonists in the series have to struggle with having too much power. In Evangelion, Shinji/etc. have to synchronize with Evas that can go berserk. In Bleach, Ichigo has to manage his bankai.

I also have a note written about monstruous power in both the series Bleach and Naruto, a beastly/demon energy. Naruto, the titular character, has a fox demon trapped inside of him. Ichigo, protagonist of Bleach, gets some demonic power as well. These heroes have to be strong enough to defeat their increasingly powerful enemies, but also have to control the power inside them.

In opposition to this, the villains in shonen manga are often examples of what could happen to the protagonist if he becomes no longer able to control his power.

Missing mothers/family members seem common (Evangelion, Bleach, Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, etc.).

[ profile] joannkatana knew about sports manga, and the rest of didn't really. She said that in sports manga, the protagonist is often brand new to the sport, but for some reason has an amazing talent that allows him to be really good. In Eyeshield 21 (a football sports manga), the protagonist begins by running errands. Because he's so good at running, he ends up being a natural at playing running back.

Sports manga focuses on working hard and training every day, but also on characters pulling what seem to be magical moves out of nowhere. Storylines revolve around tournaments.

I remarked that this sounds a lot like the shojo series Crimson Hero, a story about a girls' volleyball team, which has all of those tropes.

[ profile] oyceter said that while Yakitate!! Japan is a manga about making bread, it has a lot of sports manga tropes. The main character is a natural at making delicious bread because his hands are a few degrees warmer than other people's, for some reason; thus, his bread is made differently and tastes better.

One person brought up the movie "The Great Yokai War." I think that the person meant the 1968 film mentioned in this Wikipedia article? Or maybe it was the 2005 version. Anyway, it's a live-action movie that has a weird subversion of tropes, and is basically impossible to disguise. There is evidence of a stuffed hamster, which leads me to believe that the 1968 version was the one being described.

The manga "Battle Royale" was briefly mentioned. I've been meaning to read this after finishing The Hunger Games. Apparently, this manga focuses more on relationships than most shonen manga, with the fight scenes being more of an after-though. Unfortunately, there is a high amount of panty shots.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
[ profile] wisteria_ with a picspam titled Kara Thrace, in adjectives.

Via [ profile] coffeeandink, Joss Whedon's original Dollhouse pilot script! I haven't had time to read it yet, but word on the Internet is that it's a lot better (SURPRISE!).

[ profile] meganbmoore on Dollhouse, 1.2, and [ profile] entil2001 on the same.

[ profile] ladyjax "PSA: Images of Blackness".
This is for all my peeps who need a little ammunition when confronted by anyone who thinks that watermelons and Black folks go together like, I don't know - rice and butter or who immediately tries to roll with, "But it was just a joke? Don't you have a sense of humor?"

[ profile] smuu on Naoki Urasawa's Pluto and 20th Century Boys. I loved Monster! I'm afraid to start reading this other stuff and having to wait so long between new volumes!

I'm keeping my eye on [ profile] reread_no_jutsu because it's been a while since I read what I read of the Naruto manga. [ profile] meganbmoore has already voiced most of how I feel about the series in this post, here. IT IS SO GOOD THAT I AM REPOSTING MOST OF IT HERE!
All shounen has some serious problems going on regarding gender. Even Claymore and Fullmetal Alchemist, the two series that seem to have largely ruined me for any shounen that I wasn't already attached to, have problems. But I am, in general, more lenient with shounen than I am shoujo. The target audience for most shounen is 13-15 year old boys. Their main interest in plopping down their allowance every week for Shounen Jump is reading about a couple guys going "And now...I will show you my TRUE power/SECRET move/etc!!" "Writing for the target audience" doesn't absolve a series of any problems it has, but it is an important consideration, and it's why I can get past things that would normally (and sometimes still do) irritate me in Samurai Deeper Kyo, Kekkaishi, Black Cat, Bleach (sometimes) and various other shounen I read/have read but aren't jumping to the front of my head at the moment. And though the line between them can be difficult to see, there is a difference between focusing on your main character and sidelining a character, and when you pick up a shounen action series, you're most likely getting a series where most of the attention will be on variations of certain, primarily male, character sets. It's pretty much an inherent part of the genre, and one that, if it doesn't work for you, largely guarantees that the series will just irritate you.

Naruto, though, always bugged me more than other series when it came to female characters, and I think it's because of this: Is there something in the DNA of every ninja tribe in that world that results EXACTLY one girl for every two boys born every year, stretching back at least 50-60 years? Is there some sort of law in every tribe that says each and every team (though there might have been teams introduced later, or that weren't around long enough for me to remember them that upset the formula) must have exactly 2 boys and 1 girl? Why are there no teams with 2 girls and 1 boy? All boy teams? All girl teams?

In theory, the numbers themselves should put Naruto a step ahead of other shounen simply because having 1/3 of your cast be female in the typical "cast of thousands" makes you female character outnumber those in other series about 5:1, proportionately. And yet, it's so exact, so deliberate, that "one girl for every two boys" can't be anything but a conscious decision. And when it's so conscious, it makes the treatment of gender stand out all the more. And then there's the fact that, in this world, almost every character the same age has near identical levels of training and experience. There's no variety. In personality and individual specialty, yes. But as presented, every character of the same age (with the exception of characters like Sasuke and Gaara) should be on equal footing, with some allowances made for personal strengths and weaknesses. In another shounen, you'll have a character with little or no training or powers, one who is new but who has enormous training, and two who are experienced fighters. That the only girl of the four is the one with no powers or training is a problem, and not one that should be dismissed, but it is a textual reason for the girl to not be in the middle of the fight with that arc Big Boss. With Naruto, however, that isn't there. The girl in question has as much training and experience as the three boys. Yet she's still the one sitting it out or fighting a lesser opponent while the boys are fighting the arc's Big Boss. So while I get grumpy that Yuya/Okuni/Mahiro/Orihime/Tatsuki/Tokine/etc. isn't on a par with the boys in terms of getting to fight and win fights, and can at least follow along with the why of it as presented by the manga. But with Sakura/Hinata/Ino/etc., I'm left with the feeling that Kishimoto is standing there going "look, I gave you exactly one girl for every two you really expect me to actually give them something to do in addition to existing?" (Plus, other shounen tends to at least let them have goals and motivations and backgrounds and lives separate from the guys, and the only female character I can think of in Naruto that that applies to is Tsunade.)

An example post....Introducing Team 7!

Black Jack

Jan. 9th, 2009 12:32 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Black Jack is a manga series by "God of Manga" Osamu Tezuka. Black Jack is the titular character, an enigmatic and aloof doctor who practices without a license. Thus, he doesn't practice in a hospital, but instead rents himself out for exorbitant prices to perform highly complex and often improbable procedures. Basically, he is a bad-ass doctor. But don't let his gruff exterior fool you! He has a heart of gold, and often does what he can to help poor/nice people, over rich bastards.

Black Jack is the most accessible Tezuka manga that I've read thus far. Tezuka uses a short story format for the series, usually aiming for 20-page stories.

I don't really consider this a spoiler, because it occurs in the volume. Mostly, I don't want to cut it because it is SO HEINOUS that even people uninterested in manga maybe interested in the WTF factor.

So, Black Jack falls in love with a woman, woman gets uterine cancer. Black Jack will operate on her.

BLACK JACK: I'll be removing your uterus, and your ovaries - in other words, your female organs, entirely. As you know, the uterus and ovaries secrete crucial hormones that define a woman's sex. To have them removed is to quit being a woman. You won't be able to bear children, of course, and you'll become unfeminine.

I KNOW, WHAT? Later:

BLACK JACK: I'll say this while you're still a woman. Megumi, I love you. With all my heart!
MEGUMI: I thought you'd never say it....I'm so glad!
BLACK JACK: I just couldn't....
MEGUMI: Kiss me, doctor!

If a man told me I was no longer a woman because I had a hysterectomy, the last thing I would do is kiss him.

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I think most people with even a slight pulse on the comics/anime industry have heard of the series Fullmetal Alchemist. If you haven't, check it out! A steampunk setting in which two brothers who have committed the ultimate sin set out to get their original bodies back.

I have now read through volume 16, and hope to catch up to the current issue in the near future.

But the reason I wanted to blog about the series is this! If you watched and loved the anime series, I highly recommend checking out the manga. While the series begin almost identically, the anime series diverged from the manga and made up its own ending, as the manga was still on-going. It wasn't a bad ending, as you might be able to tell, I quite liked the anime.

BUT. THE MANGA IS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS! If you liked the anime and want to see Mustang & Co. in the Civil War with Ishbal?! ALL OF VOLUME 15 IS A FLASHBACK TO THAT SHIZ!!

Additionally, Arakawa has some of the most hilarious omake pages at the end of each volume that I've ever seen. She'll take very dramatic and emotional parts that happened in that volume and make hilarious jokes. I think my favorite bonus story was Al as a baby, and Ed as a little kid, slapping him in the face right in front of their mom and then running away, like little kids do. Arakawa's previews for future volumes are also awe-inspiring and EPIC.

In my search for shounen series that I like, Fullmetal Alchemist is the hands-down winner (although I feel like [ profile] lavendersleeves told me that this was seinen? Wikipedia says shounen!). Perhaps this comes as no surprise, because it's one of few shounen manga written by a woman, and strong women are EVERYWHERE in this series. I love it! The women aren't needlessly annoying! They are physically strong! They are not submissive! Their breasts aren't exaggerated beyond recognition!

But mostly, what I love is that the series is tightly plotted, the characters are emotionally believable, and the story is endlessly intriguing.

I've also read The New York Four by Brian Wood, illustrated by Ryan Kelly. A few of my friends rave endlessly about Brian Wood (and before you freak out, yes, I already have a lot of his other stuff on hold at the library). New York Four is basically a Western one-shot version of shoujo manga. It's all about people living in a city, and their relationships to one another. So....I didn't really see anything special about it. Sure, I liked it, but if you read this and loved it, I highly recommend Ai Yazawa's NANA. Likewise, shoujo manga fans might appreciate this rare example of a Western comic written for teenage girls.

[ profile] were_duck decided to make a YA section at our local feminist bookstore after the untimely demise of DC Comics' Minx line (More information on that here), and I'm trying to read what kind of stuff Minx carried, so I'm more knowledgeable on the subject.

EDIT: There are spoilers for the Fullmetal Alchemist anime in the first thread of comments. You have been warned!

Gin Tama

Dec. 22nd, 2008 11:30 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 think I'm bouncing off of this series. I read four entire volumes, though! Maybe I'll hang on to 5-9 in case I change my mind.

I appreciate the hilarity, and especially find the manga-ka's notes on the omake pages quite funny. There is a lot of potty humor, which I tend to ignore, and the characters themselves are often quite funny. BUT, it's too much for me. I need drama mixed in with my funnies!

I wouldn't call this series stupid, or terrible. I just don't like it enough to look forward to reading a new volume.

I did like the way the Shinsengumi was involved, though.

If anyone has any final epic professions of love detailing why I should like this series, speak now!
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I can see why people wouldn't like the new opening sequence of Veronica Mars because it's a change, but I think I kind of love it.

Spoilers through episode 3.4 behind the cut. )

And as for Bleach! I saw a random DVD at the library, so I picked it up to see what the anime is like (I've been reading the manga). The anime is about what I expected....overly long. It would take forever to get through these fight scenes I don't really care about, because it's harder to skim a DVD than a book. Don't get me wrong: I like bad-ass fight animation as much as the next girl, but Byakuya's sakura of doom (is this where [ profile] oyceter gets her journal subtitle?) aside, the fights are pretty boring to watch.

I think my favorite characters (when they're not being annoying) are Rukia, Orihime, Tatsuki, and Uryu Ishida.

Still, episode 16 and they're already going to Soul Society? I can't imagine how many filler episodes there must be. Frickin' a. I liked the opening a lot, though.

I only have one more physical volume to read, and then I'll have to *ahem* the volumes because I can't get them from the library any more. Maybe I'll switch back to Naruto for a little while?
How come it's Ichigo who has to get stronger to protect everyone else? Why shouldn't Orihime get stronger?

[ profile] sasha_feather and I have been watching Fullmetal Alchemist, and watched three episodes last night, including the Barry the Chopper one. It shows me how good shounen (or is it seinen?) can be. I like watching a protagonist who is actually afraid that he's going to die, and I think FMA is bucketloads better than Naruto or Bleach. Win.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
For n00bs to the anime scene: "Shounen" (or shonen) manga is that which is marketed toward boys. The girls are often voluptuous and useless and kidnapped, and the protagonist boys have EPIC ANGST that must be overcome. This angst is always overcome by fighting, be it ninja-style or ghost-killing style. The protagonist's goal is usually to level up a lot and generally pwn n00bs.

Is the separation of shoujo and shounen manga sexist? This should be the topic of another post.

Anyway, so I'm only 3 volumes into Bleach, but I'm ready to list the reasons why it's better than Naruto (of which I read ~32 volumes):

-- The narrative pacing is actual...narrative pacing.
-- Girls do things other than whine about Sasuke
-- It's a personal preference, but I like the art style more
-- A single fight does not take 6 volumes to reach its conclusion
-- Characters do not spend entire fights explaining the flow of their chakra, or explaining in great detail how their SEKRIT ULTIMATE MOVE works. I like this. I don't care about the schemantics behind somebody's bad-ass fight move. I care about who gets hit, who hit them, how cool it looks, and who dies afterward.
-- It's actually funny, when it tries to be funny
-- The characterization that protagonist Ichigo gets in volume 3 makes me care about him a lot more than I ever cared about the protagonist of Naruto.

Of course, all these things could soon change.

Feel free to use the comments to weigh in on how you feel about Bleach v. Naruto.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I finally finished reading the Death Note manga yesterday. I started reading it a few years ago, and loved it. The premise brings up a number of possibilities and intriguing concepts: a brilliant high school boy finds a notebook left by a shinigami (death god) that allows him to kill any person whose name he writes in the notebook, so long as he can picture the person's face. After testing the notebook and succeeding in killing a known criminal, Light Yagami does not recoil in horror, but instead sets about killing those people he finds unworthy of life, while evading the suspicions of the government, the police, and his father, who happens to be a detective.

The series famously loses some momentum in volume 7, and it was shortly after that point that I fell off the wagon. I finished the 12th and final volume yesterday, and found closure in the series.

In general, though, I'd like to state a few thoughts on the differences between shounen and shoujo manga in general.

For the curious, "shounen" manga (ie, Death Note) is Japanese comics marketed toward boys. In general, the male protagonist fights against almost every person he meets, with the goal of growing stronger. Series focus on abilities and reasons for fighting. "Shoujo" manga, on the other hand, is marketed toward girls, and often focuses on relationships and drama.

I personaly have read a lot more shoujo manga than shounen manga. I've tried some shounen stuff, but overall find myself quite bored.

Spoilers for Death Note and a bit of Code Geass 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)
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)

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