torachan: arale from dr slump dressed in a penguin suit and smiling (arale penguin)
What are you currently reading?
Same as last week, The Invisible Library and The New Jim Crow, both of which I've made good progress on. I'm over halfway through The Invisible Library and about a quarter of the way through The New Jim Crow.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finally picked up my ipad and read some manga today! I think part of why I've been dragging my feet on manga is that I'm not hugely enjoying what I'm reading right now. I have several volumes of Saint Oniisan as I apparently hadn't read it in a few years, so I thought I'd read them all and get caught up, but I just don't love this series anymore. It's gone on too long and isn't nearly as funny as it was at first, but it's not like I completely hate it, so I don't just want to give it up either. There were a couple chapters in this one where I really did laugh out loud (the one with Jesus trying to get Buddha into Instagram was hilarious), but most of it was just kind of meh. On the one hand I want to read the next two volumes so I can be caught up and have one less folder on my ipad, but maybe I should take a break and read something else instead.

What do you think you'll read next?
Scrolling through what's on my ipad, apparently I have three volumes of Kimi in Todoke to catch up on, so I think I'll read those next and give Saint Oniisan a break!
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Mayor of Castro Street, though aside from one chapter early this week, no progress has been made. A lot of my reading this week has been on the couch after turning off the lights, so physical books just aren't gonna cut it.

Also reading First Class Murder, the third Wells & Wong mystery, which takes place on the Orient Express (something which is much commented upon, since Agatha Christie does exist in this universe). I'm exactly a quarter of the way through and enjoying it greatly. I would probably be finished by now if I had not been reading manga and comics as well, but I have been.

Lastly, I am on issue 16 of the Rick and Morty comics. They are okay, definitely better than any other cartoon tie-in comics I have tried to read, and for the most part feel like they could be actual episode plots (though if they were, they'd definitely be among the worst episodes). I think for now I'll continue with them, but we'll see.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Arsenic for Tea, which puts me at four books read this year. My goal is twenty, so I'm doing great!

I also read the first fifteen issues of Rick and Morty, which I think would put me at the first three graphic novels based on the number of pages per. (I do like to add the graphic novels to LibraryThing when I think of it, just to keep track.)

Before that, I read a few issues of Invader Zim that I still had on my ipad as I hadn't yet made up my mind on whether to keep up with it or not. However, after reading them, the decision was definitely "not". In twelve issues, exactly one story was really funny, and the rest were just meh. (Now that one story had me laughing so hard I was in tears, so it was a really great story, but still, that's just not a good ratio.)

I also read quite a few volumes of manga: 7 Seeds 32 and 33, Kinou Nani Tabeta? 11 and 12, and one that was new to me, Otouto no Otto (just the first volume so far).

I highly recommend Otouto no Otto to anyone who is interested in manga focused on gay characters that is not BL or yuri. Like Kinou Nani Tabeta? it runs in a regular seinen magazine, however, the author is Tagame Gengoro, a very famous gay author, mainly known for his pornier works. Otouto no Otto is the story of Yaichi, a single father who one day opens the door to discover a strange Canadian man on his doorstep. That man, Mike, is Yaichi's estranged twin brother Ryoji's husband. Ryoji has recently passed away and Mike has come to Japan to mourn and to visit the places they never got to visit together. The story is told through Yaichi's POV and over the course of the story he gradually becomes more comfortable with the idea of his brother being gay and with gay people in general. It's clearly written for a straight audience, but I really like it.

What do you think you'll read next?
I think I'll finish up what there is of Rick and Morty, then read the next two volumes of Otouto no Otto. Not sure after that, but I'm excited about clearing some stuff off my ipad! :D
torachan: anime-style me ver. 2.0 (anime me)
What are you currently reading?
Right now, nothing. I finished the manga I was reading and finished the book I was reading and have not started either a new manga or book.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Monster! It was so, so awesome! I wish it could have continued forever and I may have to watch the anime just to get another fix of it.

Spoilery talk )

I also finished reading a book! That makes four for this year so far and we're in the fourth month, so I'm doing good. I'll be happy if I can read at least a book a month this year. That would be a step up from the past few years for sure.

Anyway, I believe I mentioned it in a previous post, but said book was Richard Stevenson's Death Trick, the first of his Donald Strachey mysteries about a gay detective in the seventies. I enjoyed it a lot and will definitely be reading more of them.

What do you think you'll read next?
I just saw a rec for Frances Hardinge's Cuckoo's Song that sounded really awesome and I downloaded it, so I think I'll read that next, bookwise.

Not sure about manga. Part of me really wants to read Urasawa's Billy Bat, but I don't want to read a sprawling intrigue-filled series like that when it's still ongoing as I know I'll just forget everthing. :-/

I'll probably go for something completely different like Koiiji or Ore Monogatari or something. I have a lot of choices on my ipad.
torachan: aradia from homestuck (aradia)
What are you currently reading?
Currently reading the main run of Adventure Time comics, which Irene has been downloading for me with every new release for ages (she follows US comics much more than I do, so she actually notices when they come out), but I had just been putting in a folder and not actually reading. But now I've read the first five or six volumes I think. I knew I would like them, since I like Adventure Time and these also have the added bonus of being written by Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame).

I don't know why I suddenly decided to start reading them after all this time, but I'm glad I did!

I'm also technically still reading Prisoner of Azkaban, but I don't think I've actually read any of it this week.

What did you recently finish reading?
I read a two volume manga called Oboreru Hanabi by Minenami Ryou, author of Himegoto. Someone commented on my scanlation blog to ask if I'd be interested in translating it, and since I like the author's other work and it's a short series, I thought I'd read it and see if it was something I wanted to add to my list.

Well, I didn't hate it, but it's definitely not something I'd bother translating. The story starts with college freshman Eita coming to visit his girlfriend Koaki in the hospital. They have been dating for a while and he had a crush on her all through high school, but she has been ill for as long as he's known her, and that ethereal vibe is a good part of what drew him to her. She's too fragile for them to have sex, but he is satisfied with the relationship they have until he meets her older cousin Kasumi, who seems like a healthy version of Koaki. He ends up having a sexual relationship with Kasumi, and becoming kind of obsessed with her. Even though he's the POV character, he just comes off as a dick throughout, but I don't get the feeling that we're supposed to think he's a dick, which is annoying.

What do you think you'll read next?
More Adventure Time and HP, I guess!
torachan: yoshiki from himegoto (himegoto)
What are you currently reading?
Well, I have opened vol. 8 of Saint Young Men on my phone, but have not actually started reading it yet, so idk if that really counts or not. XD

What did you recently finish reading?
This week I didn't get nearly as much reading done as last week, but I did read three more volumes of Crimson Hero, bringing me up to volume ten, which is halfway through. I'm still enjoying it quite a bit.

I also read the newest volume of Himegoto and omg I can't wait to get this far in the translation (though sadly that will definitely be a while, gah!). Really excited to finally get some backstory on Mikako.

If you're following along in the scanlations and want some spoilers, here's what I blathered at [personal profile] chagrined the other day: Major spoilers!! )

From reading comments on sites where the scanlations are up on online readers, it seems like a lot of people don't like Mikako, but I always have. Seeing this backstory made me like her even more.

What do you think you'll read next?
I wish I could read more Himegoto! But alas, I don't have access to monthly magazine scans and the next volume won't be out until end of 2014.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to clear stuff off my phone before adding more new stuff, so instead of reading more Crimson Hero, I'm going to take a break since I only had up through ten on my phone. Looks like I'll be reading vols. eight and nine of Saint Young Men immediately next, and not sure about after that.
torachan: a drawing of harry potter looking sad (emo harry)
What are you currently reading?
I've taken a break from Yowamushi Pedal to read...the Draco Trilogy! XD I know, I know, I'm a little late. But I wasn't in Harry Potter fandom back in the day, so I never heard of it until much later, in wank-related contexts, and what I heard of it just didn't sound that appealing so I never bothered to check it out. But then recently I saw it brought up again and for some reason this time I was feeling curious and was able to find some pdfs floating around, so I decided to give it a go! Which is all to say, right now I'm reading Draco Sinister, the second book in the trilogy. I've only just started it, so I don't have any thoughts about it just yet.

What did you recently finish reading?
Well, obviously the big one is Draco Dormiens, part one of the Draco Trilogy by Cassie Claire.

Wow, this got long )

In addition to that, I also read the final volume of Kodomo no Jikan, which ended pretty much as I expected it to. This is a series I hesitate to rec to anyone, because it is so full of loli fanservice, but it's also really interesting and tells a serious story underneath it all.

What do you think you'll read next?
Draco Sinister is several times longer than Draco Dormiens, and that was already a long (for me) fic, so I expect that will be taking up my time for a while. (And the final book is even longer.)
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
Yowamushi Pedal by Watanabe Wataru. It's so good! I'm almost finished with volume two and I'm so excited that there are nearly thirty volumes total so far! I imagine I'll be reading this for a while. :D

It's about cycling and is absolutely adorable.

What did you recently finish reading?
I read up through vol. 4 of Centaur no Nayami and then found that I didn't have volume five. Apparently when I had downloaded these, the site I got them from didn't have 5 yet. I went back yesterday, though, and they had it. Yay! But I'd already gotten hooked on Yowamushi Pedal, so I'll be setting it aside for a while. XD Still very highly recommended, though, for anyone looking for cute slice-of-life stories about female friendship.

What do you think you'll read next?
More Yowamushi Pedal.
torachan: a cartoon bear eating a large sausage (magical talking bear prostitute)
The thing with having these reading posts be on Wednesdays is that I work until 8.30 (as opposed to 6.30 other days), so it's easy to lose track of time and then oops, better get to bed! I had no such excuse yesterday; it just slipped my mind entirely. ^_^;;

What are you currently reading?
Right now I'm on volume four (of five out so far) of Centaur no Nayami (Centaur's Worries) by Murayama Kei. Guys, it's so cute! I've seen scans of it on tumblr for some time and was never able to find raws for it, but then a few months ago I found a new good raw site and this time when a scan popped up on tumblr I thought to look there and sure enough they had all of it!

Anyway, as the title suggests, it's about a centaur. The main character is Kimihara Himeno, a 10th grade centaur girl, and her best friends, Nozomi and Kyouko (a dragon girl and horned girl, respectively). The world of Centaur no Nayami is populated entirely by human/animal hybrids such as centaurs, dragon people (they look like devils, with bat wings and tails and ears), winged people (who have angel wings and hair that grows in a halo), large-eared people (who have large animal ears as well as tails; the type of animal ears/tails varies), and horned people (who have various types of animal horns and ears). There are also Antarcticans, who are snake people, and amphibians, who are frog people, though neither are native to Japan. Oh, and merpeople. There are no "normal" humans. But otherwise everything is the same as present-day Japan.

It's a slice-of-life manga that mostly focuses on the three best friends. It runs in a seinen manga, so there's definitely a moe element, but it's firmly in the "look at these cute girls be themselves and hang out and do stuff" genre. There are a very few panty shots and close-ups of boobs, but that sort of fanservice is not the focus.

It's also got canon lesbians and surprisingly detailed world-building (there are essays scattered throughout the volumes that are supposed to be like history book excerpts and stuff, and there's also just a ton of random world-building details dropped in naturally through dialogue). I really did not expect this level of detail for a series like this, but was pleasantly surprised.

If you like slice-of-life about female characters, I definitely recommend it. There's scanlations out, and it's apparently been picked up for official release in the US as well under the title A Centaur's Life (though nothing's been published yet).

(I would say, the first chapter is a bit off-putting, or at least I found it so. A boy tells Hime he likes her and she gets upset, eventually revealing to her friends that she's afraid her vagina might be gross to non-centaur boys, which prompts the three girls to compare genitals (no actual genitals pictured). Having that as the first chapter made me think the manga was going to be a lot skeevier and obviously fanservicey than it ended up being.)

What did you recently finish reading?
Aside from the first few volumes of Centaur no Nayami, I read two chapters of Silver Spoon, and finally finished the last of Shingeki no Kyojin (I was putting it off because once I read that I'd have to wait for the new chapter next month!). I might have read some Jump stuff, too, idk. (A look at my Viz app tells me yes, though I can't remember anything that happened in any of the series I follow, and I guess I haven't read this week's issue. :p)

What do you think you'll read next?
More of Centaur no Nayami! After that, I don't know, but I did download another one that I've been hearing a lot about on tumblr, Yowamushi Pedal. It's a bike manga! It's also really long, and still ongoing. Do I need another ongoing series? I really don't, but oh well. Oh, I also bought the new Kindaichi, so I will actually probably read that first.

Apparently it's back to all manga all the time for me... ^_^;; (Not a bad thing, really, since there are sooooooooo many series I want to read!)
torachan: karkat from homestuck looking bored (karkat bored)
Title: Sasurai Emanon
Author: Tsuruta Kenji & Kajio Shinji
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: Emanon is a young woman with memories going back to the first life on earth. But she's not immortal, rather the memories are passed on from mother to daughter, at which point the mother forgets who she was and the daughter becomes Emanon.

Review: I read Omoide Emanon a while back and thought the premise was intriguing but was annoyed at how the story was not about her, but about this dude she met and how meeting her affected him. So I was unsure when I started this one, but it turned out to be much more what I had been hoping for. There are two separate stories in this volume, both of which are much more about Emanon herself. I especially enjoyed the one where we get a lot of her backstory for this present incarnation of her (and a deeper look at what happens when the memories are passed on).

I translated this for Kotonoha, so not only do scanlations exist, I can guarantee they're good quality!

Title: Hideout
Author: Kakizaki Masasumi
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 3/5

Summary: Seiichi Kirishima takes his wife on a tropical vacation, ostensibly to reconcile after the death of their child, but his real purpose is to kill her and start a new life. But when he chases her into a cave and encounters a murderous old man, he finds that he has become the hunted.

Review: The art is great, but the story was just eh. I would have liked it more if there hadn't been so much focus on trying to make the wife seem like the badguy. (He just wanted a family, but she was a coldhearted bitch who never even wanted kids and was glad when their son died! Bleh.) Also it feels like his change of mind in the end (trying not to be too spoilery) comes too quickly. I didn't dislike the ending, but it happened too quickly.

This was also scanlated by Kotonoha, though I wasn't the translator. (It's a good translation, though. I just read it to refresh my memory of the story.)

Title: NEET Onna to Shougaku 2 Nensei
Author: Shimizu Aki
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 3/5

Summary: This is a collection of six one-shots, all but two of which (the title story and its sequel) are unrelated.

Review: I can't remember how I heard about this, but I had assumed the volume was one story and was kind of disappointed when it wasn't. The title story and its sequel are definitely the best stories here, though the others aren't bad. The title story is about an unlikely friendship between a college girl who's all but dropped out and barely leaves her apartment and a second-grader whose parents are getting divorced. The sequel revisits them five years later. If I'd read this before Kaleidoscope nominations, I might have nominated it (though seeing as it's not out in English, even in scanlation, makes it kind of unlikely anyone would have written it for me!) because it's totally femslashy.
torachan: devil boy from sinfest with his arms thrust up victoriously (yatta)
Title: Another
Author: Kiyohara Hiro & Ayatsuji Yukito
Number of Volumes: 4
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: The death of a popular student named Misaki in 1972 became the start of a curse for Yomiyama Middle School's class 3-3, leading to multiple deaths of students and their family members every year. Twenty-six years later, Sakakibara Kouichi goes to live with his grandparents in Yomiyama and finds himself in class 3-3, along with a mysterious girl named Misaki whom no one else seems to see. When classmates start dying, Kouichi must figure out what's going on, and if possible, how to stop it.

Review: This series is based on a novel and has also been turned into an anime and a live-action movie. I enjoyed the story enough that I'm curious to see all the other versions as well (especially the novel, since it seems to be a little different in some aspects).

This was a good blend of supernatural horror and plain old mystery solving, which I like. I am not really that big a fan of horror or supernatural stuff if there's no mystery involved. (Though I was a bit annoyed that in order for the ending to be as big a surprise as it is, a key piece of information has to be withheld from the readers in a kind of unnatural way (that is then lampshaded). Other red herrings were much more natural and kept me guessing in a good way.)

Anyway! Good stuff! In the afterword, the mangaka said he had originally planned for just two volumes, but decided to flesh it out and I think he made the right decision. Two volumes would have felt way too rushed.

Both the manga and novel have been licensed for the US, but are not out yet. The manga has been scanlated (must be a member of the comm to dl), but based on some mistakes in their summary, I'm not sure what the quality is...
torachan: (holmes/watson)
Title: Christie High Tension (Young Miss Holmes)
Author: Shintani Kaoru
Number of Volumes: 7
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon summary: Christie Holmes is a prodigy. At ten years old, she's as familiar with the sciences and classics as any older student at Cambridge or Oxford. And her facility with logic is reminiscent of her uncle, the eminent Sherlock Holmes himself. So, what's a brilliant young girl to do when her parents are away in India, leaving her behind in the care of maids and servants? Solve mysteries, of course. Along with her giant hound Nelson, Christie's implacable curiosity leads her from one dangerous adventure to another, often joining forces with Uncle Sherlock and Doctor Watson on their famed investigations. Christie may look pint-sized, but her clever mind is never to be underestimated!

Review: As I was reading this, I couldn't help thinking that it sounded like something many people on my flist would really, really love, and the good thing is, it's available in English! (Or at least the first volume (which is vols. 1 and 2 of the original) is, with vol. 2 (containing the Japanese vols. 3 & 4) coming out in November.)

Christie is Sherlock Holmes' niece (Hplmes is her mother's brother) and also secretly related to Queen Victoria on her father's side. She's a ten-year-old genius who is shown to be Holmes' equal in intellect, if not in experience. When Holmes is unavailable, Scotland Yard relies on her. You might be tempted to call her a Mary Sue. But the stories are really well-written and engaging and the characters are all awesome. In addition to Christie, we also have her maids, Nora and Anne Marie, one of whom is a master of the whip and the other is a master markswoman. Oh, and her governess Grace is also awesome. Holmes and Watson do appear in most stories, but only in supporting roles. The focus is all on Christie.

At first I was disappointed that this was retellings of the original Holmes stories rather than Christie solving mysteries of her own, but I ended up really liking the premise, especially as the stories get further than further from the originals as the series goes on (and The Giant Rat of Sumatra, the final story in the series, is actually an entirely original story based only on one line in another Holmes story where he mentions something about a giant rat of Sumatra). Although these are the original Holmes mysteries, it's not about Christie secretly solving them instead of Holmes or otherwise outsmarting him or something. There are a few where he is busy with some other case and she solves them instead, but mostly it's about them both taking part in the case, with Holmes ahead due to his experience, but Christie also deducing stuff and coming to the same conclusions. And sometimes they are working on different angles and what Christie comes up with ends up giving Holmes the final clue he needs or whatever.

Anyway! Apparently there's a sequel series running now where Christie is a young adult, but it only started last fall and hasn't been released in tankobon form yet. I'm looking forward to it, though, as I really enjoyed these!

Oh, and while the premise may make you think it's shoujo, it's actually a seinen series, but it's not loli fanservice central or anything. There were a couple moments where it felt fanservicey, but 99.9% of the time not. Also it runs in the same magazine as Dance in the Vampire Bund (which is, on the other hand, almost entirely fanservice) and there is a crossover in one case, but you don't have to be familiar with Bund to enjoy the story.
torachan: (Default)
Catching up on my reviews, here are some one-shots I've read recently. None of these have official US releases, but they have all been fully scanlated by Kotonoha (I translated Kokoro no Kanashimi myself, can't speak for the quality of the other two).

Title: Kokoro no Kanashimi
Author: Nishioka Kyoudai
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A collection of bizarre, dreamlike short stories.

Review: I really disliked Kami no Kodomo, the first manga I read by this brother/sister mangaka team, but I enjoyed these short stories a lot more. The art is unique and interesting and goes very well with the decidedly odd, often dreamlike tone of the stories.

Sadness of the Heart on Kotonoha

Title: Love My Life
Author: Yamaji Ebine
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: Ichiko nervously introduces her girlfriend to her father, only to find out that her dad is gay, too, as was her (now deceased) mom. The revelation unsettles her, making her wonder if she (or her girlfriend) would ever choose a traditional life over what they have, as well as whether or not her parents really loved each other.

Review: Ichiko's questions are answered fairly early on, and the manga turns into more of just a slice-of-life story about her and her girlfriend and their day-to-day problems (not all or even mostly relationship problems, though there is that; there's also Ichiko taking steps towards realising her dream of becoming a translator like her dad, and her girlfriend figuring out what she wants to do in life). I enjoyed it overall, especially as a nice change from typical yuri manga with its gay-for-you-ness and general isolation of the couple from any other queer characters (between Ichiko, her girlfriend, her best friend & his boyfriend(s), her dad and his boyfriend, her mom, her mom's former lover & her new partner, there are far, far more queer characters in this story than there are straight (the only straight characters I can think of are the girlfriend's father and a girl at Ichiko's university who has a crush on Ichiko's best friend)). This was also made into a movie, which is available in English (region 1). I saw the movie quite a while ago and enjoyed it, too.

Love My Life on Kotonoha

Title: Omoide Emanon
Author: Tsuruta Kenji & Kajio Shinji
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 3/5

Summary: Onboard a ship in 1967, a college student meets a mysterious girl, Emanon ("no name" backwards) who, after seeing him reading a novel in which memories can be passed from one person to another, confides to him that she is three billion years old mentally. Physically she's seventeen, but she has memories dating back to the beginning of life on Earth.

Review: This has lovely art and is intriguing, but I find it annoying that it's not actually about Emanon, but about this guy who meets her and how that affects him. Her story is much more interesting to me and I wish we'd actually gotten more of that. It's based on a novel (which turned into a series) and at first I wondered if the novel(s) might actually be about her, but the summary of one of the other ones on Amazon is the same sort of thing (boy meets Emanon and his life is changed by her). :-/

Memories of Emanon on Kotonoha
torachan: (Default)
Title: Subarashii Sekai
Author: Asano Inio
Number of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 3/5

Summary: A series of loosely connected shorts about life.

Review: Published in the US as What a Wonderful World, this is Asano's first series, and honestly, reading it after reading his more recent stuff is kind of a disappointment. It's good, and the art is nice, but I wasn't wowed by either. I am super in love with his art and storytelling in his other works, but this is just a pale shadow of that. It's especially jarring to read at the same time as I'm reading his current series, Umibe no Onna no Ko (which I'm translating for Kotonoha, by the way, and definitely recommend).

One problem I really had with this is that his characters all look the same. And like, sometimes they are the same people, because these shorts all take place in the same town and usually the main character of each story will be someone who appeared briefly in the story before, or something like that. >_<

Anyway, I would recommend this to anyone who likes his other works, but to anyone else, I would say go read Solanin or Nijigahara Holograph or Sekai no Owari to Yoakemae first (or the aforementioned Umibe no Onna no Ko), since those are all much better.
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Title: Tomie
Author: Itou Junji
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 2/5

Summary: After Tomie is murdered, she shows up at school as if nothing had happened. It turns out that any part of her body, no matter how small, can eventually grow to a new Tomie, and all these Tomies are kind of evil and cause all sorts of trouble all over Japan.

Review: I really loved Uzumaki, so I downloaded this gigantic best of Itou Junji collection, which had all of his early works, and I fully expected to read the whole collection, but after the disappointment that was Tomie, I ended up deleting everything. :p The original premise isn't that great, certainly not great enough for a whole bunch of stories about new Tomies growing from bits of her body and causing trouble. One or two short stories would have been okay, but it's the exact same thing over and over and over again and I just got so bored, it was a chore to finish reading. There is a sequel, too, but I'm not going to force myself to bother with it.

Title: Gyo
Author: Itou Junji
Number of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: When Tadashi and his girlfriend Kaori go to Okinawa on vacation, they are attacked by fish who seem to have grown legs. They manage to get home safely, but soon these legged fish begin attacking the rest of Japan as well. Meanwhile Kaori falls ill, and their only hope is Tadashi's strange uncle, who himself has become obsessed with the mystery of these fish, but does he really have Kaori's best interests in mind when he takes her in?

Review: This one, on the other hand, I loved almost as much as Uzumaki. It had a good mystery to the horror, which I think is necessary for me. There was no mystery to Tomie. I mean, it was mysterious how she could replicate herself, but it wasn't treated as a mystery, nor was it ever revealed why (and I didn't really care, either). But this has lots of mystery and reveals, and a good pace. I was kind of eh on the ending, which felt a bit abrupt, but overall I really enjoyed it. I may selectively check out more of his stuff, but definitely don't want to slog through the whole collection. Anyone have recs for specific titles?
torachan: (Default)
Title: 20th Century Boys
Author: Urasawa Naoki
Number of Volumes: 22 + 2
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: Kenji is thirty-something, single, trying to raise his sister's kid while keeping his family's shop (now a convenience store franchise) in business. Definitely not where he saw himself as a kid, but those childhood dreams seem far away now and aren't really something he dwells on much anymore. But when the only thing linking a string of mysterious deaths and disappearances is a symbol he vaguely remembers from childhood, suddenly he has to remember. The fate of the world just might depend on it.

Review: This is definitely going on my favorite manga EVAR list. While the first volume didn't really catch my interest that much (I mean, it was okay, but didn't wow me) and I was easily able to set the series aside for like six months when I got distracted by other stuff, once I finally did pick up volume two, I got so sucked in, I pretty much inhaled the rest of the twenty-four* volumes.

There's just so much going on in this series, a million plot twists and flashbacks and so much to keep track of, but not in a "wtf was the author thinking!?" way at all. I'm very impressed with Urasawa's ability to keep everything straight. I really wish I had time to go back and read it all again knowing everything I do now (I also wish I had managed to avoid spoiling myself for a few major things by reading wikipedia, but there was still plenty to be surprised by).

I really love the characters. I love how many times people turn out to be important when you thought they were just a random mention. The first one that comes to mind is Chouno. I thought it was just a poignant moment to have the old cop get killed right when he was on his way to visit his grandson. Was totally NOT expecting said grandson to be a major player in the later part of the manga.

I love how sprawling it is, going from the early '70s to the "present" of the late '90s and then the "present" of 2014+ (not to mention the VR events; I love how Kenji uses the VR to try and make ammends).

I love the fake-outs. I was totally ready to believe Otcho was Friend because of the way Kenji's memories focused on Otcho saying how it would be cooler to take over the world than save the world. And yet then Otcho turned out to be one of my favorite characters).

I love how complicated everyone was. Some people felt really irredeemable (no matter how much of Fukubei's memories we got, I never felt like there were much to like about him), but I ended up really liking Manjoume and Sadakiyo (omg wee!Sadakiyo was super adorable; I am a sucker for downturned eyes), and even found Katsumata sympathetic. And I loved how even though Mabou & Yanbou ended up joining the good guys, they were still assholes. And Koizumi! She was definitely my favorite of the girls. Oh, and Koizumi reminds me of Kami-sama. I loved when they found out it was him who built the bowlning alley that destroyed their hideout. *flails* Yet another "omg everything is so connected and yet it feels natural not forced" moment.

Ugh. I just have so much love for this series and want to talk about ALL the things. If you read it, please talk to me in comments!

I also am ready to read more by Urasawa! I saw some episodes of Yawara waaaaay back in the day, but that's the extent of my familiarity with him. I definitely am more interested in intriguey stuff (although I would like to read Yawara eventually as well), so I might try Monster next. (Really I just wish I could read more of this FOREVER. Or, you know, something else exactly like it. Definitely having one of those "finished an awesome story and am having a hard time moving on" moments.)

*I'm not sure why this was published as 22 volumes of 20th Century Boys and 2 volumes of 21st Century Boys. The last two volumes are not a sequel as I had first assumed, and you really couldn't just stop reading at volume 22, so...idk.
torachan: (Default)
1. I got my bike fixed! I'm sooooo happy to have it back. I've really gotten used to having it, so now walking is like, ugh, takes so much longer and I get so much sweatier. And I've been taking the bus to and from work most days, because I don't want to arrive drenched in sweat, and by the end of the day I don't feel like walking home, so that's an added expense that I'm glad not to have anymore now that I have my precious bike back. :)

2. I was going to transfer the money Irene just got in Paypal to the bank to pay some bills, but then I realised that a couple of the bills that need paying can be paid by credit card, so I could pay them directly with my Paypal account (I have a Paypal debit card). So those are paid and I saved time not having to transfer the money.

3. Yesterday at work I bought these delicious sweet potato chips that are on sale this week. They're shoestring sweet potatoes fried and glazed with sugar to make them very hard and crunchy (and sweet(er), of course). So tasty! I think I'll have to buy another bag.

4. We had a coupon for Subway and decided to get dinner there tonight. It was three foot-long subs for $13.99, so that's several meals right there (I'll be taking one half a sandwich tomorrow for lunch), and the three we got are normally $6-7 each, so it's quite a good deal.

5. I finally read vols. 3 and 4 of Yoshinaga Fumi's Kinou Nani Tabeta? today. I'd had them sitting on my hard drive for ages (and then on my ipod) and just now got around to them. It's a slice-of-life food manga, so each chapter has several pages that focus on a meal (usually dinner) that the main character cooks. Since it's a manga, there are illustrations, of course, and he thinks of each step as he cooks, so you can totally use the manga as a cookbook, and now I want to cook ALL the things. Sadly most of what he makes is a bit fancier than I'm likely to cook (a main dish with several side dishes), but omg it all sounds so delicious. *_*

This is just an awesome manga in general. The main character is a lawyer in his mid-forties who lives with his boyfriend. It's not a romance at all (they've already been living together when the manga starts), just a story about people who love food, and they happen to be gay. But while the manga is about food and not about being gay, the fact that these characters are gay is very much present in the story, and not just because there's two guys living together and having dinner together every night. In one chapter the main character goes to visit his parents and the neighbors come over to visit with their grandchildren, and seeing the way his parents dote on these neighbor kids, he realises that this is how they've come to terms with him never having children of his own. In another chapter, a friend of his boyfriend's asks him to help him ensure that if he dies, his money will go to his partner, not his parents. (And if the way I'm saying it makes it sound heavy-handed or preachy, that's not how it is in the manga at all. These are just little moments in a story that is mostly about food. It's just like, this is a slice-of-life manga, and these things are part of their life.)

In the time since I read the first two volumes, I had forgotten how much I like it. Not just for the food, which is awesome, but for how it's one of the few manga that is really about queer people.

Daily Happysong:

Hide - Hurry-go-Round
torachan: (Default)
Title: Dou ni ka Naru Hibi
Author: Shimura Takako
Number of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A collection of (mostly unconnected) short stories.

Review: If you like Aoi Hana or Hourou Musuko, you'll probably like these short stories. They are generally slice-of-life stuff, with that same slow pace, focusing on small moments, that is the hallmark of her longer works. Many are relationship-focused (though not necessarily romance), and feature m/f, m/m, and f/f couples. My favorite was the story about a woman who gets a wedding invitation from a girl she dated in high school, and meets another wedding guest, who dated the bride in college. Neither of them are completely over the bride when they meet each other, but their drunken, bitter one-night stand after the wedding ends up turning into something more. It's always nice to find yuri stories that aren't the typical high-school girl stuff, and I like this even more because it actually starts in a way to make you think it's exactly that sort of story.

Dou ni ka Naru Hibi has been completely scanlated by Kotonoha (though it's not one of the ones I translated, so idk about quality).

Title: Kawaii Akuma
Author: Shimura Takako
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: Another collection of short stories.

Review: One multi-part story dominates this book, followed by several one-shots. I honestly wasn't that thrilled with the title story. It was okay, but eh. I enjoyed some of the shorts more, though none were too memorable. I actually had to download the volume again (I read it a week or so ago) to refresh my memory as to what was in it. My favorite was the one where a girl is obsessed with a certain manga and when a new boy moves in next door, she tries to make it fit the manga (which also starts with a new boy moving in next door). Of course reality doesn't happen like a manga, but she does find out that the boy is also a huge fan of the same series.

I've scanlated one of the one-shots, Unworthy Son (Fushou no Musuko), but no one else seems to have scanlated the rest.

Title: Route 225
Author: Shimura Takako & Fujino Chiya
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A teenage girl and her brother take a wrong turn one night and find themselves in a parallel world where everything is just a little bit different. And their parents are missing. Using her brother's phone card, they're occasionally able to call home to their mom in their own world, but will they ever be able to find their way back?

Review: This is based on a novel, so Shimura Takako just drew the manga, didn't write the plot. That said, it does feel somewhat like something she'd write, sort of dreamy and slow (and while her longer works are all realistic, after reading a bunch of her short stories, it's clear she likes supernatural stuff, too). Anyway, I enjoyed this quite a bit, especially the ending (which from reading reviews of the comic and the novel on Amazon Japan wasn't a big hit with some readers).

This one has been fully scanlated, too, though again, I didn't take a look at it myself, so no idea whether or not it's actually readable.
torachan: (Default)
I just finally watched the last three episodes of the anime tonight. It was cute and I enjoyed it and I'm glad it seems to have introduced some more people to the awesomeness that is Hourou Musuko, but it's definitely not a patch on the manga.

Speaking of which...ejkwahewuhruwqgehjwghrjwebfhwhrgew!!!!!!!!!

I have not been checking my manga source as often as I used to lately, since I've been so much busier. So the last time I checked, I noticed that there was a new chapter. And also it looked like there were several new chapters that I hadn't yet downloaded. But I wasn't sure if I had actually downloaded them and just not left points for them (on this board you can leave points for people who upload stuff, and I always try to), or if I really had missed three chapters being posted, so I downloaded them all just to make sure, and as it turned out, I hadn't read any of them! Whee!

So that was a nice surprise, but omg the story has gotten so good lately! I was kind of getting bored with the seemingly endless drama storylines (literally drama, as in, putting on a play, not drama as in dramatic) of junior high, but now they have graduated! And spoilery )

The next chapter won't be out until next month, though. ;_;
torachan: (Default)
Title: Garden
Author: Furuya Usamaru
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 2.5/5

Title: Kami no Kodomo
Author: Nishioka Kyoudai
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 1.5/5

I'm reviewing these two together because I don't really have that much to say about them individually and what I do have to say applies to them both. While I like the art in both of them (Kami no Kodomo has a really unique and interesting style and I like Furuya's art in general), the stories were not that great. They both are full of rape and gore and trying to be oh-so-edgy, but that's really not that appealing.

Garden is a collection of short stories, and there's only one I really liked a lot, which was The Book of the Moon. The rest are just shocking for the sake of being shocking and overall kind of gross and misogynistic and rapey.

Kami no Kodomo is about a serial killer and really doesn't have much story to it at all. It's ~edgy~ because the killer is sort of compared to Jesus, with his thirteen disciples (one of whom betrays him) and chapter titles like Judas and Holy Communion (where he makes his disciples eat bits of someone he raped and killed). But like the stories in Garden, it's just trying to be edgy for edgy's sake, and was really not that interesting.

I also really disliked how the story used homosexuality (or homosexual sex, rather) as a sign of their perversion, and the one disciple who wants to leave, is leaving because he's found a girlfriend. Meh.

Anyway, they are interesting reading if you want to see some non-mainstream manga, but I really can't recommend them aside from that. I translated both for Kotonoha. Kami no Kodomo has been fully scanlated and all of Garden has been posted except for the final chapter.
torachan: (Default)
Title: K-On!
Author: Kakifly
Number of Volumes: 4
My Rating: 3.5/5

K-On! is a four-panel manga about four girls (later five) who are members of their school's pop music club. It's cute and very slashy, but for all that it's a four-panel manga, it's not actually that funny. A lot of the strips don't really end on a joke. So that was rather disappointing. I kept comparing it to Azumanga Daioh and there is really no comparison. But it's cute and fun and I wouldn't mind writing fic for just about any combination of the girls (including Yui/Ui, or at least one-sided Ui->Yui), but I was glad it was only four volumes, because it got old by the end. I had downloaded the anime to watch, too, but I ended up deleting it without watching because I didn't feel like I needed to experience K-On! a second time through. :p

Apparently it's only just come out in English, so only vol. 1 is available so far.


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