torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading vol. 3 of Amaama to Inazuma, which continues to be in the "cute but not in love with it" category for me.

Bookwise, I'm a couple chapters in to The Westing Game, which I read several times as a kid, but remember virtually nothing about. I saw [personal profile] thefourthvine tweet about it the other day and was like, oh hey, I remember liking that, and here we are.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished several things!

I finally finished For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood. Overall it was interesting, but I really got bogged down in the detailed explanations of how to implement his suggestions in the classroom. Obviously that would be a real plus to readers who actually are teachers (whether in the "hood" or not; honestly a lot of his suggestions are just good strategies overall in terms of getting students more engaged in learning rather than just straight up lecturing to them), but for me it was slow going. Also it really did feel like an academic text, rather than something aimed at laymen, and as such just wasn't as engaging to me.

I also read Fallout by Gwenda Bond, a YA novel about teen!Lois Lane getting her start in journalism. It was a lot of fun, but I kind of wish it had left out Clark Kent as her mysterious chat buddy and just focused on her and the friends she makes at her new Metropolis high school. It looks like there's a second book out in the series, and I'm definitely going to pick that up at some point.

Mangawise, I finished up Tetsugaku Letra, a short (6 volume) series about a boy who takes up flamenco dancing after a chance encounter with a girl who is about to throw her dance shoes away because she's too tall and awkward for dancing. The boy was about to throw away his basketball shoes because he's no good at basketball, and instead they trade shoes. At first he just sticks her shoes in the shoe cabinet at home, but a couple years later he happens to see her playing basketball, now the star of her team, and using his old shoes as a good luck charm. This prompts him to take her dance shoes out of the cabinet and finds they are just his size, and he decides to find someone to teach him flamenco dancing. It was pretty cute! (It looks like it's been fully scanlated at Batoto.)

What do you think you'll read next?
No idea! I'm not really near the point of picking something else yet.
torachan: aradia from homestuck (aradia)
What are you currently reading?
Still Yowamushi Pedal. I'm on volume ten, so at this pace I guess I'll probably be finished in a couple weeks. I'm really enjoying it! It's kind of gone a bit Prince of Tennis-y, with the guys all being such super cyclists that not only do they seem impossibly good for high schoolers, but impossibly good for pros. There are also some "hmm I don't think it really works that way" techniques. But it's still fun. (I just prefer my sports manga to be more realistic.)

Oh, and I posted about this on tumblr, but I am super excited about one of the supporting characters. One of the third-year students on the team is fat! This guys is the #2 best cyclist at this school (which has one of the best cycling teams around) and he's fat. How often do you see fat athletes in manga (or any work of fiction)? He's very muscular, of course, but also drawn in a way that clearly indicates it's not just muscle (double chin, soft stomach). I love it!

What did you recently finish reading?
Nothing but more volumes of Yowamushi Pedal.

What do you think you'll read next?
If you guessed more Yowamushi Pedal, you'd be right!

I really should take a break and catch up on Jump, though, as I've got three issues to read including this week's.

I also found a new site for Japanese manga and they actually had the final volume of Kodomo no Jikan, so I will read that. :D
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: nepeta from homestuck (nepeta)
What are you currently reading?
Well, I'm sure you'll all be surprised to hear I am reading Kindaichi yet again. :p I'm on volume 21 and this volume finishes off the current case, so I think I will attempt to take a break for a bit after this.

Anyway, the case in question is The Magical Express, which is the first case to introduce Takato, a Moriarty-like character who will become a recurring villain for the rest of the series (even appearing in several of the new cases, though not (yet) in the 20th anniversary series).

Since I remembered his name, I knew he was the killer, but I don't remember anything else about the case, so while I know who did it, I don't know how or anything else, so it's still fun to read.

What did you recently finish reading?
I read this week's Jump and wasn't that excited about anything.

I also managed to finish up my library book right before it was due to expire. And I ended up really enjoying it! I wish the rest of the books in the series were out now. We'll see if I remember it when they actually do get released.

As I mentioned last week, the book was The Twelve-Fingered Boy by John Hornor Jacobs. I keep trying to think of something to write for a review and nothing is coming. I rated it four stars on Good Reads and left the review section blank. :-/ (I think I'm burned out on reviewing stuff, idk. I just feel like I have nothing to say anymore...)

Anyway, it's a YA novel about teenage boys with superpowers. It's fun and decently-written and sucked me in pretty quickly.

Oh, and I also read another cute Dave/Karkat fic:

Troll Disease (2499 words) by t34lbloods
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Homestuck
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Dave Strider/Karkat Vantas, Dave Strider & Karkat Vantas
Characters: Dave Strider, Karkat Vantas, Kanaya Maryam
Additional Tags: Pale Romance | Moirallegiance

GA: That Does Sound Upsetting
GA: I Can See Why You Came To Me

Karkat and Dave stumble into moirallegiance.

What do you think you'll read next?
No idea. I'd really like to read another book and I have the second Newsflesh book open in ibooks, so maybe that? (I've read the first couple chapters already back in November or something, but just wasn't feeling it. I do want to read the rest of the series, though.)
torachan: john from homestuck looking shocked (john shocked)
Title: Enigma
Author: Sakaki Kenji
Number of Volumes: 7
My Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: Haiba Sumio is an average high school student with a secret power. When he falls asleep, he has premonitions which he sleep-writes in his "dream diary". When a mysterious person calling themselves Enigma kidnaps Sumio and a seemingly-random group of other students, it turns out they all have mysterious powers, powers which just might help them escape if they can learn to work together.

Review: This series basically has two halves, only one of which is really interesting. The first half, where they have to escape from the school, was awesome and I really enjoyed it. But the author should have just ended the series there, because the second half just didn't work as well, and the ending was really half-assed (partly because it got cancelled, but also because I think the author just had no clue what they were doing anymore). So on the one hand, the first half is really fun and totally sucked me in, but I can't wholeheartedly recommend the series because it went downhill so much from there. :-/ (Also I really hate when older characters are drawn in a way that makes them look the same age as the kids. Everyone's dad here could be a fellow high school student and it's ridiculous.)

Since this was a Weekly Jump series, it's fully scanlated. (In fact, I had to read the final chapter in English because it was published in a different magazine and no one bothered to up the raws anywhere.)
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Title: Bakuman
Author: Ooba Tsugumi & Obata Takeshi
Number of Volumes: 20
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: When Mashiro and Takagi are in 9th grade, they make a pact with Azuki, the girl Mashiro has a crush on. She will become a famous seiyuu and they will become famous mangakas, and when their manga gets made into an anime, she will play the heroine. And when that day comes, when their dreams come true, Mashiro and Azuki will get married. The manga spans the next eight years and follows their manga career through its ups and downs.

Review: I love Obata's art with a passion. He is one of my favorite artists, maybe my top favorite, and I have enjoyed previous series he's illustrated, including his previous collaboration with Ooba, Death Note. Which I originally read when I was a pretty uncritical reader and totally did not notice the gobs of misogyny all over the place.

Unfortunately, Bakuman is also filled with misogyny and practically every chapter had me gnashing my teeth for some reason or other. Maybe because it's a realistic series, but it bothered me a lot more in Bakuman than in stuff like Naruto or Bleach, which I know are often just as horrible. I don't know, it just felt different to me to see Kaya, Takagi's girlfriend/wife try to find her own dream to follow before quickly giving up and cheerfully declaring that her dream was to see Azuki, Mashiro, and Takagi fulfill their dreams! And then have much of her screentime be when she's cleaning their studio. (And that's just one of many examples...)

And yet, despite all that, I still enjoyed it. I loved the behind-the-scenes look at Weekly Shounen Jump and the manga industry in general, and I loved seeing all the manga everyone came up with in the series (one of them actually did get a single chapter posted as a bonus in one issue of Jump, but there were a lot that I wished were real manga!). There are also some really awesome characters, especially Niizuma Eiji. And as much as I rolled my eyes at Mashiro and Azuki's ~pure romance~, I couldn't help but root for them at the end.
torachan: (Default)
1. Caught up on Bleach now, too. Soon Naruto will follow! I have to say I am kind of meh on Bleach at the moment. I found the ending of the last arc really unsatisfying, and I was actually enjoying it quite a bit before that. (Though seeing the Vizards in Soul Society was cool!) Also, if this final arc does not reveal Isshin's backstory I am going to be pissed. That is really all I am asking for.

2. I signed up for Remix! I ended up dropping out last year, but I am determined not to do that this year. I really, really want to write, and I love remix, so I'm hoping this will be just what I need.

3. So glad the time change is tonight, not tomorrow night. I don't work tomorrow until 1.45, so I have plenty of time to sleep in and won't miss the lost hour, but Monday I have to work in the morning, so I would definitely be feeling it.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Psyren
Author: Iwashiro Toshiaki
Number of Volumes: 16
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: When Ageha's friend Amamiya disappears, he uses a mysterious phone card as a last-ditch bid to find her and ends up getting sucked into another world. Only it turns out that this monster-filled wasteland is not actually another world, but the future, and Ageha, Amamiya, and various allies they meet along the way, must travel back and forth between the present and the future to keep this post-apocalyptic nightmare from becoming reality.

Review: I have posted about Psyren before, but saved my "official" review until the final volume was released (and then forgot to actualy post; actually I'm fairly behind on manga reviews, so I'm trying to get stuff posted and out of the way), even though I read it as it was published in Jump, so I read the end quite a while ago now.

Anyway, this series is one of my favorite Jump series, and one of my favorite series in general. I love almost anything post-apocalyptic, and I also love time travel, so this was an awesome combination for me. I love that they don't travel to the past to change things, but rather their actions in the present are changing the future. The cast of characters is great, and treats its female characters much better than most shounen series.

I also have to applaud the author, who was able to wrap up the series very well, despite the fact that it was clearly cancelled early due to lack of popularity (I still can't understand why this series wasn't popular, though). The ending does go fast, but doesn't seem overly rushed or unsatisfying.

It was picked up for release in English last year, but over a year after the announcement, there are still no volumes published, though volume one is listed on Amazon as coming out in October of this year, so hopefully that will actually happen. It has been fully scanlated by multiple groups, but a lot of the translations really, really suck.
torachan: maru the cat sitting in a bucket (maru)
Title: Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Renkinjutsushi Satsujin Jiken
Author: Amagi Seimaru & Satou Fumiya
Number of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: In order to help out Detective Kenmochi pay off some debts, Kindaichi goes on a quiz show, where the winners are sent to a deserted island where a mysterious man's fortune is said to be hidden. Whoever can find the gold gets to keep it. However, before anyone can start treasure hunting, one of the film crew gets killed, and the only clue to the murderer is some video footage showing a masked person with a giant sword...who disappears after the murder. As the body count grows and Kindaichi's friend Reika falls under suspicion, it's up to Kindaichi to solve the case yet again.

Review: There really isn't a lot I can say about Kindaichi manga at this point that I haven't said before (and yet because these aren't technically in a series, I can't just do one review for the series as a whole). So. I love Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo. It's my favorite murder mystery series ever, manga or non-manga. And this was definitely a good mystery, although at this point I'm beginning to feel like the "stuck on an island" setting is getting a bit old (I mean, it's always stuck somewhere, otherwise the murderer wouldn't be able to keep killing people without interference, but how many islands can you get stuck on (I know, I know, what I should be asking is how many murders can you just happen to come across? But somehow I can handwave that...)). Anyway, these mysteries are (of course) super formulaic, but that's part of the fun. Especially because the murderer always turns out to be on a quest for revenge because the people they're murdering did bad things, and it's not just some random evil killer. XD I don't know why this series doesn't get translated (either pro or fan). It makes me sad.
torachan: (Default)
Yesterday and today I have been catching up on a ton of monthly and weekly chapters I let slide for a while, whee! Anyway, I have to say that Shirahoshi stuffed inside Megalo is pretty much the best thing ever. Especially this page. XD


Dec. 29th, 2010 01:16 am
torachan: arale from dr slump dressed in a penguin suit and smiling (arale penguin)
OMG *flails* This manga!!! How is it so awesome!? I didn't really expect to like it that much. I mean, I had heard good things about it, lots of good things, but the premise just didn't sound that interesting.

But it is! It is awesome! So much intrigue! I love intrigue! And now I'm all caught up. I read all nineteen volumes plus however many chapters are out after that and now I have nothing to read! Gah!

Spoilery )

So yeah, I am really loving this series!
torachan: (Default)
Title: Fullmetal Alchemist
Author: Arakawa Hiromu
Number of Volumes: 27
My Rating: 5/5

I always feel a little silly writing a review for something I've been following all this time, especially when I read the last chapter months ago, but consistency demands it! XD The final volume is out, so I can do my review. :) I took a look at it and it actually did have some material I hadn't read yet, a short bonus chapter that appears to take place after the big finale, but before Ed and Al go do their thing. (I'm being vague for spoiler reasons.) So that was cute.

Anyway, if you are interested in manga and have somehow managed to avoid hearing about this series before now, it is awesome! It's about two brothers who are searching for the legendary philosopher's stone to get their bodies back. The older brother, Ed, lost an arm and a leg in an alchemical experiment, and the younger, Al, lost his entire body and his soul is now being housed in a giant suit of armor. There is loads of intrigue and government corruption and Shocking Reveals (my favorite). It was a slow starter for me and I didn't really get hooked until vol. 3 or 4, but that happens with most shounen.

One thing that bugs me about a lot of shounen manga is that there are some really interesting ideas, but they don't have really great follow-through because it's clear the author doesn't really know where they're going and/or because the series is popular and being stretched out to keep it running, often at the expense of the story. With FMA, I never felt like it was being stretched out for popularity's sake. It was very well-plotted and while I was kind of disappointed with the ending (final battles with the big bad can rarely measure up, IMO), the story getting there was so good it didn't really take away from it for me at all.
torachan: arale from dr slump with a huge grin on her face (arale)
Title: Chotto Dake Kaette Kita Dr. Slump
Author: Koyama Takao (author), Nakatsuru Katsuyoshi (illustrator), Toriyama Akira (creator)
Number of Volumes: 4
My Rating: 4/5

In the mid '90s, Dr. Slump had a short-lived revival in the gaming magazine V Jump. It was neither written nor illustrated by Toriyama Akira, but it felt and looked spot on to me. I was a huge fan of the original manga and I enjoyed this as well, though not quite as much as I liked the original. All the same old characters were there, as well as a new addition, a boy from Big City Island named Karte, who moved to Penguin Village with his family and ends up having a crush on Arale (not knowing she's a robot, of course). There are also cameos by Dragonball and Dragonball GT characters, as well as Chrono Trigger and Dragon Warrior (and one whole Dragon Warrior-based chapter where Arale, Senbei, and the others are inside the game). The whole four volumes are basically just fanservice, but if you liked Dr. Slump, I'd recommend it. It was definitely fun to revisit the series after all these years.
torachan: (Default)
1. Alexander came over this afternoon and we hung out and had delicious grilled chicken with brown rice, broccoli, and edamame.

2. I finally finished watching all of the 2005 Mythbusters. Only five years left to go! XD I am finding that I generally enjoy the Grant & Tory & Kari segments more than the Adam & Jamie stuff. Which is not to say I don't like Adam and Jamie. I just like the others more.

3. One Piece! Spoilers )

Daily Happysong:

Moritaka Chisato - 17 Sai
Very catchy, bouncy '80s pop.
torachan: (Default)
Top five manga you think more people should be reading

Hmm, wow, this is going to be a tough one! Mainly because I don't really have a good idea of what is being read outside of Japan. So this is just based on my impression of what doesn't seem to get a lot of notice in the English-speaking mangasphere.

1. Without question, #1 is Tamura Yumi's 7 Seeds. This is such an awesome, complex series. If you liked Basara, you will like this. It seems like a lot of people are down on her art as "old-looking" but I like it. Even if it were the fugliest thing on the planet, though, the story is Basara was a post-apocalyptic world that had had enough time to form new societies and really feel separate from the present day. 7 Seeds, on the other hand, is a survival story. Knowing a meteor is heading for earth, the government comes up with several different survival plans, one of which is cryogenically freezing five groups of teenagers and having them auto-thaw when the sensors indicated the planet could once again sustain life. Oh, and they didn't tell these kids they were getting chosen. So the kids wake up and have no idea what the fuck happened, though each group has an adult guide who does know what's going on.

The series is currently on vol. 18 and there is just so much going on. These are teenagers, so there are crushes and some relationships going on, but romance defintitely takes a backseat here. This is an adventure story. I would talk about the fifth team and how their story blew my mind, but that is totally spoilery. I would talk about when some of the kids found a diary detailing some of the other survival plans and what had happened to those people, but that, too, is better read unspoiled. Tamura Yumi is awesome with her reveals. There have been so many times where I was just like "oh fuck!"

I don't know how well Basara did in the US and this is another long series, so I don't know if it will ever be released in English, but it should be. There are scanlations available, though. I have no idea of the quality and they're only up through vol. 9, but the group currently working on it does seem to be putting new chapters out at the decent rate.

2. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo (Kindaichi Case Files). This was partially released in English but I guess didn't do to well, so they dropped it. There is a ton of them in Japan, though. The original series is 27 vols., there's a sequel with 10 vols., 6 vols. of short cases, two vols. featuring Inspector Akechi, the current series of sporadically published stand alones (11 vols. plus one story that hasn't yet been released in tankobon form), and nine novels. Not to mention like three drama series and an anime! XD The mysteries are really well done and interesting. If you can find them, I encourage you to check out the English release. The cases really stand on their own and you can read them in any order, so it's not that big a deal that they didn't release them all. It's not like you'll be left hanging. (Unfortunately there really hasn't been much scanlated.)

3. Psyren by Iwashiro Toshiaki. This is supposed to be released in English soon, so I'm hoping it does well. There are also quite a few groups scanlating and the scanlations are up to date with what's been released in Japan. Despite that, it doesn't really seem to have that big a following and I can't figure out why. It is really pretty awesome. It has loads of stuff that makes it feel tailor-made to me, like time travel and a post-apocalyptic world and psychic kids experimented on by the government and more! It also has lots of great female characters.

4. Tegami Bachi by Asada Hiroyuki. This has recently been released in English, so I hope it becomes popular! This is another one that has so much cool stuff that I love. It's a sort of fantasy/sci-fi series set on a planet with no sun and there's all sorts of government conspiracies and stuff going on. Really cool. The art is also just really beautiful.

5. Renai Catalogue by Nagata Masami. This is one of my favorite shoujo series (it's actually more towards the josei end of things as it's about college students, but it was published in BetsuMa). It's really long (over thirty volumes) and I doubt it will ever get lisenced, but it is being scanlated and up through vol. 16 is available. It's a fairly ordinary story of a girl and guy who meet in college and fall in love, but there's also a lot of focus on friendship. One of the things I liked about this series so much is that one of the friends is fat (and actually drawn so) and yet she also gets her own romance...and not after she's slimed down and prettied up. Yes, she does have a diet storyline and struggles with her weight over the course of the series, but it doesn't end with her losing weight, but rather becoming more confident in herself and finding a guy who loves her as she is. If for no other reason, that would endear me to this series, but there's so much else that's great about it.

Another one that really went long. Man, it was hard to stick to just five manga! There are so many great series that are not that well-known outside of Japan (and so many overrated series that are...).
torachan: (Default)
I finally caught up on Reborn! I was kind of bored after the future arc...okay, I was bored with the future arc after a while, and it had a let-down ending and then everything after that was just not that interesting. So I was still dling every week, but hadn't read it for a while, so finally today I read the backlog (sixteen chapters!) and am now caught up! And I am definitely enjoying it more now than I was! All this stuff with Enma and the Simon family is interesting. I am sure it will turn out to be a big misunderstanding, because the first Vongola is essentially Tsuna, so he has to be a good guy. And of course Enma will find out that Tsuna never got the letter. But in the meantime I'm enjoying the new power-ups and the fighting.

Daily Happysong:

Ben Folds - The Ascent of Stan
Someone linked this on Twitter today and I was like hey, I forgot how much I like that song!
torachan: (Default)
1. We went downtown to Strawberry Cones yesterday for lunch. :D Carla doesn't have class for most of this week (it's finals week), so we were free to do as we please. Their medium pizza is just right for two people and we got half teriyaki mochi chicken (chicken, mochi, red onion, mayo, chopped nori, teriyaki sauce, mozzarella, and romano) and half tofu nuggets (grilled tofu, mozzarrella, red onion, edamame, romano, mayo, and teriyaki sauce). They were both really good, but I liked the tofu one better and Carla liked the chicken better, so we each had three pieces of our favorite and one of the other. It was about $11 for the pizza, which is not at all bad for two people for lunch. I definitely want to go back again.

Since we were down there, we went karaoke for an hour afterwards. The karaoke place has a new system! It's still the DAM system, but now instead of using books + remote, they have these little touch-screen devices. So there are a ton more songs and stuff gets updated much more frequently because they don't have to keep printing books, they just update the info electronically. So awesome! They had two older songs they didn't have before, although they still don't have GLAY's Run, which I really, really want to sing! Also in the less awesome English system they did finally have one Adam Lambert song (Whataya Want from Me), which I sang. They need more! And the most recent songs on that system are like from January or February, ugh. :( But still! The new Japanese system is super awesome.

Then after we'd sung and weren't so full from lunch, we stopped in Beard Papa and had cream puffs. :D

2. The final chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist is out! I had heard a rumor that it would be 150 pages, but it's only 113. Still, that's a long chapter! And it was plenty long enough to wrap it up satisfyingly. spoilers )

Daily Happysong:

Oasis - Don't Look Back in Anger
I loved Oasis so much back in the day. This is my very favorite song of theirs.
torachan: devil boy from sinfest holding a CD, looking like he's just been in an explosion, with the text "smokin" (smokin')
Title: Doubt
Author: Tonogai Yoshiki
My Rating: 4/5

Fuuuuuuuuuuuck, this is one creepy-ass manga. So this group of teenagers who met each other through an online game meet up one day for karaoke. But then they all get knocked out and wake up to find themselves locked in this creepy old building. They all have barcodes on them, and one of them is already dead. Now they have to try and find their way out and figure out which one of them is the murderer.

Let me repeat, this is fucking creepy. I have read a lot of horror and mystery manga and none of them have brought the creepy quite like this (the Donnie Darko-esque rabbit heads are a nice touch). The fourth and final volume falls apart a bit, but wow, the first three are awesome.

It hasn't been officially released in English, but there are scanlations.


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