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: 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)
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)
Title: Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Kenmochi Keibu no Satsujin
Author: Satou Fumiya & Amagi Seimaru
My Rating: 5/5

Three years after the torture, rape, and murder of a high school girl, her attackers are free. But now someone is killing them and Inspector Kenmochi is the prime suspect.. As the evidence mounts against him, will Kindaichi and Akechi be able to clear his name in time? (Answer: Yes. Duh.)

Well, I haven't met a Kindaichi case I didn't at least like if not love, so unsurprisingly, I really liked this one. Even though I guessed the real murderer before Kindaichi did for once (though I was still surprised by his motive and the obligatory sob story (Kindaichi murders are always tragic revenge stories and no matter how brutal the murders, no one is really a coldhearted killer (except perhaps the people who got killed))).

Title: Ai no Shintairiku
Author: Yamada Nari
My Rating: 4.5/5

When Nikotama Souhei transfers to a new school, it's the perfect opportunity to start living as Sara, the girl she's always known she was. Although the school allows her to wear a girls' uniform, she's still down as Souhei on their records, so she's outed the moment she introduces herself to her new class as Sara. Though she faces harrassment from classmates and opposition from her parents and teachers, she soldiers on, determined to be herself, and eventually she makes friends and even gets the guy.

The events are very typical school shoujo. There's a Mean Girl who bullies Sara, and a timid girl who becomes Sara's first friend. There's a wacky teacher and a day at the beach and love at first sight (with a boy on the train who of course turns out to be in her class). It's actually really pretty generic other than the fact that the heroine is trans.

But...I still love it. Because the heroine is trans. It's not unproblematic (I could have lived without the joke of Sara's last name, which sounds like "two balls", or the ugly, jealous feminists who protest a swimsuit contest as being sexist), but I liked Sara a lot. It's no Hourou Musuko, but I love that it exists.

Scanlations are available and the translation is not too bad, but the translator made the horrible decision to have Sara and another girl refer to themselves in third person. This sounds totally natural in Japanese. It's cutesy and childish/girlish, but not uncommon. In English it just sounds bizarre, especially since English uses subjects way more often than Japanese does, and when forced to add the subject in English when it wasn't there in Japanese, the translator just used regular first-person pronouns, so it sounds like sometimes Sara is speaking of herself as a separate person. Just doesn't work at all.

Also warning: DO NOT READ COMMENTS ON THAT SITE. There's one topic all about how much the manga sucks and how it's stupid for having a boy dressed as a girl (three pages of people agreeing with this). Then there's more topics about how this story is actually yaoi, and people saying they liked the part where Sara was a boy best and wished it had stayed that way (especially disgusting considering how blatantly unhappy she was then and she was only dressing as boy to try and please her mom). And then there's the people who use quotes when calling Sara by female pronouns (is that better than the many other commenters who just used male pronouns?). Ugh.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Short Story Collections 1-6
Author: Amagi Seimaru, Kanari Youzaburou, & Satou Fumiya
My Rating: 3.5/5

These six volumes of short stories are really only necessary to read if you're a hardcore Kindaichi completist (which I am). There's some really good stuff in there, but there are also a few duds, and I just don't think the short-story format works quite as well for these.

It was interesting to me to read them because they're fairly old and thus have characters who have since sort of dropped away and been forgotten about. Hajime's cousin Fumi is a major character in many of them (and even has one or two where she is the detective), as are Kindaichi's classmates, who have not featured in the new series at all, but who showed up more in the old series. There were also several Akechi-centric stories that were then compiled in Akechi Keishi no Yuuga Naru Jikenbo and Akechi Shounen no Karei Naru Jikenbo.

I did like that the first three volumes had a text short story as well as manga, though for some reason that didn't continue through the whole series. I also liked that the art was closer to the new series than to the old. (There were some encyclopedia type pages at the back of several of these, with pics from early volumes and damn, I'd forgotten how bad the art was then. Satou Fumiya has really improved over the course of this manga (not surprising, since Kindaichi's been running almost twenty years).

Title: Akechi Keishi no Yuuga Naru Jikenbo
Author: Amagi Seimaru & Satou Fumiya
My Rating: 3.5/5

This has four short mysteries starring Superintendent Akechi from Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo. The first two are reprints from the Kindaichi short story collections and the other two are brand new. All are framed by Akechi telling Kindaichi & co. the stories, which was pretty unnecessary, but I guess they wanted to make sure Kindaichi himself actually showed up in all of them.

The stories themselves were all enjoyable (and I especially liked the poker one), though I really do prefer full-length mysteries to these mini ones. I also prefer Kindaichi & co. to Akechi, who gets on my nerves.

Really only necessary to read if you love Akechi or are a Kindaichi completist.

Title: Akechi Shounen no Karei Naru Jikenbo
Author: Amagi Seimaru & Satou Fumiya
My Rating: 3/5

This had three short mysteries set when Akechi was in high school (one of which was previously printed in the Kindaichi short story collections). Like the collection of adult!Akechi stories, these are all framed with him telling Hajime and Miyuki what happened (which doesn't really add to the story, IMO). They were all okay, but I think at this point maybe I was just tired of mystery short stories. :p (I didn't think such a thing was possible, but this was eight ~250-page volumes in a row.)
torachan: (Default)
Title: Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: Chidamari no Ma Satsujin Jiken/Fudou Koukou Gakuensai Satsujin Jiken
Author: Amagi Seimaru/Satou Fumiya
My Rating: 3.5/5

This is a single volume with two short mysteries, both centered around Kindaichi's school. In the first one, Kindaichi and Miyuki go to Go competition because their school's team doesn't have enough players, and of course someone gets killed while they're there. The second takes place at the school festival, where a member of the photography club is killed. Both were okay, but I think I prefer the longer format to short stories for these. When they're this short, only one person gets killed in each! XD

There's a new mystery running right now which is titled Kenmochi Keibu no Satsujin Jiken (The Murder of Detective Kenmochi). DDD: I am almost afraid to start reading it!


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