Now, I will admit that I had actually read the popular Japanese folktale, “The Boy Who Drew Cats” before; my first exposure being to the Rabbit Ears’...more Now, I will admit that I had actually read the popular Japanese folktale, “The Boy Who Drew Cats” before; my first exposure being to the Rabbit Ears’ version of the folktale which was narrated by William Hurt. Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that there was another version of the classic Japanese folktale that was written by Margaret Hodges along with illustrations by Ari Sogabe that was just as memorable as Rabbit Ears’ version of The Boy Who Drew Cats!
The story starts off with a poor farmer and his wife having difficulty feeding their children. While the rest of the children can work efficiently on the farm, their youngest son was not strong and efficient in working on the farm, even though he was extremely clever. So, the parents decided to send the youngest son to a priest so he can prepare for priesthood. Unfortunately, the boy loved to draw cats, but it would always get him into trouble with the priest until one day, the priest told the boy to get out and gave him a small warning before he left:
“Avoid large places at night; keep to small.”
Disappointed, the boy wandered around town until he came to an abandoned temple that was rumored to contain a large goblin that terrorized the people of the village.
Will the boy survive the goblin’s wrath and what importance will the priest’s words have on the boy?
I have always enjoyed the story of “The Boy Who Drew Cats” and this version of the classic Japanese folktale does not disappoint me! I loved the way that Margaret Hodges retold this story as the story was full of horror that set me on the edge of my seat! I actually sympathized with the young boy in this story as his own family had to send him to a priest since they could not feed all of their children and then, the boy gets kicked out of the priest’s home since his ability to draw cats had gotten him into trouble. I was actually rooting for the boy throughout the story as I wanted him to get his happily ever after, after going through so much turmoil in his life. I also enjoyed the little author’s note at the end of the book by Margaret Hodges as she describes about where she got the inspiration to write this story and where this story originated from. Ari Sogabe’s artwork was truly gorgeous in this story and some of my favorite images were of the trees and the landscape of Japan as they look truly colorful and realistic and it really brought out the beauty of this story!
Parents should know that this story has some scary moments, including the young boy’s encounter with the goblin and that might scare young children who do not like reading about monsters. However, I will say that this version is not as graphic as the Rabbit Ears’ version, so parents might have an easier time helping their children deal with the dark nature of this story since the violence is extremely low key in this version.
Overall, “The Boy Who Drew Cats” is a fantastic story for children who enjoy reading horror stories and Japanese folktales. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the dark themes of this story might scare younger children.
I have been reading many folktales from Japan for many years now, but if there was one Japanese folktale that I was pleasantly surprised in liking, i...more
I have been reading many folktales from Japan for many years now, but if there was one Japanese folktale that I was pleasantly surprised in liking, it would be “The Funny Little Woman,” retold by Arlene Mosel along with illustrations by Blair Lent and has won the Caldecott Medal. This story is truly fun and fascinating to read for anyone who is a fan of Japanese folktales!
In this story, there was once a little woman who had the habit of laughing at every single thing. One day, she was making her rice dumplings when one of the dumplings fell through a hole in the ground. When the little woman tried to get it, she ended up falling into the hole and into the underground home of the wicked Oni. The Oni wanted the little woman to cook rice for them and even though the little woman cooked for them, she was starting to get homesick and she tried to find ways to get back home.
Arlene Mosel’s retelling of this ancient Japanese story was truly hilarious and intense at the same time as I loved the little woman’s adventures in the Oni world! I really loved the way that Arlene Mosel wrote the little woman as being a truly unique character as she never stops laughing, which is a characteristic I found endearing and she has no fear of the dreaded Oni. I also loved the tension that the Oni had brought to the story as I was seriously sitting on the edge of my seat trying to see if the little woman would be able to escape from the Oni. Blair Lent’s artwork is truly creative as the colorings of the artwork splits up between the little woman’s home above ground and the Oni world underground. I find it surprising that the Oni world is in color while the little woman’s home above ground is in black and white colorings (although earlier on in the book, the little woman’s home above ground was still in color until she fell into the Oni world). I found this transition between the two worlds to be extremely creative as we are able to see effectively how much time the little woman spent in the Oni world while life goes on above the Oni world. I also loved the appearance of the Oni themselves as they look truly frightening as they are shown in blue colorings and have three eyes on their heads and sharp teeth, which shows how threatening they could be to the main protagonist of the story.
Parents should know that the Oni might scare smaller children, especially for the fact that they kidnapped the little woman and forced her to cook for them. Parents might want to use this story as an opportunity to teach their children about the dangers of approaching unknown places alone and how they should deal with these situations.
Overall, “The Funny Little Woman” is a truly fantastic tale about the danger of wondering into strange places that both parents and kids will enjoy for many years! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes with the Oni might scare smaller children.
Usually, I have a tough time reviewing manga because the stories are pretty consistent throughout their runs and sometimes it is hard to review a sing...moreUsually, I have a tough time reviewing manga because the stories are pretty consistent throughout their runs and sometimes it is hard to review a single volume without at least dredging up the storylines from the last volume. But, review I shall since I have so much to say about the second volume of Matsuri Hino’s popular series, “Vampire Knight!”
In this volume, Yuki Cross, one of the guardians of Cross Academy, realizes that her partner, Zero Kiryu is having trouble coping with being a vampire after a terrible incident where a vampire killed his family years ago. Not only that, but when Yuki goes outside of school grounds one night, she is suddenly attacked by a vampire and since she injured herself early on, she could not defend herself against the vampire! However, two students from the Night Class (who are also vampires) ended up saving Yuki from the attack. When Yuki asks the two night class students (who turns out to be Takuma Ichijo and Senri Shiki) why they rescued her, they ended up telling her that once she comes to the Moon Dormitory at midnight, all will be explained.
Now, it has been awhile since I had read the first volume of Matsuri Hino’s “Vampire Knight” series and my memory is a bit rusty about what this series is all about. So, let me just recap a bit about what the overall gist of the series is:
*Cross Academy is a school that is attended by two groups of students. One group of students is called the Day Class where normal human beings attend during the day and the other group of students is called the Night Class, where only the vampire students attend.
*Basically, the goal of Cross Academy is to have humans and vampires live together in peace and harmony.
*Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the guardians of Cross Academy as they make sure that the Day Class students do not associate with the Night Class in order to protect them from the vampires.
Now that I recapped the idea about this series, I now would like to give out my opinion on this volume! Matsuri Hino has done a brilliant job at writing and illustrating this novel as the characters are all extremely memorable and the artwork is gorgeous to look at. I loved the way that Matsuri Hino really portrayed both Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu as they truly stood out so much in this novel. It was really intense in seeing Zero Kiryu coming to terms with being a vampire and how he is constantly suffering throughout this volume because he does not want to give in to the allure of sucking blood from human beings. Yuki Cross was a truly amazing character in this volume as she was the one who tried to help Zero Kiryu through his ordeal and I loved the fact that Yuki is so kind towards Zero, despite knowing that he is a vampire. I also loved the humor in this novel and despite the fact that this series is about VAMPIRES; there are many hilarious moments between the characters especially during the scene where Yuki and Zero go shopping! Matsuri Hino’s artwork is truly gorgeous to look at as the characters’ hairstyles are creative and just looks so smooth. I also loved the way that Matsuri Hino put some shadowing on some panels where the characters have intense looks on their faces as it really brings in a somber mood to the scene.
There are some bloody scenes in this novel, especially with some of the vampire characters sucking blood out of some miscellaneous characters and that can be a bit disturbing to anyone who does not like seeing blood in a manga. Also, this was something that bothered me a bit personally, but the fact that Zero Kiryu spends almost the majority of the volume brooding about being a vampire and trying to resist his urges of draining blood from humans got a bit tiresome for me. I understand that what we are seeing is Zero struggling with his inner demons, but I would like to see Zero actually trying to overcome this ordeal and try to move on with his life despite being a vampire.
Overall, “Vampire Knight: Volume Two” is a great volume for anyone who is a huge fan of Matsuri Hino’s “Vampire Knight” series and is definitely worth checking out!
I am definitely on the roll with Scott Snyder’s fantastic series, “American Vampire” and the third volume of this series does not...more
I am definitely on the roll with Scott Snyder’s fantastic series, “American Vampire” and the third volume of this series does not disappoint me! “American Vampire: Volume Three” is probably the most intense out of the entire “American Vampire” series as Scott Snyder’s dramatic writing and Rafael Albuquerque, Danijel Zezelj, and Sean Murphy’s artwork contribute greatly to this volume!
What is the story?
In this volume, there are two stories being told regarding Pearl and Felicia Book. In the first story, it is the 1940s when there is war between America and Imperial Japan and Pearl’s husband, Henry Preston, is called into battle to fight off a group of vampires that are sighted on an island near Japan. Unfortunately, Skinner Sweet happens to be in the same group as Henry and he is planning revenge on Henry and only Pearl can rescue her husband from Skinner Sweet! In the second story, Felicia Book, the daughter of Jim Book, who was killed by Skinner Sweet, goes on a mission with Cash McCogan to Nazi occupied Romania to find Dr. Erik Pavel, who claims that he has a cure for vampirism!
What I loved about this comic:
Scott Snyder’s writing: What can I say? Scott Snyder’s writing for this series continues to get better and better as the characters are thrown into new and troubling situations! For one thing, I loved the way that Scott Snyder actually made the story progress in the timeline as the setting goes from the 1920s to the 1940s and it really gives the story a more realistic feel to the characters. It is rare that I see many comic books actually progress the characters forward in time, so this was a welcoming change for me! I also loved the way that Scott Snyder tied in the historical aspects of World War II into this story without trying to twist the history of World War II. Usually, the problems I find with stories that has historical elements mixed in with fantasy elements is that sometimes it tries to state that the fictional characters were actually involved in any kind of historical event that happened in history. What I like about what was being done with combining the historical aspects of World War II with the fictional characters of “American Vampire” is that they never really mentioned any historical figures like Hitler and the stories were more centered on the characters and their fight against vampirism while using the historical elements to bring the reader into a whole new world on the idea of vampires existing in such times. I also loved the way that Scott Snyder developed the relationship between Pearl and her husband, Henry, as Henry seems to have second thoughts about their marriage since Pearl is a vampire and is much younger than he is and he wanted to feel wanted again. I also loved the way that Pearl and Henry still cared about each other, despite the fact that Pearl is a vampire.
Rafael Albuquerque, Danijel Zezelj, and Sean Murphy’s artwork: Rafael Albuquerque, Danijel Zezelj and Sean Murphy all contributed greatly to the artwork of this volume as each artwork is scratchy yet dramatic for these stories! In the story “Strange Frontier,” where it talks about Skinner Sweet’s former lover, I loved the way that Danijel Zezelj made the artwork a bit brighter than what you would normally see in “American Vampire” and I also loved the way that the characters’ faces are shadowed in which makes them look really dramatic. The only problem I have with Danijel Zezelji’s artwork is that sometimes it is hard to distinguish the characters’ facial features since it seems like their facial expressions are lumped into one expression as there are barely definite linings on the characters’ faces that could really detail their emotions. Rafael Albuquerque’s artwork is as usual, brilliantly done as the artwork is scratchy and yet, it fits perfectly for this type of story. I loved the way that Rafael Albuquerque illustrates the characters’ facial expressions in a dramatic way as I really felt the emotions that the characters were feeling. Sean Murphy’s artwork in “Survival of the Fittest” was extremely well done as the characters’ faces are shadowed in such a dramatic way and I loved the snow covered landscape when Cash and Felicia came to Romania!
What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:
As with the previous volumes, there is some strong language and gory violence in this volume including people having their heads ripped off and that might be disturbing for anyone who is not a huge fan of gory violence. As for the strong language, there are many instances where the characters drop the “f” bomb and say the “s” word, so readers might want to skim over those words if they are uncomfortable with reading them.
Overall, “American Vampire: Volume Three” is a fantastic volume where using historical context in a fantasy series is used extremely well and anyone who is a huge fan of Scott Snyder’s works will easily enjoy this volume of “American Vampire.”
Or at least that is what I think of when I read this story since both main characters (Wolverine and the Bride) had to go to...moreKILL BILL!
Or at least that is what I think of when I read this story since both main characters (Wolverine and the Bride) had to go to Japan to fight off their rivals.
When I was looking through the comic book boards and I wanted to know what the best “Wolverine” story was, many fans declared that “Wolverine” which was written by Chris Claremont along with artwork by Frank Miller was considered the best “Wolverine” story out there. So, I went out and got this graphic novel and I have to agree with the fans that this was indeed one of the best “Wolverine” stories out there! This also features the first four issues in Wolverine's new solo series during the 1980s which I was so impressed at seeing for the first time! Never have I have seen so much drama, romance and action contained into one graphic novel and because of that, “Wolverine” has remained to be one of my all time favorite “X-Men” stories about Wolverine!
What is the story?
Wolverine heads off to Japan to find the love of his life, Mariko Yashida, who is the daughter of Lord Shingen who is the Lord of the Clan Yashida, but discovers that his lover has married someone else, which breaks his heart. Along the way, Wolverine meets up with a mysterious assassin named Yukio who seems to know about Lord Shingen’s plans to take over all of the major crime gangs in Japan. Wolverine must put a stop to Lord Shingen’s evil plans to rule as the ultimate crime lord of Japan before it is too late!
What I loved about this comic:
The premise and Chris Claremont’s writing: I will admit that when I heard about this graphic novel, I did not know what to expect from another book about Wolverine and I actually thought that we would get another “Wolverine” book that is all about the fighting and Wolverine acting tough. However, in this graphic novel, what we got was an extremely thought-provoking and heartwarming tale about Wolverine’s romance with Mariko and his inner struggles with dealing with his “animal” side. I loved the way that Chris Claremont has shown us a more sensitive side to Wolverine as he struggles to get the love of his life back while dealing with the customs of her family, which the importance of honor and pride plays a huge role in his story. I also loved the intense kung-fu atmosphere of this story as it gave this story a more creative approach to Wolverine’s time in Japan and made the story exciting to read through. Chris Claremont has done an excellent job at writing this story from Wolverine’s point of view on the situation as we are able to see how Wolverine reacts to the situations he gets involved in Japan whether he is confessing his love for Mariko or fighting ninjas out to get him. It was also interesting seeing how Wolverine viewed himself and Chris Claremont does a brilliant job at portraying Wolverine’s insecurity about being seen as an animal as he usually uses violence to solve his problems. I really enjoyed the tone shift that Chris Claremont had provided when he introduced the other X-Men (Colossus, Storm, Cyclops, Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler) in the second story that was apart of "Uncanny X-Men" as Wolverine’s solo series was dark, while the "Uncanny X-Men" storyline was a bit light toned.
Frank Miller and Paul Smith’s artwork: When I heard that Frank Miller was doing the artwork for this graphic novel, I was actually blown away by this information because before I read this graphic novel, I was reading “Batman: Year One” which was a graphic novel that Frank Miller wrote himself and I was surprised that Frank Miller has actually done some artwork during his time at the comic book industry. Frank Miller’s artwork was fantastic as they greatly captured the fight scenes in this story. I loved the colorings that were done whenever the characters were in shadows as there are dark colorings shadowed on the characters’ faces which really gives off a foreboding feel to the situation. I also loved Frank Miller’s artwork on the fight scenes, especially the scenes where Wolverine is fighting a group of ninjas and the scene where Wolverine is punching the ninjas is effectively done. In the “Uncanny X-Men” issues of this graphic novel, Paul Smith did a brilliant job at detailing the fight scenes and the characters’ facial expressions and I loved the way that the colorings are much brighter in these issues than in Frank Miller’s artwork in the “Wolverine” issues.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:
The only problem that some readers might find with this graphic novel is that there is some violence in the fight scenes. The violence usually has Wolverine cutting into another character and you can see some blood squirt out of the wounds. Now, the violence is actually pretty low-key here as sometimes the blood is not as realistically shown as it usually is in current comics, but the scenes of Wolverine cutting into people might upset some readers.
Overall, “Wolverine” is definitely one of the best stories dealing with Wolverine and anyone who is a fan of Wolverine or the X-Men in particular; I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this graphic novel to any comic book fan!