Wow this series was such an utter waste of time. While squick cranked up to eleven is pretty much par for the course in horror manga, Uzumaki doesn't...moreWow this series was such an utter waste of time. While squick cranked up to eleven is pretty much par for the course in horror manga, Uzumaki doesn't even have a decent plot to make it worth reading. It's just one chapter after another of ways to gross out the reader without much by way of a story arc. I couldn't bring myself to care for any of the characters. The ending is incredibly underwhelming. In a nutshell: unpleasant and pointless. (less)
Junji Ito ups the squick level with volume 2. There's plenty of creepiness (and not even the good kind) but not much sense. The chapter on the two lov...moreJunji Ito ups the squick level with volume 2. There's plenty of creepiness (and not even the good kind) but not much sense. The chapter on the two lovers was kind of sweet though even with the weirdness. I can only hope there's some epic reveal behind all the spirals but at this point I don't expect it. (less)
I read this on a visit to a local manga library because I'd watched the live action adaptation of Uzumaki 10 years ago when a friend and I were just b...moreI read this on a visit to a local manga library because I'd watched the live action adaptation of Uzumaki 10 years ago when a friend and I were just beginning to discover J-Horror. The first volume is just about okay. The mangaka seems to be going in for disgust-induced horror, rather than psychological fear and I'm not really a fan of that. (less)
I didn't really enjoy this except as a vaguely interesting history textbook. The whole Mount Shiranui subplot that takes up much of the second volume,...moreI didn't really enjoy this except as a vaguely interesting history textbook. The whole Mount Shiranui subplot that takes up much of the second volume, while a shade more entertaining than reading about company politics felt out of place within the larger narrative. I could not see much of a point to it - why was the author trying to inject Indiana Jones and the (Japanese) Temple of Doom in a book about a shipping clerk? Enomoto (and the whole cult for that matter) was so ridiculously over the top that I found it hard to take that subplot seriously.
Jacob, Orito and Ogawa are all pretty likable characters but Jacob comes across as a fool more than a romantic, to be honest. I cannot really fault the writing, even when it gets a little melodramatic and calculatingly sentimental. I especially liked the part when Magistrate Shiroyama observes, "This world... contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself." The ending is a little too overtly sentimental for my taste, and did not erase away any doubts as to what the point of this whole book was. (less)
Gin no Saji is one of those series which make you realize that manga is honestly much more than 'comics'. The only other work by Hiromu Arakawa that I...moreGin no Saji is one of those series which make you realize that manga is honestly much more than 'comics'. The only other work by Hiromu Arakawa that I am familiar with is her Fullmetal Alchemist series (although I've only watched it and haven't read the manga yet), and so this completely different subject - life in an agricultural school - piqued my interest.
I have somewhat romantic views on rural life so I looked forward to this manga but was happy to note that Ms. Arakawa doesn't stick to the sunshiny-golden-fields, down-home stereotype of agricultural life. From the very beginning, she drives home the point that like nature, it is both harsh and beautiful. So you have this wonderful scene where Hachiken experiences the wonder of a sunset as seen from atop a horse but you also see his shock at finding out how eggs are laid (suffice it to say that I don't blame him for losing his appetite).
The artwork is simple and pleasant. It's not wildly original but it's well-suited to the tone and subject of the story. I'm not sure about the design of the riding club teacher with his incongruous Buddha-inspired head but overall, the characters are distinct and likable.
Anyway, this is a series I will definitely be following in the future and I think it has all the makings of an honest and absorbing story. (less)
Since Bakuman is a manga about manga, it seemed interesting. Plus, I was thinking of finishing Ohba and Obata's more famous series, Death Note but it'...moreSince Bakuman is a manga about manga, it seemed interesting. Plus, I was thinking of finishing Ohba and Obata's more famous series, Death Note but it's been a couple of years since I read it and I didn't want to start at the beginning all over again.
Bakuman has its ups and downs. I liked the concept and I liked the technical details that Moritaka shares on the making of manga, like the name or the pens. I was relieved to read of the two characters decision to make a serious manga without gore or bizarre hentai (the story that Akito comes up with for the name, though, is suspiciously like a conspiracy theory I stumbled upon on a New Age website). In the process, they do a spot of shoujo manga bashing that I can't say is completely unfounded.
On the other hand, the two 14 year olds (OF COURSE they're 14) seem to face little resistance to dedicating their lives making comics. Apart from Moritaka's mom fussing for half a minute, the path is pretty much smooth for them. His dad goes all "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" and his grandfather immediately gives him access to a fully furnished studio. In real life, your parents threaten to disown you (especially if they're Asian) and you spend forever saving up for equipment. I'd say that Azuki is grating if it weren't for the fact that her mother is worse. It's bad enough to deal with forced schoolgirl cuteness but from a middle-aged woman who clearly needs to start acting her age (as well as hiring a new hairstylist)?
So anyway, good manga. Might possibly continue reading in the future but I'd please like more drawing and less schoolyard drama.(less)
I think I've mellowed down quite a bit in the last couple of years, where reading is concerned. If I can read Twilight, why not Fruits Basket? Besides...moreI think I've mellowed down quite a bit in the last couple of years, where reading is concerned. If I can read Twilight, why not Fruits Basket? Besides, Nodame Cantabile wasn't so bad.
Fruits Basket puts a zoological spin on Ranma 1/2 and manga madness ensues. My favourite character was Shigure, he seems like lots of fun. Tohru is sweet without being annoying but her friends, the gangsta Uotani and the psychic Hanajime are more interesting. Yuki is too generic and his constant fights with Kyo get tedious after the first one. The artwork is of the usual romantic shoujo variety but more or less well-executed. However, Yuki's dramatic depictions are off-putting. He looks like a deranged pixie every time he smiles.
I don't know if I'll be continuing reading this series but I'll give the second volume a try before deciding. (less)
I always saw Nodame Cantabile in the comics section at the bookstore but I thought it was the usual shoujo romance, and frankly, I was more interested...moreI always saw Nodame Cantabile in the comics section at the bookstore but I thought it was the usual shoujo romance, and frankly, I was more interested then in reading about corpse delivery services and reformed Bakumatsu swordsmen.
I haven't read manga in a while so I thought I'd go with an atypical choice this time, since that seems to have worked out a fair bit this year. I wasn't disappointed. For starters, Nodame Cantabile is more josei than shoujo which means that we are at least spared the melodramatic romances and androgynous pretty boys to an extent. Also, its protagonists are thankfully older. It's surprising how little you are still interested in 14 year olds saving the world/exorcising pure evil/ handling the quirks of school life when you're no longer that age. Of course it isn't completely free of the usual manga tropes: conventionally talented hero with a shadow over his soul, "cute" child-like heroine who crashes into his life and his heart, tough-talking guy from incongruous background with more raw talent than technique and how they form one odd partnership. And since this is manga, there's something utterly bewildering and bizarre: in this case, a fart dance, but I have read enough manga to know that it could have been much worse.
However, the characters are deeper than apparent. Chiaki does grow by the end of the last chapter to realise his own self-fuelled angst and Nodame is more than just a ditz; it will be interesting to see how her character develops in the following volumes. Mine of course, is stereotypical good fun.
So far as the art is concerned, I'm grateful for a distinct lack of ubermascara-ed bug eyes. It's clean-cut but I feel that it lacks the energy required to match the passion of the characters. In any case, I will reserve my judgement until I've read a few more volumes.(less)
When I first started to learn Japanese, the language seemed so stark to me and yet, capable of conveying so much in a syllable's worth of sound. It in...moreWhen I first started to learn Japanese, the language seemed so stark to me and yet, capable of conveying so much in a syllable's worth of sound. It intrigued me that words like "ma" or "sa" could change the tone of a sentence, mean more than just one simple thing.
This book made me feel something of the same. The cleanliness of Kazuo Ishiguro's prose tells a story with layers of meaning and draws up such vivid scenes. One of these is the protagonist's confrontation with his father over his art and the scene with his mother, conversing in the dark of an ill-lighted house from the early part of the last century. The meeting with his master that follows many years later is interestingly analogous. I liked the themes of memory and its fallibility, of honour and ideologies, of the changing meaning of good and evil and of simple change itself. Masuji Ono makes for a gently engaging protagonist. You never truly find out if Ono's past is dark or light, and his inner duality conforms to the duality of the world outside - when is war "good" and when is it "bad"? When do patriots become war criminals? Should art and politics, such disparate worlds, ever meet? All the different layers in this book merit more than one read.
When I first found this book, I bought it because of the title, hoping to read more about ukiyo-e and Japanese art. The book doesn't go into details, but uses art as a contrast or complement to the life of the artist. As it turns out, the floating world here is not one of Edo tea houses and geisha and kabuki actors but of buildings arising from the rubble and war-scarred young men and the blurring of ideals. Not a world of evanescent beauty, but one of an ephemeral morality perhaps. (less)