meganbmoore: (too many books)
I want to say I'll be better at doing this more regularly this year, but realistically, probably not.

What are you currently reading

Chronicles of the Grim Peddler by Lee Jeong-A. A fairy tale manhwa about a peddler ( and his shapechanging cat) who goes around setting up fairy tales. It's one of those series that thinks Disney really, really got it wrong when they started adapting fairy tales, and makes up for it by going as far in the other direction as it can, though sometimes they end up nicer and cuter while things are getting even more messed up. I mean, it doesn't reach the "OMG WHAT" levels of that one Kaori Yuki series, but I can't fault it for trying. I'm not invested because I'm only mildly interested in the peddler and a little more so in his cat, but am not attached to either, and there aren't any other regular characters. I like it, though.


What did you recently finish reading?

Maia Chance: Snow White Red-Handed & Cinderella Six Feet Under. The first two books in a fairy tale-themed mystery series. Ophelia and Prue are Victorian-era actresses who con their way (well, Ophelia does most of the conning) into become servants to a rich family when out of work and unable to pay their boat fare. It turns out that the family is a set of rather unpleasant fairy tale fanatics who think they've found Snow White's cottage, and hopefully a gold mine to go with it. Both book feature Prue getting targetted by the fairy tale fanatics because of her fairy tale princess looks, and Ophelia running around (with her obligatory rich English love interest) trying to solve murder and rescue Prue from whatever mess she's in at the time, while Prue just tries really really hard not to end up dead or in jail. It's certainly a little bit different for the "cozy mystery" genre, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Mark Waid & Terry Dodson: Princess Leia 1-5. This miniseries takes place literally as A New Hope ends, and focuses primarily on Leia dealing with losing Alderaan (something the movie itself spent one whole shout on), and her trying to save the remaining citizens of Alderaan who are scattered on other planets when Palpatine issues an extermination order, accompanied by Evaan, another woman from Alderaan who joined the Rebellion. I do feel that Waid touched on the idea of soceity expecting women to display certain emotions and only cope with grief a certain way, and then judge them when they don't, but he largely limited it to people labelling her an ice princess for not being visibly sad enough, instead of running with the theme. Like the other tie in books I've read the last few months dealing with the OT (specifically Moving Target and Shattered Empire) a lot of this seems to be rightly thinking that Leia really needed more women to interact with, and so it has her almost exclusively interact with other women. This probably displaced Shattered Empire as my favorite of the recent tie ins, but I do have plenty left to go.


Victoria Thompson: Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue. Book-whatever in Thompson's long running mystery series set in later 19th century New York. This book is best summed up as The Sidekicks Show, as the main characters are away. Maeve, teenaged nursemaid to Sarah Brandt's daughter and former conartist, decides to help a woman whose daughter may have been falsely accused of murdering her husband. Along the way she recruits Frank's sidekick/her own semi-love interest, Gino, and Sarah's parents to help, and decides that Frank is opening a detective agency when he gets back. At one point, Sarah's extremely proper and very busy businessman father ends up volunteering to play bodyguard for the teenaged nursemaid, and doesn't seem entirely certain how that happened. I mostly really loved this book. "Mostly" because sometimes hompson tends to have issues with making beautiful women who aren't Sarah or her mother be manipulative and unpleasant. It doesn't happen in all or even the majority of the books (I think this is the 4th time that it's been a plot point in almost 20 books), but has happened often enough that I sigh when the books start talking about another woman's incredibly beauty.



Nakamura Yoshiki: Skip Beat Vol 31-35


spoilers )

GoHands and GoRa: K: Countdown Chapters 1-8. A bunch of one shots about the K character set between Missing Kings and Return of Kings. I enjoyed the chapters about the various characters getting used to their current lives a lot more than the ones directly building up to Return of Kings.

Clamp: Gate 7 Vol 1-4. A very, very Clamp series about a slightly highstrung boy who is somehow SPECIAL running into warriors who are reincarnations of historical figures involved in the Battle of Sekigahara. No one has a jaw-droppingly angsty and dramatic past yet and no one has lost an eye, but the most Clamp aspect of the series is that it was put on indefitie hiatus just as things were really kicking into high gear. It's fun if you like Clamp (I do) but doesn't have a lot going on that sets it apart from other Clamp series. The most mindbendy thing it has going for it is that it has a charcter named Sakura who is a very tall and strapping and apparently promiscuous young man. Clamp has a lot of characters named Sakura, but all the others are sweet girls with short brown hair who satisfy Clamp's cosplay needs. It was quite jarring.

Django Wexler: The Forbidden Library & The Mad Apprentice. The First two books about a girl named Alice who goes to live with a relative after her father's death, only to learn that the relative-and now, she-is a magician. Which is a fairly standard setup, but in this case, the magicians have labyrinthine libraries, and go into books to make the monsters in them their familiars. There are also talking cats that are both petulant and snarky, and Alice have a Revenge Quest going over her father's death. Not the most amazing thing ever, but fun.



What do you think you'll read next?


The rest of Chronicles of the Grim Peddler and Homefires by Julie Summers. I'm also waiting for the library to get more Star Wars comics in for me.
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams. The second book in a mystery series about a woman who own a resort/retreat for booklovers, and whose family is secretly the caretakers of rare, secret and banned books. This one has a romance novel convention (it's not called that, really, but that's what it is) in which the most popular author is murdered. I MOSTLY really like it. I say mostly because one of the suspects is a feminist (who has a hitory of being abused) who has many many thoughts and feelings about romance novels and feminism, and that's mostly used to portray her as OTT and irrational. It's offset by having the main character point out defenses for the stance, but it still rubs me the wrong way. Also, the book is not editted that well and has a LOT of typos. My favorite is when some is said to have "died of a heroine overdose."


What did you recently finish reading?
Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire 1-4 by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. A mini-series set at the very end of and in the months after Return of the Jedi.
I guess even the main character's identity could be considered a spoiler for The Force Awakens?

spoilers )


Seanan McGuire: A Red-Rose Chain. The latest October Daye book, which was truly impressive in its ability to have each chapter make the protagonist's 10 times as screwed as they were in the last chapter. For people who haven't read this but intend to, I should warn that this one dives into some horror and torture territory, and briefly teeters on the edge of becoming a slasher. (Err..."slasher" as in "subcategory of horror genre," not shipping. Though there is some of that too.)

spoilers )
Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry: : Star Wars: Moving Target: A novella about Leia, set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It's bookended with scenes of Leia sometime not long before before The Force Awakens. Pretty much, after EOTS, Leia goes "Ok, collection of strapping sidekicks, go find my boyfriend! I have to help run this rebellion. Luke, please don't lose any more bodyparts. Lando, don't forget that Chewie has my permission to rip off your arm and beat you to death with it if you betray us again. Chewie, don't rip off anyone's arms unless it's necessary. I'm not too worried about you, you're the most responsible one of the bunch."

spoilers )
Norihiro Yagi: Claymore Vol 22-27. This marks the 3rd shounen series I've stuck with from beginning to end (the other two being Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Deeper Kyo). I remember when Viz released the first volume and I was figuratively shoving it in everyone's faces.

spoilers )

Sarah Prineas: Ash and Bramble. Sold as a twisted version of fairytales in which the amnesiac main character is one of many slaves of the Fairy godmother from fairy tales, forced to create all the clothes and slippers and items that populate fairy tales. This is a good description of the frist arc, but what the book ACTUALLY is is deconstructive meta about fairytales, perception of roles (and rejection of assigned roles) and stories and a pretty dark and messed up take on the idea of Story As Character. It's kind of Ever After High's concept taken to its worst extremes, in terms of how it affects characters. Becasuse of how its set up, characterization can be a bit inconsistent or absent at times, but it's a conscious narrative choice, as opposed to bad writing. I don't think it hit every note it thought it did. But it was a lot more than I was expecting, and a good read.

I read a bit of the Lando comic, but apparently Lando is like Han Solo where, while I quite like him with the rest of the cast, I'm not really interested in him when he's away from them and in full pre-reformed smarmy conartist mode. His Rebels appearances are as close to that as I'm interested in.

What do you think you'll read next?

More Star Wars stuff, probably, and I have a bunch of mysteries and YA/MG books checked out, so those. Not sure beyond that.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I haven't done the Wednesday reading Meme in ages, but I'm going to try to get back in the habit of doing it at least semi regularly.

What are you currently reading
Carlene O'Neil: One Foot in the Grape: First book in a mystery series about a photojournalist who takes over her family's winery. Dramatic neighbors abound. I'm only just to the murder, but I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

Neil Gaiman: American Gods: I remember this being a huge thing when it came out, and may have been pretty into it if I'd read it then, but I mostly found this to be an interesting idea told in a way that I didn't find interesting, with characters that mostly bored me. I also found Gaiman's detached recounting of incredibly awful things happening to people-mostly to women and POC- to be offputting. I mean, it wasn't bad, it just didn't work for me, aside from a few parts.

Rick Riordan: Blood of Olympus: The last of Riordan's Heroes of Olympus books and, as far as I know, the last in the Percy Jackson series? I was surprised by how low the body count was, but certainly not disappointed, and was glad Raina finally got a lot of page time. Riordan seems to forget that Jason was supposed to be the nominal lead (or colead with Percy, I guess) of this series, and that's ok. I did enjoy this series a lot, possibly more than the first, sdespite never developing an attachment to Jason.

Lauri Robinson: The Bootlegger's Daughter: A romance novel set in the prohibition era. A federal agent goes to a bootlegger's resport undercover to find a mobster, and falls for the bootlegger's daughter, who actually runs the resort. Entertaining, but I was thrown off by how 2/3 of the book take place over 2 days. It seems most romance novels I've read in recent years take place over a short period of time. I remember when most historical romances took place over the span of months or even years.

Noelle Stevenson: Nimona: Nimona is a graphic novel that was originally a webcomic about a young shapeshifter named Nimona, who is assigned as sidekick to Lord Ballister Blackheart, the kingdom's Official Villain, as his sidekick. Ballister was a hero in training until he lost an arm at the hands of his friend, Ambrosius Goldenloin, in a joust. Ambrosius says it was TOTALLY AN ACCIDENT and Ballister says it was done in a jealous rage. Add to this that Ambrosius is the kingdom's main Romantic Hero, and they don't talk much now, except for occasions when Ambrosius tries to arrest Ballister. Ballister is the most moral person in the book and really against random killing. Nimona is really REALLY into being a future supervillain, and prone to turning into various animals that and eat or trample guards, much to Ballister's dismay. It starts with LOLarious hijinks with the honorable and moral villain and his tiny murdering sociopath sidekick trying to expose an evil plot by the organization that runs the kingdom. Then it escalates into illegal experimentation, and legends with darker undertones, and possibly conspiracy theorist lady scientists, and ex-lovers working out epic misunderstandings and drama and trauma and destruction all over the place. I mean, it's great, but boy does it escalate.

Victoria Jamieson: Roller Girl: Graphic novel about a 12 year old girl named Astrid who has always done everything with her best friend, Nicole. When Astrid decides to enroll in Roller Derby Camp for the summer, she assumes Nicole will come with her. Instead, Nicole enrolls in Ballet Camp, and befriends Astrid's nemesis, Rachel. So Astrid lies to her mother that Nicole is going with her, and that Nicole's mother will be picking her up from camp every day (she walks home instead). At camp, Astrid has enthusiasm (sometimes, so much work!) but not much in the way of talent. The book is mostly about a 12 year old growing up and figuring out that life doesn't always going the way you want, but that that isn't always bad. And roller derby. Lots of roller derby.

Patrick Carman, The Land of Elyon series. MG series about a girl named Alex who spends her summers in a border city walled off from the wilderness, snd likes to spend hours and hours exploring the city's labyrinthine library. sadly, thre is little library exploration, but lots of having adventures in the lands beyond the city. Very enjoyable.

Joyce and Jim Lavene: Perilous Pranks, Murderous Matrimony, Bewitching Boots, Fatal Fairies: Up to the current book in a cozy mystery series set at a RenFaire that's open all year and has permanent residents. I really enjoy these books despite the main character having flares of internal misogyny at times (though she does finally seem to become aware of it in the latest book.) Perilous Pranks introduces supernatural elements into the series, which stayed and are becoming increasingly prominent. I don't object, I suppose, it just seems odd to so suddenly switch to that when earlier books made a point to contrast fantasy and reality.

Fujiwara Cocoa: Youko x Boku SS Vol 1: Manga series about youkai and their bodyguards. I watched the anime based on it a few years ago, and based on my recollections, the first few episodes of the anime follow the first volume of the manga pretty faithfully, though I seem to recall the anime having more "cutesy" fanservice and fetishism. I put off reading it for so long because I know the current plot is actually a prologue to the main plot, and wasn't sure how I felt about getting there.


There are other books that I've read and not posted on since I last did this, but I'm too lazy to go through all my tags to see if I missed something I should comment on.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have a bunch of mysteries, romance novels and YA novels checked out from the library, so those, and I intend to do a lot of manga bingeing in the near future, since I haven't read much in recent months.
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

What did you recently finish reading?

The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Several short stories set in the world of the Chronicles of Prydain, but before the main series. Mostly backstories about characters in the series and stories that were told during it, all pretty enjoyable. My favorite was the story about Eilonwy's mother.

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. The fourth Maggie Hope mystery, and one with a title which only relates to about the last 50 or so pages of the book. Centered around the days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this one was a bit odd. MacNeal's audience is primarily American, as far as I know, so Pearl Harbor takes a fair bit of narrative priority in this one. The mystery that Maggie is involved in is almost perfunctory (I would have rather spent the time dealing with her PTSD after the previous book, and her Baby Spies seeing her as a demonic taskmaster) and most of the rest is setting things up for future installments, which look to be changing things up some. Not a bad or disappointing book, but a bit different from what I was expecting.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom. It's been long enough since I read a superhero crossover event that I had forgotten how inconsistent characterization and costuming can be with them. Errr...I was mostly confused by this. If I were caught up with X-stuff in general, I think I would have been into it, but as it is, I was mostly left with irritation at "Jubilee will grow up to be just like Woverine! But angrier and shriekier and irrational. I mean, she is a girl."

X-Men: Muertas by Brian Wood and Terry Dodson. I followed this one more easily than I did Primer and Battle of the Atom, mostly because most of the events were directly related to events in those two volumes, though I have no idea where Rogue went off too. I'm glad there was a mini Gen-X reunion this quickly into my dipping my toes back into superhero comics after years away, but wish there had been more Jubilee/Monet interaction.

Toradora vol 1-4 by Yuyuko Takemiya. Romantic comedy light novel series about a boy who looks like a scary gangster but is actually a sweet and harmless pacifist addicted to cleaning, and a tiny cute girl who's actually extremely rude and violent. They have crushes on the other's respective best friend, and join forces to help the other out. What I've read is entertaining and usually cute, but I don't see myself reading another 6 books about it, especially since it's starting to veer into fanservice territory and having an increasing "cute and helpless" aspect to the heroine ,despite her forceful personality. I do think I'll watch the anime, though.

Coffin Hill Vol 1 by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda. Eve Coffin is a police officer who returns to her hometown after being shot and leaving the force. The catch is that Eve comes from a long line of dark witches, and a monster she let loose as a teenager is back and abducting teenagers in the woods. I thought it was a minseries when I picked it up an the library, but it's an ongiong series. It's a bit bloody for my taste, but I like Eve and the mythology, and am interested in seeing what happens next.

Ao Haru Ride/Blue Spring Ride Vo l1-4 by Io Sakisaka. Enjoyable but sometimes frustrating shoujo who meets her junior high crush in high school, only to find him with an entirely different personality. for the most part, it's very enjoyable with lots of friendshipping with Futaba (the heroine) and the other girls who join her in the student council. The romance is...also enjoyable, but also irritating. A lot of it is sustained by "something is about to happen, but isn't yet" and Futaba's love interest, Kou, is prone to "standoffish shoujo jerk moments. He's far from the worst about that, but a bit of a disappointment after Ren from Strobe Edge, who was really refreshing in that regard, and there's at least one time when his treatment of Futaba made me angry. I've heard some things about future volumes that make me leery, but I've enjoyed it so far, so I'm sticking with it. The anime adapts the first 4 volumes of the manga, minus the last chapter of volume 4, and is extremely faithful. The OAD is about Kou and Futaba's quasi-relationship in junior high, but only the last few minutes has anything significant that wasn't covered in flashbacks in the main anime/manga.

Barakamon Vol 1-2 by Satsuki Yoshino. Handa Seishu is a young calligrapher who gets exiled to an island by his father after he punches the curator of an exhibition for saying Seishu's work is boring. On the island, he constantly gets caught up in the goings on of the locals, particularly the local children and teenagers, when he's supposed to be working on making his calligraphy not-boring. And learning how to not punch old men for offering criticism. He very quickly becomes that guy who sits down to work after lunch and goes out to get a toy out of a tree so the local kids will stop yelling, and then suddenly it's getting dark and he didn't notice because the kids kept him that busy. The main local he interacts with is Naru, a 7 year old girl, and one of the children who used Seishu's house as a hangout while it was abandoned. (The youths collectively decide that occupation is no deterrent.) I find it a sad commentary on a lot of anime that there was zero sexualization of of a young girl being overly attached to the much older male protagonist. It's a very entertaining series. The first 5 or so episodes follow the first two volumes of the manga pretty faithfully, though some events are moved around a bit, based on my recollection of early anime episodes, and a few scenes didn't get animated.

And I think that's everything that i haven't posted on separately since I last did this.

What do you think you'll read next?.

The rest of Magic Breaks, probably start reading Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
Most of this was one very long action sequence taking place over several locations as people kept chasing other people from one island to another.
 
spoilers )
Side note: I'm pretty sure OP is has the record for the most volumes I've ever read of a single manga series. I think both Bleach and Naruto lost me somewhere in the 30s, and Samurai Deeper Kyo would be the lonest series I've finished, but it wasn't quite 40 volumes total.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering. Country house murder mystery set in the 30s, with a mystery novel fanboy for the protagonist. So far it's fairly standard for the genre, but enjoyable.

What did you recently finish reading?

One Piece Vol 46-48 by Eiichiro Oda. The first three volumes of the Thriller Bark arc. TBH, I'm finding this arc a bit dull. It's not a long one, though, and the arcs after it sound much more my thing.

Saga Vol 3 by Brain K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I still really like this space opera, though in this volume, I was more interested in what was going on with Gwendolen and The Will and Co than in the mains. But I could really, really do without the series using "cunt" as t he worst thing you can call a person. It tends to sour me for a while and make me put the book down every time. I still get a kick out of a romance novel being a revolutionary text.

I attempted to read another Nancy Drew nonfiction book, The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys but it kept assuring me that Nancy Drew and Mildred wirt were Not Like Other Girls, and actually kinda masculine and really, part boy. Pass.

The first two books of Fate/Zero by Urobuchi Gen. I was watching the anime (after watching Fate/Stay Night) and baka-tsuki took down the A Certain Magical Index book I was reading, so I switched over. I was pretty into it, until I got to the part in the anime with all the choking, and lost interest int he books, though I did finish the anime. (Urobuchi is also fascinated by certain aspects of the human psyche that I just don't enjoy in my fiction, which also played a big part in earlier parts of the series.) I am looking forward to the new Fate/Stay Night anime, as it seems the first series went down the least interesting of the three possible paths of the VN.


What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure. I received I think 12 arrived hold notices from the library, so we'll see. More One Piece once the next volume arrives, and probably more Sparkler Monthly stuff.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
I liked this a lot more than I did Skypeia.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Currently on book 9 of A Certain Magical Index.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler. After Alice's father dies, she's sent to live with an "uncle" who she's never heard of before. Her uncle is welcoming, but forbids her to go into his huge library, which is in another building. So, of course, she ends up going into the library (eventually), meets talking cats, a boy who appears to be living there, and gets literally sucked into a book. Or two. Or three. The leads being 12 doesn't save us from a predictable and stereotypical "brave good girl x mysterious bad boy of dubious trustworthiness" baby!romance, but their being 12 does keep a lot of the more obnoxious possibilities off the table. It's not really hard to guess where things are going in most parts, but it was a very enjoyable read, and I thought the take on magic was interesting.

One Piece Vol 24-32 by Eichiro Oda. The Skypeia arc was entertaining, but considerably less involving, imo, than previous arcs. I blame the lack of a central character narrative or goal driving it. Instead, it was more "We shall have an adventure! In the Sky!"

mild and brief spoilers )

Soul Eater vol 1-2 by Atsushi Ohkubo. I watchedthe anime recently and really enjoyed it despite a few issues, so I decided to check out the mainga. Normally, I like the manga better when there's an anime based on it, but this is one of the exceptions. The first volume made me think I was watching a 12 year old run around screeching "BOOBIESBOOBIESBOOBIESBOOBIESBOOBIES!!" a lot (so glad the anime cut way back on that). The second volume cut back on that, but I mostly found it dull. Sad. I'd say I might have just lost what it takes to love shounen action in manga form, but I am reading One Piece, so...

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword and Hereville: How Mirka Met A Meteorite by Barry Deutsch. The tagline for the first of these graphic novels is "Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old orthodox Jewish girl." Mirka lives in a village with her father, stepmother, and a number of siblings and stepsiblings. Her stepmother is well-loved, but annoyingly-to-Mirka focused on Useful Household Skills. And sometimes chests. Everything is normal until she ends up encountering an evil pig in the woods. The evil pig eats her homework and happens to belong to a witch. After which, Mirka's life spirals into fighting trolls, winning swords, and outwitting meteorites. All of which Mirka loves, but is actually very, very terrible at. Thankfully, that very large family of her's is not window dressing, and her siblings keep getting pulled into her adventures, and her stepmother offering advice, even if she doesn't actually know that the reason Mirka is getting advice is because "Oh hey, you kid is actually going to use this advice to go fight a troll that wants to eat her." These books are delightful.

Attempted to read Love Roma. It starts with the protagonist going up to a girl in his class who he's never even spoken with and asking her out. When she turns him down due to the fact that they've never spoken and she doesn't even know his name he pretty much badgers her into agreeing to walk home with him with the whole class cheering him on. The series thought it was cute. I was incredibly skeeved.

I think I already posted on everything else that I read.

What do you think you'll read next?.

More of A Certain Magical Index (I should actually SAY something about the series at some point...) and the next arc of One Piece.
meganbmoore: (yuya/mahiro)
This covers through the end of the Barroque Works arc, and is probably a good time to take a small break from the series (I have the next arc checked out from the library, so it won't be too long a break). Despite the high level of genuine enjoyment that I get from the series, the general frustrations that come from reading dude-centric action shounen are getting to me.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (Default)
I believe this is my first time doing this since just before WisCon. Oops? I blame Flight Rising.

What are you currently reading

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. Third book in a GN series about a girl who ends up stranded in deep space with the Pied Piper, a giant mouse, an battle-mad robot and a giant...blob...thing and saves the universe a lot. Sadly, this is apparently also the last book in the series.

I've started reading the A Certain Magical Index novels, having run out of anime. I should say something substantial about the series sometime soon.

What did you recently finish reading?
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer. This is the book I read on the plane to WisCon. IIRC, I found it very entertaining-the basics of the plot are that an over-protected young duke really really really wishes people would let him stand on his own feet and has a series of misadventures when he goes undercover to help extricate a cousin from a lawsuit-but also frustrating due to,well, the lack of women. The hero's love interest is in about 15 pages, maybe, while the main female character-the titular foundling-is in it more, but isn't respected by anyone involved, including Heyer.

One Piece though volume 10 by Eiichiro Oda. I dunno, do I even need to explain the plot to anyone with even a passing familiarity with anime and manga? This is very entertaining, but frustrating due to the fact that, 10 volumes in, we have a whole one regular female character, and one who's pretty much given a supporting role in the plotline dealing with her own origin story. And Nami's great and all, but most shounen manages to do btter than this. It's especially odd since i checked it out knowing that Hiro Mashima was extremely heavily influenced by his time as Oda's assistant (and boy is it obvious) and within a couple volumes, Fairy Tail was all "here's an avalanche of female characters and most of them are background now, but we have 2 central ones and these others are being introduced in a way that says yes, they will be important later" (which is not to say FT is anywhere near perfect, but, you know...) Surprising no one, my favorites so far are Nami (and i'm vaguely curious about what the big Nami ships are) and Zoro (though I spend way too much time wondering how Zoro fights without lopping off his hand. I wonder if his and that dude from RuroKen who keeps an urumi wrapped around his bare waist trade "how not to kill yourself with your somewhat realistic-for-shounen weaponry" tips. i'm very amused with how, so far, the plotlines go vaguely like this:

LUFFY: HELLO! I want you to join my pirate crew!
ZORO/NAMI/SANJI: Uhm, no.
LUFFY: WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN, SAILING OF THE GRAND LINE AND FINDING TREASURE.
Z/N/S: Dude, I said no. I hate pirates. Also, I'm not entirely convinced you understand just what a pirate is.
ACTUAL PIRATEY TYPES: We are here to pillage and raid and kick puppies!
LUFFY: New crewmember! Let's go whomp the bad pirates and show what good pirates with the power of nakama are like!
Z/N/S: Dude, I'm not joining your crew. But I'm down with the whomping.
WHOMPING: *happens with much drama and fanfare and speechifying*
LUFFY: LET US GO SAIL THE SEAS!
Z/N/S: How did I end up-ok, fine, I guess I joined.
LUFFY: Toldja!
Z/N/S: You're really hard to break up with, aren't you.

(And then there's Usopp, who showed up at the harbor with his bags and tried not to look like he was begging to be asked to come along.)

Five Weapons: Making the Grade by Jimmie Robinson. Tyler Shainline is the 13-year-old son of a famous assassin, who is sent to The School of Five Weapons, a school where the children of bodyguards and assassins go to train for their future careers. All students join one of the weapons clubs, and everyone is eager to see which Tyler will join. The problem is, Tyler is actually Enrique, the son of Shainline's butler, who grew up with the real Tyler. Sent as a decoy by Shainline because an old enemy is hunting for him, Enrique doesn't actually know how to use any weapons, and is actually forbidden to learn how to use any. Fortunately, he has a childhood of playing with an assassin-in-training behind him and a very slippery mind, and sets to outwitting the various students who want to challenge him, as well as trying to solve the mystery of the school's shady principal. Very fun.

Tokyo Crazy Paradise Vol 1-10 by Yoshiki Nakamura. AKA, "The very cracktastic scifi mafia series Yoshiki Nakamura did before Skip-Beat. The basic concept is that Tsukasa, the daughter of two police officers, who was raised as a boy (because women are more likely to be victims of violence than men) becomes the bodyguard of her classmate, Ryuji, after her parents die and she and her brothers end up on the street. (I'm not entirely sure whether Tsukasa identifies as male or female, or has even but a lot of thought into it, but the manga refers to her as a girl.) Ryuji, who has been in classes with Tsukasa for several years, has known that Tsukasa is biologically female for some time, but never let her know, and is Secretly In Love with her. And...hijinks? Tsukasa, Ryuji, and Ryuji's fiance, Asago, are all supposed to be 14, but everything-personality, how they interact with others, appearance, etc-all works much better if you ignore that and pretend they're all in the 16-18 range. I like it a lot, but also get frustrated by some things, like how not only are Asago and Tsukasa the only female characters, but they can't stand each other. Part of that is because of Skip-Beat, and how Kyoko pretty much makes ALL her rivals, professional or otherwise, fall for her. And things keep happening that make me think Tsukasa and Asago might start becoming friends, and then it doesn't happening. I also...am aware of some later plot developments, and am more interested in getting to those than the "things happen to challenge Ryuji's leadership/Asago's standing as his fiancee, and they have to find out what's up with this latest drug, but Tsukasa will bash everything into obedience" which is what's happened a few times.

Princeless vol 1 by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin. First volume in a series about a princess (the 6th of 7) who's confined to a tower by her father until a princess strong enough to rule the kingdom rescues her from the dragon hired to guard her. She decides she's tired of boring princes who don't last 5 minutes against the dragon, escapes the tower, and sets off with the dragon to resuce her 6 sister's from their respective towers. Said princess happens to also be black, and possibly lesbian. It can be a bit heavy handed in its "wtf, fairy tales?" moments and th bit where the princess and her future girlfriend go on about women's fantasy armor keeps going after the point has been made until it's almost beating you over the head with it (uhm...maybe less so on that front if you haven't had many long and detailed discussions of the topic itself) but this was extremely enjoyable.

The Bughouse Affair and The Spook Lights Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. The first 2 books in a mystery series about Sabina Carpenter, and former Pinkerton agent, and John Quincannon, a former Secret Service Agent, who now run a detective agency in 1890s San Francisco. largely solid and enjoyable, though they don't offer anything hugely new to the genre. I'm also annoyed by the romantic subplot. Not because it exists-normally I'd enjoy it-but because so far, it's Sabina being very firm about refusing to become romantically involved with her business partner, and John being convinced that if he just keeps hinting hitting on her and openly mooning, she'll miraculously change her mind, even though she keeps telling him to knock it off. I'm pretty sure we're meant to see it as Sabina being stubborn and trying to not give in to the inevitable, as opposed to John ignoring her her repeatedly stated and reinforced choices and wishes.


What do you think you'll read next?.

More Index and One Piece.
meganbmoore: (levy writes)
Last post before WisCon, no idea how much/if I'll be posting while there.

What are you currently reading

In between.

What did you recently finish reading?

Two Ever After High books, The Storybook of Legends and Unfairest of them All by Shannon Hale. Like the webseries it follows the daily lives oof the children of fairy tale characters who are destined to repeat their parent's stories, regardless of how sucky those destinies may be. The protagonists of most stories, naturally, are delighted by this, and the villains and side characters are less so. Like the webseries, the plot revolves around Raven, the daughter of Snow White's Evil Queen, deciding that she isn't having any of that, and the fallout from her decision. The webseries focuses mostly on Raven and Apple, Snow White's daughter, but also spends a lot of time on the daily lives of other characters. The books are almost exclusively focused on Raven and Apple and there's a lot less of the other characters and their issues (I understand there are standalone books for younger readers that focus on the other characters, but my library didn't have them), but there's also a lot of emphasis on Raven and Apple's friendship and the rejection of "destiny." There's also Raven's mother, who went "off script" and tried to take over all the fairy tale kingdoms, and the mystery of two sisters who also rejected their story (one was supposed to kill the other and then die horribly herself, and they weren't having any of that at all) and what happened to them.

Zita the Spacegirl and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl. Graphic novel series about a girl who gets sucked into deep space trying to rescue her friend from alien abduction, and ends up saving the universe a lot while trying to get home. Her sidekicks include a giant mouse, a couple of robot, a giant...claylike dude, a sentient infant spaceship, and the Pied Piper. Piper is a sometimes unscrupulous scientist/inventor who just happens to have a magic flute, and toothpaste that creates doors. Rumpelstiltskin also makes a brief appearance, so I guess a galaxy far, far away is where the child stealers of fairy tales go. There's also Piper's ex, Madrigal, a mysterious space gypsy who holds a grudge. These are FUN. I look forward to future installments.

One Piece volume 1 by Eiichiro Oda. Entertaining, needs more girls. My library has the first few dozen volumes, so hopefully I won't burn out before I read all of them.

And Shion no Ou, which I posted on separately.

What do you think you'll read next?.

I have a Georgette Heyer book to read on the plane to WisCon, and then my nexus is stuffed full of manga, lightnovels, and a few other things.
meganbmoore: (red data girl: goddess)
Akuma no Riddle eps 1-2: This is the series about the all-girls boarding school where 12 members of a class of 13 are trained assassins and in a contest to assassinate the 11th, Haru, a girls with scars on her body and a mysterious past. The assassins get only one attempt each, cannot interfere with each other's attempts, and cannot involve outsiders. One of the assassins, Tokaku falls in insta-love with Haru decides to protect Haru instead, and goes to war with her classmates. Everyone has a mysterious past (mostly angsty, of course) and this series is so incredibly into its concept (and as a result, I think it's played some of its cards too early) that I half expect a narrator to pop up squealing with glee at times.

Have the OP:


Black Bullet ep 1: A virus has forced mankind to live within cities called "monoliths," but the cities aren't able to completely block out the virus. When it infects someone, they turn into monsters and "Promoter," who use special bullets, are brought in to fight them along with their partners, young girls called "Initiators" who were infected by the virus while still fetuses and have superpowers, and are regarded as being "cursed children." So far, the main character, Rentaro, appears to be the only major male character, with the others being his childhood friend/employer, Kisara, his Initiator, Enju, and a rather morbid coroner whose name I didn't catch. Though Enju regards herself as Rentaro's fiance (Enju appears to be about 7-8 and Rentaro appears to have her pretty firmly in the "little sister" category) it doesn't look likely to turn into a harem-type setup. Rentaro and Kisara have a shared angsty past involving the death of her parents, but it will probably end up focusing on Rentaro, because he's a boy and the main character, but it also looks like it'll have a lot of focus on the nature and treatment of the cursed children.

It has the potential to end up one of those series with a lot of potential that end up disappointing in the end, but I have hopes for now.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure eps 1-2. My only previous experience with JJBA is reading the first arc ages ago, back in the Scans Daily days. (I can't recall if I actually read JJBA on SD, but establishing the timeframe and all...) I enjoyed it, but the series was way too daunting to even think about reading all of it on my computer. As far as the anime goes, I understand this is the most popular plotline by far. On the one hand, I see why it's popular and the art direction is certainly interesting, but it's taking "sea of men" to the extreme and what women there are exist to fawn over and be insulted by JoJo (including his mother). Except the one who dies to help JoJo learn as lesson about Stands. There's also enough manly posing to give any other shounen action series secondhand embarrassment.

I may just read the one arc of the manga with a female lead and skip the rest unless that blows me away.

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san ep 1: Shoujo Ai short about a girl named Inugami who likes and acts like a cat, and a girl named Nekoyama who likes dogs. I decided to give it a try because I like Tonari no Seki-kun, the only short series i've watched before this. It was cute and i'll watch more. (I attempted to watch Mangaka-san to Assistant-san, too, but will be passing on it.)

The World is Still Beautiful eps 1-2. Three years ago, the Sun King took over his kingdom, and he's taken over most of the known world since. Shocking everyone, he proposes an alliance with a small kingdom whose royal family is rumored to be able to influence the weather, in exchange for having one of the king's four daughters sent to him as a bride. As the Sun King is rumored to be a lecherous, one eyed ogre, none of the daughters are thrilled with the prospect, but one princess, Nike, is chosen because she loses a battle of rock-paper-scissors with her sisters. Travelling incognito through the Sun Kingdom before her appointment at the royal palace, Nike is surprised to learn that, despite rumors, the kingdom doesn't appear to be oppressed, and has a thriving economy. She's even more surprised to learn that the king, Livius, is a teenager a few years younger then her.

Lots of economics, lots of politics, kidnappings and assassination attempts already, and a lot of Livius being a very intelligent brat and Nike yelling at him to get over himself already and oh, act like a kid already. (Presumably, they'll eventually be love interests. Right now, though, Nike treats him more like an annoying little brother she just acquired, and who she needs to shake some sense into.) I've seen a few people comment that Nike appears to be modeled after Nausicaa, and I agree, but don't think it's a bad thing. (Not that I've seen anyone say it as a negative thing.)

Also, the OD for this one is....odd.  Yes, odd.



I'm watching Mushishi of course, which is about like reading the manga, but with sound and color, and I'm still enjoying Tonari no Seki-kun a lot. I'm very behind on Nisekoi, which is drifting away from being a fake-dating romcom and looks to be turning into more of a straightforward harem series with lots of fanservice. I dunno.

I watched bits of a few other first eps, but wasn't grabbed by them. (Sadly, not even the one with the evil unicorn and the girl who drags along a coffin filled with guns.)  I might try Baby Love again.  I actually liked the bit I saw, especially the protagonist's obsessive notetaking, but it looked to be too Sea of Men to me.
meganbmoore: (7 seeds: hana/natsu)
[personal profile] chaila : Mangas that you would recommend to people interested in trying manga for the first time (asking for a friend).


(Further probing revealed that ladies and Sci-Fi are preferred.)

So, the Sci-fi part is a bit hard. Generally speaking, I watch a fair bit of Sci-Fi, but I don't read much. This applies to Japanese output as much as US output. I've seen a fair number of Sci-Fi anime, but haven't read as much manga in that genre. That said:

These first two are series that I only fairly recently discovered, and so actually have decent writeups of that I don't feel the need to revisit and see if I said anything about them that I wouldn't say now. (Not that I revisited posts on the others. Just saying.)

Karakuri Odette: A relatively short and absolutely adorable series about a teenaged girl who is actually a robot, and who goes to high school. Very very little actual science, but lots of adorableness with Odette making friends and learning about humans and human interactions and becoming obsessed with cute things.

7 Seeds: The only series I'm recommending here that isn't licensed in the
US, and probably never will be. This is a post-apocalyptic series about 5 groups of youths who were cryogenically frozen as a last ditch effort to save some of humanity from a meteor that was expected to wipe out most if not all human life. (My favorite team is the team of "rejects" who were only sent along just in case the teams made up of more prestigious members of society ended up being a bit too precious to survive post-apocalyptic Japan.) The various teams' pods were meant to only release them when environmental conditions were once again safe for humanity, but it's possible that they actually simply broke down. There's a huge variety of characters, both male and female, and a big emphasis that no one type of person or set of skills is better than the other. There are four main narrators, two male and two female, but the male narrators have less POV focus after their respective teams' backstories are told. There are parts that are thoroughly depressing and several volumes made me think I might gnaw my fingers off from fretting, and it is wonderful.

Basara: This is a post-apocalyptic manga by, Yumi Tamura, the genius who is also the creator of 7 Seeds, and it's ALSO a post-apocalyptic series with lots of female characters, but one that is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT IN EVERY WAY. (Except that with Tamura's huge casts, she ends up reusing basic character designs, which can get a tad confusing.) While 7 Seeds is very psychological and is about survival, Basara is a somewhat more conventional adventure/romance in structure. The apocalypse came and went and Japan is now a somewhat feudal society, built on the remains of the old, and there's the standard of the ruthless royal family with various members ruling over parts of Japan. The main character, Sarasa, lives in the Red King's kingdom. Her twin brother, Tatara, is the chosen one" who is supposed to overthrow the royal family, and so the Red King has her village attacked and Tatara is killed. So Sarasa hacks off her hair and pretends to be Tatara, claiming that it was actually Sarasa who was killed in the attack. Then Sarasa sets off to build an army and destroy the royal family. As one does. Along the way she meets and falls in love with a young man named Shuri, who, whoops, turns out to actually be the Red King, who also hates his family and is plotting to overthrow them, and thinks Tara is a dangerous force who will only end up hurting the kingdom. This inevitable angstorama reveal actually doesn't come into play for ages and ages, and much of the series is the two running around post-apocalyptic Japan (sometimes together, often not) finding allies and preparing to go to war with each other and having internal monologues about how they must destroy their enemy both for the people and to create a better world for THEIR ONE TRUE LOVE (aka, Secretly the Enemy). They also exchange messages via adorable messenger owls. Among the myriad of allies, the ABSOLUTE BEST are the pirate queen, the inventor/spy girl, and the flamboyantly crossdressing angsty actor. Like 7 Seeds, the array of women who are TOTALLY COOL YUMI TAMURA DOESN'T CARE IF THIS IS CONVENTIONALLY A COOL TYPE is pretty vast, and there are a variety of interesting relationships, with romantic relationships not always being prioritized over the others.

As you can probably tell, I'm not completely rational about the series, as it's one of the earlier series I fell madly for, and it's been one of my favorites for years and years. The series is licensed in the US, but some volumes are out of print. The publisher, Viz Media, has it available in digital format, though, and it can probably also be acquired through the library system.

Claymore: This one is fantasy, though there are some sci-fi elements going on off screen, and this is the only series here whose target audience isn't female. Claymore is an action series about part-demon women who go around their country slaying demons who pray on people. And then things go fubar and the organization they work for may or may not be evil and there may be rebellions and teams of swordswomen in black leather that make the entire fandom swoon. The warriors are all raised to be stoic loners with no personal connections, and so when we meet them, most have only had one or two important personal connections since childhood, if that. It's part of the shounen action genre, in which "we fight and yell at each other a couple times and then are BFF" is A Thing, and so its more reserved approach to the protagonists making personal connections is rather different from most shounen manga, and its primarily female cast is pretty unique. As a warning, it really is a very violent series, and body parts tend to go flying a lot.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: A much lighter series than any of the above save for Karakuri Odette. This is about a girl who discovers that she's the reincarnation of the moon princess, and has to find the reincarnations of her guardians, who are all named after planets. This is one of the big classics of the Magical Girl genre, and rightly so. The characterization can be rather basic, but in a good way if that makes sense, and the series just assumes that it's perfectly natural for all the destined guardians of the universe to be female (eventually, there are so many that you literally lose count, and it's glorious. Rather like Claymore, but with hearts and sparkles instead of flying bodyparts). And while there's a central romance, it never really takes attention away from all the girls and their friendships, and the boy in question has a habit of getting abducted, brainwashed, and poisoned, sometimes in combination.

Skip-Beat: This one actually has no sff elements at all, and I'm including it because I would feel like I was committing a crime against my soul if I didn't. Skip-Beat is about Kyoko, a veryveryvery traditional and obedient girl who quits school and goes to Tokyo with her boyfriend to support him in his career as a rising ambition. Except it turns out that said boyfriend is actually running around with other girls while she's cooking for him and working to keep his rent paid, and brought her along to be a housekeeper. point, it gets good because then she swears she will get EPIC REVENGE by...becoming a more famous idol than he is and sets off with singleminded, vengeful ambition. Except then it turns out that, well, she's actually GOOD at acting, and enjoys the work. Kyoko can be ruthlessly singleminded and analytical and vengeful one second and then squeeing over something cute the next. She also possesses the superpower of turning every single one of her rivals into her reluctant fangirls, and pretty openly platonically (or so we're told) crushes on the first of them, Kanae, who sometimes finds herself internally warring with her pride vs Kyoko's expected enjoyment of something cute and girly. it sometimes gets sidetracked by the (fairly reasonable) angst of the male lead/Kyoko's love interest, Ren, but never for too long, and is better than many series about not forgetting about her when that happens.
meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)
I don't think I've done this since mid-December, but i also posted separately on most of what I read for a while though, so this is just for what I've read in January, but not posted on separately.

What are you currently reading

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn. Fluffy and entertaining Regency Romance. Like most Quinn books, I'm enjoying it, but will probably have forgotten half the details a week after having finished. At about 1/3 of the way through, the best bit has been the angsty, math genius hero very seriously debating the existence of unicorns with an eleven year old. (Spoiler: the eleven year old wins.)

Legend of the Condor Heroes by Jin Jong. I'm still in the first chapter, which is and Guo Jing and Yang Kang's fathers. It's fine so far, but I don't think i'll actually get into it until Huang Rong shows up.


What did you recently finish reading?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. YA fantasy than has the conventional framework of "orphaned waif learns s/he is secretly of the magic upper class and is whisked away from humble beginnings (and no-longer-socially-appropriate childhood BFF) to court," except this Special Orphan is a girl, and her powers/supposed destiny aren't necessarily what we're led to believe. Loosely based on Russian history, the book isn't strikingly original in any description, it's just much better done than most of its type, which makes it feel much fresher. It also managed to feature a YA romantic triangle that didn't annoy me, which doesn't happen often.

"Hmm...I appear to be in love with my best friend, who might now be dead, and who I don't think was actually that interested in me to start with. But he's been gone for a while and this other guy is nice to me and is kinda hot is that dark and mysterious way-no, wait. He's actually an evil sociopath. No more of that. And it turns out my friend is still alive WE JUST MYSTERIOUSLY NEVER GOT EACH OTHER'S LETTERS. I think I'll force a sit down and we'll discuss this like intelligent, rational people. After everyone else stops trying to imprison and/or kill us."

Bronze no Tenshi Vol 1-3 by Chiho Saitou. Shoujo manga about Alexander Pushkin and his wife, Natalia Goncharov. It's 7 volumes total and I've enjoyed what I've read, but it was starting to drag a bit for me, so I'll get back to it later.

Remembrances for A Certain Pilot by Inumura Koroko. This is the basis for the anime movie The Princess and the Pilot, and the prequel to the books the airing anime The Pilot's Love Song is based on. This is an adventure novel about a young pilot in a world similar to early 20th century Europe* who is hired to secretly escort the prince's fiancee through several thousand miles of enemy airspace. For the large part, what you expect to have happen happens, and I was enjoying it in a rather relaxed way until i got to the end and realized I'd gotten invested without realizing it. I look forward to watching both the movie and the series.

*(Has anyone ever actually sat down and pondered the popularity of this kind of thing in japan? Not that i'm complaining at all, I just find it interesting.)

Pandora Hearts Vol 9-13 by Jun Mochizuki. These volumes were pretty backstory heavy (and I don't think mochizuki is anywhere near done with that yet), and also significantly darker than earlier volumes. Also about 50x as heavy with the "Alice in Wonderland" references. I am enjoying this series a lot, but wish there was more Ada and Alice, and less Vincent. I think there are several more volumes out in English, but the library don't have them yet.


What do you think you'll read next?

Probably another romance novel, or some YA.
meganbmoore: (chuno spy lady)
Dororo is an Osamu Tezuka manga from the 60s, and the basis for the 2007 movie that is near and dear to the hearts of several people reading this right now.

The general plot is that a samurai makes a bargain with 48 demons that id they'll give him power, he'll let each of them have a body part belonging to his firstborn child. When the child is born, he has the baby (miraculously alive despite the missing body parts) sent down the river in a basket. The baby is found by a monk who happens to also be a mad scientist. The monk names the baby Hyakkimaru and builds him prosthetic body parts. As an adult, Hyakkimaru sets off on a quest to kill the demons and make his body complete. Somewhere along the way, he acquires a cocky pre-adolescent thief named Dororo, who also has an angsty secret past, and they proceed to spend about 750 pages squabbling and pretending that they really really don't secretly have squishy platonic feelings for each other.

It...is very very 60s, and the layouts sometimes confused me, having more in common with the page layouts for american comics than those for manga, both modern and what little older manga I've read. (By "older," I'm referring to 60s-70s series, almost all ones licensed by Vertical, like this one.) Despite the concept, it's considerably tame and far less madcap than than Princess Knight, the only other Tezuka manga I've read in its entirety (I also read some of Unico, but sadly couldn't really get into it) which made it easier to read in larger chunks.  It's fun and its influence of later series is very obvious and interesting to see, but it's also very very dated in many ways.

However! I know that most of those reading this who have heard of Dororo mostly want to know about one thing, so I'll get on that.

spoilers for gender stuff )

The series was previously released in individual volumes, but is now available in one ginormous omnibus from Vertical.
meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)


What are you currently reading
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Not far enough into it to have an opinion.

I'm a few chapters into Rose of Versailles, and it's very different, so far, from the anime, which I knew to expect going in, as the mangaka started it expecting to do a series about Marie Antoinette.



What did you recently finish reading?
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Dreaming of Paradise by Fuyumi Ono, and all of Venus Capriccio by Nishikata Mai, all of which I posted on separately.

Young Miss Holmes Vol 5-7 by Kaoru Shintani. These volumes are available in the US as a single omnibus inthe US, and complete the series. I understand there's a sequel, but haven't found it anywhere yet. This is the manga about Sherlock Holmes's crime solving niece, and it is great, though I don't have anything to add that I didn't say about it when I read the other volumes earlier this year.

Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki, Vol 1-8: Shounen series set in a pseudo-Victorian world about a boy who falls into an abyss, gets linked to a residence of the abyss named Alice, and pops back out 10 years later, thinking it's only been a few minutes. Alice in Wonderland references are a dime a dozen, but in a fun way. I read a bit of this when it first hit stateside, liked it, but kept not getting back to it. The actual plot, once stripped of the trappings, is fairly typical shounen, but I find it very entertaining and enjoy the characters and am generally a sucker for "Lookit my Lewis Carroll references, aren't the clever in their blatancy?" Also, the main character, Oz, gets spoiled for a major character death in his favorite book series (that he's now 10 years behind on) and pretty much has what's my internal reaction anytime someone blithely lets out major spoilers for something I'm reading/watching. Except that his reaction is very very external.

There is one thing that bugs me though.

spoiler )

What do you think you'll read next?

Pretty sure reading the rest of what i'm on now will keep me occupied for a bit.
meganbmoore: (clare has a big sword)
I forgot how rewarding it is to read this manga and be treated with pages and pages of nothing but women in armor (or matching black leather, depending on what group your with at the time) and to have about 95% of the named characters be women. (Actually, I think this series must be approaching 100 named female characters, even if a number don't actually last that long.)

Then again, I also forgot just how demented Norihiro Yagi's brain can be when it comes to monstrous bodies, and his fondness for flying body parts.

And I have to say, while I know some people weren't able to get into the series because the friendships between the characters were slow moving, for me they resonate more than in most shounen I've read precisely because the characters were trained since childhood to avoid connections and to not have many feelings makes it resonate even more when they rebel against their training and forge bonds. And, with the rare exception, bonds with other women.

spoilers employ liberal use of capslock )
meganbmoore: (shoujo height difference)
Inu x Boku SS is a 12 episode anime that aired early in 2012 (with an OVA several months later). Set in a high security apartment building called "Maison de Ayakashi," all the residents are part human and part youkai, believed to be reincarnations of their youkai ancestors, and many have youkai "secret service" bodyguards.

Our Heroine, Ririchiyo, is a bashful tsundere prone to making haughty snipes when she's nervous (which is pretty much any time she has to talk to someone) and her bodyguard is Soshi, a ninetailed fox who is a master of a variety of handkissing poses and prone to swearing his eternal devotion whilst surrounded by a field of shoujo sparkles, and occassionally hinting at a dark and angsty past. (Our Heroine isn't particularly thrilled at being dropkicked into a supershoujo.) Other residents include a lazy Ittan-momen who operates as a big brother figure for the rest of the residents, a yuki-onna who appears to have every possible fetish that involves teenaged girls, a young gashdokuro who is exceptionally spacey and obsessed with food, but tends to snap to attention when the local tanuki is threatened, while the tanuki, for his part, is a sweet and earnest boy who wants to be seen as a delinquent because delinquents are Tough Guys, and the tanuki's rabbit-ear-wearing gossipmonger bodyguard. There are also a variety of maids, as well as Ririchiyo's nomadic fiance, who is obsessed with S&M and runs around in a cape and mask. (Do not expect his ideas about S&M to have anything to do with reality.)

It's a shounen series that often feels like a straightup shoujo series, up until you get to the fanservice, which is jarring until you just get used to it. Which actually describes a lot of the series, which is very entertaining and addictive, but also weird and had me going "what am I watching?" a lot. The OVA is 100% random crack that just had me staring at my screen. There's a central romantic plotline about which I have mixed feelings (on the one hand, there's an adorable crackyness to it, on the other hand, the fact that he has a stalker wall of Ririchiyo is only the tip of that iceburg.), but a lot of the series is also about the residents and their varieties of relationships, and Ririchiyo making friends and trying to get better at communicating with people. I was pleased that, unlike many anime, the revelations about Soshi's Dark and Angsty Past didn't overpower Ririchiyo's narrative and resolution.

I've read spoilers for the manga after the material covered in the anime and can't help but think that I'd love that plot, but not as a followup to the first arc. (But if they make it an anime, I'll still watch it.)
meganbmoore: (baccano: intrepid reporter)
The OP for this anime begins with Our Hero, Yakumo, curled up in a box with chains crisscrossing everwhere and the proceeds to have a somewhat gothic and rather emo OP sequence with repeated shots on Yakumo clutching his head in agony and slamming against a couple walls from the power of his angst. (I tried looking for it on youtube for your enjoyment, but was thwarted.) Yakumo has a very difficult life.

This is a fairly standard but very fun supernatural detective anime in which (inevitably) Our Hero is a grumpy and antisocial bishounen who is a college student who can see ghosts who offers up his services for a fee. Then he starts getting dragged around by an inevitably perky classmate, Haruka, and appears to start foretting to charge people. The police also pull them in for help on cases, because no one's better than 20 year old psychics who never go to class. This is one of those series that goes "We are not a romance series. Understand? Not. A. Romance. Series. But in case you are wondering, we believe you should be shipping and will be sure to remind you every episode, plus have all the other characters ship them. But we aren't a romance series." (Actually, the in-canon shipping is exceptionally amusing, as it's essentially "Don't chase her off! You'll never get another friend your age with your attitude, much less someone who might be interested in dating you!")

There's a metaplot involving a mystery about Yakumo's parents (specifically, who his father is and what happened to his mother), plus a mysterious creepy dude with shades and his sociopathic blonde sidekick who seems to get rather excited when she sees dead people. Or weapons. Or blood. The metaplot is sometimes good and sometimes...not, and there are backstory aspects I don't care for (I'm pretending one character's background doesn't exist) and some of the drama surrounding it gets a bit absurd towards the end, but it largely adds to the entertainment value of the series.

Early episodes especially are reminiscent of Ghost Hunt, but with a considerably more likable male lead, but it manages to separate itself from too many comparisons before long, and has a more satisfying ending than I remember Ghost Hunt having. (Of course, it may just be a rule that anime adaptations of Fuyumi Ono's works are allowed to wrap up what's going on at the time but leave important metaplot elements hanging.)
meganbmoore: (strange girl)
Somehow, I ended up not having volume 22. Thankfully, Gintama has little continuity, and few lasting changes. It's too busy making puns, being weird, and parodying other shounen.

Speaking of other shounen, mixed somewhere in these volumes is a brilliant parody of Bleach training sequences. This prompted me to check to see if I remembered certain Bleach spoilers re: Ichigo's mother correctly. I did. No one who reads Bleach is allowed to complain about Clamp or Kaori Yuki being depraved or twisted again.

spoilers )

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