meganbmoore: (baccano: intrepid reporter)
 187 x Durarara!! x2 Ten

here ) .

meganbmoore: (fsnubw: rin/archer/beach)
 170 x Durarara!! x2: Sho

here ) 
meganbmoore: (too many books)
What did you recently finish reading?

I didn't make any notes about books as I finished them like I usually do, and some of these were read over a month ago, so my memory is hazy in some cases. I probably also forgot a few. All cozy mysteries and comics here.

Vicki Delany's Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen and Peg Cochran's Berried Secrets, which I am combining because I pretty much have the exact same thing to say about them. They're both the first books in mystery series (one set in a town that's Christmas themed all year round, the other is set on a cranberry farm) are were enjoyable but not overly memorable. I'll read future books in both series, but don't know what I'll remember from one book to the next.

Jenn McKinlay's at the Drop of a Hat and Copy Cap Murder, the 2nd and 3rd books in a more memorable series about two cousin who own and run a millinery shop, which may or may not be haunted by their grandmother's ghost. There's nothing about the mysteries themselves that stand out, but the characters are much more lively and memorable.

Amanda Carmack's Murder at Westminster Abbey, Murder in the Queen's Garden and Murder at Whitehall, the 3rd-4th books in an Elizabethan series about one of Elizabeth's musicians, Kate. I liked but did not love the first book, set in the last months of Mary Tudor's reign, but I got really into the series once it moved to court. The mysteries are heavily influenced by the politics and conspiracies of the time, but told primarily through the women at court and, sometimes, the lower and middle classes, with the men primarily serving as Kate's sidekicks. (This approach has made me not hate Robert Dudley in this series, a first for fictional depictions of him.) There is also a heavy focus on the Boleyn's and Elizabeth as a Boleyn, which is a nice change as I feel most Elizabethan fiction tends to treat it like the Boleyn's faded into the relative background after Anne Boleyn's death, or glossed over the fact that they're important because they're her mother's relatives. There's also a central love triangle in which I actually like both of Kate's suitors, which is unusual for me.

Greg weisman & Pepe Larraz's Kanan: the Last Padawan Vol 1, which is about Kanan from Star Wars Rebels and how he survived Order 66 and, well, became Kanan. It's a good look at things immediately after the prequel trilogy, and pretty much confirms my theories about how most clones dealt with Order 66. (They aren't happy theories.)

Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca's Darth Vader Vol 1-2, which is setting between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and has overlapping plot points with the current Star Wars comic. I've never particularly cared about Darth Vader outside of "good villain" and his metanarrative role re: Luke and Leia, and only like Anakin even a bit in The Clone Wars, but I really enjoyed these two volumes. I find Vader's evil replica of the OT heroes interesting, and it does a good job of developing Vader's reasons for his later actions.

The first 10 chapter's of minidura! by Narita Ryohgo, which is a gag series about chibi versions of various Durarara!! characters having adventures. I'm not sure exactly when in the timeline it's supposed to be set, but there aren't any spoilers after the first half of season 1. Pretty cute and funny.

What do you think you'll read next?

Manga, and whatever holds the library gets in for me.
meganbmoore: (ans: cosplay)
This anime season is about halfway over, so I guess I should actually comment on the shows I'm watching?

Fairy Tail Zero
: A prequel arc that covers the founding of the Fairy Tail Guild. Shortest plot summary: Two girls (one of whom becomes the founder of the guild) who are the only survivors of a massacre in their village meet three treasure hunters (2 of whom play important parts in the regular timeline, and the other is someone's dad) and they have adventures and learn how to become powerful wizards. The spinoff manga it's based on is only one volume long, so there's filler, but it's still pretty fun. There are references to the regular timeline and hints dropped about backstory the regular plot hasn't gotten to yet, but I'd say it's pretty accessible to people who might be curious about the series, but not want to dive head first into a 250+ episode shounen anime, once you get past the first 6 or so minutes of the first episode, which is pretty much just 2 of the main characters wandering around.

Durarara!!! x2: Whatever the current arc is called. Not much to say that I didn't say in my posts about the first season and first 2 parts of season 2. I love it even when I shouldn't, but there are so many plotlines going on that I wouldn't know how to even talk about it without needing multiple paragraphs and lots of spoilers. (Though at least some people are tarting to make decent choices and try to resolve things, though other people just keep making increasingly more terrible decisions and listening to the wrong advice.) This season has a tendency to have alternating episode structures, where one episode focuses on the Current Big Thing and checks in a bit on other things, and then the next episode tries to touch base with all the plots ever and go "oh yeah, and huge thing over there." Not a bad thing by any means, though I watched the first seasons so fast that I didn't notice whether or not they did the same.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: I think I like season 2 more than season 1. Don't get me wrong, I loved season 1, but not a whole lot happened as far as a central plotline goes, whereas this season has had an extended storyline and lots of action so far. Sometimes, though, I feel like going "who got angst on my fluffy fantasy shoujo romance?"

Haruchika: The only one I'm watching this season that's actually new. A mystery series about a girl named Chika who joins the brass band in high school, and learns that one of the boys is her childhood friend, Haruta. Together they investigate mysteries in the lives of other students and drag everyone they meet into their club. Normally, you'd expect the series to end with Chika and Haruta romantically interested in each other, even if they don't admit it, but in this case, Haruta is gay and they have a crush on the same teacher. (Who, thankfully, doesn't seem to reciprocate either of their feelings.) I enjoy it, and it's noteworthy as an anime with an explicitly gay lead that isn't marketed as BL, but it has a tendency to have Haruta do all the investigating and solving and then revealing everything in a long spiel, while Chika comes along without really having a clue what's going on, and Haruta sometimes tends to go out of his way to say something mean or hurtful to Chika just because he can find an opportunity to, and I feel like I'm meant to go "That Haruta! So snarky!" in those scenes. More recent episodes have been better about both those things, but I feel like the anime has a habit of falling into a "boys=intellect and logic and girls=emotion and passion" mindset, though less obviously so with the supporting characters.
meganbmoore: (baccano: intrepid reporter)
I have now plowed through all available episodes of Durarara!! X2.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (baccano: grace before psychopaths)
After trying and failing several times over the last few years to get past the first episode of Durarara!, I finally succeeded and watched the entire first season over the last 4 days.

DRRR! is about Ikebukuro and street gangs and criminal masterminds and evil scientists and urban legends and internet chatrooms and almost normal people "WTF"-ing at everything a lot as a steadily increasing number of supernatural things start happening around them.

It is very problematic in many ways, but also very addicting once you get into it.

The best parts, in no particular order, are:

1. Celty Sturleson, a dullahan whose head was stolen 20 years prior to the start of the series. She is convinced that her head is somewhere in Ikebukuro, where she currently works as a transporter. She can be a bit of an airhead (no pun intended) and people tend to think she's a supervillian when in reality she spends half her time running around saving people and adopting stray teenagers. She is quite possibly the most normal and grounded person in this series.

2. Kyohei, Walker, Erika and Saburo. A quartet of otaku who are always riding around in their van, and derive an enormous amount of delight out of getting to charge to the rescue of whoever is currently in danger every few episodes. Sometimes they're a bit too late to be Big Damn Heroes (or get ordered to stay in the van) and it is The worst Day Of Their Lives.

3. Our trio of (kinda) central protagonists. Mikado, a shy but bored boy from the country who moves to Ikebukuro to attend school with his childhood friend, Kida, said childhood friend, who is extremely exuberant, and Anri, their mutual crush who is even shyer than Mikado, not to mention introverted and perpetually on te receiving end of bullying. They all have angsty pasts and Deep Dark Secrets. Ok, 2 of them have angsty pasts and Deep Dark Secrets. One of them has a secret that initially wouldn't have been all that huge if they'd just come out with it to their BFFs then it gets increasingly awkwards and balloons into the hottest of hot messes for the trio. Between them, they include a potential future criminal mastermind, one of the top 3 most physically dangerous people in the series despite an innocent appearance, and...well, I mean, the third one has the ability to summon huge crowds of people to stare hatefully at you and your henchmen until you are forced to shuffle away in humiliation, or to create impromptu chain rescue groups. But mostly they're cute kids who keep getting caught up in weird stuff and are involved in a permanent yet not annoying love triangle.

Incidentally, the final arc would have lasted about 2-3 episodes if they'd just sat down and talked about their secret identities and extracurricular activities instead of being all secretive and trying to secretly save each other. They have a lot of secrets.

4. The eternal war between Izaya, the professional troll and the guy behind most of the troubles in the series, and Shizuo, the ex-bartender whose entire life is an endless stream of over-the-top Parkour stunts. The latter is the most absurd character in a series full of absurd characters.

5. The fact that Celty manages to make a "OMG Shizuo no" face every time Shizuo loses his temper despite not actually having a face. Or just Celty and Shizuo being socially awkward dorks together.

6. Celty's occasional turns as Anri's Knight in Shining Armor. HEARTS IN MY EYES.

The bad:

1. Why so many stalkers and creepy childhood obsessions? Why so many romantic pairings involving stalking and/or creepy childhood obsessions? I say that actually liking a couple of said pairings, but really, there should be a limit to how many of those things one series can have.

2. A bunch of other problematic stuff I don't actually want to get into.

3. It frequently forgets that it isn't Baccano. That there would be similarities to Baccano is inevitable. Both series are based of light novels by the same author, are made by the same studio, and share a lot of the creative team, and both series feature a huge cast of characters who operate in separate but frequently overlapping spheres. But the pacing, tics and narrative approach are almost identical, and the handling of the fast paced build to minor and major climaxes is mostly the same as in Baccano. This does contribute to the general addictiveness of the series, but practically begging for constant comparisons can also work against it. It does get better about this, but part of why I failed multiple times to get into it was because the first episode was relying so heavily on being like Baccano that my not being as immediately interested in the plot or characters was harder to get past than it normally would have been. Without being forced to compare them in my head, I probably would have been interested enough to keep going the first time I tried to watch it. It does get better about this throughout the season. ("Not enough women" was also an issue for me with the pilot. It also gets better about this, but could still do better.)

The 3rd part of season 2 (or however they're breaking it down/whatever they're calling it) just started airing, and unless I burn out, I imagine I'll tear through what's available this week before returning to my regularly scheduled kdramas.


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