Posts Tagged 'Review'

Minky Momo and the Bridge over Dreams

by dm00

 

Minky Momo on the bridge

 

Inspired by chatter about an “anime licensing wish list”, I watched Minky Momo: Yume ni Kakeru Hashi (Minky Momo and the bridge over dreams) last night.

It’s a neglected treasure made in 1993 during the golden age of the OAV — the era when an expermental work like Angel’s Egg or Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer could be made. This simple little film is not embarassed to be in the company of those films (though it’s a good deal more accessible and less “arty”).
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Kingyo used books mono yes, but no ware?

by dm00

Where's the bookstore cat?

I read Kingyo used books from Viz’s IKKI imprint recently (sample chapters can be found here).

It’s about redemption through (used) manga. If the woman who works in the bookshop (the owner’s long-suffering grand-daughter) were a good deal more bright-eyed and bubbly, it could be like Aria substituting old manga series for Venice. Real manga are used as examples in this series — there’s an appendix describing the series and mentioning whether they’re out of print or still available in Japan (one of the highlighted series is Dr. Slump).

But she’s not Akari, nor even Aika. The series seems to be missing something. Or maybe out-of-print manga series just aren’t as compelling to newcomers as Neo-Venezia is. I imagine the book works better for an adult Japanese audience, for whom many of the series are probably remembered with fondness and nostalgia.
(That said, I am going to look for one of the series mentioned — a manga biography of Hokusai called Sarusuberi.)

The initial draw is books, and mostly it stays that way, except it doesn’t pull it off (and there’s a bit of clunker plot-element in the form of a young man obsessed with the Japanese Tintin). I think the first chapter is the one-shot that launched the series, and it is a fine short-story about reconnecting with old friends and reminiscing about old manga series. That has a certain charm that can reach a foreign audience unfamiliar with the specific works. Later we have a chapter about someone whose sour mood is cured by some old gag-manga series. But we’re not in on the joke because we’ve never seen the series. The hook isn’t baited for us.

The 84, Charing Cross Road of manga has yet to come to these shores, it seems.

The book ends with one-page overviews of the manga highlighted in each chapter. These are a real database animal addition, and rather charming (they’re written by a genuine used bookshop owner).

This book, with its bibliomanic characters, reminds me a bit of some of the gentler stories in Read or dream, the Read or die manga-spin-off about the three Paper Sisters. That series also had a nostalgic love for books and book-centric plots (a library that appears only once every ten years; a lost book containing a love-note), though it also had a great deal of silliness (the sisters foil an alien invasion).

Still, thank you, Viz, for bringing it over. Now translate Sarusuberi, please.

Review of Satoshi Kon: the illusionist

by dm00

Book cover

I just finished Andrew Osmond’s Satoshi Kon: the illusionist. I recommend it for any Kon fan — it’s full of tidbits gleaned from Kon interviews (including an email interview done by Osmond), and discusses Kon’s works, Kon’s life, and Kon’s attitudes toward his own works. Osmond is a fan — he is a prominent poster on the Nausicaa-net mailing list back in the day — and he knows how to appreciate Kon’s works. Reading the book is like spending an afternoon with an articulate, film-literate friend talking about Kon’s films, with nary a whiff of cineaste pretentiousness.

Continue reading ‘Review of Satoshi Kon: the illusionist

Bakezaregotari

by dm00

Yummy Take cover art

Yummy Take cover art

When I first read the description of NisiOisin’s Zaregoto:

It’s the vacation of a lifetime, a trip to a remote island filled with geniuses – and murder.

On Wet Crow’s Feather Island, a tiny speck in the Sea of Japan, lives Akagami Iria, the exiled daughter of a powerful family. Born into great wealth, she was a princess of the highest pedigree – until she was cut off by the leader of the Akagami Foundation. For the last five years, she’s lived on Feather Island with her maids. But she hasn’t been alone. She has invited the best minds Japan has to offer to come and stay with her.

And so 19-year-old college student Ii-chan and his best friend, computer genius Kunagisa Tomo, find themselves as Iria’s guests at her elaborate mansion. Surrounded by fascinating women – a chef, a fortune-teller, a scholar, and an artist, not to mention his own friend Tomo – Ii-chan is feeling a little overmatched intellectually. But the sudden discovery of a grisly murder sends the island into shock. Ii-chan discovers that he does possess a bit of genius: the ability to discover what is real and what is fake… who is who they claim to be – and who is a killer.

I wasn’t particularly excited.  “Oh, a locked-room mystery on an isolated island, how uncontrived”.  Not even Andrew Cunningham clearly plumping for it and Omo being cryptic was enough to interest me.

But then I got hooked on NisiOisin’s Bakemonogatari with it’s odd characters and their odd monologues, and grew hungry for more.

Well, if you’re looking for a hit of that Bakemonogatari magic, this is a good place to look.  Once again you have your nebbish narrator surrounded by weird women with the ability to spin words into webs of fascination.  NisiOisin actually manages to make his characters’ supposed genius at least credible (even if they do take a bit long to seize on the post hoc).

And, hey, it’s a pretty decent mystery.  Even better: there’s a twist to the solution that even eludes the main character, delivered with the sort of punch fans of Bakemonogatari are accustomed to.

The only bad thing is that Del Rey doesn’t seem to plan to bring the second volume of the series out until June of next year.  Give them encouragement.  Go buy it.

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to Haruhi Suzumiya

by dm00

 

The cover of <i>The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya</i>, a novel

The cover of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, a novel

 

Don’t panic, Kyon.

I haven’t had so much fun since friends started babbling about this thing they’d seen called “The adventures of Asahina Mikuru”.

Continue reading ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to Haruhi Suzumiya’

Nomad Super Awesome Everything* Review

By Nomad (back in action, and rarin’ to go) Otto

*to a very small value of everything

I’m back from flatland, and ready to produce a work of staggering genius, so awesome it will completely blow all y’all away. Or at least that was the original plan. Of course, that would require an idea about what to write about, along with a thesis and all that good stuff. So, instead, you get another edition of me reviewing crap. Whee. However, it’s good stuff (mostly) that I’m reviewing this time, so it’s not like there’s nothing to be gained by reading this. If, on the other hand, you find me being rude amusing, well, it’s not ALL good stuff, so you won’t go home unhappy either. So, what are we waiting for? See y’all below the fold.

Guess what this has to do with the rest of the review

Continue reading ‘Nomad Super Awesome Everything* Review’


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