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#102 Mar 26 2013 at 1:34 PM Rating: Good
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How is Jojo going btw? Dropped it or continuing?
#103 Mar 26 2013 at 1:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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Might take it up again now that I knocked out a few short, older series. Not sure if I have the time/inclination to wade through over a hundred volumes though; I don't think I've ever read that much of one series Smiley: lol
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#104 Mar 29 2013 at 11:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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Ha! Just kidding about being done for a while! Smiley: lol

Want to feel depressed? Try reading Undercurrent. It's only 11 chapters, but man it lays on the drama and emotions hard. It's about a woman named Kanae who runs a bathhouse and one day her husband simply disappears. No body, no trail, nothing; she's left scratching her head and trying to figure out what happened. Did he leave for another woman? Did she run him off somehow? Did he get killed by someone? Did he commit suicide? The story is about trying to live on while coping with these questions. A second story starts up late in the series when a little girl in the neighborhood gets kidnapped, which unleashes some long-buried memories of Kanae's childhood and the connection she unknowingly shared with her quiet part-time assistant Hori.

The story is good and gets relatively wrapped up by the end, but it's certainly not a happy ending. As Kanae herself says, even if her husband came back it's not like things would suddenly be fixed. So basically the story is about getting over trauma, not blaming yourself for things outside your control, and relying on the people around you. Still depressing, though!
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#105 Apr 03 2013 at 7:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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So, I am enjoying the heck out of Narutaru; 8 volumes in, 4 to go. It's done by the same mangaka who did Bokurano, which I remember starting (though I forget if I finished it, because I don't remember the end). The theme and drawing styles are similar, and the premise is also kinda similar. In Narutaru, an energetic middle-schooler named Shiina finds a cute star-shaped creature while vacationing at her grandparents' house. The creature, which she names Hoshimaru, is a "dragon-child," and several (or several dozen; I've seen about 10 or so so far) of these have been discovered around the world. What starts out as a a cutesy "middle-schooler gets a magical friend" manga is getting darker and darker. Some of the dragon-children holders are down-right sadistic, and while most of the characters are around 12-15, there are a lot of mature themes (violence, rape, torture, bullying, suicide, implied incest). Besides the violence the manga isn't too graphic, but yikes, is it getting dark.

The manga reminds me a bit of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with a dash of Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni (in that a lot of characters just seem to snap and start killing people). If you've read Bokurano, this has a very similar feeling to it. Looking forward to seeing how it ends!
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#106 Apr 03 2013 at 8:01 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
What starts out as a a cutesy "middle-schooler gets a magical friend" manga is getting darker and darker.
I saw part of the anime, but not exactly sure how much of it I watched. I just distinctly remember the cutesy happy-go-lucky JPop opening theme, with lots of bright colors, and then someone in a dark room during a thunderstorm with a large piece of glass against their wrist while one of the star shaped creatures looked on. It was one of those "Okay, what the **** moments that make me enjoy anime.
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#107 Apr 03 2013 at 9:47 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
I saw part of the anime, but not exactly sure how much of it I watched. I just distinctly remember the cutesy happy-go-lucky JPop opening theme, with lots of bright colors, and then someone in a dark room during a thunderstorm with a large piece of glass against their wrist while one of the star shaped creatures looked on. It was one of those "Okay, what the @#%^" moments that make me enjoy anime.

That's pretty tame compared to what else occurs in the show.
#108 Apr 03 2013 at 10:26 AM Rating: Good
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You might try looking for some of Kitoh's other stuff too. A lot of it is really weird.
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#109 Apr 03 2013 at 11:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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Karlina wrote:
You might try looking for some of Kitoh's other stuff too. A lot of it is really weird.


Yeah, I've read one or two of his other things (Bokurano being the most popular). He really seems to have a fetish for putting school children in horrible situations designed to mentally break them Smiley: eek
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#110 Apr 03 2013 at 11:29 AM Rating: Good
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Yeah, that sums it up pretty well.
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#111 Apr 03 2013 at 12:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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Ha! Just finished Narutaru, and man, did I hit the nail on the head when it comes to Kitoh's fetish.

Shiina snaps when all of her loved ones are killed by angry people bent on revenge and kills everyone in the world with Kuri.

Anyway, the last few chapters seemed to have some plot holes so I think I need to look up more information. Still, a good series with quite a depressing ending Smiley: tongue

Edit: Some of my unanswered (or underanswered) questions:

What exactly is/was the Orihime? I know she's Shiina's sister, but Virgin Princesses/dragons aren't supposed to be able to interact with the world; they have no attachments except to their dragon-children. Orihime breaks this rule several times to save Shiina.
How was Shiina's sister Mishou killed and why did she become the Orihime? It shows that she got stabbed, but never explains why (could it have been suicide? Why?)
How did Shiina get pregnant after having **** with Tsurumaru when he was clearly dying from radiation poisoning which makes you sterile? Heck, forget sterility; he says several times that he can't even get it up.
What was Sudo trying to say before he died from starvation?
What exactly was going on during Tsurumaru's death and Hoshimaru's dying throws? I guess he was trying to turn Tsuru into a dragon?
When the government agent guy is killed, why does the girl stabbing him say "revenge for my father"?
Was Akira raped by her father? It seemed implied, but it's never said.
How did Kuri get pregnant? Was it when she was raped?
How did Shiina come back to life when she was killed? Kuri showed that she can heal herself, but it's not like her and Shiina are immortal or unaffected by the world (ie, Shiina still eats and later smokes; both girls get pregnant, etc)
Did Tsurumaru and Sudo know each other and what each of them were doing? How did they become executors?


Edited, Apr 3rd 2013 3:11pm by LockeColeMA
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#112 Apr 15 2013 at 6:44 PM Rating: Good
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Finished up Narutaru as well. I had seen the anime years ago, but had been worried how the manga would taint my impression. While I suppose the most superficially surprising element is the brutality, Narutaru is also incredibly well written with very succinct, detailed characters, a strong balance between the fantasy plot and ground character interactions, and huge amounts of foreshadowing.

Locke I think the answer to many of those questions may simply be that they ar eleft open because the answer is neither essential to the plot and also because the Japanese have a fondness for somewhat ambiguous endings.

-What exactly is/was the Orihime? I know she's Shiina's sister, but Virgin Princesses/dragons aren't supposed to be able to interact with the world; they have no attachments except to their dragon-children. Orihime breaks this rule several times to save Shiina.

The lack of interaction with humans isn't such a hard rule, as they have been noticed by humans before. There's also the interaction between Babushka's son and the dragon. Additionally all of the interactions with mishono are her reacting to the actions of other shadow dragons, so she isn't so much involved in human conflicts as dragon conflicts.

-How did Shiina get pregnant after having **** with Tsurumaru when he was clearly dying from radiation poisoning which makes you sterile? Heck, forget sterility; he says several times that he can't even get it up.

I interpreted his "can't" as more of a psychological issue due to Norio's death. While he was suffering from radiation poisoning, he wasn't necessarily sterile.

-What was Sudo trying to say before he died from starvation?

He hated himself. While we can speculate about his motives, he clearly has severe emotional issues as it's implied he killed his family.

-What exactly was going on during Tsurumaru's death and Hoshimaru's dying throws? I guess he was trying to turn Tsuru into a dragon?

They were trying to form a dragon, but for some reason failed. It's not implied why. Perhaps he had suffered some brain death just before the merger could occur.

-When the government agent guy is killed, why does the girl stabbing him say "revenge for my father"?

It's implied he is receiving comeuppance for an action he did before the start of the manga, as he's the kind of man more than willing to use peopel to gain power. It's not directly related to events within the manga.

-Was Akira raped by her father? It seemed implied, but it's never said.

Yes, definitely. I'm not sure what version you read, but the language in the one I read was very clear about that implication.

-How did Kuri get pregnant? Was it when she was raped?

Yes.

-How did Shiina come back to life when she was killed? Kuri showed that she can heal herself, but it's not like her and Shiina are immortal or unaffected by the world (ie, Shiina still eats and later smokes; both girls get pregnant, etc)

It's not at all described, but it has been shown that Kuri can heal any of her injuries with Sheol, and it's within the boundaries of the universe that something similar occurred with Shiina.

-Did Tsurumaru and Sudo know each other and what each of them were doing? How did they become executors?

I think that was more Sudo's take on their positions and not some official designation by the dragons or anyone else. I don't remember whether Tsurumaru specifically mentioned his penchant for impregnation to Sudo, though it's certainly not something he ever tried to hide.

I have one minor gripe, and that's that the whole adam and eve concept doesn't work out. You need somewhere in the range of 150 humans to have a genetically stable population that won't eventually die out from inbreeding. **** science, always ruining poetry.
#113 Apr 16 2013 at 7:35 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
-What exactly is/was the Orihime?
A statue that stands there uselessly for more than a decade that people place inexplicable amounts of importance on.
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#114 Apr 18 2013 at 10:42 AM Rating: Excellent
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Thanks for the analysis, Al. I guess I just don't like the vagueness Smiley: lol

Since Noboru Yamaguchi just died, I decided to read the manga of Zero no Tsukaima. It's nothing unique; a boy living a hum-drum life is magically teleported to a medieval fantasy-style world. He becomes the familiar of a witch student named Louise, who is nicknamed "the Zero," because she has zero success in using her magic. The backdrop of the series is that a tenuous peace exists between several countries, which is rocked by a rebel faction of aristocrats who wish to overthrow the ruling Imperial family. Most of the chapters deal with Saito (the main character) and his interactions with his new schoolmates and his growing feelings for Louise, and it is very much a rom-com harem manga with a bit of fighting from time to time. The drawing style is rather simplistic, and all the characters are cute and small.

Honestly, I was disappointed overall. It seems like there was potential for a good backstory involving the legendary "Void" magic, explaining who the Reconquista is and what their goals are, and finding out more about the people who have traveled between worlds. But the ending comes suddenly out of nowhere, with all of those questions unanswered, in the middle of a war. It really feels like the manga was cut off, and if it was going to continue the way it had been, that's probably for the best. While it's cute, it's all fluff.
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#115 Apr 18 2013 at 1:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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I started reading Leviathan, and it's really good so far. Reminds me of a mixture of MPD Psycho (same author), Dorohedoro, and Mushishi. MPD Psycho is probably the closest comparison, though Leviathan focuses on the supernatural. While not a lot of things have been explained, it follows a man named Kohei, who had disappeared along with several friends a few years ago. He reappears in Japan with a body made up of pieces of his former companions, each with their own personalities (for example, his left arm is from a black guy who loves to work out, while his right arm is from a woman named Angela who "refuses to lift anything heavier than a spoon." Kohei operates a "spiritual healing" clinic, where he restores people through his spiritual powers, and moonlights as a supernatural detective, investigating bizarre murders.

Like MPD Psycho, this is definitely a seinen manga. Lots of blood and gore and nudity, but the most mature parts are really how it messes with your mind. It's not as intense as MPD Psycho (or, say, Homunculus), but some of the murders and monsters are pretty freaky. Still, I've very much enjoyed it so far, and like Dorohedoro, it's fun to see how characters surrounded by the strange and dangerous just kinda take everything as normal.
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#116 Apr 19 2013 at 12:09 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Thanks for the analysis, Al. I guess I just don't like the vagueness Smiley: lol

Since Noboru Yamaguchi just died, I decided to read the manga of Zero no Tsukaima. It's nothing unique; a boy living a hum-drum life is magically teleported to a medieval fantasy-style world. He becomes the familiar of a witch student named Louise, who is nicknamed "the Zero," because she has zero success in using her magic. The backdrop of the series is that a tenuous peace exists between several countries, which is rocked by a rebel faction of aristocrats who wish to overthrow the ruling Imperial family. Most of the chapters deal with Saito (the main character) and his interactions with his new schoolmates and his growing feelings for Louise, and it is very much a rom-com harem manga with a bit of fighting from time to time. The drawing style is rather simplistic, and all the characters are cute and small.

Honestly, I was disappointed overall. It seems like there was potential for a good backstory involving the legendary "Void" magic, explaining who the Reconquista is and what their goals are, and finding out more about the people who have traveled between worlds. But the ending comes suddenly out of nowhere, with all of those questions unanswered, in the middle of a war. It really feels like the manga was cut off, and if it was going to continue the way it had been, that's probably for the best. While it's cute, it's all fluff.


It was one of those manga that was basically the anime in paper form. The anime does go into all what you were talking about but yeah there is a a bit to much fluff.
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#117 Apr 19 2013 at 12:51 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Since Noboru Yamaguchi just died, I decided to read the manga of Zero no Tsukaima.
[...]
Honestly, I was disappointed overall.

Probably has something to do with it being illustrated by Nana Mochizuki. You should read the LNs if you want Noboru Yamaguchi's work. lol

Edited, Apr 19th 2013 2:53am by Deadgye
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#118 Apr 19 2013 at 8:18 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Thanks for the analysis, Al. I guess I just don't like the vagueness Smiley: lol

Since Noboru Yamaguchi just died, I decided to read the manga of Zero no Tsukaima. It's nothing unique; a boy living a hum-drum life is magically teleported to a medieval fantasy-style world. He becomes the familiar of a witch student named Louise, who is nicknamed "the Zero," because she has zero success in using her magic. The backdrop of the series is that a tenuous peace exists between several countries, which is rocked by a rebel faction of aristocrats who wish to overthrow the ruling Imperial family. Most of the chapters deal with Saito (the main character) and his interactions with his new schoolmates and his growing feelings for Louise, and it is very much a rom-com harem manga with a bit of fighting from time to time. The drawing style is rather simplistic, and all the characters are cute and small.

Honestly, I was disappointed overall. It seems like there was potential for a good backstory involving the legendary "Void" magic, explaining who the Reconquista is and what their goals are, and finding out more about the people who have traveled between worlds. But the ending comes suddenly out of nowhere, with all of those questions unanswered, in the middle of a war. It really feels like the manga was cut off, and if it was going to continue the way it had been, that's probably for the best. While it's cute, it's all fluff.


The anime was the same way. As it turns out, the LNs are the way to go. Unfortunately, they were now also cut short by his untimely death :(.
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#119 Apr 23 2013 at 1:12 PM Rating: Good
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Finished Blame! I'm not sure read it right after Narutaru was entirely healthy for me though.
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I personally didn't care much for Blame!, just because it was so hard to understand what was going on in the action scenes. Some artists do action scenes well; others do them poorly; and others do them poorly on purpose to capture the feeling of "whoa, wtf is happening?" that people would usually have when seeing such a scene. I think the author of Blame! does that last one... but it could just be poor drawing. Anyway, only made it about halfway through.

I'd agree with your criticism of the action scenes. I think you were right ot stop halfway, because the manga continues on in much the same manner.

Nihei's artwork is always gorgeous an imaginative. It's very high concept, and I feel the rough line-work adds even more to his already impressive characters, as you're left to speculate somewhat on the remainder or details of their form. BEsides the artowrk, I felt the setting was very strong. I looked at a few reviews and they seem to have wirtten it off and merely a "dystopian future," but I feel niheis a little unique in that he's taken the grit and darker feel of more often hard science fiction settings and applied it to a very soft science fiction setting setting. I even had the impression of high fantasy from the presence of near deity-like beings and extreme spans of tiem and space.

I liked Blame! I liked Abara. And I'll probably like Nihei's other works which I plan to read at some point.
#120 Apr 23 2013 at 9:09 PM Rating: Good
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Hmm, looks like there's another Nanoha spinoff... Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Innocent.

I guess it's in the form of a virtual reality game? With Nanoha having the same way of befriending people of course.
#121 Apr 24 2013 at 8:05 AM Rating: Good
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I stopped halfway through StrikerS. I enjoyed the first couple of seasons but that one just wasn't doing it for me.
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#122 Apr 24 2013 at 9:02 AM Rating: Good
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Same. I loved the first two seasons but I got part way through StrikerS and stopped watching out of boredom and not caring.
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#123 Apr 29 2013 at 8:30 AM Rating: Good
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Finally got around to the manga of Bokurano. Very strong just like Narutaru, and quite enjoyable for me. I had seen the anime and there are quite a few noticeable differences. I wasn't sure of the reasons for these at first, usually it's due to the manga being incomplete before the creation of the anime.
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Regarding differences between the stories in the manga and in the anime, Hiroyuki Morita, who directed the anime, wrote in his blog that he dislikes the original story and has, in some ways, been making changes to the plot for that reason. He also wrote that, at one point early in the development of the show, he asked manga author Mohiro Kitoh if he could find some way to save the main characters — the kids who must pilot Zearth. He wrote that Kitoh responded that his choice was fine as long as the changes did not involve "magical solutions" to the story. Morita closed out the blog entry with the statement "The director of the animated version of Bokurano dislikes the original manga. From here on out, you can't expect the animated version to expand on what you might find appealing in the original. So, fans of the original, please do not watch the animated version from now on".

It's somewhat tragic to see an author essentially sabotaging his chance at success because of artistic principles. Noble, but tragic.
#124 Apr 29 2013 at 2:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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I've had my reading time somewhat cut back, due to being busy. Still working my way through Leviathan. I enjoy it, but it's a mindtrip. Like Dorohedoro, it's a series that just kinda makes you roll with the weird stuff that happens and accept that insanity is normalcy to these characters. Even the most "normal" character has some weird stuff (for example, where I am right now she's pregnant and gorging herself without actually gaining weight; one chapter had her eat several DOZEN plates of sushi, and then grab some cake). And the background story seems to constantly change. Near as I can tell...
The world was supposed to end, so now there's some kind of parallel world (the world as it is supposed to be) that sometimes shows up. It isn't quite explained what this parallel world is - in one chapter it's implied that an alien spaceship crash-landed in the city and destroyed it. But as soon as this is explained, the universe is rewound. All of a sudden, a bunch of aliens appear, then disappear, and everyone thinks they're just a dream.

It's one of those series that I want to finish just so I can go looking online for some explanation of what I just read Smiley: tongue
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#125 May 07 2013 at 1:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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Took a break from Leviathan to get some less dramatic stuff... or so I thought. Ended up reading Heads. Jun, an extremely polite and weak-willed young man, has managed to do all right for himself. Sure, he's a yes-man at a cell phone company with poor products, but he's fallen in love with the freckled Megumi, a girl who shares his love of painting. His life is turned upside one day when he gets caught in the middle of a hold-up in a real estate office. When the gunman goes to shoot a little girl, Jun jumps in the way of the bullet and is shot in the head.

Several weeks pass, as Jun slowly comes back to and fades out of consciousness. At last he wakes up surrounded by doctors; he is the first adult to successfully undergo a partial brain transplant. The odds of finding a matching donor were 1 in a million, but the operation was successful. However, Jun soon starts to notice some changes - he is more assertive, more outgoing, and even at times violent. He no longer paints, doesn't enjoy movies, and most disturbingly, find himself less and less interested in Megumi. As he struggles with these changes and in tracking down his brain donor, he starts to wonder: is he Jun anymore, or is he "Donor B"?

All-in-all, it's a pretty good drama, though (spoiler alert!) not necessarily a happy one. I've always been a fan of true stories of transplant owners discovering altered tastes and preferences post-op, and this is pretty much just a logical (if fictional) extension of the premise. The manga was seinen due to violence, language, and **** (though I don't think there's ever any explicit nudity), and overall pretty good.

I also read more of Ore ga Doutei o Sutetara Shinu Ken ni Tsuite (two more chapters have come out since my last review). I really like it, but the slow release rate is killing me. I sorta wish I had discovered this series a few years from now, when it's finished, because I love the concept. It's also nice to have a harem setting where the protagonist is a player attempting to NOT get laid, as opposed to a quirky loser who managed to have all the girls fall in love with him. And that aspect is an awesome counter to the insanity/violence of knowing his best friend ends up killing him in the future.
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#126 May 08 2013 at 1:57 AM Rating: Good
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I think I'll check out Heads. I've been looking for something to scratch the itch left by Homunculus and Franken Fran, and this seems like it could reach around there.

I finished Biomega, and while I enjoyed it, by the end I was realizing how incredibly similar it was in nearly all respects to Blame! A somewhat similar protagonist in aesthetics, personality, backstory, and weapon. Two key factions that are initially antagonistic to the protagonist's third party, with one of the factions later becoming somewhat of an ally. A completely uncontrollable and hostile to all fourth party. Long spans of time. Time travel. Dramatic shifts in setting. A female companion. A plot relevant impregnation. It's more than just the setting (as it is related to the Blame! universe), it's the style, the milieu, the plot, all of it far too similar.

This seems to be the case of many authors with a very definitive style. While I'd say Narutaru and Bokurano were different enough to stand apart, the same guiding hand is very clearly present. Same with Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum. This is a difference from authors with less distinctive styles who seem more varied by comparison (Psychopass compared to Madoka).
#127 May 08 2013 at 4:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
I think I'll check out Heads. I've been looking for something to scratch the itch left by Homunculus and Franken Fran, and this seems like it could reach around there.


This is similar in psychological terms to Homunculus, but far less gruesome than Franken Fran. Franken Fran is, in my opinion, very VERY dark comedy (combined with a lot of nudity and gore); Heads definitely strikes me as more toned down. It almost feels like a first draft of Homunculus; focusing more on the thoughts of the protagonist through text, rather than him actually seeing the world differently.

It's probably worth noting that I found Homunculus a lot better. Heads is a good drama - Homunculus is a psychological masterpiece.

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This is a difference from authors with less distinctive styles who seem more varied by comparison (Psychopass compared to Madoka).


I actually had no idea that the same author made both of these series; that's awesome! Reminds me that I need to catch up on Psychopass...

Edited, May 8th 2013 7:03am by LockeColeMA
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#128 May 08 2013 at 10:51 AM Rating: Excellent
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Me, back in October 2012 wrote:
I started reading a series called "Again!!", which I've really enjoyed. Unfortunately it's ongoing and only has like 20 chapters out right now.


Small update: Again!! currently has 36 chapters translated, and according to one comment I've read, it has dozens more in raw form already out. Hopefully they'll start coming out faster; 5 chapters have been added since the beginning of April. I enjoy this series, as it's another one of those "go back in time and change your life" kinda deals (though as of the most recent translated chapters, it seems like the time changes may reflect accurate information, but do not actually change the future). Basically, a Yankee graduates from high school with no friends, no clubs, and no good memories. On the day of graduation, he visits an old sports building and thinks about how he wished he had joined. Upon leaving he frightens a classmate, and both of them fall down the stairs - when they wake up, they aren't at graduation but the entrance ceremony, three years in the past. The boy, Imamura, decides to change his loserly past and work on reviving the Ouendan cheering club, while the girl, Ako, is set adrift in a world where she has lost all of her friends and boyfriend because they haven't met each other yet.

Edited, May 8th 2013 12:51pm by LockeColeMA
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#129 May 08 2013 at 10:55 AM Rating: Good
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Franken Fran is, in my opinion, very VERY dark comedy (combined with a lot of nudity and gore)
Franken Fran is pure Monkey Paw. Rather ordinary people with normal desires being granted in the worst possible way. I always like that sort of story.
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#130 May 08 2013 at 11:06 AM Rating: Good
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I should start reading 'Again!!' again. I really liked it and don't remember why I stopped reading it.
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#131 May 08 2013 at 1:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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Karlina wrote:
I should start reading 'Again!!' again. I really liked it and don't remember why I stopped reading it.

As said, there's only 36 chapters out and translated, but I heard there are like 90+ in raw form (that seems a little high for a 2011 series, though...). So it could be that you got to whatever was currently out?

Continuing my time-travel themed adventures, I really enjoyed the 8 chapters of Orange (TAKANO Ichigo) that are currently out. On her 16th birthday, Naho receives a letter claiming to be from herself 10 years in the future. Her future self begs her to look out for a boy she hasn't met yet named Kakeru, who will become a good friend but "won't be in the world any more in my time." Sure enough, a new exchange student named Kakeru shows up, and Naho starts to follow the advice of her future self in order to not have to face the regrets that she feels at 26.

What's interesting about this series compared to, say, Again!! or Ore ga Doutei o Sutetara Shinu Ken ni Tsuite is that the 26-year old Naho isn't in a bad place in the future. She has regrets, but she's also in love and married to another one of her high school friends (Suwa), and they have a child together. In fact, besides Kakeru, all of her other high school friends are still together and happy in the future. Sure, not all of their dreams have come true, but at least they're doing well for themselves. And it becomes increasingly obvious that by saving Kakeru, Naho is becoming closer to him romantically, and that might drastically alter her future. She and Suwa won't get married, or have their child together. And chapter 8 ends in a twist, as it comes out that Suwa has also been receiving letters from the future; and while it seems like Naho doesn't realize that she and Suwa are supposed to get together, he likely does.

I think why I really want to see where this story is going is because something similar could have been based around events in my life. My best friend is married to his college sweetheart today, but the only reason they started dating was because one of her best guy friends was killed in a car accident in our junior year. The event was horrific, but if he had not been in that accident, those two would likely have ended up together instead of my friend and her. So if this happened IRL, my friend would be forced to make the ultimate choice: give up his wife, or let an innocent friend die. And even then the questions remain: would his wife actually be happier with our other friend? He had a lot of issues - who knows what their future would be. One thing is almost certain: we would not all still be friends today.

So the story is great in that it really gets you thinking: what are your regrets? And if you had the chance to fix them, would you actually end up happy? For example, I think of all the times I messed up with ex-girlfriends in my life and thought to myself later "Man, I was such a bonehead!" But if I hadn't messed up, would I have remained in relationships that weren't right for me?

Deep thoughts... anyway, I wish there were more than 8 chapters out, but it's been a good series so far. The series is shoujo, by the way - not my typical fare, but I'm enjoying the feelings rather than the brutality I've usually gotten on my seinen kicks Smiley: grin
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#132 May 09 2013 at 2:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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I really enjoyed Oyasumi Punpun when I read it a long while back, so it was only a matter of time that I remembered it and went looking for other works by the author, Inio Asano. Actually, that reminds me, I need to catch up on OPP... anyway, I went and read What a Wonderful World (Subarashii Sekai). It feels, stylistically, somewhat familiar to Punpun, but it's less mature and less surreal... although you can feel like it heads that way every once in a while. The story reminds me somewhat of the movie Love, Actually, as it follows the lives of several different people in a city across a period of time. Usually one chapter will end with that chapter's focus character passing by another character, who becomes the focus of the next chapter. The story explores a moment in their lives and what troubles they face - apathy, boredom, a struggle for identity, worries about the future. While it's seinen, it's not nearly as "R-Rated" as Punpun; while **** and death are discussed, there is no nudity and less violence. And while there's not really surrealism, there is some mysticism involves in the later chapters, where a shinigami appears, and people start coming down with something startlingly like Persona 3's "Apathy Syndrome."

It's worth reading, and I enjoyed it because it inspired the emotions felt by the characters - not sadness, really, but a feeling of wistfulness. And despite the apathy disease near the end, it ends on a positive note, so that's a plus!
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#133 Jul 03 2013 at 7:09 AM Rating: Excellent
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Back for an update (and no, Al, still no Jojo Smiley: frown)

Sometimes you find a hidden gem, and Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku (The Music of Marie) was just that. A comparatively short series (16 chapters), it packs a lot of great ideas into a small run time. The author sets up a complex and interesting world that I wish would have been expanded upon... but it was just the right length. Two teenagers, Kai and Pipi, live on an island of workshops and inventors, where everyone spends their days tinkering or building and trading their innovations and inventions with other nearby islands for food, clothing, etc. The world is watched over by a gigantic robotic goddess named Marie, whose flight above society brings peace and harmony to all those below. The story follows the teenagers, with about half of the chapters delving into the life on other islands, their work and rituals, and the worldwide religion surrounding Marie; and the other half focusing on Pipi's love for Kai, who falls in love with the mechanical goddess.

This is one of those series where the background of the world is almost as interesting as the story itself, but the story is amazing in its own right. I thought I saw the ending a mile away, and then when it came it flipped me on my head while bringing together some loose ends from the early chapters. The story is sad and uplifting, and profoundly philosophical. The overarching theme comes down to: is having peace and harmony worth putting artificial constraints on humanity's advancement? But even that question isn't how the story ends, as ultimately it's a story about the power of love and faith.

Underexpected, but highly recommended. Mostly safe at work, though seinen for some sexual themes.

I also read what I could find of Terra Formars. Again, an interesting premise, though it's heavy on the gore and horror (reminds me a fair bit of Gantz). Around our time, faced with dwindling resources and overpopulation, humans try to think of a way to colonize Mars through terraforming. It is finally decided that if they seed the planet with resilient black moss and **** the ecosystem will eventually grow (the **** eat the moss, the dead **** feed the moss, and so on). About 500 years later the planet is mostly habitable, so Earth sends some exterminators to wipe out the **** and begin colonization.

Spoiler alert: They die.

So they send another group, this time after doing some gene splicing to make the astronauts more resilient.

Spoiler alert: They also die (well, most of them).

So 20 years later, they send another group, with further splicing.

Spoiler alert: About a quarter are already dead up to where I've read.

The series has some potential, and the information about the animals the astronauts are spliced with is fun, but it is very much becoming a fighting manga with a lot of gore. Again, it feels a lot like Gantz.

I also had an anime, Shinsekai yori recommended to me with the pretense of "if you liked Higurashi, you'll like this." I'm 6 episodes in so far, and I liked the first three episodes, but lately it's become less to my liking (further from the psychological and creepiness, and more into the fantasy). Not important; what's relevant to this discussion is that there's also a manga adaptation of it.

It's mature seinen, and borderline smut in places. Totally different feel from the anime so far, and I thoroughly disliked it. It also deviates from the anime in significant ways so far, and opts for gore instead of psychological horror in some places. Not a fan. Edit: But hey, if you like yuri, you might like some of the chapters in it!

While I hold hope for the previous anime, another one also caught my eye: Shiki. I actually read the manga to this a while ago. If I had to describe the plot, it would be "'Salem's Lot, but in Japan." If anyone has read the story by Stephen King, they'll get the basic premise - what if a vampire moved into a modern day town? I recall the manga as being pretty good, and similar to 'Salem's Lot, in that it starts off slow and gets more and more deadly (though Stephen King dragged it out for a lot longer and then OMGEVERYONEDIES). It's one of those series that was a good read as a manga, but I could see it being even better as an anime if the sound and animation is right. I'll probably check it out after Shinseki yori.

Edited, Jul 3rd 2013 9:14am by LockeColeMA
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#134 Jul 03 2013 at 7:30 AM Rating: Good
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I ended up dropping Shinsekai yori (the anime) halfway through. Just wasn't doing it for me, felt too disjointed with the story.
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#135 Jul 03 2013 at 7:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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Vataro wrote:
I ended up dropping Shinsekai yori (the anime) halfway through. Just wasn't doing it for me, felt too disjointed with the story.

From the criticism I've read on the anime, it's that there's same-sex relationships (oh noes!) and odd time skips without warning. I've also read that it starts off really slow but gets better after a few episodes - oddly, I had the opposite reaction (I liked the beginning episodes, with the subtle creepiness, and when it got to "the action" scenes, I felt like it became less interesting). I'll stick with it for now just because I'm curious to see what develops in the plot here.

Edited, Jul 3rd 2013 9:45am by LockeColeMA
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#136 Jul 03 2013 at 8:44 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Vataro wrote:
I ended up dropping Shinsekai yori (the anime) halfway through. Just wasn't doing it for me, felt too disjointed with the story.

From the criticism I've read on the anime, it's that there's same-sex relationships (oh noes!) and odd time skips without warning. I've also read that it starts off really slow but gets better after a few episodes - oddly, I had the opposite reaction (I liked the beginning episodes, with the subtle creepiness, and when it got to "the action" scenes, I felt like it became less interesting). I'll stick with it for now just because I'm curious to see what develops in the plot here.

Edited, Jul 3rd 2013 9:45am by LockeColeMA


I also liked the early episodes better. There was suspense, and the subtle creepiness was just right. The relationships themselves don't bother me, but the time skips were annoying. It happens more than once too. If you end up liking it let me know, but otherwise I'm fine leaving it alone.
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#137 Jul 03 2013 at 9:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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I been following Murasakiiro no Qualia since it first popped up on mangafox about a month ago and so far I have enjoyed it. There is 11 chapters out so far. It's center around Hatou Gaku and her friend Marii Yukari, a girl that sees people as robots that can repair anything and notice people hidden talents or traits. The first ark is about Guku finding out about Yukari strange abilities and how Yukari tries to hide them and blend in also why she doesn't want people to know about them. The second ark it gets a little darker in tone. It's tag as a psychological, sci-fi, shounen, tragedy and uses theories from Physics and quantum physics( string theory, many worlds, quantum immortally, so on) to progress the plot.

Edited, Jul 3rd 2013 11:23am by RavennofTitan
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#138 Jul 03 2013 at 10:39 AM Rating: Good
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Music of Marie was pretty great. Furuya is really weird, but he knows how to write an interesting story and his art is cool.
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#139 Jul 03 2013 at 3:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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RavennofTitan wrote:
I been following Murasakiiro no Qualia since it first popped up on mangafox about a month ago and so far I have enjoyed it. There is 11 chapters out so far. It's center around Hatou Gaku and her friend Marii Yukari, a girl that sees people as robots that can repair anything and notice people hidden talents or traits. The first ark is about Guku finding out about Yukari strange abilities and how Yukari tries to hide them and blend in also why she doesn't want people to know about them. The second ark it gets a little darker in tone. It's tag as a psychological, sci-fi, shounen, tragedy and uses theories from Physics and quantum physics( string theory, many worlds, quantum immortally, so on) to progress the plot.



Awesome suggestion, thanks! I devoured the 11 chapters that are out right now. It has some minor pacing issues, especially when you hit around chapter 7, but I love the theories behind it and it seems like it'll be getting back on track now. Reminds me of a combination of Akumetsu and Steins;Gate, but a bit more on the shounen side.
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#140 Jul 03 2013 at 9:40 PM Rating: Good
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I'm glad you liked it, it really is a hidden gem.
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#141 Jul 03 2013 at 10:01 PM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
The series has some potential, and the information about the animals the astronauts are spliced with is fun, but it is very much becoming a fighting manga with a lot of gore. Again, it feels a lot like Gantz.

I like the character designs, and the artwork is solid if lacking in atmosphere (dem backgrounds mang). I see the story as largely a device to introduce the character of the week. I'm also left wondering how intentional the **** design is when it comes to say, looking like a certain sapien race.
#142 Jul 05 2013 at 7:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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Vataro wrote:
LockeColeMA wrote:
Vataro wrote:
I ended up dropping Shinsekai yori (the anime) halfway through. Just wasn't doing it for me, felt too disjointed with the story.

From the criticism I've read on the anime, it's that there's same-sex relationships (oh noes!) and odd time skips without warning. I've also read that it starts off really slow but gets better after a few episodes - oddly, I had the opposite reaction (I liked the beginning episodes, with the subtle creepiness, and when it got to "the action" scenes, I felt like it became less interesting). I'll stick with it for now just because I'm curious to see what develops in the plot here.

Edited, Jul 3rd 2013 9:45am by LockeColeMA


I also liked the early episodes better. There was suspense, and the subtle creepiness was just right. The relationships themselves don't bother me, but the time skips were annoying. It happens more than once too. If you end up liking it let me know, but otherwise I'm fine leaving it alone.

Actually, after episode 6 or so it dropped most of the fantasy and got back to the psychological creepiness (with a healthy dollop of "AMNESIA!" shenanigans). I just finished episode 13 and there are still no time skips, so I'll have to wait and see where it goes from here. Unlike Higurashi it's not so much a "WTF is going on, why is everyone dying!?" kind of psychological premise... it's more like an encroaching sense of dread, like at any moment something terrible will happen. It's horrific and uncomfortable and I'm quite enjoying it!

It's also interesting to see the deviations from the smut manga; some things are the same like the sixth girl in the group getting offed, Shun becoming a Karma Demon, and Ryo replacing him in Group 1, but a lot is different... I can't quite tell if they're keeping the overall story the same and just trimming down for the sake of brevity, or if this is some "alternate storyline." And, y'know, no yuri **** scenes in the anime... that's different Smiley: lol

Edit: After going back and rereading the reviews I had looked at, I see nothing at all about time skips. Maybe I was thinking of the wrong anime when I said that? Or people were referring to the "leap" of 2 years early on? We'll see.

Edited, Jul 5th 2013 9:32pm by LockeColeMA

Edit2: Aaaaand there's the time skip Smiley: lol

Edited, Jul 6th 2013 7:07pm by LockeColeMA
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#143 Jul 06 2013 at 9:33 PM Rating: Decent
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I was sad about the first time skip because I wanted more development with my beloved characters when they were young. But I guess in the case of some of them it wouldn't have mattered lol.

I accepted it after another episode or two, and after that I was so intrigued and confused that I couldn't stop watching. And then finally the ending satisfied me. I still want to know what the world will be like 50-100 years after the anime ends though. I don't understand how anyone could stop without finishing the series.

<Insert wareta ringo song here.>
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#144 Jul 12 2013 at 1:47 PM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
RavennofTitan wrote:
I been following Murasakiiro no Qualia since it first popped up on mangafox about a month ago and so far I have enjoyed it. There is 11 chapters out so far. It's center around Hatou Gaku and her friend Marii Yukari, a girl that sees people as robots that can repair anything and notice people hidden talents or traits. The first ark is about Guku finding out about Yukari strange abilities and how Yukari tries to hide them and blend in also why she doesn't want people to know about them. The second ark it gets a little darker in tone. It's tag as a psychological, sci-fi, shounen, tragedy and uses theories from Physics and quantum physics( string theory, many worlds, quantum immortally, so on) to progress the plot.



Awesome suggestion, thanks! I devoured the 11 chapters that are out right now. It has some minor pacing issues, especially when you hit around chapter 7, but I love the theories behind it and it seems like it'll be getting back on track now. Reminds me of a combination of Akumetsu and Steins;Gate, but a bit more on the shounen side.


Chapter 12 is up and It went the way I thought it would but unlike other shounen seems like there will be a nice twist.

Edited, Jul 12th 2013 4:31pm by RavennofTitan
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#145 Aug 12 2013 at 6:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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I haven't been reading manga but; instead I've been catching up on some anime (Shiki, Paranoia Agent, Paprika, and Summer Wars most recently. Also finished up the last arc of the VN Katawa Shoujo... it was Rin's arc, and probably my least favorite, but still worth going through), but I did read a bit of some manga recently. Having trouble finding good, complete series...

Toukyou Kushu: I've only found 12 chapters in English, although some 60 or so are out in raw form. I did find the first 24 chapters out in Spanish, which I'm just fluent enough in to read, so I got a good feel for the series. It starts out with some promise, but at chapter 24 it seems to be going the way of your run-of-the-mill, must-train-to-get-stronger shounen. The storyline revolves around monsters called Vampires Ghouls, which disguise themselves as humans, can't eat human food, are stronger than humans, have unique "claws" and, of course, eat humans. So, cannibal vampires. Ok, they're not vampires at all, but coming off of watching Shiki I found myself rolling my eyes a bit. Anyway, the main character almost gets chomped, but a convenient deus ex machina saves him by crushing his Ghoul attacker to death. In an effort to save his life, doctors give the protagonist some of the dead girl-Ghoul's organs... which turns him into a hybrid human-Ghoul (but mostly Ghoul). The beginning few volumes revolve around him meeting up with Ghouls, some friendly, some not, and trying to adjust to his new life as a cannibal. Of course, the Ghoul he inherited organs from happened to be one of the most powerful around, so he becomes superpowered when angered... you know how it goes.

Was interesting to start with, and there's some decent talk about prejudice, but I never found myself warming up to either the Ghouls or the series. At the end of the day, the Ghouls still live exclusively on human flesh, so the closest "out" they get is eating suicide victims. Oh, how much better. As for the series it lost its charm fairly quickly for me... which, thinking about it, is likely why there are only 12 chapters in English.

The other manga I started reading was Cesare. I'll admit I'm biased toward this; I like historical fiction manga in general (Vinland Saga for more of the fiction, Historie for more of the historical)... but what really gets me with this is that I just finished a marathon of Assassin's Creed 2 a couple of weeks ago, and this picks up right around the time AC2 ends (I believe it's concurrent with one of the sequels). So being back in Italy, and hearing names like Borgia and Savonarola* makes me grin. I'm only a few (6?) chapters in, but so far it's not bad... perhaps a little dry and text-heavy, as understanding the feuds and history in the time period requires a lot of text. It also tends to be a bit... shounen ai so far. No yaoi, but all the characters are men, and there's some man-crushes going on. Hopefully I'll end up reading more soon and I'll have a better feel for it.

*Edit: Trying to remember how to spell his name, I googled "Insane Italian Monk" and this was the first result. Nice!

Edited, Aug 12th 2013 8:43pm by LockeColeMA
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#146 Aug 12 2013 at 7:10 PM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
I've been catching up on some anime (Shiki, Paranoia Agent, Paprika, and Summer Wars most recently.

Shame on you for not having finished those already. Shiki might be the worst of the bunch, but I'd still say it's fairly above average. Paranoia Agent is easily a 10.

I've been reading through Black Jack. I've seen a few Tezuka anime adaptions, but this is the first of his manga I've read. The original concept is very strong, and the stories largely remain entertaining today. It's saddens me to know that Franken Fran borrowed so heavily from Black Jack. While the character designs are good, Tezuka has a surprising degree of "same face" occurring in his manga. While he has many varied face and body types, he seems to rotate them among character, to where three side characters from separate chapters will look nearly identical. Some of the stories also seem to fall short of conveying a moral or thought other than merely a series of events.
#147 Aug 13 2013 at 7:40 AM Rating: Good
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Still no Jojo, Locke? Disappointed in you.
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#148 Aug 13 2013 at 3:47 PM Rating: Good
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Also finished up the last arc of the VN Katawa Shoujo... it was Rin's arc, and probably my least favorite, but still worth going through),


Good man. Also probably my least favorite arc, but still worth playing. I'm pretty sure I played the arcs in the best order possible (Emi, Shizune, Hanako, Rin, Lilly).
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#149 Sep 24 2013 at 7:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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And I return with another update!

Kamisama ga Uso wo Tsuku is a fantastic short slice of life series. Only 5 chapters, but it packs a whole lot of feeling into them. It's somewhat bittersweet but still well worth reading.

Otaku no Musume-san is pretty fantastic. I believe I had read most, if not all, of it previously but it was great to go back and read it again (and I definitely did not remember the ending!). It's somewhat like a mixture of Usagi Drop and Love Hina, though without the harem aspect; otaku extraordinaire Kouta has lived his twenty-six years indulging in his passion for the genre, which he dove into after having his heart broken by his high-school sweetheart. His life as a manga assistant is filled with lively characters in the bordering house he dwells in, but one day nine-year old Kanau shows up on his doorstep claiming to be his daughter. When she discovers that her father is an otaku, hilarity ensues. That said, the series isn't perfect, and I have a few criticisms:
1. Nicchi, Kouta's lolicon sempai and best friend, comes dangerously close to that line between playing off pedophilia for laughs and having it be just too **** much. While his obsession turns out to be an important plot point for the ending, it's still awkward as hell. I think the main issue is that he's supposed to be a lolicon when it comes to ANIME. When you feel sexually attracted to real girls under the age of 10, that's pedophilia, and frankly it doesn't strike me as funny.
2. The series does an extreme tone change in the last several chapters when Nozomi comes back. While the only personality we've seen for her throughout the series is from infrequent letters, her character struck me as being more like Miki than what she really was. When she shows up she's just... a **** There's no really good way of saying it. She hates Kouta, and what boggles my mind is why she even told Kanau where to find him if she was fine living with her "uncle" and half-brother. I suppose it makes sense if she expected her daughter to be turned off by his otakudom, but still - abandoning your child for a year? Ugh. I didn't like how there was no indication that this was her "true face" until five chapters from the end.
3. Until the last couple of pages, there was no indication that Haruka and Kouta had sex. But seriously? Awkward. The guy has now been raped twice... and apparently has a fertility rate through the roof. Two times having sex, and two kids. What terrible luck!

Now, those complaints don't mean it's not a worthwhile series, just that it's not perfect. I'd rate it as a solid 8/10, maybe even a 9/10. Fair warning; it's seinen for some mature themes (like parental abuse) and some fan service.
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#150 Sep 25 2013 at 8:36 AM Rating: Good
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Woo, something new to check out. I've been running thin lately.
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#151 Nov 20 2013 at 5:19 PM Rating: Excellent
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Small update!

UQ Holder! bites. I WANTED to like it; Love Hina was my first "favorite" manga and still one of my guilty pleasures (I own all of it), and I own about 22 volumes of Negima. When I heard Ken Akamatsu had a new series I was stoked... but really, Negima should have prepared me for disappointment. In my opinion, Akamatsu does a couple things well: building interesting and likable characters, and putting said characters in silly fan service situations. It's an odd juxtaposition where his female characters are exploited for **** appeal while you learn more about their personalities, hopes, and dreams. If he does a third thing well, it's his drawings of locations, backgrounds, and buildings - extremely detailed.

UQ Holder has only that last one going for it. It's a spin-off of Negima, taking place in the future in the same universe, and reintroducing some familiar faces. However, it dives straight into what I hated about Negima - fighting. It's another **** fighting manga. And while shounen fighting mangas are ok, they're also a dime a dozen... I'm no longer anywhere near that demographic and it just completely turns me off.

To be fair, I only read the first half dozen chapters (12 are currently out, and it seems to be a weekly serialization). But I had no desire to real any more.

Also, to anyone reading or desiring to read Negima, the ending does NOT reveal Negi's partner, and it ends with a time skip. Super disappointing, so if you wanted a conclusive ending, don't even bother. One thing UQ Holder does do is it reveals who Negi ends up with... at least in THIS universe.

The only other thing of note is that The World God Only Knows manga has announced that it is in its final arc. After 250 chapters, it's finally winding down!
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WoW - Aureliano the Insane - level 90 Druid on Sen'Jin
Nanaoki - level 90 Mage on Sen'Jin
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