Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Uraboku Episode Eighteen "A World Without You"--Review

In this episode, Yuki is still dealing with the information overload of last episode. Meanwhile, Toko and Tsukumo talk themselves into disobeying orders and heading over to the main residence. Then Luka gets an unexpected visit from a fan girl who will not take "I don't like you go away," as an answer. (I am not happy with the "insane fatal attraction chick" trope.)

The next day after Takashiro tells Yuki about Reiga and how the war began, Yuki is still processing the information. He is also thinking about Luka, whom he misses a great deal.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Uraboku Episode Seventeen "Sakura"--Review

Most of this episode is a flash back to a thousand years ago, during the Heian era. The Giou Clan has the job of keeping the imperial court free from demons and other supernatural problems. They live in the mountains in a remote village protected by a barrier.

We open with Reiga as a young boy. He is bullied and often attacked by other children because he is half duras, his only friends are a girl named Yomi and Takashiro, who drive off the bullies. It's clear that Takashiro trusted Reiga as a child, and made an effort to reach out to him, though Reiga had a resentful and angry demeanor.

Don’t be a Hero

One of the things that interested me the most about Dong Yi was how a certain part of the dramatic arc is played out. The situation (and the fallout) is so traumatic for all concerned that it becomes a major moment in the lives of several of the main characters, which influences them throughout the series. Of the three characters (Dong Yi, Seo Yong Gi and Cha Chun Soo) that this situation affected the most, Chun Soo is the one I’m going to be talking about.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

339 pp.
 Cryoburn (The Vorkosigan Saga)In Cryoburn, Miles is set on a mission to Kibou-daini, a world where cryo stasis is big business. Large insurance companies provide stasis for the elderly and those with incurable diseases with the promise of being awakened when the cure for the client’s disease is found A large cryo corporation is attempting to get a foot hold on Komarr. Mile’s mission is to investigate the corporation.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shiki, "Second Decay" --Review

Megumi has died, and turns out to be among the first of what will be many deaths from a disease that first appears to be anemia with anomalous symptoms. It is a disease that seems to have burst into the scene out of nowhere, and now seems to be everywhere. Toshio tries to get permission from the parents for the autopsy, but the father refuses.

Natsuo meanwhile is kind of relieved that Megumi isn't stalking him anymore. (Seriously, she was a peeping tom girl.) He goes out for a walk and is deeply annoyed with the way she treated. He felt Megumi was treating him the way she wanted him to be. (Probably the cold hearted hero from a Shojo romance manga.) He goes on to think everyone in the village was that way, and went on a "I hate this village so much," internal rant.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gilded Latten Bones, by Glen Cook

Gilded Latten Bones: A Garrett, P.I., NovelGarrett is attempting to settle down with his fiancé Tinnie Tate, but there is a problem. Tinnie, in the pursuit of an “ordinary life” had forbidden Garrett to visit his friends, especially friends of the female persuasion. Garrett is doing his best to placate Tinnie, but his attempts do not ease the strain or Tinnie’s insecurity. In addition, most of what Garret is doing by way of business is security work for Max Weider, and does not provide much of a challenge.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Different from What You Said

I have mostly encountered this with books, where the summary does not quite resemble the contents. I don’t think I’ve seen it very often in the case of television or movies. (If I have, I do not remember it.)

Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler Episode One "His Butler, Able"--Review

I'm currently doing a rewatch of the first series of Kuroshitsuji

The first episode of the series begins with a replay of the moment Ciel made the contract. (Though a strange dreamlike stage has been set; Ciel is lying in midair, covered by a red cloth, and there's feathers flying around. The demon is shown as and indistinct shadow, and then a raven. The demon warns Ciel of the penalty of making the contract. Ciel does not care and emphatically demands the demon kill his enemies. All the feathers turn black and fly around, and then Ciel is waking up as a butler named Sebastian wakes him up and tells him what is on the menu for breakfast.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Uraboku Episode Sixteen "Frozen Time"--Review

In this episode, Yuki is introduced to relatives he didn't know he had, and learns about Takashiro and Reiga.

The opening features the Zweilts still worrying about how Yuki will react to finding out about the Giou family history. They are particularly worried because they have some inkling about the kind of burden that Takashiro is under, in the context that Yuki always takes on the pain of others. Hotsuma gets tired of the of the navel gazing and states that if Yuki insists on taking care of everyone, they'll just have to make sure they take care of him in return.

Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal

302 pp.
 Shades of Milk and Honey I had been looking for this book for a while, and finally tried to put it on hold at my library. Apparently, it had been hiding in the romance section. (You cannot always tell where a librarian will put a fantasy novel. They will end up in the sf/f section, the fiction section or the romance section because of “supernatural romance” novels.)

Sample: Cruel Zinc Melodies (a Garret PI novel) by Glen Cook

Friday, November 19, 2010

Otome Yokai Zakuro Episode One "Prepare to Be Bewitched" --Review

This series is a thirteen episode anime set in an alternate Japan during the Meiji era. As a part of the restoration process a joint bureau is formed by Yokai (this word is variously translated as "demon" or spirits, and wander somewhere between "evil" or merely "annoying mischievous but still, do not annoy them,") and humans that is called The Ministry of Spirit Affairs. Part of the bureau involves the enforcement of laws and keeping of the piece between humans and yokai. The law enforcement is a team of half-yokai girls (who appear to be fox-spirits) and soldiers. The first episode introduces the half yokai girls and the soldiers, who have been recently been assigned to this post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sample: Five Odd Honors by Jane Lindskold

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uraboku Episode Fifteen "After Determination"--Review

In this episode, Yuki gets ready to go to the main residence of the Giou Clan. He hopes that he'll be able to discover the causes of the war, about himself and his previous incarnation, and Luka. He will also be meeting two more Zweilt Guardians, Kuroto Hourai and Senshiro Furuori, who have a very personal reason to fight in the war against the duras and Reiga.

We open with Yuki thinking about his upcoming trip to the main residence.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shiki, "First Blood" --Review

Shiki is a twenty-two episode horror anime with a slow creeping sort of dread, instead of a lot blood splashing around. It takes place on a particularly hot summer in the village of Sotoba, which might be referred to as "quaint" or "charming"in a tourist guidebook. This summer mysterious deaths and new residents are followed by an equally mysterious illness begins to alarm various individuals in the village.

The Collegium Chronicles: Intrigues, by Mercedes Lackey

328 pp.
Intrigues: Book Two of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel)In the sequel to Foundation, Mags is a little more confident in some ways, but less in other ways. His determination to do everything correctly and certain reactions to perceived hostility has caused his fellow students to believe that he’s trying to “suck up” to the teachers. There’s also a significant problem involved with him continuing to live in the room above the Companion’s stables, and resulting in stories claiming that Mags has “something wrong” with him. It’s gotten to the point where various adults are trying to engage in a little psychological pressure to get him to move into student quarters. (It does not work; Mags does not seem to be very socially aware, which causes him a lot of trouble.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Breaking the Wall: Five Odd Honors by Jane Lindskold

367 pp.
Five Odd HonorsThe previous book, Nine Gates had some marginal successes and victories, and the possibility of something Very Big and Very Bad happening in the Orphan’s previous homeland, and they have made allies of their counterparts from the Lands Born of Smoke and Sacrifice.  Five Odd Honors begins with the discovery of the treachery of the previous Tiger, Thundering Heaven, who has managed to trick the Monkey, Bent Bamboo. He declares that he will only allow them to talk to the Monkey to ask him to join them in going back to the Lands Born of Smoke and Sacrifice if his daughter Pearl (the current Tiger) steps down from her position. The other Orphans are less than enthused by this option, and Pearl resolves the situation by having a duel with her father. (When they finally get into contact with Bent Bamboo, he is immediately agreeable to the plan, and is upset that Thundering Heaven had tricked him.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Uraboku Episode Fourteen "Bound by Contract"--Review

This is episode is a contemplative one as Yuki (and to some extent Reiga) cope with the fall out of their confrontation in the previous episode. The episode opens with Reiga holding a blue rose (which is a symbol of the impossible since true blue roses do not occur in nature). Reiga has Yuki on his mind, and broods about his goals and about the life he cannot have but clearly wishes that he could. In classic villain fashion, he crushes the rose and stalks away.

Read the rest of this article at Associated Content

Cruel Zinc Melodies, by Glen Cook

Cruel Zinc Melodies (Garrett, P.I. #12)In Cruel Zinc Melodies, our favorite gumshoe with a notable distaste for actually working on cases is accosted by a small horde of young well to do ladies (among them sometime girlfriend who might be something more serious than “girlfriend,” Tinnie Tate) bring him the offer of a job. Alyx Weider, the daughter of  Max Weider, the biggest brewer in town would like him to investigate a possible haunting at a very large theater the Weiders have decided to build. He takes the job after a great deal of argument, and a talk with Max Weider who believes the problem is actually vandalism or rivalry from other businesses in TunFaire.

Sample: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Collegium Chronicles: Foundation, by Mercedes Lackey

340 pp
Foundation (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, Book 1)Foundation is the beginning of a new Valdemar series dealing with an era several hundred years before the “current” era, at the point where the education system for Heralds was beginning to change from “a mentor with a handful of Trainees” to and actual “Collegium” due to a sudden influx of Chosen. This creates quite a controversy among the active Heralds, many of whom are convinced that the “old ways” are superior to the new system.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Uraboku Episode Thirteen "The Irony of Fate"--Review

In this episode, Yuki and Kanata,who is actually Reiga, the enemy of the Giou Clan, have an emotionally painful confrontation.

We start with a repeat of the last scene of the previous episode, where Reiga makes an appearance, revealing that he is actually Kanata. (Or rather, that Kanata is really Reiga, who had apparently reincarnated as Kanata Wakamiya.) After a conversation where Reiga reveals that he is the one who summoned the mid-villain that tried to kill Yuki on Walpurgis night, a battle ensues between Reiga and his surviving minions and the Zweilt Guardians.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sample: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Water Logic, by Laurie J. Marks

Small Beer Press

Water Logic: An Elemental Logic NovelWater Logic is the third book in the Elemental Logic series. In this book Zanja gets thrown two hundred years in the past by a water witch, Clement is unable to come up with a plan C for dealing with a mutiny, and a bunch of Shaftali rebels refuse to believe that Karis is the real G’deon. We also continue the theme that has been developing since Fire Logic: finding away to integrate the Sainnite invaders (who are actually refugees) into the Shaftali population. Searching out a way to accomplish this task leads to a shocking discovery.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Uraboku Episode Twelve "To Be a 'Pair'"--Review

In this episode, Hotsuma and Yuki confront and fight Ashley. They are not very successful at first. Meanwhile, the body count of Ashley's familiars continues to rise as Luka fights his way to Yuki's side.

Once Hotsuma realizes that Shuusei is down for the count (dead, according to Ashley) he attacks while Yuki attempts to heal Shuusei. Ashley does the classic villain thing and taunts both Hotsuma and Yuki as she fights. Ashley also rocks the annoying insane female villain laughter. (Seriously, it is deeply annoying.)