Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Thing I Hate About Web Comics

I utterly despise being caught up. See, when I start a new web comic I try to read the entire archive. I will go through the archive as if it were a bag of chips and I have had years of potato ship famine. (I will also occasionally paraphrase turns of phrase badly when I'm talking about web comics.) Eventually though, I will get caught up. And I will always be caught up at the point where the web comic artist is having a hiatus or a "well, I don't have any updates ready yet."

And then I will slowly go bonkers waiting for the dang update.

The only time that this did not happen was when I tried to get into Sluggy Freelance. The reason why I did not have this occur is because of it being Too Damn Long for Me to Try Reading. (Which usually happens for extremely long running paper comics like X-Men or for certain manga series that never end because the mangaka does not know how to end a damn series so it goes on and on for endless reiterations and you want to strangle all the characters and bury them face down at a crossroads with stakes through their hearts.) In the case of a Too Damn Long for Me series, I generally give up and therefor, don't go crazy looking for an update.

This ramble is of course almost entirely about Homestuck, of which I have become greatly enamored, and which has not yet updated. (I should point out that it took six tries and a lot of utterly adorkable fan art before I could take the plunge and get through the vast silliness of John floundering around doing ridiculous things.) I will probably/should probably re read again in hopes of being able to force my way through the freaking Troll l33t sp33k. (Which I despise with a deep and overwhelming passion, by the way.)

What I'm thinking of doing, since I have Homestuck on the brain is possibly write a "walk through" of the comic.(And probably plan for "walk throughs" of a few other web comics I like.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode Four "The Garden of Amahara"--Review

The opening scene is a garden and an old woman talking to her granddaughter Shiemi about a magical garden where every plant in the world is grown. Shiemi wants to find this garden someday. We see a brief image of the old woman and the little girl. The image is fuzzy at the edges, indicating that this is a memory. Then we go to the opening credits.

When we get back from the credits, Rin is heartbroken over something that has happened in a manga he is reading. Yukio would very much appreciate it if Rin did not blubber all over his manga. He removes the book from Rin's grasp over his brother's strenuous protests. Yukio would also appreciate it Rin took things more seriously and tried studying instead of goofing off.

Read the rest at Associated Content.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gosick Episode Fourteen "A Malicious Frill Denounces a Farting Newt" --Review

The opening shows the class room, and Avril speculating that Kujo has skipped class to go to the library. Cecile is also noticeably missing. We discover why Cecile is missing when the scene shifts to Kujo, who has  finally left the library towers. He notices that Cecile is wrestling with a very angry Victorique. Apparently, Cecile decided to force Victorique to attend class for once. (And another reason why Victorique hides from people is discovered; Cecile playing truant officer.) We switch back to the classroom, where Cecile has managed to drag Victorique. Victorique is clearly not happy about this, and then we go to the opening credits.

When we get back to the class room, rumors and speculations run rampant among the students. The whispers get even louder as it becomes clear that the Golden Fair and the Grim Reaper are apparently friends. Kujo walks Victorique to a seat. As everyone sits down, Cecile says that the classes will be canceled for the day, since something had happened on the school grounds.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Armed and Magical by Lisa Shearin

293 pp.
Armed & Magical (Raine Benares, Book 2)In this book, Raine Benares is still stuck with the Saghred, an extremely powerful magical object that has made her the target of both the goblin government and the elven one. The former is of course because the magical object was theirs to begin with. The latter is because the Saghred had been used in wars against the elves. Also, it eats souls and is evil. The elves want to imprison or execute her, and possibly also want to imprison Piaras who has also come to Mid for protection and to get into the school there. Any human governmental bodies have yet to state their own opinions of the dispensation of the magical doohickey.

Blue Exorcist Episode Three "Brothers" --Review

The opening shows Rin looking around the monastery before leaving. He is worried about Yukio who has not said anything to Rin, or asked him about what happened. The monks talk to him, and offer him some encouragement  and reassurances that he still has a home. Rin asks where Yukio is, and the scene shifts to the cemetery, where Yukio has left flowers. We see some of Yukio's childhood memories. Apparently, Fujimoto had encouraged him to become an exorcist from an early age. Then we go to the opening credits.

When we get back from the credits, Rin is impatiently waiting for the reappearance of Mephisto Pheles and for Yukio to show up. When Mephisto does show up it's in a Barbie-pink limousine. Rin learns that Mephisto is actually the president of the school, and is operating under the name "Johann Faust the Fifth." (This name is even worse as an alias than "Mephisto Pheles.")

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oh gog, Homestuck

Okay. Homestuck. I was initially not very impressed even though the comic was highly recommended on several lists/blog rolls I watch. The story line is huge, the art didn't really interest me at first, and I couldn't get into it. But I kept hearing great things about Homestuck, and I kept seeing amazing fanart about it. So I kept trying to read it.

SIX TRIES. It took six tries before I was able to get through  more than three pages. Once I got started reading though, I couldn't stop. I think what really sold me on watching though was the music and the animations. (Not so much the game bits, however. Those I didn't much care for as they were fiddly and annoying. I am not the world's best game player, and found those parts to be irritating as heck.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unnatural Issue, by Mercedes Lackey

361 pp.
Unnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters NovelThis most recent Elemental Master’s book is a variation of the Allerleiruah/King Who Wished to Marry His Daughter fairytale. When Richard Whitestone’s wife dies in childbirth he decides to completely abandon his work and shuts himself up in his manor house. Richard’s daughter Susanne was raised by the housekeeper and the cook. She spends most of her time working and performing the duties of an Elemental mage, duties which her father had abandoned. (The father is apparently too sunk in depression to notice his daughter is a very powerful Earth mage.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gosick Episode Thirteen "The Fool Designates His Own Mouthpiece" --Review

We begin with a movie featuring some kind of laboratory and a masked figure who turns out to be a skeleton. Avril shrieks and throttles Kujo, which causes him to yell. They both fall over, and we go to the opening credits. After the opening credits, Avril is teasing Kujo for being a scaredy cat. Kujo responds that anyone would be scared to have someone suddenly strangling you and screaming in your face. (This is very true.) Avril mentions that the movie reminds her of a story that she had heard once.

As they are walking back to the school, they hear some children singing a song as they are marching along with sticks in hand. (The lyrics to this song become increasingly creepy, by the way.) Kujo is a little curious as to why Avril broke off her vacation early to come back to school. Avril becomes very flustered, and it's clear that she came back early because she has a crush on him. Kujo however, seems oblivious. Avril however, remembers why the story seemed familiar to her. She rushes off to an old clock tower with Kujo in tow. (And as they run up, we see a stranger moving away from the gates.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner

Random House
517 pp.
Welcome to BordertownThe Bordertown anthologies were a shared universe series about a city placed on the border between the human world and Faerie. The series managed to shape a great deal of the “urban fantasy” landscape during its run and generated a few novels before vanishing. The books are extremely hard to find, but well worth the hunt. (You are more likely to find them in a library than a used bookstore. Check the young adult/teen section.) I was extremely excited when I found out there was going to be a new Bordertown anthology.

Blue Exorcist Episode Two "Gehenna Gate"--Review

We open with an expository scene that goes over Rin's self-esteem issues. Rin's childhood was mostly filled with him being in lots of trouble because he was constantly getting into fights. He generally had good intentions but this did not stop his peers and the adults in his life from saying bad things about him. Thanks to the revelation of the previous episode, Rin now has tacit confirmation that everyone is right and he really is a rotten no good kid.

The next scene is Rin and Fujimoto running frantically for home. We get a lot of shots of the weird little Coal Tar monsters and Rin looking dazed and confused as Fujimoto drags him along. Rin wants explanations but there is not time, and Fujimoto is too busy trying to protect him from the demons that keep popping up and attacking them. They manage to get a breather, which gives Fujimoto enough time to joke about how hard it is to babysit at his age. Rin is not impressed. Fujimoto turns serious and warns Rin that there is more to come, and then we go to credits.

Read the rest at Associated Content.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gosick Episode Twelve "The Cicadas Are Heard on Summer Afternoons" --Review

We open the episode with various students talking about their plans for summer break. The only one with no concrete plans for a summer break is Kujo, who is a little far from home to go back for a visit, and so far is only friends with the other exchange student Avril, and with Victorique. Kujo is rather glum about his prospects until Avril pops into view to invite him to come with her to her grandmother's summer home, which is near the Mediterranean Sea.

Kujo of course is very excited about this trip and goes off to share the news with Victorique, who is extremely not happy with him. The reason she is angry apparently seems to be because Kujo has arrived sans candy or presents. She demands both from him, which of course causes Kujo to become exasperated with her. He stomps off in high dudgeon, swearing to bring her sweets from the Mediterranean.

Read the rest of the article at Associated Content.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blue Exorcist Episode One "The Devil Resides in Human Souls"--Review

Blue Exorcist is about a slightly disreputable but otherwise well-meaning boy named Rin Okumura who discovers that he is the son of Satan. (As a result, even when he tries to do good deeds something bad happens--usually to him, but also to anyone else in the general vicinity.) He and his much more responsible and respectable twin brother Yukio were both raised by a priest, an exorcist named Shiro Fujimoto. There is some random Kabbalah involved with the series, in that the human world is referred to as "Assiah." (In Kabbalah Assiah is one of four spiritual "worlds") The world of demons is referred to as "Gehenna."

We open with some sort of dire ritual taking place. Some force appears to be trying to stop the ritual from taking place but a priest urges the monks to keep chanting. Then a few of the monks burst into blue flame which causes something of a panic amongst the monks. Then the priest leading the ritual explodes and the entire building bursts into flames and everything goes white, and our next sight is a boy getting punched in the face.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Manga Review: Pig Bride Volume Five, KookHwa Huh/Sujin Kim

 Pig Bride, Vol. 5Mu-Yeon and her sister Mu-Hwa are now attending Si-Joon’s school. This information puts Si-Joon into a mildly jealous state since without a mask Mu-Yeon is attracting boys like ants to sugar. Meanwhile, the clique that Doe-Doe has gathered around her is starting to doubt her abilities as “queen bee” of the school and the principal is putting pressure on her to make Mu-Yeon’s life miserable. Doe-Doe however is extremely conflicted about what to do, since she has developed a crush on Ji-Oh and no longer wants to pursue her rivalry with Mu-Yeon.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica Episode Twelve "My Best Friend"--Review

The episode opens with Madoka explaining to Homura that she will become a magical girl. Walpurgis is floating off in the distance, not making any specific moves to attack. Homura is of course horrified because it seems  to her the same thing is about to happen again, after she'd already decided that she couldn't go back in time again.

Madoka is very determined and seems confident that her wish will work. Homura has another breakdown and begins crying. Madoka apologizes, telling her that she can't help being the way she is, since Homura had tried to protect her for so long. (This is probably the last thing Homura would want to hear, in about a million years.) She promises that nothing Homura has done so far will go to waste, and then she turns to Kyuube.

Read the rest of this recap at Associated Content.