Thursday, August 30, 2012

Manga Review: Kamisama Kiss Volume Four, Julietta Suzuki

In this volume, Tomoe is continuing to go to school with Nanami so he can keep her out of trouble. He very much does not care for going to school however, so he spends a lot of time attempting to convince Nanami to quite school. (When Nanami complains about school, Tomoe tells her she should quit if it’s so hard, for instance.) Nanami meanwhile, is beginning to realize that she has a crush on Tomoe (much to his horror when he finds out).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reading: Daybreak 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton, Part One

It is also one of the most accurate.
This is my favorite cover.
Daybreak 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son) is one of the first books I read by Andre Norton. I first read it when I was fifth grade and for some reason, it was in the adult section of the Library. (The novel actually has a “young adult” feel to it, and one of the hard back editions actually has illustrations.) After re-reading it, I found that it had aged very well, even with the “post-apocalyptic neo-barb syntax,” that makes everyone sound like movie-western Indians type “eloquent.” The general message is the importance of cooperation between groups of people and not judging people by how they look. (There is also some commentary about race, presented in a very subtle fashion.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist Volume One, by Kazue Kato

While I enjoyed the Blue Exorcist anime, my first encounter with the manga (read before the anime came out) did not go very well. I read it in fan translation, and found it to be hard to get into. I initially thought that this was the fault of the fan translator because the translation had been littered with grammar errors, typos and poor word choices. However, I experienced the same difficulties reading the professional translation as I did the fan translation. Comparing the manga to the anime, I realized that the problem was the manga art is much more cramped and cluttered in places. (Also, the anime has better pacing than the manga, which is very “rushed.”)    

Friday, August 24, 2012

Manga Review: Chrono Crusade Volume Two, by Daisuke Moriyama

The second volume of Chrono Crusade opens with a story about a ghost that is haunting the New York branch of the Magdalen Order. At the same time, we see that Rosette is having some problems staying awake. It takes everyone a while to figure out that the two are connected, and that the cause is Rosette’s pocket watch, which has apparently caused her soul to separate from her body. (We are reminded that the watch keeps Chrono from accidentally stealing all of Rosette’s time at once.) While Rosette is out of body, she has a strange dream that she finds very disturbing and decides to blame on Chrono.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: Scholar, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

508 pp.

The fourth book in The Imager Portfolio takes place hundreds of years before the events of Imager. Quaeryt is a young scholar who is the friend of the ruler of Telaryn, Bhayar. He is also an imager, a power that he has been concealing for years. Not liking the idea of being in the middle of a great deal of court intrigue and perhaps outstaying his welcome, Quaeryt manipulates his friend into sending him to Tilbor, a country that had been conquered by Bhayar’s father ten years previously.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Moribito Episode Nineteen “Chagum’s Escape” -- Review

We open the episode with Balsa tucking a sleeping Chagum in. She is not happy about the way Chagum learned about what might happen to him. She is even less happy that she still does not have a way to protect Chagum from the Rarunga. The scene shifts to the village headman and Torogai, who are talking about Chagum. The headman offers to let Chagum and company to stay in the village over winter. Torogai declines the offer.

They question the headman's granddaughter, but she is not able to offer very much more information. She does however state that the Rarunga is a natural part of the water spirit's life cycle. Apparently, the only way the egg can come out is if one bearing it is torn open by the Rarunga. The egg-eater is a creature that enables the Sagu (physical world) and Nayug to interact. After the egg leaves the Rarunga, a third intermediary, a nahji bird, picks up the egg and carries it to its final destination.

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Four, by Yana Toboso

Volume four of Black Butler is a little lighter in tone than volume three ended up being. Ciel investigates a series of mysterious attacks on “Anglo Indians” (British colonists returning from India.) During the investigation, Ciel and Sebastian run into Prince Soma, the 26th child of the raja of Bengal. The prince is searching for one of his servants, a woman named Mina, who had allegedly been kidnapped by a British noble.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reading Homestuck Part Twenty One: ==> Rose: Accidentally foreshadow your own issues while discussing John’s!

From here to here.

We see Wandering Vagabond standing in front of a huge ruin with a frog on top. He is directed to descend. Unfortunately, the huge mobile station is too huge and the cables he tied together to form a rope are too short. The next command suggests that he should sacrifice his mayoral sash to extend the rope. WV refuses to do this in a very emphatic manner!

WV is next directed to Appearify the temple. Wandering Vagabond feels that this idea is even more stupid than the one about the sash. We then notice that one of the towers has some kind of rope attached to it. WV is directed to have Serenity carry the rope to him. WV points out that Serenity is a tiny insect and the maximum weight she can lift is a pumpkin seed. Serenity informs WV that the cable is attached to a harpoon that is lodged in the tower. The next direction is for WV to get the rope.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reading: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs Part Nine

Chapter Twenty Three: Lost in the Sky

John rushes off to tell Kantos Kan everything he knows. Instead of decrying John’s complete inability to stay undercover, he is horrified that Dejah agreed to marry Sab Than. Apparently, the very idea of a political marriage or marriage alliance is abhorrent.

Kantos Kan has no clue of how they can remedy this horrific situation! John states that he’d like to settle the problem by killing Sab Than, but can’t for personal reasons. Kantos realizes that this means John is in love with Dejah. After some discussion, Kantos agrees to kill Sab Than so that John’s way to Dejah will be clear. (Apparently Dejah would be able to marry the guy who arranged to have her fiancé killed but not the guy who actually did the deed. Mars has no lawyers because Martian law makes no sense.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Natsume Yujin-cho Episode Three “The Mysterious Person at the Eight Fields” --Recap

The episode opens to a flashback to when Natsume was much younger. He is huddled by himself, extremely distraught because of his ability to see yokai. A young woman approaches him to see if he is okay. She asks him if he can see "strange things." Natsume is very surprised, because until this point, he had been the only one who had been able to see yokai.

The scene shifts to the present. Natsume is at school, sleeping at his desk. A boy is asking where he can find Natsume and one of his classmates states that he isn't sure where Natsume is, since he doesn't stand out. Then the boy spots Natsume and calls out to him, though Natsume does not answer at first. When he wakes up, Natsume's classmate tells him about the guy who had wanted to meet Natsume, but the guy is gone. The classmate then expresses concern for Natsume, and asks if he is getting enough sleep. Natsume is friendly but dismissive of the concerned overtures.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Nomansland by Lesley Hauge

Square Fish
243 pp.
Buy on Amazon.
Nomansland is a YA post-apocalyptic novel. Our Heroine is a girl named Keller, who is a “Tracker” or warrior for a restrictive and extremely dysfunctional all-female community living on an isolated island. (The community has extremely strict rules of behavior and appearance that are harshly punished if disobeyed.) There are no men in the community, and Keller has been raised to view men as enemies, though the island has apparently never been attacked. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Moribito Episode Eighteen “The Ancient Village”--Review

The episode begins with Balsa reaching the meeting point. She is on guard and definitely worried about pursuers. She makes contact with Tanda and Torogai and there is a brief comment about needing to go to Toumi village immediately. Chagum however, wants to go back to the palace because of his brother's death. This idea is vetoed very firmly by Balsa, who says they need to get to the village, and get the pursuers off their tail.

Next, we see Shuga, who is being debriefed by the Emperor's agents. Shuga is very disappointed that he was not very much help in this endeavor. (A slightly amusing aspect of the exchange: at one point, Shuga mentions that the prince's appearance had changed, and the agent states that Chagum must have disguised himself. It is amusing to me because it was not Chagum who disguised himself it was Balsa who taught him how.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reading Homestuck Part Twenty: ==> John: You are a Lame Kid!

From here to here.

John finds some unopened birthday presents in his dad’s room. John is cheerfully directed to open one of the presents. It’s fetch modus control deck with a bonus fetch modus and some captchalogue cards! John adds the cards to his deck. Then he is directed to equip the array fetch modus. The array modus enables you to store and retrieve any item at any time. This means it is somewhat difficult to weaponize, though otherwise very useful!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: Imager’s Intrigue by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

495 pp.
Imager’s Intrigue takes five years after the events of Imager’s Challenge. Rhenn has settled into his position as the Patrol Captain for the Third District and as an imager. He and his wife are doing well in their careers and have well placed social contacts and an extremely active toddler. Rhenn’s situation becomes considerably less comfortable when a string of deaths leads him to become aware of a conspiracy and the actions of enemy agents.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reading: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs Part Eight

Chapter Twenty One: An Air Scout for Zodanga

John continues on his journey to Zodanga, stopping at various farms along the way. We get a lot of world building details about how Martian irrigation works. We also learn that there is no weather problems, or pest problems involved with Barsoomian agriculture. In addition, we discover that Dejah Thoris is widely believed to be dead, even though no body was recovered. (All that was found was the thoats Dejah, John and Sola had been riding.)

(Special Note: Unlike in the movie, Zodanga is a normal city, not the evil cousin of Howl’s Moving Castle.)