Tag Archives: Manga

Between The Concrete And The Blue, Blue Sky

29 Apr

I just can’t really get myself to care about the royal wedding. I generally don’t even care much for weddings, let alone 2 people I don’t even know are getting married, so… my original plan for tonight was to watch Tekkon Kinkreet, as I just finished the graphic novel on Wednesday. Despite being a hefty 614 pages, Black and White was a fairly quick read, though a bit difficult to stomach all at once–er, broken down into 2 days. I tend to marathon my graphic novel reading…

Image via precur.files.wordpress.com

Image via precur.files.wordpress.com

I did very little research prior to picking up this novel. Half the time I pick up anything to read is from walking into the comic book store or my local independent bookstore (in this case, I went to Skylight on Vermont) and checking out the staff recommendations. Truth be told I can never find the graphic novels I want whenever I go to Barnes & Noble or Borders, and everyone knows I don’t read books, so why bother.

Tekkon Kinkreet is not a new title. I had seen a movie poster for the animated film a while back but forgot to put it into my personal/mental anime queue, and seeing this title at the bookstore with the staff recommendation note posted underneath, piqued my interest. There was only a short and vague summary about the story on the back cover, but it didn’t seem like the usual manga I read. There was a shiny Eisner award certification stamped on the front cover, and rarely are Eisner awards given to manga.

Scenes from the movie. Image via amazon.com

It was important for me to mention that I did zero research on this novel before diving into it. As I flipped onto the final page, I looked at the back insert, to see that this novel had been completed in 1994. The art style was in no way “dated-looking” (avid manga readers you know exactly what I’m talking about), the story transcending time and space–Treasure Town could have been anyplace, Black and White could have lived in anytime.

The story is based on a simple premise–two orphan boys running wild in a town they call their own, until one day the yakuza finally decide to step in to “take over” the town. Black and White–it’s never clarified whether or not they are brothers but they are of the same blood.

In the graphic novel, most of the emotions are conveyed through the stark contrast in the images and the little life occurrences our two protagonists must face. The “symbolism” is not as obvious as it is in the movie, which is a visual and cerebral delight. Though the movie was made in 2006, the animation is stunningly beautiful, even in spite of how raw the character design is. Each vignette is lush with archetypes and important details to be noticed during a second viewing. The music, composed all by Plaid, helps to set the audience in this make-believe, but completely real, world. It sets the pace of Black and White’s world; the soundtrack actually amplifies the emotions from the characters, who seem to only understand violence. Sure, there are a FEW holes in the movie but this is only because I read the manga just a day before.

"Hello, this is Agent White...." Image via pingmag.jp

The movie doesn’t try to match the novel word-for-word, frame-for-frame–but it still successfully pulls key scenes and enhances them. This is the true beauty of the movie–we can become truly immersed into Treasure Town–its beauty and its beast, our protagonist and antagonist.

I suppose everyone would draw different conclusions from their own readings and viewing of Tekkon Kinkreet. There are comparisons to the Lost Boys and Peter Pan, but Tekkon Kinkreet is a whole new vehicle that should be considered a great piece of literature, and the movie, a distinct accomplishment in anime films. (By the way I am glad this was not made into a live-action film.)


Yes, that is also music from AKFG!!

I apologize for not having anything particularly funny to say in this blog post, but it is almost 4am and I was pretty moved by the movie (or maybe it’s just that time of the month and I’m super emotional… er…). I watched the movie in Blu-Ray, so I highly suggest it. Other than that…Happy Friday, everyone!

Makin’ Piranhas Look Like Guppies

12 Mar

…And zombies lookin’ like Cabbage Patch Dolls. What could I possibly be talking about?

The motherfucking “gyo”, created by popular horror mangaka Junji Ito–spawned from the sea, created by man itself, biological weapons gone horribly wrong. I’m not joking when I say these machines make zombies seem harmless.

Image via jfilmpowwow.blogspot.com

If you are familiar with Junji Ito’s work, most notably “Uzumaki” and “Tomie”, you know he’s a brilliant artist and storyteller–I’m going to throw in a cliche here and say his stories are that “train wreck you can’t look away from”. So I’m never going to be able to look at snails the same way ever again, thanks to Uzumaki, but I did finish the entire story, and finished “Tomie” in one sitting. The Ring’s Sadako stands no chance against the evil Tomie–the live-action movies do not do the manga justice, as Junji’s beautiful drawings send chills down my bones, as I shudder with the thought of what kind of drugs he was on to come up with some of these twisted and gruesome images. A recurring theme in Junji’s stories, despite the horrific images and mutilated beings, is love, not so much the Nicholas Sparks-type, however.

Tomie, the scariest motherfucking girl in fiction. Image via flying-teapot.blogspot.com

Tomie, the scariest motherfucking girl in fiction. Image via flying-teapot.blogspot.com

While “Uzumaki” and “Tomie ” saw live-action reinterpretations, “Gyo” will be produced by anime studio ufotable; the rumors at the moment from animenewsnetwork are that it will not be a full series, rather a 30-60 minute anime. I’m interested to see how this turns out, as a key pull into the story for me was the relationship between the male lead Tadashi and his girlfriend Kaori… not sure how 60 minutes is adequate for the audience to invest in our protagonist. I’ll admit though I am not too excited to see these vile creatures animated. My imagination is enough.

Wow. CLAMP finished another manga series?!

13 Jan

Don’t get me wrong. I love CLAMP. They are the sole reason I got into manga as a typical Asian child. But CLAMP, as you know, are notorious for leaving their readers hanging with their unfinished manga series (ahem, X/1999Clover..wish…)

So when I heard that xxxHolic was coming to an end in February, you can bet your bottom I almost fell out of my swivel chair. xxxHolic is one of my favorite CLAMP series, and I loved the anime interpretation. I didn’t watch season 2 so don’t spoil anything for me. I liked how series 1 ended. I gotta admit, some scenes were downright SPOOKY in xxxHolic. I’m getting chills now as I recollect my thoughts. xxxHolic had two of the most compelling and mysterious characters in the history of CLAMP–Yuuko and Watanuki. You never really learn ANY USEFUL BACKGROUND INFO about either character, but you’re horribly invested in the both of them anyway. Yuuko is also the only reason I can say, with a straight face, “But the bunny is the witch’s drinking partner.” I could never come up with something as quirky as that on my own, you know.

I’m excited to see how CLAMP wraps up their 17th volume of xxxHolic in February–but I won’t have my expectations bursting to the roof. My fingers are crossed they didn’t just cop out and end the series like they did with Cardcaptor Sakura (uh… predictable, much?)

Just how much do I love xxxHolic? Enough to buy these absolutely useless, but adorable chess pieces.

Talkin’ Monsters During Family Dinners

25 Oct

My sister and I don’t have much in common. Her entire wardrobe consists of American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, my wardrobe is black, black, and more black (not Hot Topic-style, more Alexander Wang/Ann Demeulemeester-style). She can spend hours watching Scottish Fold videos on Youtube, I can spend hours watching dance videos on Youtube. She has waist-length black hair, I have short, blonde hair.

Most people don’t even recognize us as siblings. She’s friendly and reserved, I sometimes come off as that unapproachable bitch with the potty mouth at the bar. But despite our obvious differences, there is one thing we can see eye-to-eye on, and it’s not the universal subject of females–no, we don’t bond over Robert Pattinson or Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We awaken our sisterly bonds through anime.

It was my dad’s birthday celebration last night, and we went through the normal ritual–go to dinner at the Chinese restaurant we grew up with, go home and eat a cake from Micasa. I don’t really get along with my mom, my dad and I talk about sci-fi movies and superheroes all day (drives my mom crazy), my grandpa’s half-deaf (he’s 92) and my sister is still in college, working part-time at a local boba shop. We endured the entire 7-minute car ride to the restaurant listening to my mom yell at my dad for talking on his cell phone sans earpiece. It’s no secret to me that my sister watches Detective Conan too. She’s not into the violent / horror / sometimes-pervy anime I usually watch (did I ever say that I was a role model????) but she said something that surprised me during dinner.

Me: I’ve been watching Darker Than Black lately, have you seen that?
Sister: No, what’s that about?
Me: It’s a sci-fi series but it’s kind of violent so I’m not sure if you’ll want to watch it.
Sister: …The first episode of Blood+ was so bloody, I didn’t know what was going on, but it’s actually a really good series.
Me: Is it anything like Blood The Last Vampire?
Sister: I haven’t seen it but there are some references throughout.
Me: Hm. Well the movie has a lot of blood.
Sister: How bad is Darker Than Black?
Me: Well it’s not that violent but there’s one guy who uses his blood to kill people. Basically, whatever his blood touches, he just snaps his fingers and it explodes. This dude got destroyed by it.
Sister: Oh. That’s not so bad. In the beginning of Blood+ the girl slices everyone. I was confused. But I kept watching.
Me: Hmmm if there aren’t that many episodes I’ll check it out I’ve heard good things about it.
Sister: You should watch High School of the Dead, too, it’s pretty good.

STOP RIGHT THERE. HOW is it that my sister beat me in finishing HSotD? (Her: It’s only 12 episodes, you should watch it. But it ended really weird…) This obviously erupted into a conversation about zombies during our family dinner–then vampires. Then immediately after the cake was consumed, my sister showed me a clip from Blood+. We could have gone all night but I had to rush off and play Goldeneye on the N64 (I got my ass handed to me on a glittering platter, by the way).

Vampires and zombies. Yes–the topics of 20-some Asian girls during family dinners. Vampires, witches, demons, knights and dinosaurs–more monsters we’ve yet to cover in one of our conversations to come, but all of which are in the new Darkstalkers manga that was released October 18.

It’s obvious that when anyone thinks “Darkstalkers” we all think “Morrigan“. How can we not? I honestly have no recollection of Darkstalkers except for that succubus relation, from those times at Skate Depot playing Marvel v. Capcom.

ZOMG. MARVEL V. CAPCOM 3 MORRIGAN VS. IRON MAN. Notice the clever caption in the top  right corner. Image via gamerant.com

I’m interested to see how the story is developed in this manga, as we know that oftentimes, too many monsters becomes too ridiculous (and believe me, I usually embrace ridiculous)–for some reason, Twilight came to mind. I haven’t even seen the movies but I don’t care about emo vampires or teenage werewolves. I’m on a completely different team from Jacob and Edward.

Below is an excerpt from the official press release from Udon Entertainment regarding the Darkstalkers/Red Earth manga:

“Written and drawn by Itou Mami(ROBOT, Pilgrim Jäger) Maleficarum is video game manga at its best. This standalone volume includes five short stories from across the monstrous Darkstalkers universe, as well as a four-chapter tale featuring the swords & sorcery world of Red Earth. You’ll see succubus Morrigan fight the wolfman Talbain, the devilish Jedah confront vampire lord Demitri, the heroic lion-man Leo questing to cure his cursed body, and several more fantastic tales. Also included are gag strips and artist commentary.”

Maleficarum / Darkstalkers/Red Earth manga. Image via udonentertainment.com

One volume? Anyone of us can finish that in a weekend or less. I know absolutely nothing about Red Earth, so I’m ready to get schooled (in the name of research, duh). And gag strips / artist commentary? Yes, please! Monsters are something Megawoman and I might never tire of rambling about, but now that I’ve discovered a new buddy to chat monsters with, I think I can proudly add my sister to my zombie-vampire-survival team.

The Godfather: Tezuka Osamu

7 Sep

Call me old school or call me late, but in my defense I was just a sucker for pretty art when I read manga in my high school days. That being said, yes, I did read a lot of CLAMP. As much as I still love CLAMP and they are my favorite mangaka, I eventually ventured off in search of more compelling stories (sorry, CLAMP!!) and started reading the endless journey that is Detective Conan. I read a few smaller titles afterwards, including Hana Yori Dango (this was before the whole Meteor Garden/F4 explosion), which is one of my all-time favorites even though I usually don’t read shoujo manga. I was so caught up with reading the NEW titles, in a way, ignoring the classic goodies.

I was at Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo one day, browsing their manga section, when a title that would ordinarily not capture my interest, did–“Buddha” by Tezuka Osamu. Maybe it was my innate desire to learn more about my parents’ religion (I go to the temple sometimes but I’m not really Buddhist) and my culture that prompted me to pick up this title. I tend to read action/sci-fi/horror/mystery/comedy manga, and I shouldn’t have doubted that Buddha wouldn’t have those elements. I finished the first volume within the hour, and I now own all 8 volumes and tried to force my friends to read it. I don’t like to admit this, but I got teary-eyed upon the conclusion. I remember watching “Little Buddha” as a kid, but besides the fact Keanu Reeves was in it, a distinct memory of it doesn’t resound in my mind. Tezuka’s “Buddha”, however, was so much easier to connect to. Sure, some of the events in the manga were fictional, but Siddhartha wasn’t a perfect person–and that was made clear throughout. The magic of Tezuka’s story-telling (I later realized) is that he makes his characters completely real–the characteristics that Siddhartha embodied can be found in maybe one of your best friends. There were characters you hated, characters you grew to love, and characters you cherised–the most important thing was that you cared about all the characters. It is a rarity in manga for all the characters to have fascinating arcs, and especially for the reader to emotionally invest in so many of them.

Part of the Menace's manga collection

If I really like a series I'll buy the entire set...most of which is usually then loaned out/forced to other friends to read. Case in point: SCOTT PILGRIM.

After “Buddha”, I read “MW”, which was a very, very twisted thriller involving poisonous gases and a dose of homosexuality. There was a dash of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman in our main antagonist, who I wasn’t sure if I felt sorry for or absolutely despised. At times I felt bad for him, other times I just wanted him to die a gruesome death for all his sins. The story had me questioning who the true villain was at the very end, and I wondered why this story hadn’t been turned into a movie yet, it was one of the most captivating I had ever read.

“MW” and “Buddha”, 2 completely different bodies of work, both set decades, or centuries in the past, echoing modern social and political themes. Osamu never loses the connection to reality with his fascinating and seemingly unreal stories (I sure hope MW is 100% fictional, it is absolutely horrific). His characters are unforgettable, and most of the stories ARE character-driven, unlike a lot of manga today, which tries to hook its readers with a “unique” story idea, but leaves readers feeling empty with its underdeveloped characters.

I just picked up “Ode to Kirihito” the other day, which is still sitting on my nightstand, but this story revolves around a weird disease that turns people into beastly dogs. Can’t wait to start reading.

Ode to Kirihito

I should get on this shit.

“Smile for me, won’t you?”

14 Jun

“You cannot say to the sun, “More sun.” Or to the rain, “Less rain.” To a man, geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet, to learn kindness after so much unkindness, to understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find her prayers were answered, can that not be called happiness? After all these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.

I love that movie.

So much.

Once I got home today, I stayed on the computer a while and then decided to watch “Memoirs of a Geisha” again. I love that movie so much. I want to finish the book now. The book describes so much more about the traditions and what not. It’s all so wonderful.

But enough of one of my many obsessions. xD Today, work was fun. I have learned (well, I knew this, but I guess I remembered it very well) that I enjoy working with Valerie the most. It’s just so much fun. Today we finally shifted all the paperbacks down and made room for all the young adult books and mangas! I got to put up Gravitation today. ^^ I hope to spread the Gravi love even further…I would much rather that than Ranma 1/2 any day. xD

Today after work I tried to do the whole “create my own ringtone” thing but the place I found never worked with my phone. >> And I want “Darkwave Surfer” by Aural Vampire really really badly. xD I think even if I got the text to verify, I wouldn’t be able to download it because I have to subscribe for the web on my phone. >> It’s $6 a month…maybe I can get all I want in that time. In the mean time I will need to convince my mom and send her funds through pay pal. xDD

I need to once again go to sleep. For some odd reason, I have been waking up in the middle of the night. o__o I don’t know why at all, because I never have this problem. What could it be…? Hopefully I can sleep peacefully tonight.

I leave for drum major camp on Sunday. I get to drive three hours or so for the first time…by myself. o__o I have never gone that far anyway, and I have never gone so far as thirty minutes driving by myself. No Meaghan to enjoy fast food with and no Juan to yell out the window to cows. ;___; I will miss that. …and that’s why I have Harry Potter! *weirdest plug ever* xD ….I have this problem when I drive long ways that I tend to get, uh, drowsy. xD So I got the library’s copy of “Half-Blood Prince” *the talking book thing* …hopefully it will work. I need to get a head start though on it because it’s 17 cds long. Damn. xD I have been meaning to reread it anyways in anticipation of the last book^^

*sigh* I need to sleep or something like that. Juan said he will spend lunch with me. Hopefully he doesn’t forget. >>

….After spending some time looking at random xangas, I found this and just had to post it. xD

What Is Your HP Threesome? by elschan
Name
You Will ShagCho Chang and Luna Lovegood

So I get the hot asian with a british accent(or whatever) and that freaky chic…both women, mind you. xDD Juan would be jealous. About Cho, at least. xD

I love Sundays

10 Jun

I love them oh so much. I stayed up late last night and still work up early. o__o Meaghan left today and should be in Florida now. I hope she has fun there. ❤ Right now I am about to hurt some little kids really freaking badly. My step-dad’s nephew who lives down here is divorced and has a little girl who vists from time to time. But she stays at my house, not at her father’s, and she is the most annoying little 8 (however) year old ever. She makes up stuff, she lies, she causes trouble, she secretly likes my little brother who HATES her..so it’s just trouble. I hate her. And what really pisses me off is that her father knows that there is no one at my house her age, therefore she is bored, and that she just causes trouble. But does he do anything? NO! BOOOO.

Man, I wasn’ expecting to go on a rant about her. I guess it’s because David and his stupid redneck friend were just messing with her right beside me and wouldn’t listen to me. I hate these kids. I am the oldest(17..they are..13..?) and they don’t listen to me. I’m told to watch them and make sure they don’t destroy the house, and they don’t listen. I don’t care anymore. Buuuu…

*endranthere…lovelovelove~*

Today when I woke up I had a sudden urge to try and make a layout for my xanga. I was getting there, but I got made at the tables whatnot and stopped. Leave it for another day. xD So now, the whole three people who come here will have to suffer the INSANE black and white, still. Sorry guys. xD

Sooooo, lately I have been watching some more anime and reading tons of manga, since the public library has gotten so many. I love being able to work there and directely let Valeri know what kind of mangas to get. I was really happy the other day at work because we got most of the Gravitation series!! I love spreading Gravi love. xDD

But I started taking some interest in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It looks like a really funny anime. If you try to watch it on Youtube, don’t worry or whatever by the first episode because it’s not *really* the first one. It’s a little confusing, but you get the hang of it. I want to watch the second one but I can’t find it. >>;;; I was reading some forums and someone said that it’s a parody and just poking fun at all those high school animes. It’s pretty neat. If you are ever bored, go to youtube and check it out. ^__^

….ok, so the ending para para got me hooked, really. xD

Now to sew..or something. O____o I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday. <33

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