Sunday, January 31, 2010

Intermenets and Other Things

Well, we finally got the internet set up, and I'm listening to the Fairy Tail soundtrack. I highly recommend it. It doesn't have any of the "filler" music, the stuff they didn't actually compose on their own, and it's very thematic and sets a perfect mood. The Celtic elements are especially what does it for me. So, I recommend the show, it's been definitely picking up steam.

You know what's odd? I've been thinking about Pokemon recently. Love the games, hate the card game for the waste of money it is. You know what's even odder? I remember the anime, annoying characters, lame stories, etc. Couple that with the fac that it's literally the 'Show-that-will-not-die" and has been going on for longer than any other anime, I can't help but think it is one of the worst shows ever made.

And yet, I still have fond memories of watching it as a...not quite a child anymore, and technically too old to be watching it...anyway... Any time I try to give it a gander now, I can't help but shudder at how terrible it is. It's literally the example that shows kids don't care about quality as long as it's entertaining crap.

Even though the characters are annoying, I still remember them with a positive light, it's just the logical conundrum that Pokemon is. (Oh good lord, it's already on my computer's spell-checker!) Well, while I'll never, ever watch it again, I can honestly say that it was the first stepping stone to who I am today.

So there you have it. Now you know who to blame, Dad. (Though I'm pretty sure the Epic Fantasy novels and Calving and Hobbes books I was reading didn't help much. Then again, that is assuming that I've turned into something bad. Hmm...a moral issue worth considering).

On a side note, I've noticed that Fantasy Novels have been getting the shaft. Well, I know I mentioned this earlier, but I've been thinking about it a bit today, and have decided that if I ever make a video blog I'll start one that focuses on reviewing the worst of fantasy literature. In other words, I'll be joining the countless others ripping off the nostalgia critic. But we're a ways away from that, for now let's just focus on blog posts shall we?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

So what if I'm an addict?

Well, now that we've moved into a new house, I've finally got my manga collection onto my new(ish) shelves. It's so nice to finally see them up there properly again. Currently though I'm alternating between not having enough space, and not having enough manga. Darn that collector gene I inherited from my grandmother.

Currently One Piece and Bleach take up most of the space. I only own three Fairy Tail volumes so far, but I intend to remedy that quite soon, especially since I only need six or seven more to be current at the most. Then again...One Piece is leaving me in the dust very quickly. At least I won't have to worry about Bleach getting too far ahead. And I've long since stopped caring about Naruto. The only way I'm buying more of those volumes is if I have a brutal and painful death for Sasuke to look forward to.

When I picked up Unseen Academicals the other day, I also picked up a volumes 13-17, 20, 24 of Mahou Sensei Negima, or as it says on the spine, Negima! For 65% off too, quite a steal if you ask me. Especially if you compare how much I would have spent to how much I did spend. (Let's put it this way, if it weren't for that sale I wouldn't be eating right now). I enjoy the series, but it wasn't high on my list of series to bother buying, but at that kind of discount how could I say no? It also helps that compared to several other manga series, the volumes released in the states are actually quite close to the current Japanese releases.

And yes, before you bother saying anything, I realize that there is quite a bit of squick in this series. But I've learned to ignore that in order to focus on individual aspects of the manga. Ie/ The story. Which frankly I find quite enjoyable. All I can say is that Akamatsu is a smart man for changing the genre from harem romantic comedy, to shonen action series. Because seriously, with a ten year old boy as your protagonist, teaching a bunch of 15 (?) year old high school girls, your romantic comedy is doomed from the beginning. Though, it is nice to see Negi played realistically in this case. Like a regular ten year old kid, he doesn't give a crap about romance and dating. Which is good, because he's a kid. Now let's get him out of that teaching position and let him grow up like a regular kid, shall we?

On that note, what is it that manga protagonists have that I don't? Because if even preteens have more luck with the ladies than me, then I must be doing something wrong. Oh well, slap some shading on me, maybe it'll help.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to turn into a Negima! rant. But really, I like to advertise the series I enjoy. Now if only I could get my hands on some more Fairy Tail (it's an oddly elusive manga for some reason). I was right to rank it as my number 2 in my collection. One Piece is like Batman, it'll always come out on top. The only current edge that Fairy Tail has is romantic subplots that don't make me want to rip my hair out (hello~ Naruto, and Bleach, but to be fair that has more to do with fandom. Kubo has been quite clear in what he's written, but let's not get into that...). It's only a slight edge over One Piece, since I do quite enjoy a well written romance here and there, so Fairy Tail wins that round. But, One Piece keeps its title as king by realizing (I hope) that sometimes romance just drags the rest of the story down. It maintains its position by sheer awesomeness.

I could go on, but really, would you want me to? If your answer is yes, then know you have my full appreciation, dear reader. But, I'll end it for now, this little rant has gone on a little longer than it perhaps should have. I'm just glad I have a connection.

As you've probably noticed, I love my manga. I'm not as big into anime as I used to be, it does take up quite a bit of time, and I've fallen behind in series I actually like. It also doesn't help that I don't like watching things on my own, while reading is a whole other matter.

Speaking of reading, has anyone else noticed the disturbing decrease in fantasy novels read? I for one have, and frankly as soon as I have time I'm going to do something against it and start reading more novels (fantasy of course, my first love). Once I have time...huh, so this is what this "growing up" is? Well, looks like manga is the perfect reading material for me, considering how much less time it takes.

Short stories are the way of the future? Because we have less time? My friends, I suggest that we start reading more manga and comics if we're worried about saving time. Then again, some people take longer to read graphic novels, because they're looking closely at the pictures. Well, I for one like to read through pretty fast, that way I notice new things every re-read.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


A friend of mine suggested this manga to me a while ago. He'd lent me his Azumanga Daioh volumes (more on that later), and I absolutely loved them. So when I heard that the manga-ka Kiyohiko Azuma had another series, this one in manga format rather than newspaper strip format, I of course calmly finished the series I was reading, waited a few months, and then finally read it.

Before I did that however, I bought him the first volume for Christmas, skimmed through it, laughed, and still took my merry time getting around to reading it. What can I say? I procrastinate.

The story centers around the antics Yotsuba Kowai, as well as her father, and their neighbors the Ayase's. Yotsuba is an energetic, naive little girl. She always needs to be doing something, and, as little children are wont to do, she often causes trouble for those around her - mostly for Fuuka, the middle child of the three Ayase girls, her older and younger sisters are Asagi and Ena. This manga isn't about the trouble she causes though. Instead, it's about seeing the world through the eyes of a child, while at the same time observing the child's sense of wonder at the bright new world she is experiencing.

I could go into character profiles and all that, but really I don't think this is the place for that. Instead, I'll focus on what makes this manga so great (admittedly, character interaction is a huge part of that). More than once are the two younger Ayase girls outsmarted by the hyper active Yotsuba, which only makes it all the funnier when Asagi is the only one who ever manages to foil her.

The humor is this manga's selling point. No joke. (Yes, I did intend that pun). I could not believe how often I was cracking up while reading this manga. There's no overarching storyline, no real interpersonal drama, just an over dose of sugary cuteness. Yes, this manga is a very, very cute manga. And I'm not afraid to say that. I read it for it's humor, but also because of how cute it is. When I read this manga I am reminded that while there is a lot of horrible stuff happening in the world, there's also the little things happening that bring joy. Like a young child using a string and cup telephone (geez how long has it been since I've used one of those?). Imagine the look of confusion and wonder as she hears your voice in the cup, even though you're standing on the other end of the room.

That's what this manga is like. If you're tired of reading manga, and watching movies that are filled with violence and tragedy, and just want to sit back, laugh and remember that the world is still alright, even if it's just in the small things, then this is the manga for you.

Now I know this has been kind of short, but really, I'm falling into the trap that some reviewers fall into; being more eloquent when we're mad. Then again, perhaps being concise is what I need to focus on. I tend to get long winded. Well, I'm still figuring this out. What I really need to learn is that I should write these a few days in advance, and get in the habit of editing them before I post them.

Oh well, live and learn. Yes I realize this has become more of a personal, introspective post for me, but I'm doing some thinking, and this is helping. I'll come back and edit this, so that it reads like a much better review. In fact, there's a lot of reviews that I just might go back and tweak a little.

Well, that's Yotsuba&! An great read for anyone that loves comedy. And thinks that young girls about to cry is funny.
Pictured Above: Hilarity

If you liked this review, please buy the volumes from here:
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 1
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 2
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 3
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 4
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 5
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 6
Yotsuba&!, Vol. 7

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Full Contact

I found this one online a while back, decided to give the first chapter a try and see what I thought. It didn't strike me as anything special, but when a new chapter came out I read that one as well. I found it was fairly enjoyable, and decided to read it through from the beginning, so I could make more sense of what was going on.

Keep in mind, this manga isn't available in the states, but then again a lot of the manga I read isn't. I'm thinking about making a segment called "Manga that isn't available in the States but should be." Let me know if anyone can think of a shorter name.

You might be wondering, why isn't this review part of that segment?

Well, you'll find out soon enough.

And it isn't that I hate this manga, it's just that I'm mostly apathetic to it. Normally I try to remain as positive as possible (unless of course something really ticks me off, as it did this week...but I won't get into that. Just let me say this, you know how the nostalgia critic's berserk button is "A Bat Credit Card"...yeah this one is pretty much my new berserk button). But in this case, I found too many little mediocrities that I felt I had to point them out (mostly to keep my credibility as a reviewer).

The manga is a light read. The chapters are longer, but there are only 16 chapters. So read it if you don't want to invest much time.

I started reading around chapter 6, to the end, then decided to start from the beginning. It has some pretty good humor, but doesn't stack to series like HSDK, FT and OP. For a martial arts series it's kind of disappointing, as very little focus is placed on the martial art, and there are some glaring errors, such as a character saying a boxer needs gloves to make their punches hurt. I thought the point was that gloves made the punches hurt less, not more.

When I read from the beginning, I noticed that a lot of what I'd taken for granted, hadn't actually gotten any proper development. Around chapter 9 I noticed the typical "tsundere with a secret crush" (isn't that the definition of tsundere?) character hadn't actually had any prior development in her character to suggest this. In fact, she'd hardly had any screen time at all. It was almost like the author decided to add that in halfway through. And after the few chapters she was in, she has yet to make another appearance. The most recent chapters all seem to be focusing on minor characters' traumatic pasts. Why does this manga feel like a breeding ground for Mary-Sues?

The art style is generic, but clean and well done. Its generic-ness is both its fatal flaw and saving grace. While it doesn't distract from the story with sheer horribleness, it also doesn't wow me in any way.

The backgrounds are another issue. In that they don't exist. This series is a shonen series, but frankly the art is more reminiscent of shoujo art styles. Keep in mind I haven't read much shoujo, so I can't say I'm an expert, but those that I have read, or glanced at, all share a striking resemblance to this series.

The manga's strong point really is its side characters - in that they're slightly more interesting than the lead. The main character, and his possible love interest, are both fairly bland. Where the main character falls through for me is his lack of motivation. It's not that he doesn't have motivation, it's just that the way it's developed isn't very believable. Especially when I compare it to my current favorite martial arts manga HSDK.

The manga seems to be more focused on it's characters, rather than martial arts, a fact that's almost emphasized by how backgrounds tend to disappear most of the time to shift the focus onto the characters. Martial arts come across as less the focus of the story, and more a vessel of self discovery for the main character. This is of course ruined by the fact that the main character is, as I've said, quite bland. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into this.

It's a shame, but I quite liked this manga when I started at the (former) halfway mark. But once I read over the whole thing I realized that there really wasn't much compelling me to read on.

But read on I did, mainly because I wanted to see the latter chapters in context so I could do this review. And I'll keep on reading, just because I'm expecting a relaxing, enjoyable read--flaws aside. I really don't expect too much conflict in this manga, which is quite clearly geared towards younger readers. But after putting up with all the false drama (according to me: mostly relationship drama that's there just for the sake of making the story more angsty/in place of actual drama. Doesn't help when it's compounding all the other drama), and excessive use of non-consensual intercourse for shock value. Heck there are so many "adult" series that use it to the point where I'm surprised there are any non-molested women in the darn world the creator made. Or when characters try to take it as serious as it is. Too many authors think that it makes their work edgier and more serious, but in all honesty just comes across as lazy. Not only that, but I really don't think it's a topic that anyone should be desensitized to. Unfortunately that's what happens when it gets abused in fiction like this.

For the record, I'm not using the word "r@pe" because I had similar trouble with a previous website where I got some really, really weird traffic. So in order to avoid that in this one, I'm not going to use that word, or anything similar to it.

Overall, I can't say I hate this manga, there are very few things that I really hate - though that list seems to be growing by the day. I have a few series I now refuse to read anymore, and will in fact chew your head off if you try to pass them, or their plot twists, off as good. One of them I actually stopped reading because of the previously mentioned reasons. In fact, it was that series that made me realize how annoyed I was getting by the "adult" genres.

Like I said, I don't hate this manga, but it's really nothing original, and not executed in the best fashion. However, it's pleasing to look at, and for all it's flaws it's an easy read that I can see myself at least enjoying, even if I can't recommend it for anyone looking for anything other than a light read.

And never forget: Even if you read manga online, always support the creators of your favorite manga by buying the official volumes once they become available in your region. Mr. Oda must be a very happy man, he already has so much of my money.

I wouldn't recommend this manga to anyone who is a passive manga fan, there are many more, better series for you to be spending your time on. But if you're a hardcore manga fan, I recommend this one to you if you've run out of longer series to invest yourself in and are looking for something lighter to read.

However, if you are a hard core fan, you might not enjoy this manga as much, seeing as overall its quality is sub-par at best.

In fact, perhaps I should recommend this one for passive manga fans. It's nothing special, but then again, you aren't as jaded, so perhaps you'll find this series more to your liking. Perhaps it could make a good introductory manga? Because frankly the first anime I really followed was Pokemon. And then it all went downhill from there...more on that later.

(Oddly enough, the first manga I really read consistently, from beginning to end, was Hellsing. Yes, that is something of a jump from my first anime).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Unseen Academicals

Excitement Abounds!

While checking the local Borders affiliate Walden Books at my local mall, I discovered not only that today was the last day of their going out of business sale, but it was also the day that I would make an incredible discovery.

A discovery of something I should have already known, but that's besides the point.

Unknown to me, since the last time I checked Terry Pratchett has released his latest book, Unseen Academicals - Once again proving that if you're a literary genius, you can make up your own words. The plot, according to what I've read on the jacket, centers around the wizards at Unseen University being forced by Lord Vetinari to found a football team - a bit of soccer with rugby thrown in, according to the jacket. Then there's some stuff about the main characters, who aren't part of the faculty.

Not that I care at this point, the only reason I'm reading this book is for Ridcully and the Librarian dangit!

So, now I have the book, and now it must be read...on top of all the other books on my reading list, as well as my school readings. This is going to be a long, long semester.

Wish me luck, and I'll have a book review for this one up as soon as I finish reading this.

Oh yeah, and I bought some more manga at a great discount while I was there.

Movies I Want to See

Looking through the current list of movies that are out in theaters, I can honestly say that there's only one of them that I'm even remotely interested in seeing, and that only because either all the other movies look boring, or I've already seen them (and they were boring).

Yup, looks like Legion, despite the silliness that it seems to contain, is the top of my list right now. Book of Eli doesn't look too bad, but the trailers haven't done anything to attract my interest. At least Legion has hordes of CGI angels.

Huh. Looks like Where the Wild Things Are is still in the dollar theater. So is 2012. Too bad that one looks like The Day after Tomorrow. And Independence Day - without the aliens.

On Moving

I really, really hate moving. With a passion. Which is why most of last Saturday was absolutely miserable. Straining my right arm right in the beginning. Loosing all my strength as the day progressed. Then straining my left arm right as the day was over.

Oh well, at least we have all the heavy stuff moved into a much bigger house now. And my room is the old master bedroom, so it's nice and big, and has it's own bathroom. I feel like I'm living in a hotel. A hotel that needs its carpets replaced, but that's beside the point.

The past few days I haven't really been getting all the posts up that I was supposed to. I apologize for this, I'm still new to blogging. I do have a few posts that I said I'd get up, and I haven't had as much time as I'd hoped alongside school to get them done. But I promise to start doing better this week.

Look at it this way, at least now all the topics I wanted to blog on last week can be used in the coming weeks, meaning there's much less of a danger of me running out of things to blog about.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pros and Cons of Batman and Catwoman Hooking Up

A Guest Article by Temari13

If you read the Batman comics you are aware of the love/hate, on again/off again relationship between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Catwoman would try to seduce Batman, but fail time and time again. He never seemed interested in her.

Until Hush.

In Batman #610 the two masked adventurers kiss for the first time. Later, in Batman #615, he reveals his identity to her. Then, after Hush literally steals Selina's heart (Detective Comics #848), Batman recovers it and Bruce visits her in the hospital. With Selina "sleeping soundly," he confesses that she has been the only woman who has really held his heart, and that "whatever the future holds, wherever life takes me, I will love you. Always." He's almost out the door when she calls out to him. They share a kiss, but the next day go their separate ways (Detective Comics #850).

If anybody deserves to be together, it's these two. And with Batman returning in a few months, I am hopeful that there will be a scene where Selina and Bruce see each other again, and discover they still feel the same way, and they kiss, and--

Wait. Who's the author? Grant Morrison? Oh, never mind then. That will never happen.

But if Bruce and Selina do begin to date steadily or even - gasp! - get married, what will the result be? A better comic? Or will all the magic and mystery and suspense fade away because they finally took their relationship to the next level?

Of course, there are pros and cons if Bruce and Selina do become a couple. But do the cons outweigh the pros, or vice versa? Let's find out.


There will be no more sexual tension:

If Bruce and Selina pursue a relationship the sexual tension that has always been between them will disappear. They'll be able to pick up the phone or walk down the hall whenever they want to see each other, instead of having to wait for their rooftop dance. That tension made the interaction between them entertaining. Catwoman attempts to steal something. Batman appears to stop her. She flirts. He wants to respond, but refuses because she's a thief. He sees the world in black and white, and her world is all gray.

And that's what made it interesting. They both wanted each other, yet Batman's morals--and Catwoman's sticky fingers--were always in the way.


They need a little happiness in their lives:

After all they've been through, they need all the happiness they can get. Bruce's parents death, Jason Todd's death, Selina's sister and brother-in-law's suffering at Black Mask's hand, Hush, Selina giving Helena up for adoption, Bruce's "death."

You get the picture.


There will be shark jumping:

"Wow. Batman and Catwoman are dating. Guess the writers couldn't come up with anything else to write about." I would hate for that to be the reason as to why Bruce and Selina finally get together. People may lose interest in the comics, Sales go down, profits go down, Batman hangs up his cape and retires. No more Batman comics. That would be one of the saddest days in comic book history. As much as I would love to see them settle down together, I would rather they never have a steady relationship than have the comic end.


Love can overcome obstacles:

Okay, this one is a bit cliché, but it's true. With Batman being a vigilante and Catwoman being a thief, there was no way that he would even consider a relationship with her. Yet that didn't stop him from falling in love with her, and her with him. Now that she's a reformed thief, their bond is probably stronger than ever.


There will be a chance for different kinds of drama in the hands of Grant Morrison:

Remember Grant Morrison? He's the guy who gave us Batman R.I.P. I'm fearful to find out what havoc he would wreck in the Batman universe, more specifically in Bruce's and Selina's lives. Something like this, perhaps? I pray not. While Selina being captured by villains in order for them to get to Batman is an interesting idea, it is not a safe idea in the hands of Grant Morrison.


There will be a chance for different kinds of drama in the hands of a good writer:

With Bruce and Selina dating/married, that opens teh door for different kinds of drama - as long as it's in the hands of a good writer, and not Grant Morrison. Consider this: If the couple were to have a fight, would it merely be a verbal argument? Or will it entail Selina storming away and pulling a heist that night as Catwoman? Let's play with the scenario a bit. Bruce and Selina have a fight. They argue. She leaves. She changes into Catwoman and breaks into a museum. Batman shows up. They argue some more. The argument turns physical. The sexual tension between them sparks. They kiss and...well, maybe things would turn physical in a different way. OR would this be the case? Bruce and Selina have a fight. They argue. She leaves. She thinks about stealing, but decides not to because she's afraid of what that will do to their relationship.

See? Full of potential. Also, it would be interesting to see how the villains would react to Batman and Catwoman's relationship. Would they use Catwoman as bait to lure Batman in? Some of the bad guys already think that killing Catwoman and showing her corpse to Batman would be fun. Let's see how fun that would be after he's beaten them to a bloody pulp within an inch of their lives. As mentioned before, it's an intriguing notion, as long as it's done by the right people. Who knows? Maybe the repeated attempts to get his attention through Catwoman will prompt Batman to set in motion the Four Rules of Gotham.

Okay, maybe not.

Also, imagine Bruce trying to juggle his three jobs: Wayne Enterprises, husband, Batman. Granted, Selina would most likely just be out and about as Catwoman, but think of the drama and tension that would cause. Would she accept the fact that he won't be home very much? When - and if - they have children, would Bruce remain as Batman, or would he give the cowl to someone else so he can spend more time with his family?

In the end, however, it's difficult to decide whether it would be best for Bruce and Selina to become a couple, or if they should just remain apart. There are so many factors, so many ways the plot can turn, whether for good or for bad.

The best thing to do is just wait and see what DC has in store for Bruce and Selina. Hopefully their future involves a wedding and children, not Grant Morrison.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Karate Master: Part 3

Well, there won't be as many pictures in this one. I'm kinda tired. My legs don't hurt as much anymore, but I do have a blister on my toe that's gotten worse. Last night I was finally able to figure out what I was doing wrong last Saturday during "shuffling" practice. I wasn't taking a proper half step to get extra distance out of my retreat.

There were a few new members in the club, though I think they attended last Thursday, while I was in writing class. One of them is actually a girl. So we now have a grand total of one girl in the club (that I know of).

This week we continued to do more range practice, which is where we train ourselves to understand our and our opponent's range, and when we're safe, and when we can attack. It sounds simple, but it's kinda complicated if you're not used to it. I can avoid attacks pretty well, but I'm not too good at judging range for my own attacks. On the plus side, I am noticing a distinct improvement in my basic skills.

As a sort of aside, while I was practicing with the instructor, he mentioned that we were going to be doing counter attacks, but some of the newer members hadn't progressed quite to that point yet. But since so far I'd been picking up on new/old techniques he said we could try it out quickly. There was some difference between the way we counterattacked in Shotokan, mostly with stepping outside the opponent's leg with our leading foot and throwing a good portion of our weight into the punch.

The katas, which used to give me serious trouble, are starting to come back to me. I'm actually understanding how the techniques are applied now.

I'm not sure how, but it seems like now the small details are starting to make more sense. Perhaps it's because I've seen martial arts applied so much more than I did when I last practiced? It probably helps that while I haven't been practicing martial arts have continued to be a mania of mine. I've actually been researching them more over the past few years than I used to.

Overall, improvement all around, but unfortunately I don't have the energy to think of more manga based martial arts jokes. I hope you don't find this too boring, and I'll try to be more entertaining in my following posts.

I'm an addict

So I'm sitting here, reading some manga online before I go to bed, and I look up at my now empty shelf. Even though I don't have any of them I'm really reading right now, I actually feel anxious and frustrated that all my manga are packed away in boxes right now, sitting in my room at our new house. I didn't even want to read them! I just wanted to look at them sitting on the bookshelf.

Yes, I am a pack rat, a collector, call it what you want, it irritates me when I don't have my collection on hand. Can't wait to get some bookshelves put up in my new room and unpack my manga and anime DVDs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

I've noticed that more often than not if you put good fight scenes in a movie I'll probably like it. Sherlock Holmes was no exception. But in fairness, there was more to the movie than awesome cane fights. Bartitsu I believe the style is called.

Robert Downey Jr. played a world weary, and simply bored Sherlock Holmes. While it certainly wasn't what I was expecting Sherlock Holmes to behave like, I somewhat enjoyed the new twist. Now keep in mind that I don't know much about the original novels, so I can't really say what the reaction of Sherlock Holmes fans will be. Overall, Holmes was as ingenious as he's always portrayed, but the movie focused on his martial arts skills much more than any previous incarnation I've come across.

Jude Law, while not what I imagine when I think of Watson (I usually think of him as being chubby, then again that might just be the aftermath of The Great Mouse Detective) still played an excellent foil for Downey's Holmes. Watson is tired of Holmes' eccentricity, and trying to become his own man one could say. Of course, being the eternal sidekick he always comes back to Holmes' side. I know that might sound a bit like a gay joke, and I apologize, but in my defense, the movie made the joke first.

Other than that I spent most of the movie wondering what the heck was going on. The moment the word 'magic' left an actor's mouth, I was cringing inside. Of course everything is resolved towards the end. In all fairness, this isn't the first time Holmes' has been confronted by the supernatural and proven it to be simply smoke and mirrors. And science. Just think back on The Hound of the Baskervilles, admittedly the only Sherlock Holmes book I ever read.

While the characters have been modernized in a sense, I think overall this movie brings needed attention to one of the great literary characters. Personally I feel like hunting down the original books and giving them a read through.

The funniest part about the movie is that I spent most of the time drawing connections between Sherlock Holmes and Batman. I know, to some of you literary types (what are you doing reading this blog?) this may sound crass, but I'm not the first one who made the connection. But combine a superb analytical mind, excellent hand to hand combat skills, sans the bat motif, and you have a very likely inspiration for the Batman character.

Not to mention it doesn't help when you add in the sidekick (Watson wins many, many bonus points by not wearing anything remotely similar to the Robin costume), the love interest who also happens to be the only criminal that ever bested him, the ally in the Police force, and an introduction of his main nemesis in a way very reminiscent to the introduction of the Joker at the end of Batman Begins.

I can tell a lot of effort was put into this film, and it shows. Overall an enjoyable experience, and a good introduction to some classic characters. Though I won't be surprised when the original character turns out to be completely different from this movie's portrayal.

Also, I think it featured the guy who played the giant in Big Fish, but he appears to be uncredited, so I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm pretty sure it was him.

I also call shenanigans on the trailer for Cop Out looking like a Batman trailer at first.

Old French Poetry

Chances are that if you can't speak french. Which is a pity, because then you can't possibly realize how good this poem I wrote for french class is. On the converse, you don't know how bad it is either, all you know is I can speak and write in french, and you can't.


Le Magicien Qui Cuit

C'est comme un magicien, qui fait son illusion,
Que le cuisinier cuit et fait la nourriture.
Ils sont des artistes en grande tradition.
Qui savent faire en style des repas de luxure.

Et c'est quand je mange, que je suis dans le ciel.
Flottant comme un cygne, sure les ailles de joie.
Dans mon ame se trouve une douceur de miel.
Donc, avec un esprit de joie je m'assoie.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Writing Update

I decided this past week, while I was planning out my blog post topics for the coming week, that every Sunday I'd take a few moments and just update you on my current writing project. Unfortunately, being myself, I have waaay too many projects I'm working on. So, I'll just tell you what I've been working on most recently.

Recently I've been working on what will be my first serious submission to a publisher. I've submitted one other story to Tor before, but wasn't really expecting much to come out of that. Thanks that it though, I've joined the ranks of authors with rejection slips. So overall a good experience.

This time however, I intend for the manuscript to actually be done when I submit it to a publisher. Since it's a middlegrade novel I'll probably be sending it to someone like Scholastic. I need to look around a bit more though, and find other publishers.

The book is called Morpher and it's basically a rip-off/parody of Animorphs. It's a comedy, the first two chapters went across well with my writing group, so I'm going to give this one a shot.

I'll let you know how it turns out, for now I need to go an write some more.

I should probably do some homework as well...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Karate Master: Part 2 Addendum

So if anyone wonders why I'm going through karate training. Here's why:


Karate Master: Part 2

So, my legs finally stopped hurting from last Tuesday. Now they hurt just as much as they did back then, and I've got some new blisters on my feet. It almost feels like some insane training you'd find in a manga. maybe it isn't quite as hard as that. But it's still pretty darn tiring.


I'll...I'll just be quiet now.

For the record, I need to work on my foot work the most now. Which is why it's kind of nice that we've been focusing on that so much. According to the teacher parts of my skills are currently at green belt level for their style, but other parts aren't even at red belt level (their lowest).

Apparently I rest too much of my weight on my front leg, which the instructor said is perfectly fine if that's the way I've been taught. He then went on to say that it'd just make it that much easier for them to beat me. After being told to rest my weight more in the center, I was able to execute a proper punch using the new stance. Good thing I remember most of my training, and it's really just a matter of getting back into practice.

I also learned that I need to angle my upward block a little more. That way I don't risk hitting myself in the face. Instead the attack slides down my forearm and is deflected to the side.

So essentially, I've kept some good parts from my last training, mainly my punches, but have a lot more to make any of it usable. Which is just fine by me, since it'll give me plenty of more blog posts.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go lay down and hope my legs fall off. Or my feet. These blisters are really making it hard to walk, let alone move boxes to a new house.

Yeah, we're moving. And I'm doing it while exhausted from getting up at 7:30 in the morning.

Hopefully they take it easy during sparring with me.

You know...I'm really hoping my instructor doesn't read manga.

Really, REALLY hoping!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I love Batman. You know what I don't love? The American comic book industry. And yet I love Batman, despite him being the product of said industry.

Know what this blog post isn't going to be about? If you read the title, then you probably guessed that it isn't about Batman. I just feel like bringing him up every once in a while.

One of the major problems of the comic book industry is that characters are company owned, not creator owned. Hence we see the recycling of ideas, characters and story lines in American comic books. Personally I've thought for a while that the comic book market would benefit from adopting a similar method as Japanese manga publishing, but I digress.

In this age of the internet a lot of people have got around this road block by publishing their original comic books online as webcomics. Some people have found either astounding success, a la Penny Arcade, while some haven't become quite so well known, but still manage to make a decent profit off their webcomic.

The series I'm going to review today is one that probably would have started as a webcomic, had it not been published before the internet really became popular. For the record, the earliest example I have ever seen myself started in 1997. I think there was one earlier than that, but I don't remember what it was. Either way, the concept of webcomics wasn't around until later in the '90s.

Which is why Jeff Smith was so lucky. His independently owned series Bone was self published from 1991 - 2004. The comic, which found growing popularity among fans of the genre, was reprinted a few times, before being printed in color by Scholastic. Which were the editions that I read.

I'll admit, I didn't know about this series until much later on in the game. Read: A few years ago. When I first saw it I was interested. You don't get many fantasy graphic novels out there, and I was willing to give this a shot.

However, I wasn't able to get my hands on them until I found copies in my University library. Eagerly I checked the seven volumes out, and while struggling with other people requesting the darn books, I managed to finish them. At that point I realized that volume seven was in fact not the end of the series. Imagine my frustration when I realized that the library didn't have the last two.

Months after I finished the most current one I could find, I finally got my hands on the last two, as mentioned in a previous blog post. So, I read those two as fast as I could, especially enjoying the ninth volume being twice as thick. Finally, I'd finished the story. And you know what? It was what an ending is supposed to be. The plot threads were tied up, and while the ending was somewhat bittersweet and melancholy, I still thought it was perfect. It said, "This story is done!"

Now, for some specifics. The beginning was very light, and not what one expecting Epic Fantasy might entirely enjoy. At times it felt much too slow, almost like Smith was trying to got for a story arc based comic book, instead of one over arcing plot. Which makes some of the earlier foreshadowing seem kind of odd. Overall the beginning is a bit slow, and might turn some people off. However, the beginning is also quite child friendly, exactly what one would expect from a comic book with its art style and cute (whatever they are) main characters.

Seriously, what the heck is this thing?

In later issues the plot arrives, and as soon as it does, this comic is made! It tells a somewhat generic, but completely unseen story in the graphic medium. But what makes it work is that it doesn't try to get too complicated. We have a rich background and world, but it doesn't try to overwhelm its readers.

I especially like the Veni Yan warriors. I don't know why, I just have a thing for warrior monks, especially if they're wearing mysterious hooded uniforms. Visually they're a great treat.

The story ends moving at a fast, but satisfying, pace, and we are left with the three main characters, Phone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone finally making their way home.

For characters we have some strong side characters, the greedy scoundrel Phoney, who'll do anything for money, especially cheat and steal, but who will still do anything for his cousins Phone and Smiley. The tall, goofy Smiley, who just might be a little smarter than people give him credit for. And Grandma Rose, who could fight off an entire army, and race a herd of cattle all on her own.

The main characters, Phone and Thorn, are both interesting, but I think out of the two Thorn is my favorite. For one she's a strong female character, something of a rarity in fantasy that isn't blatantly feminist, who can easily be judged by her value as a character and a person, not the fact that she's a girl. But she still finds time to remain feminine -- well...unless she's got a giant rat creature thing to kill.

Okay...Rats...whatever you say.

Personally I would have gone with "Bug-eyed-fur-balls" but that's just me.

There's much more to this comic, but I don't think I should go into further detail, lest I ruin it for you. Either way, if you're any kind of comic fan, this series is worth reading. If you want to get your kids something to read, I highly recommend Bone. Just be warned that are some more graphic elements later on -- including a horribly scarred man being cut in half -- but Smith never revels in it, and these elements are not overly gory, but more accurate representations of the situation the characters find themselves in. But if your children can stomach that, then I highly recommend it. Heck, read it yourself while you're at it, you just might enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I've been reading Shaman King and I just got to the part where we meet Faust VIII for the first time. I'd just like to say...this was surprisingly graphic for the manga compared to what we've seen so far. I've been trying really hard not to get sick. Hopefully I've avoided it. I'm gonna take a break for now.

For those of you that don't know this manga, and are worried about what I'm reading... Let's just say that the cartoony side kick character, Manta, just had impromptu surgery performed on him by a doctor/necromancer who wanted to examine why he's so cartoony. The insides are drawn with surprising detail. So yeah, if you haven't read Shaman King, and have a weak stomach--like me, you might want to watch out for that bit.

It's kinda goofy seeing the skeleton and the muscles and stomach randomly being visible, and it wasn't bothering me earlier, but for some reason when I just got back to it right now it really started to bug me.

I'll let you know if I get sick.


I'm surprised I haven't reviewed this yet. Seeing as it's an animated movie, and animation is kinda my schtick. And this is coming up later than I wanted it, but there you have it.

Pixar has far the past several years consistently produced enjoyable movies. By this point a lot of people view each new Pixar movie and wonder if this will be the one to jump the shark. While some have been better than others, while a handful remain forgettable, in my opinion Pixar has not yet produced a movie that marks the beginning of their decline. This includes their latest animated motion picture, Up.

Simply put, it's a movie about an old man who attaches balloons to his house and flies to a Lost World in South America. Along the way he picks up, against his will, a Wilderness Explorer, a large bird thought to be a myth, and a talking dog (he has a collar that translates his communication into human speech).

A few people have commented on the utter ridiculousness of this plot, stating that it's completely unrealistic, as if these were bad things. So is it less realistic than the one about living toys, or the one about anthropomorphic cars?

Really, I think these people completely missed the point of this movie. Yes it's a greater crime against the laws of physics than the works of the Marvel and DC companies combined, but that's because it's supposed to be. It's a fantasy, not hard core science fiction, or Award Winning Drama.

However, it's far from a lighthearted, yet mindless kids movie. In fact, the first time I watched this movie my aunt said that little kids couldn't relate to the old man character. But really, that's part of what makes this movie so great for both children and their parents. While the kids are laughing about the Doberman with the squeaky voice (and I'll have you note that the parents are laughing right with them), the parents are enjoying the surprisingly deep story about an old man overcoming the death of his childhood sweetheart and wife, and fulfilling their lifelong ambition.

What makes this movie work is the characters. Not only do the old man and the boy play off each other so well, but they aren't shallow stereotypes in any way. Sure they fall into "grouchy old man" and "annoying kid", but it goes so much further than that. Though I personally thought the boy's back story didn't really add much to the movie, it still helped the old man's arc come full circle. Both are likable, entertaining characters, who do more than fulfill their roles in the movie. They grow into people that worm their way into our hearts.

I find it interesting that this movie's humor was at the level of the children watching, while the story itself was the deeper kind of story that adults can enjoy. Especially when you compare it to Cars where the story was a simple one, not much subtext to it, and the humor was entirely for adults.

If you haven't already seen this movie, forget everything you know about the laws of physics, architecture, or geography. If you think animation is nothing but child's fare, I urge you to give this movie a chance. Perhaps it will be the animated feature that finds a place in your heart. If you look beyond the simple plot, and silly characters, you'll find a depth of character focused storytelling, and characterization that will have you sobbing within the first twenty minutes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Karate Master: Part 1

Years ago I achieved the green belt in the Shotokan style of Karate. For those of you who are interested in that style the ranking (in Switzerland at least) follows this order (from lowest to highest):
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Black
Now, keep in mind that this was very heavily based on memorization of katas, and not quite so much on skill level. However, I will admit that my skill probably ranked at the appropriate level.

I haven't trained in close to four or five years. I can't remember any of the katas, but every once in a while I'd review the techniques, but not do any serious training. I read a few manuals, familiarized myself with some moves that I previously hadn't understood, and learned a few new ones. Oddly enough, I've learned a few new moves from manga, especially Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, which actually portrays martial arts quite accurately.

Okay, so maybe there's a few inaccuracies.

But I really haven't done anything to actually apply them. So this semester I've decided to start attending the Shotokai Club at my university. Why Shotokai and not Shotokan? Because I don't want to shell out $40 every semester.

It's also worth noting that in this case, the reason they go by Shotokai, is because there was already a Shotokan Club. The only real difference is that this style is full contact (veeery nice), and emphasizes flexibility and speed.

I decided a while back, that I'd be keeping a record of my progress on this blog. So if you're interested in my path to human weapon-hood, then by all means, check back here every Tuesday and Saturday.

To start off, this one will be a little shorter, since all we really did was a basic introduction.

The most important thing I learned today, right before training, was that apparently I can touch my toes. I haven't tried in a few years, so this came as a surprise, considering I've never been able to.

We did some range practicing, and basic punching (using punching pads), and kicks (using punching pads). Apparently my basics are stronger than I thought they were, as it didn't take long to get close to performing the techniques properly. One of the permanent members actually commented on me having a good punch. The straight kick was giving me trouble at first, but after a few pointers, I surprised myself by delivering some pretty decent kicks.

It's interesting that I'm making more progress in this one night of training, than two years at the other dojo all those years ago. Maybe my mentality has changed? I have a stronger body now? I don't know what it is, but the basics are coming back much faster than I thought they would. It helps that I remember most of the techniques I ever learned. I run into trouble when you try and put them in a certain order I have to memorize.

Also, in this club, ranking is determined by skill, not memorization of katas. Who knows, maybe I'll deserve to wear this green belt soon enough. (Green belts are instructor level in Shotokai.)

PS: My legs hurt.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mistborn Movie Announced

According to reputable sources a movie adaptation of the Mistborn has been announced. The film rights have been purchased by Pallopa Pictures LLC, who've shown a strong understanding for the material and according to Sanderson;

I would rather have someone who loves the series working on it as opposed to some faceless Hollywood company.

The press release, which can be found at Sanderson's blog, was quite enthusiastic about the project. In fact, Sanderson himself sounded very enthusiastic about the project, saying that;

When I read Paloppa's script treatment for the beginning of the story I immediately felt that they truly understood the book and how to adapt it. Throughout the entire process they've been professional and sincere and have shown a real love of the material.

I'm in my second year of taking Brandon Sanderson's Creative Writing class at BYU University. Personally I feel that if he's excited about how this project will turn out, then we've got enough reason to keep our eyes open for this one.

Whether there will only be one movie, or if all three books of the Mistborn Trilogy will be adapted for the screen, has yet to be revealed. Furthermore, there has been no news of any possible adaptations of any of Sanderson's other works. Though personally I think that we should all pray that they do get adapted. As far as fantasy movies go, there aren't enough good ones. And books like Elantris would make excellent base material for movies.

I've yet to finish all of Sanderson's books, so until then I can't pass judgment on the quality of all of them. Nor can I assume that the movie will be as awesome as we hope it will be. What I do know, is that this is a story worth following.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne OR "I'm Batman and I can Travel Through Time"

Well, it's finally happened. And I don't mean that facetiously. I'm genuinely excited.

It's been announced that Grant Morrison will be the writer for a six-issue mini-series starting in April 2010. It features a time traveling Batman making his way back to modern day Gotham City, escaping from his toughest challenge yet, while at the same time allowing Morrison to make several Elseworld titles part of the DC canon.

That's right. Batman has now joined the ranks of the resurrecting superheroes.

Remember Doomsday? And the Epic Failure the Death of Superman was? Remember how Jean Grey has a get-out-of-jail-free card for the afterlife?

Yup. And I think this quote really explains it all.

"As we saw at the end of the Final Crisis book, Bruce Wayne was never dead, only AWOL, so this was never a literal "back to life" story. And I like to think the series will have a wider general appeal than some of the continuity driven "death and rebirth"-type stories we've seen before," Morrison, USA Today.

So...the difference between The Return of Bruce Wayne and ever other "death and rebirth" story is that it's a loophole?

It really doesn't help that it was painfully obvious that Batman was going to fall prey to this trope. From seeing Bruce Wayne paining the bat-symbol on cave walls, to constant repetition from Selina Kyle that he wasn't dead, just MIA. Note: I enjoyed her reaction to his "death", but was annoyed that we didn't get to see her at the moment where she heard the news. She also happens to be one of my favorite characters, so ideally I would have wanted her in Final Crisis. But that is neither here nor there.

Well. We all knew this was coming. No way Batman would stay dead/missing. Kill of one of their greatest cash cows...I mean characters? Not on your life. Of course I was excited when I found out that he'd finally be coming back, but I'm still pissed that it was even necessary in the first place.

According to Grant Morrison, this mini-series is; "...the latest chapter in the long-running, "definitive" Batman epic I've been trying to pull off since 2005."

Am I wrong to say I don't trust him to do this right? I was confused as all get out by Batman: RIP, and I'm not about to trust the man who "killed off" Batman int he first place.

"I'm doing at least another year of stories with Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne in the Batman and Robin book before that book starts to dovetail with Return and we rush headlong and screaming into the next big, earth-shattering, game-changing twist in the life of Batman."

Is this going to be like the twist that apparently Bruce Wayne's father is the head of the Black Glove? Or like the twist where along with loosing his mind he lost his impeccable fashion sense?

According to Morrison there will be:

"The first episode is set in the Late-Paleolithic Era, the second is in Pilgrim Era Gotham Village, and we also get to see Gotham in Western, or Noir style. Each of the stories is a twist on a different "pulp hero" genre – so there's the caveman story, the witchhunter/Puritan adventurer thing, the pirate Batman, the cowboy, the P.I. – as a nod toward those mad old 1950's comics with Caveman Batman and Viking Batman adventures..."

Like I said, canon Elseworlds...

At the very least, the little art that is available is pretty awesome.

Apparently there used to be giant saber-toothed bats in the Paleolithic era?

I will say this, I hop that with his time traveling Batman will come across the night where his parents die. What will he do? Save his parents and change history? Or let his parents die – now when he can do something about it – because it needs to happen in order for him to become Batman?

There's some strong storytelling potential here, and I for one would think it'd be a fascinating look inside Bruce Wayne's character.

Sadly I won't be surprised when this potential packed story line isn't featured.

I'm excited for Bruce's return, though I have also been enjoying Dick's run as Batman. Will his return be as Epic as it should be? I can't be certain it won't be another Batman: RIP, which frankly I'm not looking forward to. At the very least, this series will finally undo the madness that has been brought upon us Batman fans. Once it's done we can finally forget it ever happened and hope they let someone else had a go at the Helmship series that is Batman.

Either way, he's Batman, nothing can beat him. Not Time, not the Adam West TV series, and not even Grant Morrison's confusing writing style.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Well, everyone's said it, so let me say it. The CGI is phenomenal. James Cameron has really created an incredible visual treat. However, it really shines in 3-D, which was much more bearable for me this time round, compared to A Christmas Carol, since I had my contacts in and wasn't trying to wear the CGI glasses over my regular glasses. The downside of the 3-D is that once you get it for your home, you can bet it's not going to be anywhere near as impressive as it was in the theater. So if you're going to watch this movie, see it while it's still in the theater, in 3-D, because you won't be able to appreciate it fully any other way.

And now it's time for me to do what everyone else has also been doing. Bash the story.

Maybe that's a little unfair. Really, the story wasn't anything original. We've all seen it before, and while it would be nice for Hollywood to give us an original storyline for once, the story at least took itself seriously, which made it watchable. The foreshadowing was painfully obvious, but in a way it was like watching a legend. The kind of story where we all know what's going to happen, but it's still epic when it does happen.

The main characters weren't really original in any way, again, nothing we haven't seen. But they fit into the story. On characters, I will say I enjoyed the Colonel. He was a heartless bastard, and very entertaining to watch. While he was evil, he was still the kind of villain you like to see. The scene where he jumps from his crashing gunship in a mech, and lands while the ship crashes in the background was cheese, but the tasty kind of cheese.

One of the moments that made me laugh was when I realized that Joel Moore was playing a side character in this movie. Suddenly that episode of Bones that was one big forty minute long add for Avatar makes sense.

As for the music, it was grand, sweeping, with strong tribal elements to it. It's also partially the same soundtrack as used in Gladiator. Seriously, James Horner? Oh well, it was only painfully obvious during the conflict scenes, other than that the music set a grand tone for the grand scale the movie was working on.

Now, the last element I would like to cover is the love story. And yes, it was very, very strange to see this unfold between an alien and a human in an alien's body (is that some kind of gay metaphor, like X-Men 2?). But, while the visuals were odd in this story, the love story overall wasn't the worst Hollywood has ever produced. (Oh, I'm gonna get my butt kicked for that one.)

So, overall, I know a lot of people say the movie is bets towards the end, when the plot starts. But really, I think the movies strongest point is the beginning. I enjoyed watching the amazing CGI and even learning about the Na'vi culture (gratuitous use of apostrophes FTW!). The plot itself, like I've said, is fairly weak, but I figure give credit where credit is due.

Should you watch it? If you're not a hardcore story-ite, I highly recommend this movie. If story is crucial for you to enjoy a movie, then you might want to sit this one out, or watch it and write your own story once the plot starts. If you are going to watch it for the CGI, then make sure you go see it in 3-D.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love Your Local Library

I think I've fallen in love with my University's campus library. When I first started going to school here there was nothing but a tiny section in the sampler area of our library that carried graphic novels. As time passed more and more graphic novels made their way to that little section. In time I read most of them. When they were actually available that is.

One of the series I read was Bone, which I need to remember to review later on. I enjoyed the series Epic Fantasy storyline, but I hated the fact that they only had the series up to volume 7. So I read the first seven volumes, all the while frustrated that I wouldn't get the rest of the story.

Then today, joy of joys, I discovered volumes 8 and 9 in the new books section of our library. With much joy I snatched them up, despite trying to focus on only school reading. No way I was going to let these get lost in the eternal limbo of strangers checking out these books. So I rushed to check them out first. Now I await with much anticipation the opportunity to finally finish this series. Volume 9 is the last one, right? And I intend to reread the other volumes in the future and review them. So, look forward to that.

Oh yeah, I also picked up some new JLA books. And there's the rest of the Swamp Thing books I'll pick up later.

Also, my library are the proud owners of the first three volumes of Naruto (they might have the next three, but I haven't checked), and the first volume of Bleach (why only one?) and the first six volumes of Rurouni Kenshin (which I am currently reading).

My Purpose

I've been doing some research for my next (possibly) blog post. I know, I know, surprising isn't it? Anyway, while reading articles on the topic on other blogs I've been noticing something interesting. All these other blogs are written in a very professional manner. They're very journalistic, and fact oriented. Absolutely nothing like my opinion heavy writing.

So I thought for a bit, should I change my writing style to be more professional? Be more like a real journalist?


Sure I'm writing on modern media events, and creations, sort of like a journalist is, but my angle is that my opinion is a crucial part of what I write. I'm not a reporter, I'm more like...a columnist...which is kind of like...a blogger. Huh. Who knew?

I'm hoping that having a firm opinion will both gather people who share that same opinion to me, while also creating debate with those that don't agree. Keep in mind that I'm talking about intelligent, at least literate debate. I'll be ignoring anyone who betrays a less than eloquent or even sentient personality with their comments.

One of the main reasons I decided I wanted to do this, is because for the topic I was researching, all the blog articles (many of them owned by professional corporations, so part of what I saw is understandable) had nothing but good things to say. They ignored all the potential issues that the topic represented, and were nothing but repetitions of fact. Here, you get the fact, but you also get opinion. If you don't like it, got read a different blog.



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Okay, so I was wrong...

When I first started watching One Piece, I had no idea what manga was. I was just learning about anime, so I was what you could refer to as n00b. When a friend first showed me the manga I thought, "What's all this? I can't make sense of what's going on, everything's so cramped and tiny. And what's up with the art?"

At that time my only complaint with the anime was that it kept stopping and starting over again, so I kept seeing the same episodes over and over. That and I couldn't help but wonder why Nami was clawing at her shoulder...and then a few seconds later Luffy is standing next to her that a knife? So yeah. I didn't see it uncensored the first time. Fortunately I was in Switzerland at the time, so we got the German Dub, and I was blissfully unaware of the existence of 4Kids.

So, seeing the same episodes over and over again, obviously there were going to be certain arcs that I'd dread the most. We all have our least favorite storylines for whatever we watch, or read. In my case I came to hate the Baratie and Drum Island Arcs. Both of them just always struck me as incredibly boring, and I always skipped over them when they came on TV.

Then, for a few years, I stopped watching One Piece.

Years later I decided to get back into the series. I'd just finished reading Bleach and Naruto all the way through, and was well on my way to becoming a true Otaku (well, actually fake, since I think part of really being an Otaku is that you have to be Japanese). I remembered how much I loved the series when I was younger, it ranked right up there with Ranma 1/2 for me at the time. So I decided to ignore the art, and give the manga a try. I think I skipped the Baratie and Drum Island Arcs.

Cut forward to a year later, I start buying the One Piece tankobon. I tell myself, I'm going to read them all the way through, and I do, including the Baratie Arc. Which actually was pretty awesome.

I continue buying and reading, and finally make it to my second most hated One Piece Arc, Drum Island. I start off enjoying Luffy carrying Nami up to the mountain (I'm a shipper, don't blame me), which I always liked. Then we get to the flashback, which are hard to get right, in any series. By the end of the flashback I was sobbing like a baby. Keep in mind I was reading this on the bus, so I quickly put the book away. Last thing I need is to look like a dork and a sissy.

So, I can officially say:


Saturday, January 2, 2010

One Piece Manga Speed Releases

Well, it's 2010. And we all know what that means, right? No? Geez you people, it's only the most anticipated event for any American One Piece fan. As of this month, January 2010, we begin the speed releases for the translated One Piece volumes.

Why didn't I report on this earlier?


So, starting this month we begin with the release of volumes 24-28. Will I be buying them all in one go? Well, first I need to catch up a bit...I'm currently at volume 15...I really should have been buying these instead of Bleach volumes, but what the hey!

And since it's One Piece, we get a ton of story with these five volumes. Starting with the introduction of Nico Robin to the crew, the beginning of the Skypiea Arc, the month ends with the Strawhat Crew setting off to find El Dorado, the Lost City of Gold.

And best of all? We only need to wait a month for the next five volumes. For collectors of the manga, and those that don't want to read it illegally online, this is a dream come true. Especially seeing as this is the first sign we've had of any attempt to redeem One Piece from its 4Kids days in the eyes of the American public. The uncensored Funimation releases were a step in the right direction, but we didn't come full circle until now, when we finally get to see the years worth of storylines that have been kept from us.

I'm currently in my first full reread of the series, which I decided only to do with the actual manga volumes. There's quite a bit that I've forgotten from my first read through, and it's nice to have the actual volumes, instead of reading them on a computer.

For the record, I read manga online first, and then once I've finished the series, and made sure that it's actually something I like and want to spend money on, I go and buy the volumes. Sure, you might say that I'm cheating the creators out of money this way, but if I didn't read them online, I'd check the books out from the library, to be sure I actually want to but the series. Either way, no money for the creators. My way at least I do end up spending money, as opposed to far too many manga fans out there.

So, obviously there's a few questions. How good is the quality of these new translations? Will they ever stop calling him Zolo? And when are my One Piece DVDs finally arriving in the mail? And how often will new volumes be released after we make it to volume 53 in June? Does anyone care if the release schedule slows down to releases occurring around the same time as they do in Japan?

And, I leave you now, with the release schedule for the first six months of the year 2010, the one that you could have if you spent money and bought the January issue of Shonen Jump. Cheapskates.

2010 One Piece Release Schedule:

JAN vols. 24-28 APR vols. 39-43
FEB vols. 29-33 MAY vols. 44-48
MAR vols. 34-38 JUN vols. 49-53