Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ouran Host Club 15

This volume finally gets down to the romance that Haruhi/Tamaki fans have been wanting. It's sweet and a little silly as befits the couple. Fans of the twins individuating will also be pleased with the funny love triangle competition that Hikaru and Tamaki are in, even though we all know who will win. Also, time seems to be moving forward in a big way- after several springs where time was ignored in the Ouran-verse, finally, the third years are graduating. Luckily, this gives us more scenes in which Hunny shows more personality than just CUTE! BUNNY! BUNNY! and Mori shows his emotions nonverbally, but loudly.

So this volume was worth it. I like the light touch of this series. Now, it is really difficult to create a comedy series that is long running and yet does not get old. Gags have a life time, and that lifetime is short. Filler episodes, such as the Alice in Wonderland chapter we saw much earlier in the series, are usually used to lengthen a series, but more than one filler story a volume is too much for me. Luckily, Hatori manages to put in enough plot teasers to keep me reading, and finally, some of these are starting to bear fruit.

I also like how the theme of the strong friendship within the club wasn't abandoned just because romantic love was revealed. I get the feeling that in the future, the host club members will continue to be friends, even as they pair off, even as they go to different majors in college, even as they become business partners or rivals, and that's a beautiful thing to express in manga.


Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm not the only one!

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who makes up stories while playing video games. Games seem meant for narrative to be placed on them. Whether you're fighting the onslaught of the great alliance between the Aztecs, French and Zulus or readying your chasm spell against the Shadowbringer, you're the star of a story. It may not be newsworthy, but it's interesting-- a snapshot of how we live now.

I read an article critical of Farmville recently as well, and I thought "Duh! Farmville is escapism and not in the way this author is talking about.". I mean, I played Farmville's ancestor Harvest Moon into the ground, and I must say that pretending to farm is a very meditative and restful experience. And yes, I made up my own stories- "yes, just selling my pineapples! Better run over to the Inn to give Ann some eggs".


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Castle Waiting Vol 2, Powers Collection 2 and How to Get Your Boyfriend Into Comics

I read Castle Waiting Voloume Two, and while there are many delightful moments(such as the pure joy in how Medley draws little Pindar) and sad moments, such as Dr. Fell's origin story, so to speak, I get the feeling that something is unfinished. It feels like someone tore out the middle of a graphic novel and handed it to me. Many threads are left hanging. I'm not saying that it's a bad story- I just want to read the end of it.

I also got the second Powers hardcover.
It's the Powers I remember from high school. It really does benefit from the extra large treatment- the world is very immersive, and the colors pop. It's what I love about Powers- the fact that they even ask the question "So how would people really react if people just donned costumes and became crime fighting vigilantes?" Of course, the exploration of fame, power and the media is very welcome. They also printed the infamous(OK, only to me) 'blowjob letter'. Yes, that was worth every penny for the blast of the past. If you've never read Powers before, you should still get it- it allows us to see some of the daring do and glitter of the super hero, and there's still the grit and grime of the reality behind everything- government experiments, shadowy terrorist groups, murder, etc.

I often talk about manga here- but it's not like I don't like American comics, or even superheroes. I just want a straight forward story- I don't want to worry about what happened in one book in 1965. With Powers, the history is right there- one story. Plain and simple.


I don't have any advice for getting your boyfriend into comics. But I have an observation. For all the articles, poorly made 'games' and general talk about getting your girlfriend into [nerd hobby here], I've noticed a lack of discussion about getting your boyfriend into [hobby X]. I'm sure many women would love their boyfriends to play tennis with them, play against them in CiV, and help them sew an entire line of purses for the craft fair that is this weekend, but I don't see a lot of "get your boyfriend into Mafia Wars" discussions or guides that suggest "man friendly" books to get your man into reading.

I think it's because men are considered whole people with their own minds, not convenient accessories. There's the generic 'girlfriend' who would love hobby X if you gave her the 'right' game/comic/whatever, not a specific person who is probably quite busy with her own hobbies(yes, women have their own hobbies, even if they are devalued), her work, and the leisure gap between men and women.

Women don't expect to mold their male partners into book loving, hikers who love sewing and Full Metal Alchemist. Why is that?

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Zot! and this month's Afterschool Charisma.

I bought Zot! on impulse. I was looking for manga at the ol' Barnes and Nobles, and wandered over to the American comics side. I hadn't found anything, and was going to wander away when I looked up. I thought I saw something on the top shelf. It was Zot!

Anyway, I've read it through already, and I loved it, but had a feeling that something was missing. That themes such as the historylessness of Zot's world or the slow demise of Jenny's parent's marriage, and Butch's change from a cheerful participant in the adventures(OK, often in the shape of a monkey, but still) to drinking a little too much, and not really being part of the gang anymore seem hinted at, but not really fully explored.

But then I realized something. This collection is less than 600 pages. That is slightly less than 3 volumes of manga. When I realized that, I'm now extremely impressed that Scott McCloud managed to create such a deep and moving story in so little space.

Now for this month's Afterschool Charisma. The expo is finally here! And Ikkuyu(whose background is finally explained here) talks about an interesting point- the fact that the original people acheived what they did in very specific environments and times. Genetics are only a small part of who people are. This chapter is also a good set up for a wham chapter next month(I hope it's not too delayed with the holidays coming up)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Someone else remembers this

A long time ago, I watched this Minky Momo OAV[unsubbed, on an old video tape] and I've never forgotten it. A slow animated meditation on the passing of time. I'm not going to say that anime like this can't be created today, but I still think it's important to watch older anime. Then again, maybe it's just my very slow anime viewing style. Some people are at the cutting edge, watching the new Japanese season's shows as they come out, even if they are all otaku wank fantasies. I am slower- rewatching Miyazaki films that came out over a quarter century ago, finally getting around to watching the hot shows of five and ten years ago. I am like this in manga as well. I am more current, as far as American fan time goes, but I read manga over and over. I want to savor the stories, the characters. Some things don't go out of style.

But I understand other ways of doing things. A lot of people enjoy the community of talking about the latest releases. I simply can't move at that pace.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

PC Master Race Fail

Some douchebags are all like PC rulz j00! PC Master Race FTW! Now, why this is pretty racist sounding has been explored quite adquetely. But I'd like to notice that PC games stereotyped as being played by your mom aren't being considered as part of the 'PC games that are so much better than wimpy console games' crap.

I think it's all about keeping games the preserve of adolescent like boys. Games that can be played in short bursts to accommodate the schedules of adults with demanding jobs and women dealing with the leisure gap are stigmtized as not 'real' games, even though in the past, games like the simple rpgs, hidden object games[descended from Myst, I believe] farm sims[I have a theory that Harvest Moon started the farm sim genre] and puzzle games that are being called 'casual' and 'not real' games were considered 'real' when they weren't believed to be played by women or older people, but now that we realize that they do, we think they aren't 'real' games.

I think that the definition of 'real' games will soon narrow so much that only first person shooters with tons of gore on the PC will be considered real games, and even CiV wouldn't be considered a real game because it's too easy to play or some mess. The faster we decide that gaming is gaming, the less silliness there will be.

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