Winter Break in Review
Things I Read
That's right. Herein lies a list of everything (I think!) I read and watched over winter break. I guess there's not as much as I thought there was. Oh well. I'm in the midst of the novel Snow Crash right now, which is pretty awesome. Also, I'll be reading a crapload this semester for all of my awesome classes. Anyway, here we go:
- I finished up the Sailor Moon manga series. This was a reread for me, and the series is still good with age, and probably one of the best manga series I've read. It does drama well, it does comedy well, and it does characterization well. It's still fun to read after having read it many times, and it's still good when compared to lots of other manga I've read. Certainly one of the most well-drawn. It does get pretty annoying, though, how every time there is a new revelation, it must be repeated 5 times. "It's the Silver Imperium Crystal!" "The Silver Imperium Crystal!?!?" "The Silver Imperium Crystal!" Oh, well.
- The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. The author is a gossip columnist I had never heard of (I don't read them, but whatever) for MSNBC.com. This book was amazing, and I seriously could not put it down. It's a memoir of her childhood with 3 siblings, an artistic mother who basically refused to care for her children in any way, and her brilliant, loving, and alcoholic father. She isn't bitter about her unconventional childhood at all, and in fact, the book was really funny at times. I highly recommend this.
- President Dad manhwa series, first 6 volumes. I found this at the library, and scooped it up. It's basically pure crack. It is a dramatic, romantic shojo manga, but it KNOWS this, and even makes fun of itself for it. The premise is that the main character, Ami, is the daughter of the man elected President of Korea (South Korea, obviously). As her mother is deceased, she is pushed into the position of First Lady by her maternal aunt, while her paternal aunt schemes to humiliate her. It's light-hearted and highly enjoyable, but probably not something I'd want to own or reread.
- Fushigi Yugi manga, volumes 1-10. This was excellent fun! Well, mostly. The premise is that a girl and her best friend enter a book and become transplanted in another world straight from Chinese mythology. My feelings on this series are pretty mixed. It was impossible for me to put down, so obviously it tells its story well. I liked the main character a lot at first, but after a while I found her and her main love interest to be pretty lame. Really, the "side" characters (who are actually still main characters, but not Miaka and Tamahome) are what I read it for. I love Hotohori and Nuriko, and Yui was fun to watch, too. After a while, the drama stuff gets kind of lame because it's like, "How many more times can people "unexpectedly die?" Or how many times can Miaka and Tamahome almost betray their love for each other? I loved reading the columns by the artist/author, though.
I wouldn't want to own this series, but I think that I would like to read the rest of it, and also check out the anime (Louise has it).
- Brilliance of the Moon: Battle for Maruyama by Lian Hearn. This is the first half of the last book in the "Tales of the Otori" trilogy, which is based on 19th century Japanese society, but is actually fantasy. I really enjoyed the author's writing style - it wasn't particularly new or inventive, but it was peaceful and orderly. I really like this series, and would like to reread the whole thing in one go. I only have one half-book to go, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I turned to manga instead. :D
- NANA manga, volumes 1-4. The manga and the anime differ in the order in which they tell their story in the beginning. Even though I've been keeping up with the anime, the manga series is also great, and the art style is unique. I love this series, and I intend to own it all eventually (currently only 1 volume). The premise of NANA is that two girls, both named Nana, meet on a train to Tokyo. They are the same age and have the same name, but that is basically where the similarities end. One Nana dresses like a punk rocker - because she is one. She plays guitar and sings (awesomely) and has a band, and is moving to Tokyo to make a name for herself. The other Nana has a habit of falling in love at first sight. After working hard for a year saving up money, she is following her boyfriend and 2 best friends to Tokyo, and is eager to make it on her own. One Nana is jaded, and the other is hopelessly naive. Somehow, though, they get along awesomely. This series *should* be silly and typical (and thus boring) shojo, but it does characterization VERY well, and also has great monologues reflecting on the nature of life and relationships. I can't recommend it enough.
- Loveless manga, volumes 1-2. I should think that this series is creepy and wrong, but I don't. Read the link for an actual synopsis. I think I like this series so much because the main character is severely damaged, and the way he reacts to things and the things he says bring back a lot of memories. The memories are painful, but the association means it's meaningful and well-done.
- Fullmetal Alchemist manga, volumes 1-9. This was a lot of fun. It made remember the warm colors and superbly paced plot of its anime counterpart. I know that the anime diverged from the manga storyline, so I would like to keep reading this series and see what else happens. Still, I wouldn't want to take the money to own it. Reading this made me want to rewatch the anime series! Sadly, I think it'll be a while before that happens.
- Priest manhwa, volumes 4-6. I love this series so much. I didn't expect Gena to be so awesome. I keep expecting this series to be stereotypical, but it never is. I should make a warning for gore/horror content, though. If you don't like that stuff, DEFINITELY stay away. The art style is all about straight lines, even when detailing hair and horses, giving it a unique and badass style. Also fairly unique to manga/manhwa - the blank space is black, not white. Ivan Isaacs is a former priest, now possessed by a demon, seeking revenge upon fallen angels who fought on God's side when Lucifer rebelled. The main action takes place in the Wild West (which the author/artist makes fun and accurate, without being annoying), but there are also flashbacks to the Crusades of the Middle Ages and modern times. This is one of my favorite series. The character - heroes, anti-heroes, and villains alike all get good, detailed characterization.
- Lone Wolf and Cub manga, volume 3. I love the art style and the detail of this series, but I just can't get into it. I think that, to really enjoy this series, I would have to sit down and read them all at once (they read like watching a movie). Unfortunately, the series is over 20 volumes long, so this will probably never happen.
- The Wallflower manga, volumes 1-2. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but Louise has about 9 volumes, so I'll probably read them all. I don't like the art style very much, and even the story is kind of lacking....but, we'll see.
Things I Watched
- "Heroes" TV series, episodes 1-11. WHEEE! (Also, I totally had Eden pegged all along!) Hiro and Mohinder are still my favorites.
- "Battlestar Galactica" TV series, most of season 3 (thus far); mini-series
- A lot of "The Office," season 2, + quality time with my friends
- Kiki's Delivery Service, animated feature film
- "Porco Rosso," animated feature film (Loved it, 'though I didn't write about it)
- My Neighbor Totoro, animated feature film
- "All Dogs Go to Heaven," animated feature film. I found this at ShopKo for $5, and it was one of my favorite childhood films, so I bought it and watched it with my sister's kids. Amelia kept saying, "This is a good movie!" and Dylan seemed equally absorbed, so I guess that's good!
- "Brick," feature film, was cemented as one of my favorites
- James Bond: "Casino Royale," feature film. Badass. Still, slightly annoyed by the way the African storyline was glossed over.
- "Children of Men," feature film
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, feature film. My sister made me watch this with her, and I absolutely hated it. Thus far, the only film starring Will Ferrell that I've liked was "Elf."
- Pretear anime series, 13 episodes
- Haibane Renmei anime series, 13 episodes
- Rose of Versailles, anime series, episodes ?-36. I think I've got about 4 episodes left. Yay French Revolution!
- NANA, anime series, episodes 32, 33
- Princess Tutu, anime series, episodes 1-9
- Cowboy Bebop, anime series, episodes 17-26. This is one of my favorite series of all time, and I'd never seen these episodes before, aside from 25-26. Some of them were meh, but I liked them a lot from about 20 on. Especially episode 24. SO SAD! Jet and Spike eating the girls' eggs was sad. And Ein going after Ed! And Ed's message! And Faye! The reason I think it took me so long to watch these is because I don't want it to be over. I need to listen to this soundtrack much more often. Most people have seen Bebop, but if you haven't, watch it. I don't think there's anyway that the series could be more perfect.
- Sailor Moon S, anime series, All (38 episodes). I watched the English dub version in high school when it aired on Cartoon Network. I really don't think the English dub was too terrible, considering the overall caliber of the show. Still, I liked the voice actresses more in the Japanese version. It was interesting watching this immediately after rereading the entire manga series. This time through, I really liked Sailors Uranus & Neptune a lot. I like Uranus's voice actress in particular, and I like both of them when they yell their attacks, "World Shaking" and "Deep Submerge" (which is good, considering it happens about every episode!). I also liked Sailor Chibi Moon a lot more, too. I mean, I always liked her in the dub, too, but she was much cuter with her Japanese voice. Also, how cute was she when she'd attack with Pink Sugar Heart Attack, and it wouldn't work?! The kid has pink hair. What's not to love?
I do have to say, though, that I'm a bit miffed that Sailor Pluto's skin is white in the anime. In the manga, it's very clearly darker than the rest of the Sailor Senshi. Why change it? I don't know what the reasoning was, but I find it kind of offensive that they did that.
I recommend the Sailor Moon anime series to younger people, and only to older audiences who are already fans of the show. If you're new to Sailor Moon, then I would recommend reading the manga.
Labels: anime, anime: cowboy bebop, anime: sailor moon, holidays, manga, manga: fushigi yugi, manga: nana, manga: president dad, manga: priest, manga: sailor moon, moviesscribbled mystickeeper at 11:54 PM