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Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

The Great Passage

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The Great Passage or Fune no Amu is an anime which aired last year and which is amazing. It follows introverted and socially awkward Majime as he becomes involved in the creation of a new dictionary and the people who become involved in his life as he learns to express himself. Doesn’t sound exciting? Well, it isn’t – if what you are looking for is an action-adventure. This is a slow slice-of-life that focuses on characters and the words that come to link them together. Making a dictionary is a very involved lengthy process. These people spend at least thirteen-years making this dictionary. Talk about dedication! Most of the time focuses on the first year or so when Majime first joins the dictionary team. The last few episodes focus on the last year or so, when the dictionary is finally finished. There are a number of memorable characters. There is Nishioka, who is loud and confident, easily connecting with people. There is the beautiful Kaguya who catches Majime’s eye sufficiently to fight against his own reserved nature. There is the gruff Araki, the former editor of the dictionary who now can only work part time, and the grandfatherly Matsumoto-sensei who is a language professor assisting the project. Admittedly, this may not be the type of story to attract everyone’s interest. As a Tolkien fan, knowing that he spent over a year working on the Oxford English Dictionary, of course I had to watch this series. If you enjoy character focused, slice-of-life stories that are grown-up then The Great Passage is well looking into.

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Emma (Manga Classics)

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So I finally got around to reading this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. First, a disclaimer. This is not one of my favorite of Austin’s works. It is probably the fifth down on my list. Maybe it is because I don’t relate to the heroine very much.

But this adaptation made me appreciate Emma’s story more. In some ways it is a mystery story. There are also parts that are quite funny. This manga adaptation does full justice to both parts of the story, as well as the various budding romances. If the three main female leads don’t exactly have period hair styles, they are cute and they work.

There is bonus information at the end about the process of making this adaptation, plus character sketches between chapters to make this a volume fully worth owning.

It doesn’t replace the original novel, but it is a worthwhile adaptation in it’s own right.

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Ah, Yona. It has been a fun ride.

So at first, Yona seems to be quite naive. Not particularly mean, but rather shallow. She starts getting that knocked out of her by the end of the first episode with the murder of her father, the king, by her cousin Sooyong who she also was in love with up to this point. That is what makes Yona such a wonderful character: we get a chance to see her grow, and while she has made huge strides by the end of the series that doesn’t mean she still doesn’t have some things to work on. Yona’s growth may be the best thing about the series. The second best thing is meeting the four dragons. Their situations and attitudes are so different, yet by the end they all agree to help Yona in their way.

Sooyong is quite a mystery. He seems to be at least two, maybe three different people. It is difficult to say who he really is, and we don’t really know what his end goals are yet. He does seem to have some regret about Yona, and he probably hopes she lives out the rest of her days peacefully, quietly, and as happily as possible in some remote village. Too bad for him that isn’t going to happen. At this point, Yona is growing into a worthy queen, and Sooyong has done some positive things for the country, so it is difficult to say who would be the better ruler. In the end, of course, it has to be Yona. She is the red dragon. While it is clear that her father was not the most ideal ruler in some ways, did he really have his brother (Sooyong’s father) killed? I think much of this will be answered if we get another season.

This is the one negative about this series so far – we have only just found the fourth dragon, and lots of questions remain to be answered. There is yet a long road before the final confrontation between Yona and Sooyong. This series needs a second season. Still, I am glad that a decent place was found to stop (no one is in immediate peril at least), they didn’t try to put too much in (especially towards the ending), and they didn’t manufacture an ending.

I don’t know if there will be a second season, but either way it’s been an enjoyable journey so far.

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Manga Classics: Les Mis and Pride

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So Udon Entertainment has commenced publishing manga versions of classic stories. Les Misérables and Pride and Prejudice are the first two offerings, which is wonderful since these are two of my favorite stories. These volumes are twice the pages of normal manga, but even so, especially with Les Mis, they can’t contain everything. But these are still quite enjoyable, and would be good for younger readers.

Les Misérables is done in a simple manga style that fits the story wonderfully well. The pain points are well done. Pride and Prejudice is very shojo in style. It fits well with the story, even if it is a bit busy. For what this is, these are great. As always, you can always go back and read the original^^;

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So Yona is the charming but slightly spoiled princess of Kouka. She loves her cousin Soo-won and loves teasing the general Hak. On her sixteenth birthday she goes to try to persuade her father to let her marry Soo-won, only to find he killed her father. Fortunately Hak arrives on the scene and gets Yona out of the castle before she can be killed too…

Ah, politics, romance, and adventure in a shojo format. This reminds me a bit of Siaunkoku Monogatari. But only in part. The violence is more overt, though the nature of the story does seem to require it. And Yona is no Shuurei. Yet. If the character arc shows us how Yona becomes a woman strong enough to take back the kingdom, then the story will be worth it. Right now, Yona is a bit shallow, though that may have already been knocked out of her. Hak is cool, but we don’t really have much beyond that yet. Aside from the fact that he is completely loyal to Yona and secretly loves her. Soo-won, surprisingly, is the most interesting character so far. Certainly he is the most complex. Here he kills his uncle who has raised him from the time he was ten, but apparently that same Uncle killed his own father. And I don’t think his feelings for Yona as portrayed at the very beginning were a complete lie, but she lies between him and the throne…

If you liked Saiunkoku Monogatari, you may very likely enjoy Yona of the Dawn. So far recommended.

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Yes, I am actually picking up two anime this season. This is the first one. So this isn’t World Masterpiece Theater, but the tone is similar and this is an adaptation of a classic work. One interesting note – Goro Miyazaki is part of this project. And it shows. The visuals are colorful and interesting, and if not quite as many details are in evidence as his father might have used what is there is visually quite well done. In these first episodes, we are introduced to a band of robbers. Several things of note – there is a rival band of robbers relatively near by, and the chief’s wife is expecting any moment. This is great news to the robber band since it means there will be someone to take his place eventually. The fact that when on the stormy night when Ronja is born she ends up being a girl bothers her father not at all. She can become chief of the band some day just as well as a boy could. And she soon has the whole band wrapped around her little finger. In fact, the only one who isn’t completely smitten with her is her mother, which so far at least is a good thing. It really does go to ridiculous heights how far the robbers go, even going so far as to quit on a robbery in order to be back in time to feed Ronja when she is a baby^^; It is also equally endearing. Don’t worry, though. There are hints already that this story isn’t going to be all sweetness. The Harpies for one signal plenty of conflict down the road. Recommended for fans of World Masterpiece Theater.

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Wolf Children – Manga

The good news, the manga of The Wolf Children looks nice and is in a nice edition. The bad news – nothing new is added to the story. Over all, seeing the characters move in the anime is better. Get this only if you love the story that much or if you are a completest.

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