Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Yukie Nasu: The Wizard's Daughter(1)

Overall rating: 4 /5 stars (good, but scary! Slightly predictable probably for people who like scary stories, but well done nontheless)
Title (Japanese): 魔法使いの娘(1) (まほうつかいのむすめ mahou tsukai no musume)
Author (Japanese): 那州雪絵(なすゆきえ)
Author (English): Yukie Nasu
Summary: Hatsune (鈴の木初音) is a self-described "extremely normal" high school girl with a very abnormal father Muzan Suzunoki (鈴の木無山). Muzan is a magic-user; a wizard or magician who can dispell ghosts and battle demons. He is actually Hatsune's adopted father, as Hatsune's birth parents have both passed away. Hatsune's father was Muzan's friend.

Nasu's penchant for the occult is quite apparent here, in this well-developed collection of stories about Hatsune. At times really scary, I would not recommend that you start reading this book late at night. Hatsune is a very likeable heroine, who works hard but stands up for herself when necessary. Resourceful but not overtly magical, she battles with her adopted father over becoming his successor.

I particularly like the character Tenten (テンテン), a cute and protective kitsune (kind of like a fox). I haven't seen too many kitsune drawn in manga, but this one is a believably occult yet charming rendering of the Japanese mythogical creature. I think this book is worth buying just for that.

Other than several stories about Hatsune, there is also a separate unrelated story at the end. I don't remember it at the moment, but I remember liking it.

Overall I liked this volume a lot. I definitely recommend it. Even though I don't like scary stories, a lot of the occurrences are scary but Hatsune can handle it.

Japanese list price: 546円 (with tax)(520円 not including tax)
Publication date: 2003年
ISBN: 4-403-61726-3

Monday, August 22, 2005

buying manga online, slam dunk english ISBNS

If overstock.com carries a particular book, it's usually at least 10% cheaper than Amazon. I got all of my Here is Greenwood books from there :) And a Miss Manners book. And quite a good selection of Diana Wynne Jones.

You should double check the ISBN numbers to make sure that you order the book that you want. The Slam Dunk books that overstock carries are mostly the spanish editions. I searched on isbn.nu and the links do appear to say that the language is Spanish. So, something to check!

And the overstock.com site search works better than Amazon's. I still don't know how Amazon manages to have such a buggy search. Actually, upon further investigation, the overstock.com search has some bugs too. Still works better than Amazon's.

English Slam Dunk ISBNS:
vol. 1 097250379X
vol. 2 1932454047
vo. 3 1932454101
vol. 4 1932454160
vol. 5 1932454268

It looks like only 5 books have been published in English in the U.S. Bummer!

I wonder if Overstock uses Amazon's db, or both sites' book information is from the same source. They both mispell Inoue Takehiko's name as Takehito.

Powell's Books is a good reference. Their search engine works nicely.

speaking of overrated manga

Tenchi Muyou! is overrated. Just like Oh My Goddess!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

my mum was asking why I bought more manga

But it's "Here is Greenwood"! I can't be expected not to buy it. I mean, it's available in English. It's not like I bought the DVDs (yet, haha).

I can only be expected to have a certain amount of self-control.

Speaking of self-control, I bought way too much at the 60th anniversary limited display of the Moomin Trolls. A one week exhibit at the Isetan department store in Shinjuku. Gosh, it was busy! I was glad I caught it though. Once in a lifetime Moomin goods. Haha. I love living here.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Yoshiki Nakamura: Skip Beat!

Overall rating: 4/5 stars
Title (Japanese): スキップビート!
Author (English): Yoshiki Nakamura
Author (Japanese): 仲村佳樹 (なかむらよしき)
Total books: 8 or more so far?
Summary: Welcome to the world of Japanese entertainment! For people unfamililar with the world of Japanese television and music, it's quite an interesting introduction to the industry. Solid, very interesting plot, and very nice characterizations. The author never falls into the realm of the cliched and predictable, a trap that all manga have to deal with. It's probably the most strongly plot driven manga that I am currently following.

From the author of Tokyo Crazy Paradise, another series that I will one day own.

The manga artist has been steadily improving and Skip Beat is really beautifully drawn.

It's a very plot driven manga. Good characterizations, but I get sucked in by the plot. The other day I started re-reading volume 3, and couldn't stop until volume 5 (the last book that I have). It may be dangerous to own more than one book at a time, given my lack of will power.

Frankly, Nakamura's male characters are quite amusingly drawn.

Kiyoko Arai: Beauty Pop

Overall Rating: 3 or 4/5 stars (first 2 or 3 books are really good, but by the 4th it's starting to turn into a normal shojo comic)
Title (Japanese): ビューティーポップ
Author (Japanese): あらいきよこ
Author (English): Kiyoko Arai
Publisher: Flower Comics (Ciao)
Summary: high school comedy about a laid-back hair styling genius and the unwanted rivalry with an older classmate at her school. Fun, especially the refreshingly blase main character. She's great.

Currently there are 4 books out.

I adored the first book because of the main character. But there are a lot of cliches in this book (flamboyant, super popular antagonist; the human computer side kick, etc.) and in the fourth book a weak love triangle (square? hexagon? weak on all but 1 side) is shaping up so I'm losing a little interest.