August Week 1 Wrap-Up #GrayeBeardChallenge

Like I said in the previous post. I’m participating in a month-long reading challenge to determine what I should read through a game of chance. So far I’ve only read 2 titles, but my time is pretty precious at the moment, I don’t actually have that much free time right now. I think I’m still on the right track. Plus, I picked up a title that I’ve been putting off for years:

Number 1 : GoGo Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto

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This is seriously one of the most beautiful manga publications in my collection. It has a full color cardboard sleeve, a full color wrap-around image, and the page edges are painted red with further designs. It’s gorgeous. And, for that alone, I think it’s worth collecting.

But, then you have the story… and “my god!” my brain feels like it’s melting. (that’s a good thing) Like most of Matsumoto’s works the protagonists are children working out their reality/trying to figure out their place in the world. It primarily surrounds two boys.

The first has been going to this school for a long time. He’s a loner. And has been ostracized by the entire class because of his strange behaviour and talk of the supernatural. His only friend is the school caretaker who listens quietly and intently in his stories, but rarely comments or encourages the behaviour. Throughout the story the boy begins to get agitated as the voices he’s been relying on have started to go quiet.

The second boy is new to the school. And as much as he’s been warned to stay away from the first boy, he finds his behaviour intriguing, if not bewildering, and makes friends with him. He also asks questions and listens to the stories, but is of course doubtful as to their validity.

DGRmue-UQAELy4yThe whole thing feels like a metaphor for growing up. There is constant concern over the other side, of adulthood, of breaking the rules, of death… all of these discussions between the characters seem to be markers of that pivotal moment in a child’s life when they’re no longer a child. They take a step into a limbo where they’re still children, but not children at the same time.

It’s a brilliant reading experience – delving deep into the psyche of children. But, I think is best understood intrinsically. I think if you’re trying to figure out what is going on during every panel, you’ll only wind yourself into knots.

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Number 2 : Descending Stories, volume 1 by Haruko Kumota

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The second thing I read was the first volume of Descending Stories. I’ve been pretty hyped to read this after hearing so many great things about the anime; many people touting this story as a “masterpiece”.

I’m less enthused after reading it than I was expecting. It has one major flaw in my eyes and that is it is written by a yaoi author. i.e. she brings with it a lack of character development. Because most yaoi series tend to be on the shorter side (at least what has been released here) authors have to develop their characters quickly. And they can do this because they are working with stock characters. The uke and seme are the most common character types complete with defining relationship roles, personality (both private and public), and even artistic design. If you’re a regular reader of the genre, you will instantly pick out which character belongs to which static character type and can enjoy the quick-ride which is the story.

But this is not yaoi (it might have some gay characters, but that doesn’t define the genre). So, it’s quick character development isn’t enough to engender an emotional response from readers. It falls flat. And this is my primary issue with this story.

It could make a recovery though. The way the story is structured could indicate that the two male character’s will get more focus throughout the story as Kumota unveils their intentions and feelings. But other characters, like the lead female character doesn’t have much left to give. Her character has been laid bare, and her intentions/motivations clear.

But the story! The story! The story could save this for me. It is one of the most unique subjects I’ve read about. It’s about a young man recently released from prison. While he was in prison he heard the comedic storytelling (rakugo) of the legendary master Yakumo Yurakutei and decided to become his apprentice. He persuades Yakumo to take him on, and is eager to get started to learn the art of rakugo.

This is the first time I’ve read anything about rakugo. I’ve had a little exposure to it through watching Japanese television. But, this purely Japanese art-form is fascinating to me to read about.

Now all Kumota needs is to develop her characters a bit more and this will be a great manga…I’ll wait!

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More Readathons?

I was invited to join another “readathon”. This one calls itself a “challenge” and lasts over the entire month. The point is to get through you TBR — but the strategy is to choose the titles with a game of chance: assign a number to each book and then roll the dice to see what you’ll read next.

I was going to read these titles anyways, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Basically the only different thing I’m doing is reading them in a specified order:

Booktube-a-thon 2017

Ah. So I was convinced to join in booktube-a-thon again this year. I was debating whether I should and then a fellow youtuber said “you should do it” and apparently that was enough to convince me. I’m very suggestible.

I’m currently hosting a readathon myself (ending in 12 hours) called the manga readathon where we’re reading as much manga as we possibly can. And 2 days later I’m joining the booktube-a-thon where we’re reading as much whatever as we possibly can. I don’t know why I like to torture myself… 2 weeks of reading as much as I possibly can is going to be a bit of a challenge. I’m already feeling pretty worn-out from all this manga!

I’ve decided that instead of picking manga for this readathon, I would instead pick other types of books and reading. I do like to read other things besides manga (sometimes)… and I thought at least I would take this opportunity to try.

I’m not participating in the video challenges… I just don’t have time to make daily videos. But, I’ll probably attempt a few Instagram challenges. So, if you’re interested in checking out my pictures, my instagram is “Mangahoarder”

Here’s what I’m planning to read next week:

FEBRUARY MANGA CHALLENGE | + March TBR

Fellow Youtubers, Yuri in Real Life, hosted a challenge in February to read a manga every day. Here’s how I did… I failed.

But, I did read a lot in the month, and this started me on a new way of wrapping up my reading every month.

Stay tuned to the end to see what titles I’ll be reading in March.

Books mentioned in this video:

  • Gakuen Polizi by Milk Morinaga
  • Demon Love Spell by Mayu Shinjo
  • QQ Sweeper by Kyousuke Motomi
  • Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina
  • Dragon Voice by Yuriko Nishiyama
  • Popcorn Romance by Tomoko Taniguchi
  • The Heiress and the Chauffeur by Keiko Ishihara
  • Real by Takehiko Inoue
  • Tetris by Box Brown
  • Cat vs. Human by Yasmine Surovec
  • The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
  • Cosplayers by Dash Shaw
  • Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan

 

DECEMBER to FEBRUARY MANGA HAUL | Not your typical titles!

Just after Christmas and my birthday means I got a lot of unusual manga and manga-related books to add to my collection.

Books mentioned in this video:

  • Turning Point, 1997-2008 by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Triton of the Sea by Osamu Tezuka
  • The Osamu Tezuka Story by Toshio Ban
  • Fallen Words by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
  • Showa: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki
  • Mail by Housui Yamazaki
  • The Last of the Mohicans by Shigeru Sugiura
  • Golden Pollen and Other Stories by Seiichi Hayashi
  • Nekogahara Stray Cat Samurai by Hiroyuki Takei
  • The Ghost and the Lady by Kazuhiro Fujita
  • Siuil la Run : the Girl from the Other side by Nagabe
  • Mechademia

 

Tetris: The Games People Play / by Box Brown

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My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was okay. My opinion of it might be suffering for the fact that I just read a corporate history graphic novel that I enjoyed exponentially more about a month ago. It was too easy to compare the two.

I enjoyed the story well enough. But there wasn’t very much story to be had. If you had taken the first 50 pages, the last 10 and thrown in a few in the middle for good measure, you would have had your story.

But, then there were all of the other pages. Filled with rights negotiations… It’s not that this wasn’t important or interesting. But, it was just written in a way that made more sense in a report. This wasn’t supposed to just be facts with pictures. This was supposed to say something. Make me feel something. Like a good story should.

It was like facts were acquired. They were calculated to amount to a certain value. And then spewed out in sequence without vetting or embellishment. There was story to be had. I don’t even think that the content that existed was bad. It’s just that it was the skeletal information that a good story could have been built upon.

Obviously. I felt like the story was missing.

The art satisfied the report-style writing. It was okay. Cute enough. There were a few times when I got confused which character I was reading about and had to flip back to the pages they were introduced to figure it out.

I really liked the yellow/black pallette. Usually a harsh combination, but I found rather fun.

Overall, this was a quick read. I finished it in about an hour. I thought this was interesting and informative, if lacking in finesse and feeling. If you’re interested in the history of Tetris, or maybe the history of business partnerships between foreign-countries and Russia you might enjoy picking this up.

I didn’t mind Box Brown’s style — and am very curious in trying out his history of ‘Andre The Giant’ some time.

My TOP 12 Favourite SHOUJO MANGA

This is a pretty self-explanatory video. I love shoujo manga — and as much as I try to be non-biased about the types of titles I read, I probably pick-up shoujo manga the most. This is a list of my favourite titles. These aren’t the most popular titles, and many of them are out of print. But, they’re titles that I can’t help but be drawn to over and over again.

 

Books mentioned in this video:

  • Tail of the Moon by Rinko Ueda
  • Palette of 12 Secret Colors by Nari Kusukawa
  • Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
  • V. B. Rose by Banri Hidaka
  • Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada
  • High School Debut by Kazune Kawahara
  • Marmalade Boy by Wataru Yoshizumi
  • Cipher by Minako Narita
  • Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura
  • The Name of the Flower by Ken Saito
  • Red River by Chie Shinohara
  • Love So Life by Kaede Kouchi
  • Beauty is the Beast by Tomo Matsumoto

 

MANGA BOOKSHELF 12 TOUR | + manga review (DRAGON VOICE)

 

This video is the beginning of a challenge that I’ve posed to myself of sharing my manga collection. I’m randomly choosing shelves in my collection and doing more in depth discussion of the titles that are on it. I’m still planning on doing a full collection tour at some point later this year, but that will be a tour without any real discussion.

This is from shelf 12, or more appropriately books D to E. We’ve shifted our collection around so these titles are now sitting on a different shelf, but am planning on getting to all of the titles at some point.

 

Manga mentioned in this video:

  • Dragon Knights by Mineko Ohkami
  • Dragon Voice by Yuriko Nishiyama
  • Dramacon by Stvelana Chmakova
  • Dream Saga by Megumi Tachikawa
  • The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu
  • Drug & Drop by CLAMP
  • Dr. Slump by Akira Toriyama
  • Duck Prince by Ai Morinaga
  • ES (Eternal Sabbath) by Fuyumi Soryo
  • DVD by Kye Young Chon
  • Earthian by Yun Kouga
  • Eerie Queerie by Shuri Shiozu
  • Erica Sakurazawa (short stories)
  • Eternity by Park Jin-Ryong and Shin Yong-Gwan
  • Eureka 7 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou

December Manga Haul…

I’m still catching up on making my haul videos… but, luckily haven’t bought ANY new manga since January 1st. I’m trying not to buy manga until May… but no promises!

 

What did I pick up in December?

  • Shuriken and Pleats, volume 2
  • Yona of the Dawn, volume 2-3
  • Genshiken Second Season, volume 9
  • Behind the Scenes, volume 3
  • Complex Age, volume 3
  • Yowamushi Pedal, volume 4
  • Liselotte & Witch’s Forest, volume 2
  • Komomo Confiserie, volume 5
  • Clover
  • Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths
  • Tsubasa Those With Wings, volume 1
  • Everyone’s Getting Married, volume 3
  • I am a Hero, volume 2
  • Rebound, volume 1
  • The Demon Prince of Momochi House, volume 7
  • The Summit of the Gods, volume 4-5
  • Phoenix, volume 7
  • Ultraman, volume 6
  • Haikyu!!, volume 6
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, volume 14
  • Haven’t You Heard I’m Sakamoto, volume 3
  • Kaze Hikaru, volume 8 + 24
  • Ral Omega Grad, volume 3-4
  • Goodnight Pun Pun, volume 3-4
  • きのこいぬ (Kinoko Inu), volume 1-6
  • スキップ・ビート! (Skip Beat!), volume 38-39
  • ちはやふる (Chihayafuru), volume 1-2
  • Life so happy, volume 1