Jul. 20th, 2011


Mistress of The Art Of Death - Ariana Franklin

So I read this book recently and I've no idea how I feel about it. Or rather I feel like I should feel more positively about it, but I don't, and the reasons are complex. This whole first book in the series is about the Jews of Middle Ages England (Henry II's time) and accusations of Blood Libel. So yeah, I was twitchy ALL THROUGHOUT.

There might be some minor spoilers )

In sum, perhaps I can't call this book universally unpleasing, but it may definitely not be for me. I am very grateful to have recently experienced truly enjoying a book and series (please CJ Cherryh don't be an ass), so I can remember what that feels like and compare it to this and know I did not. That a book can be adequately written and I still just not enjoy it.

*Enjoying a book means I can turn right around and re-read it immediately, or re-read the whole series immediately and also NOT just be waiting for fav lines, scenes or moments.

Feb. 15th, 2011


Kimi ni Todoke (anime series)

There is a season one and a season two (just started).

Season 1 Raving Here )

Season 2 Ranting Here )

Feb. 8th, 2011


Yumeiro Pâtissière (anime series)

I'm somewhat ambivalent about Yumeiro Patissiere. While it's like watching Iron Cheft meets Boarding School Adventures plus Fairies with some (so far,) slow paced romance and is enjoyable that way. I wince every-time one of the girls calls the other fat, or a girl decides she needs to be on a diet. I hate that it's expected culture, apparently in both the US and Japan (and who knows where else these days) for weight concern to be a major thing among girls. Especially when these girls are drawn so damn THIN. And the one woman we see who is heavier, while married, nothing is sad about her weight or if baking treats and sweets contributed to it. So then it was 'untouchable' ? But not when it's (english sub says at least) 13 year olds? Though even given that highschoolers often get pushed down to middleschool, with college goers pushed down to highschool, it's still teenage girls with the self conscious worry about weight threading through their lives.

Another thing I'm disliking? After episode upon episode of the main character being treated, hmm, not quite as an equal because she doesn't have the training, but as a contemporary and fellow student and a teammate - I'm very wincy at the idea of some Italian fellow making bets about 'making her his gf' when winning a challenge. For that matter, I cringe a lot at one girl throwing herself over and over and over again at one boy - like a never ending tide. Despite the fact said boy doesn't like her, doesn't like to be touched by her and while I cannot remember him saying no outloud, the fact that I have to search my mind for that at all, brings up more and more the gender reversal scenario of 'She didn't say no, so she must have liked it'. **shudder**

It's also grring to realize the protagonist (female - the main character) seems to have no skills whatsoever in claiming her personal space or autonomy with said Italian. Damnit, I enjoy the show, but this learned helplessness thing... Her being open and honest and forgiving of when people cheat her - at least she gets called airheaded for it. But the inability to smack someone's hand away? I am aware of cultural differences involved and yet it is still so painfully, invasively annoying. I guess because it ends up reading like one of the bars trying to lock women in 'performance of proper femininity'.

But all that aside, binding friendships, people cooking, and faeries that aren't annoying - for 63 episodes!

PS: Yes, the laugh IS very. very. very. very. annoying. Also the American.

PPS: There is a moment that mentions accessibility that damn near won me over despite all that seemingly approved cultural stalking and molestation.

PPPS: To anyone else who may have watched this? Selfish man is SELFISH.

Feb. 2nd, 2011


Lucky Star (anime series)

I did not expect to find a slice of life, comedy, school life anime so enjoyable. But I really needed something light, where I wouldn't 'think' and thought, why not. And boom, I was hooked. There was all this meta about cliches, tropes, stereoptyes of Japanese people, tourists in Japan, anime and manga. And that was lovely. But what hooked me was teenage girls just talking - watching conversations flow the way they can in real life, naturally. And watching them discuss everything from periods to how to eat certain foods.

I did not realize I needed that. Well, I mean I know I greatly enjoy female focused things, or at least heroines. But knowing I enjoy a thing, and knowing it fits and fills a hole in me / tells a story I want to hear, are two different things. There are no big references to boyfriends and romance outside of friendly teasing. There is a whole lot of girl and family bonding, worries about school, different people having different goals and interests and ways of doing things...

1 Note. I started skipping the 'Lucky Channel' bits at the end after a few eps, because I greatfly dislike the trope of sullen + angry + violent girl and put upon boy. Tsun Tsun can go bite herself.

I wonder if there's Josei Manga that involves something like that? As most seem to center around if not focus on romantic relationships. If I could find Josei like Lucky Star where the 'girls' are grown up, with or without family that would be wonderful. Oh! yes! No disappeared, invisible, non caring, non involved parents in Lucky Star.