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 )

Dec. 16th, 2008


Webcomics: Dominic Deegan, Oracle For Hire

Unlike the prior post this review of a webcomic belongs here. It's not appropriate to Faces of Colour and it's not something I want to discuss in a political way. Dominic Deegan, Oracle for Hire is just plain geeky fun for me to read.

As I got up to date I couldn't help thinking that it's a web comic version of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden Files. The constant visions, the plotting evils, the larger arcing bad guys all give me a sense of a Dresden File book, with organizations navel gazing with their machinations and one hero left to gather his friends and loved ones to fight off the darkness. It also only helps the heroic parallels that Dominic likes wearing a long striped scarf that's reminiscent of the 4th Doctor Who.

The universe is Tolkenesque/ Dungeons & Dragon-esque fantasy. There are humans, orcs, were-wolves, sorceresses, mages, necromancers - it's a full fantasy spread. But it's set with a very contemporary feel. For example, there's a City of Sin that's a cross between Las Vegas and an open market bordello. And there are references to racism, including lynching and what such single-minded thoughts & actions can do to degrade an individual's soul. I was impressed that it wasn't just the overt moments that were represented, but also how peer pressure and desensitization can lead to a certain just under the surface darkness and blindness.

But that's all heavy stuff and Oracle for Hire doesn't read as heavy to me - ie - this is my message, this is my moral, open wide and swallow. Instead I found myself liking the character. He's a bit of a misanthrope, mostly because of constant interactions with stupidity. I liked how he meets one of the female characters and comes to care for her because she's brilliant and he just finds her intelligence unbearably sexy even if she has self esteem issues and can't image that's possible. I've experienced the surprise of finding someone patient who lets you recover from vast psychological torture. I've also been the patient friend. This was one of the few occasions I didn't end up thinking the writer had no clue what they were doing and why did they ever embark on this kind of storytelling subtext in the first place.

I like Dominic's friends. They're flawed, funny, loveable characters. I have favourites in fact. I even like some of his enemies. I've seen their flaws. I've seen them realize how their own mistakes led them up to a point and then watched them justify their continued actions. Very few characters feel dark just so that there can be a bad guy. Most of all, I like Dominic. I like his loyalty and determination to protect the innocent. Maybe that's the part of him that reminds me the most of Harry Dresden, that sense of righteousness.

As much as I enjoy digital comics, I may find myself ordering a few hard copies to share with friends. Good world building, intelligent plot arcs, motivated characters and a good ensemble with clan building. How could I not share that?

And yes, I am aware that I'm being very spoiler-careful, but I think there's value in discovering certain aspects of the world and the characters for yourself as a reader.

Sep. 24th, 2008


Anime: Fairy Musketeers (Otogi-Jūshi Akazukin).

I watched this series on Veoh and fell in absolute love. And I have to laugh at myself because originally somewhere around the 4th or 5th episode I caught a hard sudden dislike because the non-active protagonist (male/Souta) was doing some very cliche things.

I was watching in a very young state of mind and got frustrated that it seemed as if the audience was being talked down to. After all how many times does someone have to be told that the people around them are there to protect them but DON'T go rushing into danger? How old does someone have to be to get that concept?

About two episodes later I realized that two things had confused me. The main one was that the male character had very much been given a "female" role. And I usually accept that particular stupidity in female characters; running into trouble without any plan or power to really help. It was very enlightening to realize that while it annoys me in female characters I've an easier time accepting the impulse because women and girls are supposed to care so much that it blots out rational thought.

But leading into that was the realization that that the character himself didn't realize everything that was going on around him even if I as a viewer did. It seemed obvious to me, but I was never an ordinary 10-13yr old. Looking at his actions as confusion, determination and friend loyalty as appropriate to his age helped smooth out the only true rough patch I ended up having. And I was glad that I was so intrigued by the storyline and world building that I kept watching.

Like I said I watched the fan translation online. The dvds don't seem available via Amazon. I'm unsure if this is a wait and see thing or what. But I know when I can afford it, it'll be in my top three must buy series. Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty kick some serious tail in this and the music is really wonderful.

PS: The second best thing about this series was knowing the fairy-tales and legends so knowing and understanding the characters at a deeper level.

Jul. 17th, 2008


Flesh & Spirit / Breath & Bone - Carol Berg

My original, very short review of Flesh & Spirit sometime earlier in the year was :

Really enjoyed this one. Despite the first person pov, I felt suspense, urgency and peril/panic of dire situations. Oddly it made me think of Anita Blake done right, only without vampires, sex and 80's clothing.

I've just finished Breath & Bone and I really, really enjoyed it. Even if it took me 9 weeks to finish reading it. The suspense was so much I kept putting it down because I couldn't handle anything else happening.

So I think it's safe to say the main character does not have it easy. But I adore him. I absolutely adore him.

About Valen )