Woo-hoo, I completed another manga series. One down and a lot more to go. Here are my thoughts on the entire series.
Six years ago, my first exposure to this series was the anime adaptation. I enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure way. The anime wasn't mind-blowing, but it was enjoyable despite the average animation and artwork. Then, when the manga is going to get an official English translation, I decided to check it out because I wanted more of the story and I thought the manga artwork looked better than the anime adaptation from what I saw.
Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed the original manga than its anime. The artwork was gorgeous, especially if it's in color. I loved how Utako Yukihiro colors her drawings. It's hard to believe she gets it down around two weeks even when she is busy with other projects (Source: I attended the talk show featuring her at Anime Expo 2019). Though, Yukihiro needs improvement on is the male characters' facial design. Sometimes, I had a difficult time telling which character is which during some of the fight scenes. The clothing the characters wear makes it less hard to guess, but when you don't see the clothes, it becomes a challenge.
The story is similar to other fantasy stories, like Black Butler, with the mix of supernatural stuff with some slice of life stuff in the middle. But unlike Black Butler, which includes darker subject matter like serial killers, cults, pedophilia, and slavery, Devils and Realist's tone is a lot lighter. While the series was mostly light and fluffy, it does get serious when it needs to. The series becomes a lot darker during the second half around the time a specific character shows up. I'm not saying who it is due to spoilers, but it was a subtle surprise. Even during the second half, there are a few times dedicated to some silliness.
If you're looking something to read this summer, I highly recommend this title.
On Friday, I completed the Devils and Realist manga series. I'm planning on writing about my thoughts on that manga, possibly in mid-July. I'm now reading the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga adaptation and post a review of the series in mid-July as well.
I'm preparing for Anime Expo, so my reading activity would not be high during these few weeks.
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Woo-hoo, the story is finally moving forward. The brief Patroclus and Achilles moments that happened so far was cute. But when the angsty stuff came along, I worried the story would halt, and there would be several pages of Patroclus angsting. I get why he is upset, but reading how he sad he is over and over again is getting old at times. Fortunately, it quickly ends when they commence fighting with Troy.
The Trojan War has begun at last, and some people had already died. I remember my older sister told me about how she kept track of the deaths while reading the Illiad in high school (or middle school? It was a long time ago). She said that there was a lot.
It has been a while since I resumed this story. I hate to admit that I hesitated to start up again because the pacing so far has been slow. I'm at the part where the Greeks are preparing to fight in the Trojan War. I'll give it one more chapter to go. If the next chapter doesn't hook me, I will be DNFing this book.
While looking for what other books I should try out during my free trial on Scribd, I came across this audiobook. I heard about this book before, and I've always wanted to read it because I wanted to read more non-fiction books on unique topics. However, I worried about what other people, like my family members, will think about me if they saw me reading a physical version of this book. It would make an excellent conversation starter, but I didn't want to worry anyone. So I've decided to try it out as an audiobook.
Before I began, I thought this book would have a large amount of detailed information on criminal cannibal cases. I already knew some instances of that kind of cannibalism and that the book would repeat some of the information, but go more in depth compared to the news. My predictions were wrong the moment the narrator read about how this book would have more of a scientific look on cannibalism and not focus on the criminal cannibals. I'm glad my prediction was wrong because concentrating only on that aspect would feel repetitive and dull. Even though there was a lot of scientific jargon in this title, I didn't feel lost while listening to the narrator. The writing is accessible with the author defining some of the terminologies and explaining the difference between a few theories in the book.
My favorite parts of this book were the sections discussing the debate on whether dinosaur did cannibalism or not and how different societies view cannibalism. It didn't surprise me how the colonizers demonized indigenous people by playing up the cannibalism practice even if some of them didn't do it.
At some points, it felt like the author was going off topic when the book talked about the mating practices of some animals and insects and mad cow disease. Fortunately, those parts have connections to cannibalism. The descriptions about holes in the brains being like swiss cheese scared me more than any other horror story. I don't recommend eating while reading through these parts, especially the section on the slugs.
The narrator was never dull and kept my attention thanks to his chipper, Disney Park castmember-type delivery and voice.
My copy of Whale Rider arrived today. I watched the movie years ago, and I enjoyed it. Until recently, I didn't know that the movie was originally a book. So I went out and search for a copy on the internet. It wasn't easy since most of the bookstores I came across didn't have any copies in stock or if they have any, the prices were ridiculously high. I finally found a used copy in "very good" condition for a low price and free shipping.
I'm surprised how the book is in excellent condition for something labeled "very good" and costs under $5.
I wish I could read it now, but I'm still busy with other books.
The story now switched POV sides. Now, the narrator is Mari and her part is exciting to read. However, her voice sounds the same as Finn. The plot feels random with one thing happening after another without some breathers between important events makes the story's plot confusing. The story flow is rough and could use a few edits to make the story understandable and smooth.
I don't see any chemistry between Mari and Finn. The part where Finn starts kissing Mari came out of nowhere for me. It felt like it was inserted in the story at the last minute before publication.
I'm on the fence now. The book currently is not hooking me in, but I wonder if I should continue in hopes the story does get better. Or DNF this book now? The premise is intriguing, but the execution is meh for me. Also, I found Finn to be an annoying character at the moment. I'm hoping the other narrators will be engaging. I'm going to have a hard time reading if the characters are no different from Finn.
I had a code for a free two-month membership to Scribd from Groupon, and I used it when I found out that this audiobook is available on the website.
I had a difficult time putting down this audiobook because I found the narration sounded smooth and was eager to learn more about the different death rituals. Caitlin does an excellent job of talking about death and stuff related to it without being too depressing. She describes the various death rituals with respect and describes in detail. My favorite parts were the parts about the lighted-up Buddhas in Japan and the only open fire pyre in America. I also learned more about the funeral industry internationally and here in the United States.
I wish I learned more about the US funeral industry and the various laws related to a person's death sooner because I would have used some of that knowledge to help out my family when they did funerals for relatives. The parts where Caitlin explained about the American funeral industry reminded me of what happened two years ago when my uncle died.
My uncle wanted to be buried, so my mom had to look for a cemetery and casket. She had a difficult time finding those things that were affordable. She found someone (a person close to my uncle) that let my mom use the burial plot for my uncle for free, but finding a casket was a challenge. My mom had to beg the funeral home to order the cheapest casket she saw online because the ones they offer to her were ridiculously expensive (unfortunately my memories are kind of bad on this part, but I recall my mom saying finding a casket was a pain in the butt). The entire funeral cost (including a ceremony, burial, etc.) was expensive even with the cheapest options my family chose. I think the price was around ~$10,000. My mom, unfortunately, learned the hard way how challenging and costly it is to make funeral preparations.
I hope with this newfound knowledge I received from this audiobook will help out in the future.
I just found out today that Banana Fish is available in digital format. I have the first three volumes in physical form, but I'm going to buy later volumes in digital format cause I have no room on my shelf.
Yay, Fruits Basket is available in digital format. Now, I will have to wait for Requiem of the Rose King to receive the digital treatment (Currently have nine volumes in print).
The story presentation was okay. The pacing was odd at certain parts of the books, and the plot is told in a non-linear kind of way. The manga held no punches of what life is like for a courtesan in red-light districts. I strongly remember the lectures the lives of girls sold to brothels (in Japan and abroad) during my Modern Japan class I took last year. The book captures the unglamorous and challenging parts of these women's lives well. Reading about Kiyoha's hardships makes me appreciate that I live in a place where I don't have to go through what she went through and remember the girls who are in Kiyoha's shoes out in today's world.
The artwork was expressive but it was difficult to tell which character was speaking or doing what. I had to re-read some parts to figure out which one is Kiyoha or Mikumo. I eventually figured it out the characters by looking at their eyes, but sometimes that trick doesn't help me all the time. The layout of the word bubbles in a few spots also makes reading difficult due to not telling which character is speaking. It might not be an issue in Japanese because you can tell the characters apart by the way they speak. But in English, the characters sound identical most of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if there were any other readers like me that double check to make sure they got the character right.
The manga gives an unflinching look at the life of oiran with bold artwork that shows off the characters' emotions well with a few hiccups in the story.
It looks likes the plot's moving even though it's a repeat of what previously happened. The narrator accompanies Achilles again with some private teaching lessons, but this time the lessons are going to be taught by Chiron. Sooner or later, Achilles' mom would probably arrive and interrupts the MC and Achilles' bonding (I hope that doesn't happen).
Anyway, I hope this pattern doesn't repeat itself for most of the book. The main character so far is a lot more tolerable than Circe.
Edit: Fixed the total number of pages.