Archive for July, 2010

Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 26, 2010 by Griff

I apologize for not having a review for a little while, but I’ve been under the weather for about a week and haven’t felt up to doing much of anything, however I did read a book in the meantime and thankfully I’m now feeling better, so hopefully I’ll review some more anime soon

so here is my first Stephen King review! I’ve mentioned before that I’m huge fan of him, one of the many things I love about him is that he can do horror and stories that are purely “for fun”, but he knows how to drama just as well (I think Different Seasons is one of his best books) and Hearts In Atlantis is more proof why

this was my first time reading Hearts In Atlantis and I’ve been meaning to since I first read the Dark Tower series last year

however the Dark Tower tie ins are just one element of the book and are not crucial to read before reading the Dark Tower series, you could make the argument that it feels a bit out of place, but I don’t think so, one thing I love about Stephen King is how he’s built this whole universe where stories of any kind can happen in them, it’s a world that can either involve monsters and the supernatural or be totally realistic

anyway the book is about the 1960’s and the Baby Boomer Generation, being 20 years old I obviously was not around back then, but I’m very familiar with the history of Vietnam and the hippie movement of course

Hearts In Atlantis offered me a new and very interesting look at that era, I actually feel like I have a better understanding of the Baby Boomer Generation

of course one of Stephen King’s greatest strengths is that he can capture time and place really, really well, I thought he captured the feel of Post 9/11 America pretty well in Under The Dome and IT captured the 1950’s brilliantly

and after reading so many Stephen King books I really feel like I’ve been to Maine even though I haven’t, I have visited Florida many times though and I can say that any story set there (like Duma Key) he captures Florida perfectly

Hearts In Atlantis is also a novella collection, but all the stories are very closely interconnected, it really feels like just a single novel told from several different perspectives, it’s not quite like Different Seasons or Four Past Midnight

so to sum Hearts In Atlantis is quite good, it’s always fascinating to see King tackle drama (although the book is not totally devoid of scares, Low Men In Yellow Coats I’m looking at you) and definitely gets a recommendation from me

My-HiME

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 13, 2010 by Griff

My-HiME is an anime that does not have the most creative of premises out there, school girls with super powers fight monsters, sound familiar?

the exact premise is a 16 year old girl named Mai and her bro Takumi are on their way to prestigious private school Fuka Academy (that likes to make it’s female students wear really short skirts) when a fight breaks out on their ferry between two similar aged girls with strange powers, next thing Mai knows she’s flying around and summoning a cool dragon

what really sets My-HiME apart though is it’s sharp animation and great character designs (this is Sunrise after all) this is my first time watching this series, but I felt like I already knew some of the characters pretty well after seeing them a lot over the years

I like the humor in the show as well, one early episode involves a creature that’s going around and stealing the girl’s underwear, that’s always fun, stealing underwear I mean *clears throat*

anyway the English dub is pretty good, not a masterpiece like R.O.D The TV by any means but it gets the job done (although one character has an obviously fake southern accent), all the actors and actresses are a bit on the obscure side which is actually a bit refreshing because you don’t hear the same actors you hear in so many English dubs, I noticed that they’re also all from the glorious Great White North, no Bob & Doug McKenzie accents though

that about wraps it up, there’s not a whole lot to say about this one, but it’s a really fun series that’s well worth watching if you’re in the mood for some girls kicking ass

These Children Who Come at You with Knives, and Other Fairy Tales by Jim Knipfel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 11, 2010 by Griff

here’s a book you may not have heard of, but was released just last month. These Children Who Come at You with Knives, and Other Fairy Tales

what it is is a collection of Fractured Fairy Tales set in the modern day, I actually expected it to be a bit more serious, but make no mistake this is not like that Kiefer Sutherland flick Freeway or Running Scared, it’s actually a very spoofy and silly book with a very modern style of humor

while I do think a more serious take on modern day fairy tales would be interesting, I can’t deny that the book is absolutely hilarious, I was seriously laughing out loud (or loling if you will) quite a bit

the stories involve things like talking chickens, talking plants, talking fish, a horse that robs banks and kills people, a crappy snowman and thousands of cockroaches (visions of the last part of Creepshow dancing through my head)

the only problem is that the book is pretty short and can easily be finished in one sitting, I actually hope maybe they’ll be a volume two one day, but hey you’ll have a really fun night when reading it

this is the first book I’ve read by author Jim Knipfel and I’m definitively interested in reading more by this guy

Read or Die: the manga

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 4, 2010 by Griff

well I re-read the two R.O.D mangas, it hasn’t been as long a time since I watched the anime, but it’s been a while, I read the first Read or Die manga in fall of 2006 when all the volumes had been released and I read Read or Dream in 2007 when it was released, that’s sadly been the last of the R.O.D franchise I’ve experienced since

first off is the Read or Die manga, this was released around the time the OVA was released I think and well I wont beat around the bush, any way you slice it Read or Die the manga is just not as good as Read or Die the anime, this was a big disappointment to me when I first read it back in 2006, but mainly I was under the impression that the manga was a prequel to the anime (it’s not, it’s a separate continuity), however I also noticed that it just didn’t grab me, something seemed off about it, re-reading years later I think I have a better understanding why

the first volume is the best, it’s a re-telling of the first novel and it details Yomiko meeting Nenene for the first time, the rest of the volumes are a separate story about Yomiko going undercover at private school in Japan that has a secret underground library that contains “the book of truth” and it’s where most of the problems lie

it’s hard to put my finger on exactly WHY the manga is not as good, but first off the translation seems a bit rough (especially the first volume), it can be a little confusing

I think the biggest problem is there’s just not much character development, it’s not completely devoid of it of course, but the story chugs along with little time to really get to know the characters, yes I know the OVA was action packed too, but it still had enough scenes where you get to know the characters a little more, the manga has stuff like Nenene showing up at the school and doing absolutely nothing save for standing around and later looking sad

I think the story also stretches suspension of disbelief too far, the anime has plenty of surrealistic stuff of course, but it still managed to have a certain logic to it that made sense within the world, in the manga the rule of thumb is making sure something is cool before it makes any sense, there’s one thing in particular that appears near the end of the series that’s really cool, but there’s no explanation at all, it’s just “now this is happening”, maybe part of this is due to the translation, but I don’t think the blame can be solely laid there

I don’t mean to rag on the manga too much though, it’s not terrible, there’s still some cool and interesting stuff that happens in it, in some ways it’s a bit darker than the anime and hey more R.O.D is more R.O.D, if you’re a big fan of the series definitely check it out, but it may be only for big fans of the series, if you’re a newcomer I would recommend the anime first by far

next up is Read or Dream, which follows the Paper Sisters from R.O.D The TV (and was in fact their first appearance) and I’m happy to say that this manga is MUCH better than the first

like the previous manga it’s a separate continuity from the anime, but the Paper Sisters feel the same here as they do in the anime

if there’s one complaint I can lodge though it’s that there’s not much action, early on it’s episodic stories (that have interconnections) and they’re mostly “slice of life” stories or humorous ones, it does seems like a bit of a waste to not have the Paper Sisters go on more adventures, but the stories that are here are good enough and funny enough that it’s not a big deal and besides, it’s just great to get to hang out with the paper sisters more

and I mean funny, there’s some seriously hilarious stuff in it, like one story where Michelle decides she wants to write books as well as read them and spins a yarn that becomes a spoof of The Matrix Reloaded with Anita fighting off an endless army of Maggie clones dressed as Agent Smith, there’s also the story where Michelle becomes fat

as it goes on it becomes less episodic and more like an alternate dimension version of R.O.D The TV, some characters from that make appearances (no Nenene though), but it never loses steam and wraps up with a really neat ending

well that’s the manga folks and tragically I get the feeling that the publisher Viz planned on translating the novels as well (they’ve also released Full metal Alchemist novels), but the manga was not a big seller and that was canceled, so shame on all you for not buying it!