I finished off most of the Monaco Cup arc of Yakitate!! Japan with books 13 and 14. As always the over the top, sometimes multiple-chapter, reaction gags from the judges are the high point of the series. The character comedy is secondary but still enjoyable. The actual bread is almost secondary, too. So far we have had a bread that gives someone a glimpse of heaven and a bread that lets you travel back in time to cap off the other arcs. I am curious what will be the ultimate bread that end the next arc to one up the crazy reactions shots we have had so far.
Recently got around to reading the Moribito Guardian of the Spirit novel. I found it enjoyable but felt it could have used another 50 to 100 pages to flesh out the characters and plot a bit more. The characters were certainly engaging enough for this to be done. Plus more Shuga, star-reader, would have been greatly appreciated! Also from seeing the start of the anime, it certainly introduces more fight scenes as the novel essentially has one near the beginning and one big one at the end. Though I am aware that this is a decently long series, Scholastic has made no indication of whether or not anymore in the series will be released. Considering the amount of money spent on the printing of this book (beautiful cover, embossed stamping on the spine, super nice paper and blue ink throughout!), I have to wonder if later books would receive such stellar treatment.
I finished Fate/Stay Night and have to say I am quite content. I was a little disturbed that I noticed a lot of myself in Sakura which possibly explains much of my attitude toward her. I liked all three paths but my Saber prejudice means that I must declare Fate my favorite path. Unlimited Blade Works drags at points but it is balanced out by the sheer awesome of other parts. Heaven’s Feel wraps things up nicely and plays rather differently than the other two paths. I definitely enjoyed the little bonus section you get when you unlock everything. It gives you some interesting insights into the creation of the game. I guess my only option now is either become proficient in Japanese or wait for someone to translate Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. I could also go out and search for the new scenes they threw in Realta Nua but that is more icing than anything else.
Voices of Love was my first leap into Aurora publishing more adult josei line of manga. I picked this one for a number of reasons. One, it was a short story collection so that meant lots of different characters and plots. Secondly, one of those plots was teacher x student. And finally the Aurora website lets you sample 11 pages or so and I was able to establish semi-good art and not a myriad of love scene after love scene. Of the five stories, there was only one that I really didn’t like. I was pleasantly surprised to find an older male character as the lead in one of the stories. Though I felt most of the female characters were not particularly strong. The love scenes mostly come at the end and are a tad graphic, but they were short most spanning 2 to 4 pages. They also have some of the most awkward dialogue in the book but that is easily overlooked. I will probably pick up another title in this line if the story interests me.
I finally got around to finishing Armored Trooper Votoms. I decided to just buy part 4 off ebay. I liked this series but since I am not watching it with anyone I watch it at my own unique pace. Stage 3 is Deadworld Sunsa and it can be divided into two separate parts. We have the first where Chirico and Fyana are trapped on a warship going through hostile space and are forced to fight people trying to stop the ship. The second is after the ship crash lands on Sunsa and Chircio has his final confrontation with Ypsilon. I enjoyed Fyana having to take care of business when Chircio was injured. It was good to see her actually act like the Perfect Solider she is while still growing as a non-combatant. Chircio has a weird path of character development. Chircio himself has been growing and changing due to the extreme nature of his life. Overall though the growth is slow and easy to miss over short periods of time but easy to see when looking at the entirety of the show. The odd thing is everyone else seem to constantly either mention that he has changed radically or not changed at all. I just find that disconnect rather funny.
Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro was gotten on a bit of luck. I happened to answer a trivia question right at Yen Press’s Haruhi Day in Kinokuniya and won this little book as the prize. It is a very funny and cute series about a haphazard group of travelers headed up by the mysterious coffin carrying, oft mistaken for a boy, black clad, fake named girl going by Kuro. She along with a lot of bats and one snarky one in particular, Sen, pick up two little cat girls along the way. Where they are headed is still a mystery though they do seem to be looking for someone. It has a melancholy undertone but it is balanced out by the adorable art style and banter between characters. The printing is also nice with many color pages to enjoy. I will have to pick up the next volume indeed.
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