I picked up a copy of No Girls Allowed from the MoCCA Arts Fest. After hearing a bit about it online, I was pleasantly surprised to see the artist there selling copies along with some of her other work. The price was less than the intended amount and how could I resist an anthology of real cross-dressing women throughout the ages. I had also not heard of many of them which is certainly a tip of the hat to the book. Eventhough all the stories are written by the same author and then drawn by the same artist, some are much better than others. The story of James Barry a female doctor was by far the most developed and Esther Brandeau was also good while Ellen Craft seemed to have the least fleshing out leaving you wanting. The stories are made for a young audience and I think that is important to know going in. Overall, I learned a bit and was also entertained so my 8 bucks was well spent.
Disappearance Diary is an autobiographical manga by Hideo Azuma, the man often considered the the father of lolicon. He tells stories from four very different times in his life. We see him when he was homeless, when he worked as a pipe-fitter, when he worked as a mangaka, and when he was in a rehab clinic. Hideo gives us a sneak peek into his life during many times in which he was at his lowest. He mentions right off the bat that he is going to focus of the humorous and interesting parts of the bad times. It helps keep what would otherwise be a bleak and depressing manga enjoyable and lighthearted. Overall the aim of the manga is to entertain you while showing why he had to run away from being a mangaka and what the results of the decisions he made were. The art is simple and cartoony which has a distinctly retro feel. Disappearance Diary shows you that you can tell a powerful story (and a true story) while still being fun and light. This is an amazing manga that everyone should read. As a side note, the more I learn about manga the more I have to tip my hat to any mangaka. The lifestyle seems amazingly harsh. Even if I had the skill and opportunity to be one I’m not sure I would have the strength. I recently found out there is a sequel called the Depression Dairy. I am curious to pick that up as well.
I read the first 8 chapters of Saint Young Men and only stopped there because that is all that is translated at the moment. For those not in the know, it is the story about Jesus and Buddah who have come to Tokyo for an extended vacation. It is way over the top and I guess offensive if you don’t have a sense of humor. For example, when Jesus gets upset his stigmata acts up! Also Buddah hates that all the statues are of his “fat period.” I guess you have to give me a really insane premise for me to like slice-of-life.
Ballad of the Shinigami is a shojo manga adaptation of a rather popular series of light novels by the same name. The original novels are serialized in Dengeki Bunko Magazine which runs quite a few well know light novel series including Spice and Wolf, Shakugan no Shana, and Toradora! They are all considered shonen and seinen titles but the manga adaption is clearly a shojo work. I have not read the original novels but I had planned to. From what I hear this is not a direct adaptation but more of a interpretation of the novel series. The stories are all love stories in which Momo, a white shinigami, is involved in one way or another. Momo usually acts as an observer to a blossoming couples’ relationship in which one of the people is about to die. She then performs some minor interference that saves the person who was about to die. The stories are sweet but Momo is usually more of an observer than anything else. This gives the book the feel of a romantic anthology in which a shinigami is a tool to move from one story to another. It is a cute set of stories if you want a romantic anthology with a slight supernatural twist. The art is nice and for better or for worse Asuka Izumi uses a lot of tone in her work. There is also a 6 episodes anime series and a live action TV show based on the franchise.
Listened to the Steam Detectives White vocal album. It is one disc with mostly songs. Of course it includes the opening which has a nice sound especially in full since it starts off a bit mello and picks up. The fifth track, Follow the Shadow and Light has kind of a blues influenced rock sound to it with excellent vocals making it one of my favorites on the CD. The eleventh track is also rather nice and by the same vocalist. The eighth track is so 90’s with its horn riffs. It also has a pretty nice booklet that comes with it which is a plus and also has a nice plastic sleeve that the CD comes in.
Basquash in definitely an odd duck. I have been enjoying it because it is still a high energy sports show with robots but it is that plus large amounts of odd and very random fan-service. Haruka Gracia who drags Dan into a world of competitive Big Foot Basketball is a shoe designer from the moon with a “Lunar Bust” a.k.a. double F size breasts. Miyuki Ayukawa who is Dan’s childhood friend is similarly well endowed for a teenage girl and seems to enjoy bending over quite a bit. Sela D. Miranda constantly gets turned on by people’s basketball skills. From character animation to the crazy urban destruction basketball games everything has been an excellent combination of stylishly and fluid. It is that unique style and relentless madness that will draw you into the show. The plot is fun but it’s hardly high literature. It takes some jabs at the plucky-underdog sports story but in the end it uses the formula to a T. I think people want the plot to be just as innovative as the visuals. It would be interesting if it was distinctive but I don’t expect that. It is still a very well done show as long as you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the eye candy.
Because lord knows no one cares about Steam Detectives, this is the pic of the week: