Manga of the Month: Tokyo Tarareba Girls

Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura

Are you in the Olympic spirit like me? Then enjoy Tokyo Tarareba Girls! I’m sure a dramedy about single 30-somethings discussing their lives and loves isn’t the first series that seems relevant to an international athletic competition, but these women have a plan: get married before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

From the creator of Princess Jellyfish comes a hilarious and searing look into the concepts of youth, beauty, love, sex, and society’s expectations on women, especially as they age. Successful screenwriter Rinko and her friends meet-up to commiserate their “old age” and play the what-if game of continuously rehashing their past decisions and speculating on how things could have turned out differently. Their feelings about their failed relationships and their desires to find love are complex. They embrace society’s demands of them while also trying to reject those demands; it’s a tough and true place they find themselves in.

Funny, heartbreaking, a little too on the nose at times, and over the top at the right points, Tokyo Tarareba Girls speaks with authenticity about the actual experience of your 30s VS what you thought it would be like in your 20s. Just because life didn’t turn out the way you planned doesn’t make it wrong, but will Rinko learn this herself by the end?



Manga of the Month: Cells at Work!

Cells at Work! by Akane Shimizu

narutaki_icon_4040_round If someone told me that my new favorite manga would be about the internal workings of the cells in the human body, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are!

In Cells at Work!, Akane Shimizu takes the many cells that keep our bodies running and imagines them as humanoid characters working in complex company systems. For example, the red blood cells are depicted as a shipping company ala Fedex with hundreds of workers running here and there with carts of packages to be delivered.

Our leads are Red Blood Cell  (RBC from here on) and White Blood Cell (WBC from here on), you have to know them by sight since there are hundreds of other red and white cells running around the series. WBC is a no-nonsense, precise, doer who goes to any length to protect and eradicate any threat to the body. RBC a hard-working, bright newbie to the delivery company and often runs into WBC on her errands around the body. RBC is often the point-of-view character to what all is happening.

The stories are episodic with a chapter, sometimes two, taking on various illnesses or other happenings in the human body. I’ve thus far learned about allergies, the creation of cancer cells, what happens when the body gets a scrape, and more! Each chapter has some asides which are no intrusive to explain terminology or give more information about a given subject.

Learning is great! But the thing that makes Cells at Work!, well . . . work, is the comedy. Each character has an over-the-top personality and everyone takes their jobs very seriously. Bickering, side comments, rivalries, mishaps, and everything in between pepper this series with a big dose of humor.

Cells at Work! is a delightful, laugh-out-loud way to learn about the mysterious inner workings of the human body.

~ kate

Kizumonogatari: Beware That, When Fighting Monsters, You Yourself do not Become a Monster…

hisui_icon_4040_round This post is four reviews for the price of one. You can’t beat value like that. Mind you this site is free but I still think the economical nature of this post is undeniable.

I decided that I would review all three Kizumonogatari movies as well as the original novel in one post. While I was given a copy of the Kizumonogatari novel right after I saw the first movie I decided that I would wait to read it until after I watched all three movies. It is a well-known phenomenon that visual adaptations tend to get much harsher reviews if the critic has read the source material first. I wanted to give both versions as fair as shake as I can so that is why I am bundling all four reviews into one review.

As this is a Nisio Isin series that focuses on vampires there is absolutely no chance of Kate participating in this review. Much like crosses and vampires, I’m fairly certain that Kizumonogatari actually acts as a ward against Kate and possibly does 2d6 damage under the right circumstances.

I also wanted to mention that these Kizumonogatari movies have been in a bit of limbo for a while. The films were originally announced all the way back in July 2010. After several delays and the release of later books as TV series, the release of Kizumonogatari became a bit of a running joke among fans of the series as it was trapped in development hell. In fact, Shaft released 2 multi-part seasons of different parts of the Monogatari series before they released these three movies. More and more points of the anime referenced the plot in Kizumonogatari with the assumption that people had read the book so anyone who only watched the anime just had to piece what happened in the third book by inference. That too became a bit of a running joke with English-speaking fans.

I don’t really know why the movies got delayed as long as they did. It is certainly not a Duke Nukem Forever train wreck despite being delayed so long. In fact, it is on par with everything else that has come before it with a bit more theatrical polish. I mostly wanted to mention that as a bit of history especially if anyone reads this post years after the movies come out it would be very easy to not ever realize how much later these movies came out then it was originally scheduled.

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