Secret Santa Project Review: Millennium Actress – The Running Woman

hisui_icon_4040_round 2016 gave me a fairly diverse series of Secret Santa titles: Electromagnetic GirlfriendMillennial Actress, and Strike the Blood. This year I went with Millennial Actress. As always I will try to watch and review all three shows but I never make that promise. I have seen the price of hubris from previous participants and I learned to not over promise on what I can deliver especially around the holidays.

Theoretically, the risky choice is Strike the Blood. At the same time, Strike the Blood seems the most middle of the road show. I remember the show coming out but I have no real recollection of the anime beyond that. I can’t really think of anyone who really loves the show or hates it. I am curious what about the show made my Secret Santa think I would like it but I figured it would make a good third choice if I have the time.

Electromagnetic Girlfriend is a complete unknown to me. At first, I thought someone was asking me to watch Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl (aka Electromagnetic Wave Woman and Adolescent Man) but this turns out to be a different show. The mystery element is rather intriguing. I’m really going to try my hardest to also do a review of this one if I can.

I finally broke the seal on one of my safety movies. Since I started the Secret Santa Project I have deliberately not watched a few movies so that people have things to recommend me. I have owned Millennial Actress and Tokyo Godfathers but I have not watched them so I could hopefully watch them during a year where my choices were dire. As the years have gone by I built up a large list of titles I have not seen but probably should get around to watching. So I figured it was time to finally watch a masterpiece for once.  Continue reading

Manga of the Month: Arte

Arte (アルテ) by Kei Ohkubo

narutaki_icon_4040 The free online offerings of Comic Zenon are going strong. Each series has its own unique hook and look. Arte is a historical manga set in 16th century Europe about a noble woman who wants to become a professional painter. Kei Ohkubo’s deft line work and exquisite attention to detail bring the period setting to beautiful life.

Arte is determined to become a professional artist despite her family’s wishes. When she begins looking for a studio to apprentice at, all doors slam in her face until she meets disagreeable, but open-minded, Master Leo.

Arte starts off the series as a dreamer but quickly becomes embroiled in the realities of what it means to work as an artist. She faces losing her family, or worse to her, crawling back with her head bowed. The art world is not interested in her talent, seeing only her gender, which leads her to taking on impossible tasks just to gain a modicum of respect. Then there’s the physically hard work, long hours, and rigorous training of an apprentice which would be the same whether she was a girl or not.

Arte’s serendipitous meeting with Master Leo is sort of the last bit of dumb luck she is willing to accept. The series does a great job of depicting her strength and determination. Sometimes it comes at the detriment of her recognizing the kindness of others. But the kindness of men in a world where women have limited options is something Arte isn’t interested in; she knows she can’t grow or gain respect by relying on it.

I’m continually impressed by Arte and the subtle ways she and the series goes against the grain when it comes to her progress in the world. I do have a nagging fear that love will become a larger part of this story (mostly because Arte has been warned so vehemently against it if she wants to make her own path) but I have hopes that she will put it aside and focus on what she wants her life to be, just as she has so far in the story.

~ kate

Manga of the Month: Ad Astra – Scipio to Hannibal

Ad Astra – Scipio to Hannibal
(アド・アストラ スキピオとハンニバル)
by Mihachi Kagano

hisui_icon_4040 I admit one of the main reasons that this is my manga of the month is because my last pick was Ad Astra Per Aspera. When ever I look for chapters of Hata’s new series I usually find Ad Astra – Scipio to Hannibal several times before I find what I am looking for. It has always been one of several historical manga that I have been meaning to start alongside Historie and Cesare. The main problem is that historical manga can be quite heavy so you can’t just casually jump into it like a fluffier shonen fighting or romantic shojo series. So while historical manga is often exciting and informative it usually takes some sort of little push to get me into a series in the genre. Even something that has high adventure like Vinland Saga can take a little jump-start. So my Hata love helped give me that extra coaxing into reading the series but I’m glad it did.

Continue reading