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Showing posts from July, 2016

Southern Reach Trilogy: ACCEPTANCE by Jeff VanderMeer

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The Southern Reach Trilogy has been a polarizing reading experience for me; mostly because of the meandering second installment Authority. That being the case, I don't think I could give this entire series a perfect grade in spite of all the overwhelmingly positive reviews it got from a lot of critics and even veteran authors like Stephen King himself. There are, however, amazing aspects to the first and third novels that I really found myself deeply immersed in, and these deserve due credit for this review. The one thing that stopped it from becoming one of of my top favorite sci-fi novels (next to Frank Herbret's DUNE, Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End) is most probably because of its experimental nature that was unevenly delivered and executed on paper. 
An off-beat favorite sci-fi books of mine that was not a classic like the ones aforementioned is Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days. Much like that o…

Hana Wa Saku Ka (Does the Flower Bloom) by Shoko Hidaka

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Hana wa Saku ka or Does the Flower Bloom is definitely one of the more mature and reflective yaoi mangas out there, and one I was very happy to encounter. Spanning for over five volumes, the story tackles not only a relationship between two men but also that of two people with differences in experience because of a twenty-year age gap. It opens with a man named Sakurai who is a thirty-seven year old senior manager at an advertisement agency who seemed burned out by a career he used to have so much passion for in his younger years. He has also gone through the motions of a few uninteresting relationships with women, and had for a time believed he could never find fulfillment in his personal life. One night he crossed paths with a college student named Youichi Minagawa whom he had what seemed to be a humdrum interaction with at first while both on their way home. Two more encounters later and Sakurai was intrigued though initially uncomfortable with Youichi especially since Sakurai perc…

INDIGO BLUE by Ebine Yamaji

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After I finished reading this 200-paged girl-love manga written once again by Ebine Yamaji (whose Free Soul I also reviewed last month), I was also able to read her Afterword of the work. She revealed that her editor wanted her to write a lesbian story where men still have a role to play in the dynamic, and Yamaji found this a challenge she was eager to write about. The result is Indigo Blue which definitely involved a male perspective into a manga that is also still about two women being in love, and I have to say that Yamaji had done it justice.
Indigo Blue is about a writer named Rutsu Nakagawa who is in the process of publishing a novel after her debut anthology. Her editor is also her lover named Ryuji, a man she had great admiration for since they were in a creative writing seminar years before and she always thought he should have also been a novelist. Through the artist of her upcoming novel, she was introduced to another editor from a magazine named Tamaki Yano. Their meeting …

PRINCESS JELLYFISH by Akiko Higashimura

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It just occurred to me as I start writing this review that Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime) is a josei manga that I feel was sort of what The Big Bang Theory would be like if the genders were reverse, and the group of scientist geeks were instead female otakus, while the hot girl next door is a cross-dressing pretty boy and a son of a politician. Basically: IT'S A ZILLION TIMES NERDIER AND MORE AWESOME. That's guaranteed. Spanning for fifteen volumes, this josei manga is incredibly entertaining as it is endearingly eccentric filled with balls-out fun as it both pokes fun and celebrates otaku culture through a female perspective. If Tina Fey was a Japanese otaku, this would be something she would have written, and the lead heroine Tsukumi Kurashita has the kind of social awkwardness and geeky passions that are as oddly charming and sweet as Geek and Sundry founder and gamer Felicia Day's.
When I first encountered this manga, I was so pumped up to get to it but I had to schedu…

Southern Reach Trilogy: AUTHORITY by Jeff VanderMeer

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This was a polarizing installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy, and for very valid reasons. I heard such praises about this trilogy for a while, and I was very happy buying the complete series in one swoop last year. When I finally decided to start reading, I was incredibly intrigued by the atmosphere and premise of it especially with the first book Annihilation which definitely gave me some Lost-esque vibes. That being said, this next book Authority was nothing like its predecessor. There is a disparity between their length, content, tone, and overall approach to the narrative. 

Annihilation introduced us to a first-person perspective from the character of a biologist whose name was purposefully withheld. She was a member of the four-women twelfth expedition sent to the pristine wilderness of mystery known only as Area X. That first book focused on her insights about the inexplicable events happening in that remote location, as well as memories and recollections about her past with a…

FRUITS BASKET by Natsuki Takaya (Volumes 1-12) Part I

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It was last year when I realized that I am so done with shoujo manga stories (especially in a school setting). It wasn't as if it was a constant presence in my life growing up or anything, but after a while I realized that its formulaic sweetness and often predictable climactic moments just doesn't appeal to me anymore. In fact, there are only three shoujo manga stories I was really into and two of them were adapted to anime which I preferred (Ouran Kouko Hostabu and Kimi ni Todoke), and one was a manga series I followed and read because I related to the heroine (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge). 
But last year I read a fairly recent and popular one alongside a josei manga (Sakamichi no Apollon, baby!). I even forgot its title and NO, I'm not even going to bother googling it. The fact on the matter is that I'm a twenty-six year old woman and, as much as my nerdy inclinations make it seem like I'm not an adult functioning in my fullest capacity, there are just some sto…