beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
So, I was reading Library War. For those of you who don't know the series, it's a manga where the Japanese government gives an organization wide powers to censor books... while local governments give libraries the power to protect their collections and freely distribute material. This ends with libraries and the Media Betterment Committee having para-military goons engaged in espionage, theft and sometime shooting matches. (Why hasn't the police or JSDF stepped in? Manga logic. Probably the same reason the Internet isn't playing a Wikileaks-style role and letting folks pirate everything they want. I guess I just pretend it exists in some Retro vision of the future.)

The manga adaption of Library War* is technically a shoujo (targeted to girls) series, based on where it's published. Since the plot threads are a mix of main character Iku Kasahara job as the first female member of the Library Defense Force (and duties regarding protecting books) and her own personal relationships with her roommate, the people on her team, and the Mysterious LDF Soldier who inspired her as a kid.

Actually, IIRC, Vision of Escaflowne also had the two manga adaptions pitched for different audiences, which has the same mix of action and relationship drama, though one could argue whether Hitomi or Van was the lead (or shift who got the protagonist hat based on your target audience).

Which got me thinking about how different series might look if you shifted their audience. A lot of it would just be shifting the focus on the cast -- I mean, take that classic anime of Fushigi Yuugi. Most of the cast is male, with half of the female cast being Miaka and Yui, who are non-combatants. Focus more on the aspect of protecting the priestess so she can summon Suzaku and more on Tamahome's relationships than Miaka's**, and it probably wouldn't read much different from a series in Shounen Jump. (The art would be different, too, I guess.)

You could probably do the same thing in reverse -- Bleach from Rukia or Orihime's perspective. It's not the fighting that distinguishes a shounen and a shoujo series, though there are plenty of shoujo series that are mundane relationship dramas or slice of life. (But, heck, the 'harem anime' is essentially this and pitched towards men/boys.)

I guess part of it is that it seems like non-BL shoujo and josei series are a bit marginalized by fans. Or maybe just that the shounen series get the Big Attention and Merchandise.

* At least, the one that's translated in English. Wikipedia tells me that Library War: Love and War is published in the shoujo magazine Lala, while Library War: Spitfire is published in the shounen magazine Dengeki Daioh.

** Seriously, look at the focus on friendship and camaraderie in the average shounen manga.
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
Day 08 - The pairing with the most baggage? Shuri/Sarasa, Basara

I'll level with you. I haven't finished this manga series yet, because it's 27 volumes long and the English translations of volumes 18 and 19 are impossible to locate used (or as scanlations, for that matter). (Seriously, I've only seen them on a lot selling the entire series for $400.) But I have seen 17 volumes of Basara, so can talk a bit about the plot.

In a future Japan set after some ecological catastrophe reduces everyone back to the feudal era again, the land is ruled by the cruel Golden Emperor, and his four children, the Red King, the Blue King, the White King and the Black King. )
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
Okay, so I just reviewed Ōoku, but noted the virology bothered me. Yes, I know the Redface Pox was just a plot contrivance to get a population in Japan that was 80% female. And I'm willing to accept that a disease can selectively kill men. But some other things bothered me.

I totally blame my Math Models in Biology course for this )

Music choice was intentional.
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
So, manga reviews.

Hero Tales, volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa
Read more... )

Mushishi, volumes 5-7 by Yuki Urushibara
Read more... )

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, volume 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga
Read more... )
beccastareyes: Image of woman reading.  Text: hopeless bookworm (bookworm)
So, I'm a fan of the Basara series of manga by Yumi Tamura*. While I'm told it was the thing for people my age and sex to have read growing up in Japan, and a full English translation exists, it never caught on in America, so the later volumes had tiny print runs. As a result, there's no copies left in online bookstores, and the secondary market is gone.

I managed to collect everything except volumes 19 and 20. Now I'm stuck. So, I place the call out to you, Intrepid LJ-ers. Find me these two volumes for under $20, and I will pay you half the price of the volume. Or draw you something -- your choice.

* It is my favorite example of 'shoujo manga' != suck.
beccastareyes: (have a nice sol!)
So, after today's tax mess, and some attempts to code at home (that ended up with a 'I need notes in my office' about an hour in), I started cleaning the bookshelves in my apartment. And I have some duplicate books and DVDs* that I want to sell. Some of these were because I found a deal on eBay that lead to me buying books 1-12 in a series because it was cheaper than buying the books I missed on B&N or Amazon. Others... well, organization is everyone's friend.

All of this is 'best offer' (plus $5 so I can ship it to you -- more if you live out of the country), but if you don't know what the heck to offer, I can give you a price.

Manga
Basara #1-6
Revolutionary Girl Utena #2

Anime
FMA DVDs 1 and 2 (contain episodes 1-4 and 5-8 respectively) The DVDs are fine, but the packaging on one had an accident with some water, so I don't have the booklets.
FMA boxset #2 (contains DVDs 5-7/episodes 17-28)
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
I am rereading Claymore, because I just got Volume #11, and want to be sure I remember the story.

And, wow, I forget how short manga volumes are. I've been reading a lot of novels, even serial ones, and I'm still used to the idea that one book = one story. That's not as true in the manga publishing. I mean, if I had to turn Claymore into a series of books, I'd probably cap it at the end first longer story arc that starts in Volume #2 and ends partway through #3. (Book #2 would be the flashback sequence showing how Claire became a Claymore).

Not to say that manga isn't awesome. It's just a concept shift to have to get used to reading things in that way. Especially since I barely get beyond the stereotypes in the first volume -- Raki comes off as 'naive sidekick meant to show hero's human side' and Claire is 'cold, part-monster warrior with Hidden Heart of Gold'. Heck, swap out 'part-human' for 'genetically-engineered space-elf' and you have Crest of the Stars. (Though Jinto gets his chance to shine before Raki does -- then again, the Seikai Trilogy manga crams a remarkable amount of plot into itself.) The characters develop and gain in complexity as they go, but it's like only having the first act of a play, or the sample chapters of a novel.

First volumes of manga seem to be known for this. Slayers feels the same way, as does Planetes -- Volume #1 is clearly short stories to get people sold on the heroes and the world. It makes sense, since these are probably the things that the editors of manga magazines are looking at to see if the series has legs. At that point, you want to see if people care enough to be invested in Vast Overarching Plot. (Same way most first-anythings-of-a-series generally stand alone, in case the publisher says 'Yeah, that didn't sell so good. Don't do it again'.)

After my reread, I might write a full review of Claymore. Maybe I'll even do the rest of the re-read over the weekend, so I can get it in one gulp.
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
I am back in New York. I apologize for not updating, but it's hard to do on a dialup connection with an ancient HP machine* -- it finally occurred to me to use a journaling client my last week there. Yeah, I know, but Mom always complains I break the computer when I visit, or infest it with spyware. This time, though, I only visited journaling sites, gmail, Gaia, and Yuletide's site. So we know who to blame if I broke my mother's computer.

* If a Moore's Law turnover time is a generation, this thing would not only be giving 'back in the day' speeches, but would be complaining that the 'young whippersnappers'' 'back in the day' speeches weren't as good as its 'back in the day' speeches. My comparison, my laptop is approaching its midlife crisis, which probably explains all its duct-tape repairs, and the fact that it needs a new battery. Working for me is apparently the equivalent of a career as an NFL linebacker for a computer. (Maybe naming it 'Fullmetal-Alchemist' was not the best idea, even though it is silver and wee**.)

** "Who are you calling knee-high to an iPod?"

Long Ramble on my life, books I've read, fairies, and New Years )

Crud, it's work time. I better go get dressed and make my lunch. Expect Fanfic Rambles after work.

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