Sporadic Sequential
Monday, June 16, 2008
What Others Are Saying About Books I've Read But Was Too Lazy To Review Myself

Sometimes it's just easier to react to others' reviews than to start my own...

Bleach 23
- Michelle at Soliloquy in Blue gives the book a C, which is probably a fair grade once I calm down and evaluate matters rationally. So far the Arrancars do seem more goofy than intimidating, and the fight scenes do feel a little boring and stale, especially after sitting through so many of the same types of battles during the Soul Society arc. And what could have been a touching character development moment for Orihime is marred by some completely unnecessary faux-lesbianism fanservice. My only hope is that all the cross-cutting to different characters being tracked by various Arrancars will set up an interesting and intense coordinated attack where our heroes are unable to come to each other's aid. (Davey C. Jones, on the other hand, can't find enough exclamation points to use in praising this installment. And "I don’t know how Ichigo is going to make it out of this one"? Really??? You don't think it'll have something to do with tapping into a previously undiscovered well of strength and/or new ability? And I thought I was a gushing Bleach fanboy.)

Parasyte 3 - Both Carlo Santos and Matthew Brady were a bit bored with this volume, but I thought book three advanced the series in interesting ways. Of primary interest was the ongoing change in Shin's personality due to bonding with Migi. It seems that Shin's humanity is slowly slipping away as the ongoing integration with his parasite causes him to be become more efficient and emotionless. I also liked the development of the government finding out about the parasites and devising a test that will reveal if someone's been infected or not. And as Connie at Slightly Biased Manga reminded me, the media's representations of the "mouth-heads" are pretty hilarious.

Kekkaishi 13 - Isaac Hale give the book a B+ and notices the similarities and differences between the respective opening story arcs for Kekkaishi and that other series about superpowered teenage demon hunters who hang around their school a lot. (I don't really have anything to add to Isaac's review — I just want to remind everyone that they should be reading Kekkaishi.)

Sgt. Frog 15 - Holly Ellingwood at Active Anime clearly enjoys the book, but her review probably won't be much help to readers wondering if they'd enjoy this installment of the series. The bulk of the review is so generic it could apply to any volume of Sgt. Frog. In fact, the review makes me wonder if the reviewer read volume 15 at all. Almost all of the third paragraph is copied word-for-word from the book's back cover blurb, just rearranged in a different order. And the only item not lifted directly from the book seems to be a reference to something that happened in volume 14: "On a recent summer day, Fuyuki’s research led him to another boy, whose situation was eerily like Fuyuki and Keroro’s." That sounds like a description of Encounter CXII "A Midsummer Mix-Up", which was in the previous book.

Myself, I thought Sgt. Frog volume 15 was a fine return to funny frog-like form. The chapter about fukuwarai was hilariously absurd, and indirectly educational, as it taught me something about Japanese culture I didn't know before. The episode with Giroro's kitten assuming human form and taking over the unit was amusing, and we almost witnessed something either very touching or very disturbing (I still haven't quite decided yet). And the two-parter set on Easter Island had a nice message about respecting environmental / historical sites, suggesting that frequently we humans are the invaders that pose the biggest threat to our planet's future.

Plus, volume 15 featured this exchange between Dororo and Keroro which cracks me up every time I read it. I think it perfectly encapsulates the two characters' essential personalities: Dororo, peaceful and concerned, admonishing himself for not recognizing another's pain sooner; Keroro, obliviously self-absorbed, annoyed that his frivolous activities have been interrupted.

Finally, while continuing to Google around, I stumbled upon a review of Honey and Clover so scathingly negative it made me laugh:
Honey and Clover is pulling the garbage out of seinen and shoujo and putting it into the barest shell of a josei, which means we have 1.) conventions that don’t work well together, resulting in a barely-coherent mush of ideas, 2.) no clearly defined audience (in a bad way - who the hell is supposed to relate to these childish nutcases?), and 3.) more clichés/crappiness than we usually have to sit through in something constrained by one genre. Now we get the crap of josei, seinen, AND shoujo? Thank you for showing me something few series dare, Honey and Clover
After reading that review, I wondered: Is Honey and Clover really going for some biting meta-manga satire à la Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga? That would be pretty genius.

(Pretty much all links via MangaBlog)

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