cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
I was reading this at lunch in a cafe when one of the staff came up to make sure my meal was all right; she saw that I was reading manga, ducked down to check the title and then went, "Banana Fish! My favourite!" with appropriate enthusiasm (she turned out to be from Osaka). She was most interested in finding out where I'd gotten it from and if I liked it, while I was a) thrilled to encounter someone else who'd heard of it and b) terrified that she'd tell me what happened, so I ended up asking whether she knew if the mangaka had done other series (yes, apparently, although nothing that she liked as much). The food was also very nice (vaguely Spanish), as well as meeting my important criterion of being able to be eaten mostly with one handed cutlery while reading with the other...

A rabbit and a lynx can simply never be friends. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
I am finally in a house large enough to unpack all my books for the first time since 2004, during which interval I have acquired just a few more books (and rather a lot of manga). It was not entirely surprising when I ran out of shelf space, although I was hoping to get just a little further through the alphabet; judicious use of every possible shelf, including the kitset bookcase I put together this morning, and a rigorous cull policy (I'll post about this later, but I now have a massive cull pile consisting predominantly of fantasy trilogies I cannot be bothered with, books by authors who've annoyed me, books that have annoyed me books about vampires and the occasional duplicate, roughly in that order of quantity) means that I am now shelved up to Ryman. S through Z are going to have to wait for more shelves. Also, some sort of explanation as to why I have apparently found it necessary to acquire everything by Rafael Sabatini and SP Somtow/Somtow Sucharitkul at some stage in the distant past would be nice. Among many, many others, but I just don't remember buying quite this many books for either author.

Anyway. Back to the manga, which I have managed to shelve...

"Hospital regulations require the infirm be handcuffed? If only the AMA knew, I'm sure they'd issue a strongly worded statement."

Banana Fish, volume 10. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
"And then, of course, second, the heirloom Yongzheng bowl he smashed over the previous valet's head."

Volume 9. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
“I also find out you are supposed to put out your non-combustible garbage on Wednesdays and Saturdays!”

This is my favourite volume of Banana Fish so far - the final action sequence is amazing, and before that there is entertaining banter and a very nice plot revelation sequence, plus by this stage I like a lot of the characters more than I did in volume 2 (previous favourite) - and I wrote a lovingly detailed summary of it by hand on a small piece of paper due to battery issues, which I have either left in a book or in the wrong city or both. Writing another summary seemed like my best chance for having it show up again...

Volume 8. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
“The crap the NYPD is passing off as a pot of coffee is not potable without sugar.”

Banana Fish, volume 7. )

And more

Mar. 23rd, 2009 10:19 pm
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
I've written up to volume 8 (and read to volume 14), but a) my notes, even when typed, are not that coherent and require time for further polishing, b) I am sampling the rarified atmosphere of regular posting and c) I am still procrastinating on finishing reviewing all the 2008 books, and at least this particular strategy gives me some sense of accomplishment.

Banana Fish, volume 5. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
I have just discovered how to put .doc and .pdf files onto my iPod touch Stanza e-reader program, which I'm thrilled about for many reasons (I have a post lurking somewhere about Stanza, but basically I've found it practical, usable and massively convenient, especially during travel, and that's just with reading a bunch of stuff off Project Gutenberg), including the fact that I can now stick stuff for critiquing on it and look at it on the bus and during down time at work. My previous approach has been to carry stuff round on a USB stick, which a) still requires a computer and b) does not allow for the not entirely hypothetical situation wherein I am attempting to critique a story whose author has chosen to give it the working title of "Pornography"(yes, I can retitle it, but not if I haven't downloaded it yet), which is not something I'm going to be opening on anyone else's computer regardless of actual content...

Anyway. The cut/paste app is apparently coming soon, which will make the iPod touch much more workable for typing on, and I presume soon they will come up with an iPod Touch manga reader that I can use to catch up on all my backlog and they will have to chisel the thing out of my hand with a crowbar. Until then I'll stick with the hard copies.

Banana Fish, volume 2. )

Volume 3. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (FMA)
I have, by and large, sucked at reading shoujo manga. I am currently stalled on Please Save My Earth (v13), Fruits Basket (v6) and Saiyuki (second volume of Reload), and I have flipped through and put down various volumes of Cantarella, Tramps like Us, Emma, Nana, Hot Gimmick, Hana Kimi, Paradise Kiss, Mars and Angel Sanctuary. True, I have managed some CLAMP, I love After School Nightmare (although I have still not read the final volume!), and I keep toying with Kaze Hikaru, but really I am much more likely to be found somewhere in the shounen section picking up something involving fight scenes. This is partly art style preference and partly story focus, but I do feel slightly guilty about failing to appreciate stuff that is theoretically aimed at me, or at least younger versions of me. Plus, there’s so much of it out there, and if I liked it there would be more to read ☺

So. I read about Banana Fish on Shaenon Garrity’s consistently excellent Overlooked Manga Festival, a series that was voted top in an all-time shoujo manga series poll (of women) and wondered. I liked the look of the art (this may be a minority opinion, as a fair number of reviewers find it a bit stiff, especially in the first few volumes), and the story sounded interesting, but I couldn’t find it anywhere - libraries, on-line sources, even in actual manga shops. Ordering manga sight unseen gets expensive, and can result in stuff I don't read. I dithered. Then I found the first two volumes in English in a Kinokuniya on my last day in Tokyo, and grabbed them without even looking inside. I think wandering around all of Mandarake and thinking bitter thoughts about how much stuff wasn’t translated may have gotten to me. And, so far (I’m on volume 14 – these notes are back-tracking for my own records) – I absolutely love Banana Fish. I am, however, unsure that it is going to convert me to reading shoujo, mainly because none of the other shoujo manga I’ve encountered have been insanely tightly plotted stories about rival gangs and military drug experiments, as well as being sadly lacking in grenade launchers and duels in abandoned subway stations. Also, the dialogue is brilliant (translation is by Matt Thorn and Carl Gustav Horn, the latter being also responsible for the best translation notes I've ever read, appearing in every volume of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service).

Anyway. These are largely notes/reviews for my own records, although at some stage in the future discerning readers may also get to see me explaining why I complained about Havemercy having hardly any female characters and too much homosocial bonding while I am wild about a manga series with maybe two female speaking parts and an almost-text intense relationship between the two main male leads (short answer: plot. Plus I like Ash and Eiji way more that I liked any of the Havemercy people, clockwork dragons included).

Volume 1. )

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