Sunday, February 13, 2011

Anime - a change of pace

I have recently found myself having to fight a lack of interest in, and sometimes even hatred of, the anime I've been watching. Looking over what I've recently watched, there have been a few stinkers and a few that were just so-so. I think the number of so-so stuff I've seen has built up to toxic levels in my brain. When I started watching Kaze no Stigma, I had hoped I'd picked the winner that would help put me back in a better frame of mind. Although it was an ok show, it wasn't what I needed.

I've decided that a complete change of pace is necessary, so I'm watching my first 100% serious anime in a long while - Naoki Urasawa's Monster. I've seen 3 episodes so far and I think I've finally found the winner I was looking for. Most of what I know about the show I've read in product descriptions - by its third sentence, the product description in Amazon.com already covers more than I've seen so far in the show. Even without that description, it doesn't take a genius to quickly figure out that Monster is a show with dark things ahead. Part of me dreads what is to come, but part of me is excited. So far, watching Monster is like watching a novel unfold onscreen. I'm crossing my fingers that the entire 74-episode series turns out to be a strong as those first three episodes.

I had seen this show in Walmart a while back. I almost bought it, and then I realized that what I had been about to buy for $30 was only 15 episodes long. I did a little research and learned that the show was a good deal longer. If the company releasing this were FUNimation, I could wait things out and be reasonably certain that, eventually, a "complete series" boxed set, or even just a smaller number of parts, would be released. The total price would go down.

I don't know how things work with Viz releases. I'm already convinced that this show is going to end up on my "to buy" list, but I'm not willing to pay $150 or more for the series. I suppose I can always hope that Right Stuf will have a great Viz sale one of these days.

As far as my reading goes:
  • The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro - Still working on this one, but it's going to take a lot of willpower for me to finish. I wish characters would stop having verbal diarrhea. It's really hard to tell what out of, say, a four-page ramble about hamsters or working as a porter, is important. Maybe none of it's important, and it's all just meant to create some kind of mood. I suppose I'll figure it out. Eventually.
  • Spice & Wolf, vol. 1 by Isuna Hasekura - Not bad, and it's interesting seeing where the anime changed things. Considering how much of the book deals with Lawrence's thoughts (about loneliness, about being a good merchant, about money, etc.), this must have been a bear to turn into an anime, making me all the more impressed at how good the anime really was. I still think I prefer the anime over this light novel, but I'm liking the light novel enough that I think I'm going to try the next one.
  • Loose Lips by Claire Berlinski - According to the record in my library's catalog, this one has spies, humor, and romance. I was expecting a zany romance with spies, like maybe Alias with Janet Evanovich-style humor. That's not what this book is, but it's still pretty good. It occurs to me, again, how much traditionally constructed library catalog records suck at describing recreational reading. It's a somewhat depressing realization, considering that constructing and editing catalog records is a large part of my job.
  • In the "I haven't even started these" pile, I have:
    • a couple volumes of Kaoru Mori's Emma
    • volume 1 of Hetalia (which is due in 2 days - eek!), 
    • The Encyclopedia of Exes edited by Meredith Broussard (stories of failed romance, written by men - I got it because it sounded potentially funny),
    • A Gothic Treasure Trove selected and condensed by the editors of Reader's Digest (I don't usually read "condensed" stuff, but I've been meaning to try Gothic novels, and this book gives me six to choose from),
    • The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki (I may be asking too much of myself with this book, but I want to at least try to read it),
    • and Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (missed out on the movie, heard good things about this book from my mom)

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