Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Silent Voice (manga, vols. 1-2) by Yoshitoki Oima, translated by Steven LeCroy

I heard about A Silent Voice via a review I now can't seem to track down. I don't think I'd have touched this series, otherwise. The covers are, quite frankly, boring and make me think of visual novels, with static shots of the characters sliding on and off the screen.

However, I'd have been missing out, because this series is lovely and has the potential for a great deal of complexity. I'm a little nervous about how things will eventually turn out, since the series deals with some very heavy subjects, but Oima seems to be handling everything with the care and sensitivity it deserves.

Warning: my post contains spoilers.

I read a lot while on vacation

I didn't mention it on this blog, but one of the reasons why I didn't post for so long was because I was on vacation. If I counted correctly, while I was gone I read 50 volumes of manga. Not bad.

As usual, I plan on writing up posts that cover each of the series I read, with short synopses and reviews of each volume. It'll take a while, but it's pretty much the only way I'm able to get back into a series a year or so later and not be completely lost.

The 50 volumes I read were part of 18 different series. Here's what you can hopefully expect posts for in the coming weeks:
  • Alice in the Country of Clover: Ace of Hearts (one-shot)
  • Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz (vols. 1-6) 
  • Alice in the Country of Clover: The Lizard Aide (one-shot)
  • Alice in the Country of Clover: March Hare (one-shot) 
  • Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare (one-shot)
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: The Clockmaker's Story (one-shot)
  • Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar's Game (vols. 1-7) 
  • Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy (vols. 1-3)
  • Are You Alice? (vols. 1-2)
  • Attack on Titan: No Regrets (vol. 2)
  • Black Butler (vols. 15-20)
  • Chi's Sweet Home (vol. 11) 
  • Naruto (vol. 55)
  • Natsume's Book of Friends (vols. 1-8)
  • Secret (vol. 1)
  • A Silent Voice (vols. 1-2) 
  • Skip Beat! (vols. 33-34)
  • Wandering Son (vols. 1-5)
The best surprise was probably A Silent Voice, while the biggest disappointment was probably Are You Alice? As far as the Alice in the Country of stuff went, I made a huge mistake when I chose to tackle the one-shots first. I highly recommend starting with the multi-volume stories, because those cover new world rules in the best amount of detail. Also, try to start with all the Hearts stuff, then Clover, then Joker. I'm still trying to decide whether I'll review that series by title or by country, or if I should just put all of it on one giant post.

You Are Beautiful (live action TV series), via Netflix

You Are Beautiful is a Korean romantic comedy series. It's 16 episodes long.

I was actually planning on watching something via DramaFever, but the app on my TV was acting incredibly unstable, kicking me out if I so much as tried to look at the description of a show other than the one I was already in the process of watching (Tamra, the Island, which I've decided to abandon). Here's hoping it's behaving, because I'd like to try another DramaFever show now that I'm done with this one.

Review:

Go Mi Nyu is an orphan who lives in a convent and plans on becoming a nun. Her plans are derailed when her twin brother's manager finds her and begs her to pretend to be her brother. Her brother is about to become the fourth member of the popular band A.N.JELL, but he's busy recovering from plastic surgery gone wrong. Mi Nyu's brother, Mi Nam, planned to become famous in order to find their mother, so Mi Nyu decides to help him and briefly become Mi Nam.

What follows is a bit of a mess. One of the band members, Shin Woo, figures out Mi Nam is really a girl almost immediately, but hides the fact that he knows because he finds it entertaining to watch her try to keep her secret. Tae Kyung, the lead singer, also finds out but promises Mi Nam (Mi Nyu) that he won't tell anyone, for reasons I can't recall at the moment. Then there's Jeremy, who's the only one in the band who has no clue. Jeremy spends a few episodes in a homophobic panic, worried that Mi Nam has somehow seduced both Shin Woo and Tae Kyung. He then starts to fall for Mi Nam himself.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

November Skoshbox


For my birthday, my sister signed me up for 6 months of Skoshbox. At the level she chose for me, every month I'll get a package that's about the size of a trade paperback. This month's package included: 1 Sakupan-Land (almond cream filled choco biscuit), 1 Ichigo Milk Candy (strawberry milk candy), 1 Hitorijime Senbei (extra crunchy baked rice cracker), 2 Goma-Dango Chocolates (sesame mochi cake chocolates), 2 Hello Kitty Marshmallows, and 1 Bisuit Saurus (milk flavored biscuit cookies). I know all of this because the package also comes with a card listing what everything is, what it would cost to re-order the snack through the site if you enjoy it, and a list of each snack's ingredients.

Sakupan-Land:

These were delicious! The package included eight little cookie spheres. Each sphere had two halves - one half was a cookie with one of several pandas faces stamped on it, and the other half was almond cream-filled chocolate. The chocolate part was amazing, very rich. If I were to get more of one of the things in this month's box, I'd be getting more of this.

This particular snack also included a four-panel comic on the inside of the box (all in Japanese, so I'm not sure what it said), as well as a tiny pack of sticky notes in the shape of a heart with pandas at the bottom.

Ichigo Milk Candy:

This was probably my least favorite snack in the package. It contained little triangular strawberry-flavored hard candies. They were fragile enough that I could crunch them to pieces sooner than I expected. Maybe they had some kind of filling? The first one I ate made me think so, but I'm pretty sure I was imagining it.

Hitorijime Senbei:

This is not like rice cakes' Styrofoam texture - the crunch reminded me more of pretzel bites. The taste was a blend of rice and a hint of soy sauce and slight fishyness. This little package wasn't bad, although I could see myself growing to dislike the fishy aspect if I were to eat it more.

Goma-Dango Chocolate:

The first square of this that I tried had a mostly black wrapper, and I had seen the bit on the card that said this was chocolate, so I was surprised when I unwrapped it and saw that it was white. I bit it in half to see what was inside. It's basically a layer of clear/white-ish stuff that I think is the mochi part, with crunchy black sesame on top, all covered in white chocolate. If it hadn't been for the extremely chewy mochi layer, I would have said that the texture of this was a lot like a Nestle Crunch bar.

Hello Kitty Marshmallow:

It's been a while since I've had Peeps, but I think the marshmallow in this was firmer and more pillowy. There was a very tiny bit of chocolate in the center. I think I like this a bit better than Peeps, although, if I'm going to have marshmallow candy, I'd still prefer it to be chocolate-covered. The chocolate in the center just wasn't enough.

Biscuit-Saurus:

This tasted extremely familiar, like maybe animal crackers. The little dinosaurs on each of the cookies were adorable.
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