Sunday, June 23, 2019

REVIEW: Komi Can't Communicate (manga, vol. 1) by Tomohito Oda, translated by John Werry

Komi Can't Communicate is a high school comedy series.

Review:

Hitohito Tadano has somehow been accepted to Itan Private High School, an elite prep school, despite being average in every way. His primary goal is to blend in and not make any waves.

This becomes difficult after he meets Komi, the cool, distant, and elegant girl who sits next to him in class. Tadano gradually comes to the realization that Komi isn't actually cool and distant, but rather incredibly socially anxious and bad at talking to people. Forgetting his own goals, Tadano becomes determined to help her.

REVIEW: Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter (manga, vol. 1) story by Reia, art by Suki Umemiya, translation by Angela Liu

Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter belongs in what I like to call the "economic fantasy" subgenre. I suspect it's also going to have romance at some point.

Review:

The series' unnamed heroine is a young (youngish? one of her coworkers calls her ma'am) office worker at a tax firm who stayed up all night playing her favorite otome game. She has to work late and, on her way home, doesn't pay close enough attention to her surroundings and gets hit by a car. She wakes up in the body of Iris, the villain of her favorite otome, in the middle of a climactic scene that she knows will result in her banishment to a convent. She alters Iris's original choices just enough to prevent this from happening and is instead sent away to the family's fiefdom. Her father (Iris's father) develops a sudden progressive streak and makes her, rather than her older brother, the acting fief lord.

Iris is accompanied by her four most faithful servants, people she once rescued from terrible lives and fates. Her first goal is to inspect the various regions on the fiefdom, particularly the most and least prosperous cities.

REVIEW: Baccano!, Vol. 2: 1931 The Grand Punk Railroad: Local (book) by Ryohgo Narita, illustration by Katsumi Enami, translated by Taylor Engel

Baccano! is a Japanese historical action fantasy series. The English translation is published by Yen On.

Review:

The year is 1931, and the Flying Pussyfoot, a limited express train bound for New York, has just acquired several groups worth of dangerous passengers, nearly all of whom think they'll easily be able to take over the train for their own ends. There's crybaby bootlegger boss Jacuzzi Splot (best name ever) and his misfit band of delinquents, who plan to steal some secret cargo. There's the Lemures group, a bunch of terrorists determined to take some hostages in order to free their leader, the immortal Huey Laforet. There's murder-loving Ladd Russo, the nephew of the head of the Russo mafia family, his bride-to-be Lua, and his group of fellow killers. There's the mysterious monster known as the Rail Tracer. And then there are a few less dangerous passengers, like the thieves Isaac and Miria.

All of these passengers have their own goals and motivations. Only some of them will make it to New York alive.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

REVIEW: Convenience Store Woman (book) by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

All right, I'm going to try to jump back into this reviewing thing. Let's see how well this goes.

Convenience Store Woman is Japanese literature. I think it's the only one of Murata's works available in English. The only genre I can think of that it fits into is maybe humor, but, due to some stuff that happens at the end, I'd say it isn't so much a comedy as it is a story with occasional moments of humor. It might also be considered women's fiction? I don't know.

This review contains slight spoilers.

Review:

Keiko is a non-neurotypical Japanese woman. As a young child, she learned that she didn't view the world the same way as other people. When she saw a dead bird, for example, other children grieved over it while she thought that it would make a nice dinner for her father. When two boys were fighting and someone yelled that they needed to stop, Keiko hit one of the boys over the head with a shovel. It certainly stopped the fight, but it definitely wasn't considered an appropriate solution. As her parents became more and more concerned about Keiko's inappropriate reactions, Keiko tried to become as normal as possible by being quiet, almost never taking any initiative, and imitating the words, actions, and facial expressions of those around her. For the most part, it worked.

When Keiko was 18, she got a part-time job at a convenience store that just opened up. The store's clearly stated rules and guidelines for employees, which covered everything from what to say to customers to what sorts of facial expressions to wear, instantly appealed to her, and she achieved a relatively peaceful life. Unfortunately, Keiko is now 36, still working at the convenience store (with no desire to leave), single (with no desire to be otherwise), and childless (with zero interest in having children). It's becoming increasingly apparent to her that her way of life doesn't fit in with societal expectations. The question is: what, if anything, does she want to do about it?

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Games I've played in the last month: adventure, RPGs, sims, and visual novels

I was going to list all of the games in the post title, but there are so many that the length got a little ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm going to try to group these together by genre. The games I'll be covering are: World's Dawn, Stardew Valley, Equilinox, Unavowed, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (again), Blush Blush, Lovers of Aether, and Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator.

Update

It's been over a month, and I still can't seem to bring myself to write reviews, although I've read and listened to quite a few books and finished an anime TV series. I'm not sure what's up, but it's probably at least partly due to stress and general tiredness.

Work...could be going better. After very nearly stressing myself to pieces training my new staff member (see this post - yes, it's only been a couple a months), I learned that she applied for a different position in my library. I was shocked and unhappy when I first found out. I eventually learned more about the reasons behind it all - it wasn't anything I could fix or do anything about, and if she didn't get that other position, it was very likely I'd lose her to something else in the near future. When a different position in my library opened up, I agreed to have her moved into that one, an option she was also fine with.

So the situation is about as amicable as possible, considering, but it means I'm going to continue to be deeply anxious and stressed out for a while, and I have periods where I feel like an utter failure even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent what happened. There are also a lot of other changes coming down the road, and I'm currently in "wait and see" mode as I decide whether they're changes for the better or changes that reveal more of the cracks in the foundation.

I'm going to sit down today and write something review-ish. Lately, I seem to be dealing with stress by trying new games, so I've played a lot of games in the past month. I haven't actually finished anything, but I've at least enjoyed nearly everything I've tried.
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