Sunday, February 17, 2013

Warm Bodies (live action movie) - at the movie theater

I went to see this last weekend, as part of my "no more medication!" celebration. The celebration also included pie and book shopping.

Anyway, Warm Bodies is basically a post-apocalyptic romance with zombies. I haven't read the book yet, although it's on my TBR list.


For a zombie, R (all he can remember of his name is the first letter) is pretty introspective. He dislikes the sameness of his existence and seeks out and collects things that make him feel more alive. This includes vinyl records, various objects that interest him, and...brains. When they eat brains, zombies like R can see and feel the lives and emotions of those whose brains they eat.

A (small? sizable? I'm not really sure) group of humans lives in a walled-off community overseen by the father of a young woman named Julie. Although the community seems to be doing fairly well, there are certain things they can only get from outside their walls. Volunteers, like Julie and her boyfriend, are responsible for getting those things.

During a supply run, Julie's group is attacked by a group of zombies that includes R. R is instantly dazzled by Julie but is forced to take a break from admiring her Rambo-like shooting skills to attack and eat her boyfriend. R then approaches Julie, who is convinced she's about to die, and smears a bit of zombie blood on her face to make the other zombies think she's one of them. Then he takes her to his home.

Julie, who doesn't know R ate her boyfriend, gradually realized that, yes, R really is trying to keep her safe. R gets to know her better by secretly eating pieces of her boyfriend's brain, and the two begin and unconventional friendship/romance. However, Julie is still a living person, and she really wants to go back home. R, whose feelings for Julie have changed him and made him feel more alive than he has in a long time, eventually realizes he'll have to either help her do what she wants or watch her get killed by his fellow zombies.


When I first started watching this movie, it didn't seem like it could possibly end happily. R was a zombie, Julie was a living girl, and R was eating Julie's boyfriend's brains. Maybe at some point Julie would willingly allow herself to be turned into a zombie? Or maybe I needed to prepare myself for a tragic ending?

My Girlfriend's a Geek (book, vol. 1) by Pentabu

I'm pretty sure My Girlfriend's a Geek began as a blog, with the posts collected into a two-volume light novel set. The English translation was published by Yen Press and is listed by them as being for "older teens." The story has also been adapted into a 5-volume manga series - I own, but haven't yet read, the first two volumes and hope to review them someday.


A 21-year old college student writes about life with his girlfriend, a fujoshi (female fan of yaoi/BL or, more broadly, a female otaku, according to the book's glossary), in his blog, which becomes hugely popular. This book collects those blog entries.

The writer of the blog is never named, although his girlfriend often refers to him as "Sebas" or even "Uke-Sebas" (which is just...yeah...poor guy). I'll refer to him as "Pentabu" to make things easier on myself. His girlfriend is always referred to as Y-ko.

Most of the blog consists of the usual events in a dating couple's life - meeting up with friends, spending holidays together, meeting parents (Pentabu meets Y-ko's parents at one point), and just hanging out. Things are a little different for Pentabu and Y-ko, though, because of Y-ko's interests. To most people, Y-ko seems like a perfectly normal, respectable young woman. With Pentabu and her friends, however, Y-ko lets her interests have free rein, reveling in her love of anime, computer games, BL and shoujo manga, cosplay, and her favorite character pairings (she's a particular fan of Roy x Ed). Pentabu's feelings on this are often a combination of embarrassment, humor, and fascination, since she seems determined to pull him into her world.


I'll start this review off by listing a few questions you should ask yourself prior to deciding whether to read this book:
  • Do you consider yourself to be a fan of anime and manga?
  • Do you have at least some idea of what these things are, and what their appeal is? - Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, shoujo and BL manga, maid cafes, cosplay, and slash pairings
  • Are you okay with reading a book consisting of a bunch of blog entries?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, except possibly the second one, you should probably give this book a pass. A good chunk of it will go over your head if you don't have at least a basic understanding of anime and manga fandom. Although the explanations included in some of the blog posts help, and the glossary at the end is decent, those things won't do you much good if you've never seen examples of shoujo and BL manga and anime, and don't know what Gundam is. For example, while the glossary explains that Hagaren is an abbreviation of Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, the Japanese title of Fullmetal Alchemist, it does not explain that “Roy x Ed” refers to a fan-invented romantic/sexual pairing between two characters in the series. And Pentabu's embarrassment about Y-ko storing her shoujo and BL manga at his place is best understood if you've seen examples of them.

And I should mention that, if you've never seen Neon Genesis Evangelion and plan to do so at some point, you might want to save reading this book until afterward. In one blog post, Pentabu watches some of the show with Y-ko and one of her friends, who shamelessly spoil all kinds of story and character details. I've only seen a little of the show and thankfully don't plan on watching more, or I might have found the spoilers to be more upsetting. Oh, and there are also a few Fushigi Yuugi spoilers.

Now that I've gotten all the warnings out of the way, it's time for my review.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Almost done, a vacation (?), computer games, and Crunchyroll problems

I don't think I'll manage to finish a review post this weekend, but I still wanted to post something. So, enjoy some random stuff.

I think I only ever wrote once, back in September, about the medication I'd be taking. I'm now just days away from being finished! Although the first 12 weeks turned out to be the hardest, I'm still very happy I'm almost done. I did my last injection a couple days ago, and I'll be completely done with the rest of it after Friday. Then I've just got blood tests for a year or so, which will hopefully all come back perfect.

All the doctor stuff put my original vacation plans on hold, but now that the end is in sight, I can start planning. At some point I'll have to commit to a travel date and buy the plane tickets, the very thought of which gives me butterflies in my stomach. This will be my first time planning a trip to Germany myself.

Now for some stuff more related to this blog: computer games and online TV. One of the reasons I've had less to write reviews about lately is because computer games have been taking up time I would otherwise have devoted to reading or TV-watching. The long holiday break got me hooked on Steam again. I discovered a couple "visual novel"-style games (Analogue: A Hate Story and Magical Diary), enjoyed the cuteness of Botanicula, became briefly addicted to Little Inferno and its somewhat dark humor, and have just started to dig into Quantum Conundrum, a Portal-like game that so far seems better in some ways (the puzzles are more difficult and involved) and worse in others (I already hate some of the platformer aspects). Oh, and for hours of fairly mindless fun, I have Gyromancer (imagine a cross between Bejeweled and Pokemon, only considerably less cute) and Triple Town (ninja bears!).

For online TV, I still have Netflix and Crunchyroll. I'm "meh" about Netflix's selection, although it helps that I'm incredibly behind on live action TV. Its pathetic selection of anime would bother me less if I weren't currently having problems with Crunchyroll. Although I still love Crunchyroll's catalog of titles and am relieved that Crunchyroll still works via my computer, it has developed hideously bad buffering problems via my TV. The problems started while I was watching Kimi ni Todoke, although I didn't actually get into contact with Crunchyroll's tech support until late December.

For those of you considering signing up for a Crunchyroll membership, a word of warning: their tech support is terrible if you have a problem that cannot be solved by one of their all-purpose fixes. My opinion of them tanked when they ignored my questions about the status of the problem. I don't even know if they've figured out what the problem is or if they're still working on it. My suspicion is that they know exactly what's wrong and can't, or won't, devote the money and/or time necessary to fix it. I only just recently renewed a year-long membership (conveniently, just before the buffering problems started), or I'd probably already have dropped them and given FUNimation a try. Here's hoping Crunchyroll gets its act together and remembers that surpassing 100,000 Premium subscribers is only a feat worth crowing about if they can actually retain all those subscribers. In the meantime, the number of Crunchyroll shows I'll be reviewing will probably drop - given a choice between watching stuff on my TV versus watching stuff on my computer, TV wins almost every time.

Well, that's about it. I'm part of the way through a few books and a couple TV shows. I only have one thing ready to be reviewed, but the review is giving me trouble. Oh, and I might celebrate my last days of horrible medication with a new tablet, if I'm ever able to make myself part with the money. The Google Nexus is very tempting.