Thursday, April 29, 2021

REVIEW: Toilet-bound Hanako-kun (manga, vol. 1) by AidaIro, translated by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley

Toilet-bound Hanako-kun is a supernatural comedy (at least in this first volume, and according to my googling). It's licensed by Yen Press. I got this volume via interlibrary loan.


The students at Komome Academy have many rumors about the school's supposed "Seven Mysteries," the seventh of which is Hanako-san of the toilet. It's said that Hanako-san haunts a particular toilet in one of the girls' bathrooms, and if you summon her and give up something precious, she'll grant you one wish.

Nene Yashiro wants Hanako-san to grant her wish to have her crush fall immediately in love with her. She's shocked when she learns that Hanako-san not only truly exists but is actually a boy, Hanako-kun. She adjusts quickly, though, and finds herself getting tired of what she views as Hanako's overly slow and not terribly effective efforts to help her. When she tries to get a bit more magical help from Hanako, however, she ends up biting off more than she can chew and is forced to become Hanako's assistant. Together, they investigate multiple supernatural mysteries, including thieving "faeries" and stairs that act as a doorway into a dangerous other world.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

REVIEW: Tsubasa: Those with Wings (manga, vol. 3) by Natsuki Takaya, translated by Adrienne Beck

Tsubasa: Those with Wings is a sci-fi series by Natsuki Takaya, who's best known in the US as the creator of Fruits Basket. I bought my copy used and, since the series was originally published by Tokyopop and never got a license rescue after the company imploded, used and library checkouts are pretty much the only ways to get it these days.

This review includes spoilers (both the major series ones - go back and read the earlier volumes if you haven't yet - and a few that I consider more minor, a little info on how things turn out for some of the characters).


Kotobuki and Raimon are still separated, I believe due to the bomb in Raimon's head (if I remember right, it would go off if he went with Kotobuki on her trip to what was left of Japan). Kotobuki has spoken to the last living Japanese person, a neurosurgeon who tells her the true form of the Tsubasa: they were actually genetically engineered bodiless brains. Only two brains were ever successfully created, and one day those brains spontaneously became a boy and a girl, Rikuro and Kayo.

Kayo has been missing for a while, and Rikuro can't function as the Tsubasa without her, but the neurosurgeon should be able to remove the bomb from Raimon's head. Unfortunately, there's one big problem: Raimon has been captured. Colonel Hil Gil plans to use him to awaken Kayo and, with her, the power of the Tsubasa, which he plans to use to grant his own secret wish.

REVIEW: Short Stories by Texas Authors: A Collection of Award-winning Stories, Vol. 3 (short story anthology)

Short Stories by Texas Authors, Vol. 3 is an anthology tied together only by the authors all being from (or living in? since those aren't necessarily the same thing) Texas. Also, the title makes it sound like all the stories have won awards of some sort.


I received this collection of 23 short stories for free at a library conference I attended several years ago. As far as I can tell, it's not an ARC, although there were enough typos and incorrectly used words and commas throughout to make me doubt this and double-check (yup, not an ARC).

As with most anthologies, some of the stories were good and some were not so good. Some were...pretty bad. Most had a "why I wrote this story" section at the end, which was nice.

There was absolutely nothing tying this anthology together beyond all of the authors being from or living in Texas, and supposedly all of the stories being "award-winning." Which awards? The volume doesn't say, and I highly suspect that the awards some of them won were very small and very local.

I'm primarily a genre fiction reader and went into this expecting it to be entirely literary fiction, so it was a nice surprise that a few of the stories were genre fiction: there was a little SFF and even one contemporary-set noir story.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

REVIEW: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Season 1 (anime TV series)

Demon Slayer is a historical-ish dark fantasy action series. I watched it on Netflix.


Tanjiro is a kind-hearted and gentle young man who is known for his incredibly powerful sense of smell - he even has the ability to smell emotions. Ever since his sickly father died, Tanjiro has taken over the responsibilities of supporting his mother and younger siblings. However, one day he goes out to sell charcoal and gets home later than expected, only to find that nearly his entire family has been murdered by demons, which he hadn't even thought were real. The only "survivor" is his sister Nezuko, but her exposure to demon blood has transformed her into a demon herself. Nezuko appears to be special, however - although most demons are stripped of their humanity and cannot resist eating humans, Nezuko is somehow able to resist her urges and remember that Tanjiro is someone she loves and wants to protect.

In an effort to learn how to transform Nezuko back into a human, Tanjiro becomes a Demon Slayer. His ultimate goal is to find Muzan Kibutsuji, the demon who killed his family, and get him to change Nezuko back and then kill him.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blog update - "Follow by email" service will stop working after July 2021

Blogger put up a notification that the FollowByEmail widget is going away, and the email subscription service will no longer work after July 2021. So, if you've used it to follow my blog, be aware that it's going to stop working soon. I'll remove the widget in the meantime, but I don't know what, if anything I'm going to replace it with. I don't have a lot of followers anyway as far as I know, so it doesn't seem like something I need to worry about much.

I assume my various RSS feeds will continue to work, since I haven't gotten a notification about the "Subscribe to" widget on my page.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Comfort rewatch time

Heaven Official's Blessing has been released on Netflix, and since today has been terrible, I've decided I'll do a comfort rewatch even though I haven't finished the other two shows I'm watching yet. I'm only in the second episode, but so far I can say that, yes, minor changes were made to the subtitles, and it does seem to be for the better. For example, Xiao Ying's dress is now "torn" rather than "broken."

Anyway, my workplace is losing another couple people by the end of the month, and we haven't even replaced any of the other people who have left yet. Honestly, I'm not even sure anymore which positions are considered open and which are just gone. I think this means we'll have five positions open, but I'd be a lot more comfortable if we filled at least seven. There's been a lot of talk lately about all the new things we'll be expected to do, and I have no idea how we'll do any of it and get our regular work done. Possibly our regular work isn't viewed as being very worthwhile, I don't know. For instance, it's been hinted that I may have library instruction work added to my duties, which I'm extremely uncomfortable with. I'm a great cataloger, but I'd be a horrible instruction librarian, and it would make me miserable and anxious to boot.

Here's hoping comfort rewatching helps at least temporarily. On the plus side, we were all asked to submit updated resumes for accreditation purposes, so I have a freshly updated resume if I finally decide it's time for me to move on as well. I know I've tossed the idea around for a few years, but things are especially uncomfortable right now.

Monday, April 5, 2021

REVIEW: In the Study with the Wrench: A Clue Mystery (book) by Diana Peterfreund

In the Study with the Wrench is the second YA Clue mystery by Diana Peterfreund. I got my copy via interlibrary loan.


In the previous book, snow and flooding trapped several Blackbrook Academy students in Tudor House, a lovely old building with several secret passageways. The headmaster was murdered, and the murderer was eventually caught and arrested. 

Blackbrook Academy has somehow miraculously managed to remain open, despite massive flood damage and a bunch of students transferring out because their parents are understandably concerned about the recent murder. The school and its new headmaster are now entirely focused on moving past all of this. That means no trouble, no bad press, and no more students leaving.

Unfortunately, Blackbrook happens to have a lot of people with dark secrets, and Rusty Naylor, the head janitor, is one of them. His latest scheme gets him killed, and when his body is finally discovered the big questions are 1) Who killed him? and 2) Can Blackbrook's students convince administration that their standardized tests should at least be untimed?

Sunday, April 4, 2021

REVIEW: My Father is a Unicorn (manga) by Monaka Suzuki, translated by Nova Skipper

My Father is a Unicorn is a one-shot comedy manga. It's licensed by Seven Seas. I got my copy via interlibrary loan.


Uno Issei's mother comes home one day and announces that she has remarried and that Issei's new stepfather is a unicorn named Masaru. Or, more precisely, a unicorn-pegasus hybrid. Before the conversation is even over, she's asked to go on a sudden business trip, leaving Masaru to take care of and hopefully bond with Issei.

Issei is less than pleased. Masaru is a well-meaning himbo with absolutely no concept of how humans live - his idea of a healthy and delicious dinner involves sauteed hay. He has a human form in addition to his unicorn one, which should keep everyone in the neighborhood from discovering that he's not human, except sometimes he forgets and allows parts of his body to transform while he's out in public. Then there's his weakness for virginal maidens.

Masaru genuinely wants to learn how to be a good stepdad and househusband, but is that something a unicorn can even manage? Well, he'll certainly try his best.

REVIEW: Lupin, Part 1 (live action TV series)

Lupin is a contemporary-set French thriller series. It's streaming on Netflix, and Part 1 is 5 episodes long.

This review includes slight spoilers.


In the series' present, Assane Diop is a clever and cool-headed thief and master of disguise who takes his inspiration from Maurice Leblanc's Arsene Lupin. Flashbacks gradually reveal his motives. When he was a teen, his father was arrested for the theft of an expensive necklace from his employer, Hubert Pellegrini. While in prison, Assane's father committed suicide...or was it murder? In the present, Assane seeks to find out what really happened to his father and who was responsible.