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It doesn't ALL suck (though it's close)

I decided to go into Barnes and Noble during lunch yesterday. I didn't bring my DS so it was either that, or sit in the car for an hour listening to Mike Francesca browbeat his callers. My intention was to go in for a bit, browse around, maybe read a shitty manga or two. I did not expect to spend money.


Let's examine the damage, shall we?

Vol. 1, Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden GET! - This is the prequel to the original Fushigi Yuugi. I've read one chapter so far, so I can't really judge too much, but I can mention a few things:

* I notice I like Yuu Watase much more in manga than I do in anime. Though the story here tends to bounce around, and so far the foundations aren't really properly laid, the art is great, even though I know a few people on my FL that don't like Watase at all (Down, Cammi! Heel!).

* They didn't have volume 2, but it doesn't really matter; from 2003 - 2008, there's only nine volumes, which isn't the whole set by a long shot; there's only seven in America at this point. What the fuck? When is this series supposed to end? Five years, and if the original FY is the judge to go by (18 vol.), then we're only half done! Samu, is this normal?

* Watase does have a thing for her bishies. That doesn't make me particularly comfortable, but she's such a great story teller that it washes.

* This manga was $8.99. Assuming all nine volumes come over, that's going to be about $81; $162 if we see eighteen of them. That's... a lot of fucking money. Especially when compared to...

Dragonball, Vol. 1 GET! - I had to try it. I like Journey to the West, so I figure, let's see what the big deal about Dragonball is.

So far, while I can really like Toriyama's character designs, I'm not so sure about him as a storyteller. He seems to like gags and sophomoric humour too much for my liking. Furthermore, he seems to be poor at developing characters, and retreats to familiar archtypes too quickly.

It is an interesting enough tale the way it's told; it's whimsical and funny, even with the poorly developed and vapid Bulma. I'll read it through, and get the 2nd volume when someone has it. But Toriyama is an overrated story teller.

Elementary Japanese GET! - This is described as a beginner-level college course, and I believe it; it basically teaches phrases, and some kanji. What disappoints me is that it doesn't teach Hiragana or Katakana; it just says that こんにちは教師 is the polte form, and こんにちは友人 is informal (grrr, I do not want to install Office XP to type in Japanese; I had to use a translator for that), and also teaches some Kanji. I'll learn from it, but it's not set up quite the way I want; it seems to be teaching tourists, and I need something that is going to teach someone that could theoretically live there.

Japanese-English/English-Japanese Dictionary GET! - Not much to be said about this; it is what it is.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
Ah I love Genbu Kaiden. I never watched Fushigi Yuugi's anime (besides the final OVA) but I did like the manga's art better. Guess I preferred Watase's work as manga than anime.

Toriyama's character development does lack I agree. There are a lot of things in Dragon Ball that really need a backstory of some sort. Especially since some just drop off the face of the earth and I'm pretty sure they're not dead? Maybe? XD

Damn I miss these series...
Mar. 19th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
'Death' is an extremely relative term in the DB-verse ....
Mar. 19th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
True nobody really DIED in DB. Hell was a universe of it's own
Mar. 19th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
Watase has spent the last few years delaying the manga due to "illness." This seems to be the trend now with high-profile Japanese people, that they claim illness no matter what it is -- carpal tunnel, cancer, whatever. She posted a blog post two days ago stating the next chapter of the manga will be delayed until next year.
Mar. 19th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
That'll be six years and ten chapters.

I think at this point, I have to say I'm not spending any money until I'm sure it'll finish.

She's young - not yet 40 - so I'm sure it'll EVENTUALLY get done, but this is frustrating.

Edited at 2009-03-19 06:29 am (UTC)
Mar. 19th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
random comment: Stop watching Tytania and watch Legend of the Galactic Heroes instead.
Mar. 19th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
I have it all downloaded, it's just a matter of finding time to push through 110+ episodes of epic awesome.
Mar. 19th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
Mar. 19th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC)
Dragonball gets slightly better later, but it doesn't really get a huge amount better 'til the stuff at the very end. I haven't even touched the Z stuff.
Mar. 19th, 2009 11:00 am (UTC)
-_- I had a post of several paragraphs, and LJ fucking ate it. Waste of half an hour! ... Forgive me, but I'm not going to retype that, I'm afraid.
Mar. 19th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
Arrrgh! You were the one I wanted to hear from the most! I typed this up going "I wonder what Samu's going to say?". :(
Mar. 19th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
I've had a couple of hours to cool off, and, though I'd still like to strangle LJ, I'll do a brief recapitulation of what I originally typed.

1.) Barnes & Noble? No Borders in the area? :-(

2.) If Sailor Moon was the anime gateway drug of the late '90s, FY was one of the most popular second stops on the journey. Watase's not bad, but she's got a thing for 'women in distress' (i.e. rape or near-rape) in pretty much every story she does.

3.) Yes, it's normal. Be thankful you're not reading a monster like Naruto (60+ volumes) or Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure (80+ volumes). Compared to those, FY, even including GK, is piddly. Hell, even the Dragon Ball manga, Z included, is piddly next to the modern stuff. Keep in mind, too, that the FY manga first came to the U.S. in the late '90s, but didn't wrap up here 'til a year or so back.

4.) You think manga prices are bad? Try collecting American comics. Twice the price for half the content. The full color's pretty nice, though.

5.) DB was originally supposed to be kind of a bizarro sex comedy, akin to Dr. Slump (which is much better), but it drops that as it goes and becomes more and more of an action story until it hits Z and really goes all-out. I agree that Toriyama's not much for storytelling, but he's got a handle on appealing characters and scenarios you're really not going to see anywhere else. More of an artist than a writer.

6.) Wanna type in Japanese? Download JWPCE; it's a Japanese word processor that's friendly to cut-and-paste. Wanna learn the language? Kodansha's got the best books for it, especially for dictionaries. I've yet to find a really good textbook for the language, though; what I've learned has come from bits and pieces of different books. If you can get hold of Chris Kern, he's the guy you want to ask about this kind of thing. He's been invaluable in helping me learn.
Mar. 19th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Aw, man, I was going to be all helpful and suggest JWPce! She who is in the wrong time zone is lost, it seems. D:
Mar. 19th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
1) There's a Borders in the mall next door. But their manga and language sections are of lower quality, and it's harder to get in and out, especially considering the fact that I was on lunch.

2) Watase also seems to have a thing for teenage nudity. Are they TRYING to get this shit banned in the US? I can picture the religious groups now... "SHE'S 17 AND HER BREASTS ARE EXPOSED!!! THAT'S MUCH MUCH DIFFERENT THAN AN 18 YEAR OLD!!!"

3) That's the thing: I'm seeing a lot of these manga in both Borders and B+N, and there's just too much to buy. I wouldn't be buying Dragonball if it wasn't the entire first volume (assumably until it goes into Z?) because I'd much rather pay $21 for a lot fo manga than be nickel, dimed, and $8.99-ed to death. Naruto is insane. JoJo's is insane. Fruits Basket is insane AND nauseating (and EVERYWHERE). And I thought the FY manga finished earlier here? It wouldn't make sense for it not to, I mean, the anime finished years ago.

4) To hell with American comics. The stories don't hold my interest, and they're mostly advertisements. The only comics I've followed were the Looney Tunes comics, and TMNT... when I was 11.

5) If DB was supposed to be a sex comedy, it's a bad one. This was it? Goku patting everyone to see their gender? Bulma not realizing her fucking underwear wasn't being worn? Not only that, but I've never cared for the way Toriyama draws women; their angles are fucked up, Bulma's head is twice as tall, seemingly, as it is wide (something he has a habit of repeating, if the earlier DQ games and even Chrono Trigger are an indication), and he basically just draws the same three women over and over. The only really sexy female I can remember him drawing was Jessica from DQ8.

6) I'll check that out when I get home. Thanks.
Mar. 20th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
(Deleted and reposted due to bad formatting on my part.)

1.) If you call the corporate office, they are taking any and all suggestions for improving the day-to-day customer experience. ... Trust me, man, my company needs ideas.

2.) Nudity? In a Watase manga? Where? I recall a very little bit in Alice 19th, but that's it. Then again, I might not notice it like I used to. Been reading too much junk like Battle Vixens. (Boobies, boobies, everywhere.)

3.) Oh, you mean the big collected edition. That has Volumes 1-3 ... of 16. You'll need five of those to have all of the original DB.

I actually like Fruits Basket, believe it or not. Only twenty-two volumes, and, unlike many other manga, the plot actually goes places, though it meanders a lot along the way. (Straightforward storytelling seems to be a foreign thing to modern manga.)

4.) Advertisements? For ... ?

If you're not been reading since the early '90s, 'Bus, you've missed the renaissance. American comics, even the superhero stuff, now have more adult, nuanced stories than anything Japan's done in ages. Why do you think I prefer those to manga, nowadays?

*chuckles* There's room for a long discussion there.

5.) Toriyama only draws three types of women and one or two types of guys (aside from alien monsters). ... I still think Lucca's cute, though, even if she's just a grown-up Arale (Dr. Slump) with glasses.

6.) You're welcome. Even just learning the basic katakana will help you a lot if you choose to play import games and the like.
Mar. 20th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
1) See, I don't know what they can do better; their manga section - in my area - isn't quite up to par with the local B+N; furthermore, they both essentially have the same stuff, the same atmosphere, etc.

If I'd recommend anything, it's more reading areas; I see people studying in B+N a lot more than I do Borders, as if it was a library. Borders doesn't strike me as that kind of place (though the staff there is usually spot-on and friendly; both places do well there)

2) I've already seen two sets of full female breasts, and I'm only on Genbu Kaiden 1.

3) I figure Dragonball will get better, so that's not a big deal.

4) Every comic I pick up, has a shitload of advertisements. Has for years.

I've never really been into classic comic figures, like the Marvel and DC comics. My favourite comics of all time are really extensions of other known properties; the TMNT comics (after they got big in '87), Ducktales, and Looney Tunes. Spiderman, X-Men, Batman, all those classic names... never interested me.

5) Lucca's cute, but she's cutest in the FMVs. Toriyama's stuff seems to be best viewed in animation, unlike other manga artists (like the forementioned Watase when she's not being stupid and making everything with pastels. Speaking of being silly about overdrawing, here's a fire-starter: I've never liked Amano's art)

6) I knew enough to get me by in Fire Emblem in Japanese (though I can now see how much I missed, as I play through the US version), but I want to be able to 1) get a job in Japan (I want options, as I'm considering career change), and 2) pick up and play a complicated Japanese game with few issues or need to pick up a dictionary.

EDIT: Also, it should be noted that I've finally read the best adult manga of all time: Maka Maka.

Edited at 2009-03-20 05:09 am (UTC)
Mar. 21st, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
1.) It became necessary for us to abolish most of our sitting areas because 1.) the chairs were on the point of achieving the decomposition you describe in another entry, 2.) people were reading and reading without buying anything, and 3.) shoplifters use those areas to discreetly crack open DVD cases. We no longer have the staff to maintain the level of oversight those areas require. Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

2.) This, of course, gives me a reason to eyeball that one, though I suspect she shares the same problem most shoujo artists have with drawing nudity (i.e. it looks off).

3.) It does. Enjoy it. :-)

4.) Oh. Those ads. Only happens in the individual issues, thankfully, and that's one reason why I get the trade paperbacks instead.

5.) I agree on the Toriyama point; I actually prefer the various DB anime to the various DB manga. And I know a lot of folks don't like Amano's art; I'm okay with that, since it beats the Hell out of Nomura's, IMO.

6.) I'll help in any way I can, though I'm really just learning it to broaden my anime / manga and video game options. Japan would be a nice vacation spot, and I have a deep love of the culture, but it's not a place I'd go looking for work.

Oddly enough, I've never heard of Maka Maka. Always thought the old Cream Lemon stuff was considered the pinnacle of hentai achievement, but my knowledge of hentai is not quite as extensive as one might think.

BTW, Ace is curious about this entry, and he knows a fair bit about the subject matter.
Mar. 21st, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
1) See, I can understand the logistics, but the fact of the matter is that it depletes the atmosphere and quality of the store. Speaking of, I went into Borders today, and it was like night and day; the manga section was practically ravaged (I stood no hope of finding Genbu Kaiden 2, all they had was 7), their political book section wasn't as good (though decidedly more liberal), again, maybe one sitting area (and you're not allowed to take unpurchased merchandise into Seattle Coffee), I mean... there's little reason for me, as a consumer who bought a B+N card that paid for itself in one day, to go into Borders to get anything unless it's in stock, and for me, the only thing that qualifies is the Dragonball Z box set. Even the search feature is better.

2) I wouldn't say it looks off; I did notice on the younger ones, the nipples seem to mostly be non-existant (at least from the few pages I looked ahead on), whereas with an older female she'll put them in (interstingly, for the person that's not really a woman), but it looks right, though someone like Cammi could tell me better, I just notice "OMG BOOBIES"

3) So far, it's looking a little better, once the fixation with genitalia ended.

4) Right. All I read is the individual issues.

5) I prefer the anime, at least with Dragonball Z (of which I've seen the Cell saga), because that kind of action, I feel, comes across best with animation. It's not like a Watase story, which is higher on storytelling and lesser on hyper action.

6) Basically, I want to be the next Peter Payne. I don't really want to indoctrinate myself into Japan's corporate culture (I already believe in keeping work and life separate; I will not sleep in tubes), but I figure if I'm going to learn the language well enough to use it, might as well USE it.

http://www.mangafox.com/manga/maka_maka/ - Maka Maka scanlation, via Lililicious. I don't see Cream Lemon there (only Cherry Ichijou Lemon, which is a yaoi manga), but Maka Maka seems to have everything that most yuri mangas don't; a realistic story, realistic (and flawed) characters, realistic bodies (the bigger busted one is a bit chubby), and great sex scenes (of which there aren't many to start). It's simply a great story in addition to being fucking hot.

AceNoctali? Cool, I'll open this up, then.
Mar. 21st, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
1.) All valid points, unfortunately. (The Borders Rewards card is free, at least.) However, B-and-N is in as much trouble, financially, as we are, so you may be stuck with Borders – or neither – in the end. Here's hoping at least one of us makes it, heh.

2.) I do think it's time to call in the nipple expert.

3.) I think that was just a little of his Dr. Slump side working itself out before he could move on.

4.) Ultimately a rip-off, honestly. I read 'em on my lunch break, but rarely, if ever, do I buy 'em.

5.) Oddly enough, I find it's the little fill-ins between the major sagas that contain the best parts of DBZ. That's where the secondary characters get more screen time, and it's also where you're find most of the everyday character development and incidental humor.

6.) Aha, Manga Fox. I see, I see. *bookmarks* I'll make sure to give that a glance. Thank goodness for scanlations.

And I'll pass the word on to Ace. :-) Thank you.
Mar. 20th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
4- Oh God, I try not to think about how much frakking Sandman ran me. And then of course it made me give OTHER North American titles a chance.
Mar. 19th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
I suspect Genbu Kaiden won't run as long as the original Fushigi Yuugi did, since most of her later stuff has been shorter than that. Which is fine with me, since I rather prefer shorter series, and like that her later stuff was much tighter.
Mar. 19th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
(Absolute Boyfriend, Alice 19th, and Imadoki!, right?)
Mar. 19th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
Regarding Genbu Kaiden: In addition to illness, the manga also updates maybe four times a year (though for each update, there's usually more than fifty/sixty pages added)... so yeah. :/ That said, I do enjoy the manga; I have up to volume 6 at my house. ^_^
Mar. 19th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
It seems I'm the complete opposite of you.

I can go entire weeks without spending a dime on non-neccisties.

For example, this store has got "The complete classic Fallout collection" which has fallout 1 2 and tactics for only 50 SR(bout 13$) and I'm too cheap to buy it even though I REALLY want it. Empire Total War comes first. Whenever that comes out *grumpblegrumble*
Mar. 20th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
Don't get me wrong; when I'm conserving money, I get TIGHT with it. But when I'm not, I'm prone to impulse buys.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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