Recent blog posts in the category Books:

Book Reviews: Twin Spica Vol. 2 (Kou Yaginuma)

Two things come to me on reading the second volume of Twin Spica. One, this is a gem of a series that deserves the broadest possible audience. Waste no time picking it up if a) you want to read a...

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2010/06/14 22:09

Two things come to me on reading the second volume of Twin Spica. One, this is a gem of a series that deserves the broadest possible audience. Waste no time picking it up if a) you want to read a story that assumes the best and most ambitious in humanity, rather than its worst or most cowardly; or b) you have even the slightest interest in manga as something more than a way to show creative ways for people to get sliced in half.

Two, if Vertical Inc. editor Ed Chavez’s job description includes being on the lookout for titles like this, he has the best job in the world. He’s constantly scouring the planet (well, Japan) for manga that have that special Vertical something, and Spica has it in spades. It’s not so outlandish as to be alienating; it’s deeply felt without being sappy; and it plugs into something that people on both sides of the Pacific can tap into without needing a cross-cultural dictionary to decipher.

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Tags: Japan  Vertical Inc.  manga  review 


Book Reviews: Afterschool Charisma Vol. 1

I’m going to start this review with a position I fully expect others to find irritating at best and indefensible at worst. I hated Axis Powers Hetalia so much that for a long time I didn’t dare tell anyone how...

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2010/05/31 21:37

I’m going to start this review with a position I fully expect others to find irritating at best and indefensible at worst. I hated Axis Powers Hetalia so much that for a long time I didn’t dare tell anyone how much I despised it.

The show has a strong fanbase, but I know better than to try and lecture people about taste. I only know that the show makes my stomach bubble and my temples pound in rage. Hetalia reminds me way too much of exactly the sort of nationalist, race-baiting propaganda produced by the very countries depicted in the show during WWII—including, I must add with no small amount of chagrin, the United States itself. That it tries to be cute and inoffensive only makes it all the uglier to me. And yes, I’m intimately familiar with the whole “Japan has very little political correctness as we understand it in the West” argument; it doesn’t make the damn thing any less uncomfortable for me to watch. There’s plenty of other stuff out there that I know I want to check out, and that I know isn’t going to give me a case of the sociological squicks.

(Pause for deluge of hate mail. Delete. Onward.)

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Tags: Japan  history  manga  review 


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