Posts for 2008

The Last Journey Of The Year Dept. (2008/12/31 03:36)
Most anyone who knows me knows that I have a terrible habit of beating to death most any keyboard I've ever owned. The one I got with this machine worked okay for a while, until its right Alt key died...

Girone di Scritti Dept. (2008/12/27 09:20)
On Christmas Day I gave a number of people phone calls, among them one of my best friends, and we ended up talking for upwards of two hours. One of the big subjects we circled back to again and again...

Xmas Day 3 Dept. (2008/12/25 05:13)
Friends! Family! Feasting! Loot! Roberto Bolaño, 2666. Keiji Haino and Masami Akita as Kikuri, Pulverized Purple. (If this isn't epic I'll be stupefied.) Casablanca, the Blu-ray boxset. Daniel Pinkwater, The Neddiad. Plus, I got to play with my father-in-law's Canon...

Dark Water (Kōji Suzuki) (2008/12/25 01:30)
Formulations like X is the Y of Z are easy to come up with, but do a lousy job of conveying real information. When I saw ad copy along the lines of “Kōji Suzuki is the Stephen King of Japan,”...

Xmas Day 2 Dept. (2008/12/24 11:10)
Enjoyed an Eve Meal of the traditional spiral ham, potatoes and other goodies with Les Inlaws, and got to play with Dad-in-law's Canon Rebel. I think at this point I've shot more pictures with it than he has. Not that...

Nightmare Detective (2008/12/24 10:48)
Shinya Tsukamoto is at a point in his career where I will see any movie with his name on it. Maybe not a wise thing, but there you go. After he created Tetsuo: The Iron Man, he pretty much put...

First Day of Christmas Dept. (2008/12/23 10:33)
My first official day off! And as you can guess, I spent as much time doing as little as possible, barring some time with the in-laws to enjoy some belated birthday supper, cake 'n gifts (nice shirts, including a "47...

Batten Vol. #1 (×天~ばってん) (Tōya Ataka) (2008/12/22 09:54)
I’m tempted to like Batten just for its period setting, but most especially for its ultra-goofy hero—easily the most flamboyant creature of his kind since “Peter” minced across the screen in Funeral Procession of Roses. His name’s Tsubaki Seijurō and...

Pressed In The Pages Dept. (2008/12/22 08:54)
Two book-related pieces in the Times caught my eye. One was about a local bookstore owner facing eviction, but he was able to soften the blow a bit by having a gallery exhibition of his paintings. The other deals with...

Goth's Cage (Yasushi Suzuki) (2008/12/21 11:31)
Yasushi Suzuki frustrates me. He’s a brilliant artist trying to expand his horizons by branching out from character designs and book covers into manga. Great. Except that twice now he’s tried to do this and gone face-first into the ground....

Berserk #25 (2008/12/21 01:54)
Let’s skip ahead a bit, shall we? The last review I wrote of Berserk feels like ages ago, and while I was planning on going through the whole series in order before arriving at the most recent volumes, I had...

Clickey-Clack Dept. (2008/12/20 12:58)
I had a feeling this would happen at some point; I just didn't know when. But Criterion's gone and done it, bless their souls: they've remastered Kurosawa's Dodes'ka-den for DVD and will be bringing it out in March '09. Apparently...

Bits Of This And That Dept. (2008/12/19 11:16)
Yoshihiro Tatsumi, he of Push Man, etc., has a manga biography coming out called A Drifting Life (edited by Adrian Tomine, who also edited the other Drawn & Quarterly Tatsumi productions). I still have to do reviews of Abandon the Old in...

Made of Money Dept. (2008/12/19 12:12)
Paul Krugman does a nice dissection of the wake of the Madoff financial scandal....

Guin Saga Vol. 1 [Manga] (Hajime Sawada) (2008/12/18 11:37)
A major hallmark of pop-culture success in Japan is how many times your work’s been adapted or reincarnated. What starts as a manga might turn into a TV anime, an animated feature film (or a whole bunch of them), a...

Nightmare Inspector Vol. #4 (2008/12/18 02:48)
After a certain point, most manga hit a kind of a plateau. They’ve set up the basic situation, and for the next however many volumes they’re going to run through variations on it like John Coltrane riffing for a solid...

Dragon's Teeth Sown Dept. (2008/12/17 11:52)
I lost a good part of the day moving stuff around -- again -- mostly to try and find out why some USB devices were working and others weren't. The whole thing involved excavating a sliding-drawer box from under some...

Don't Blink Dept. (2008/12/17 09:14)
I never thought much of Malcolm Gladwell, maybe because he reminded me entirely too much of Desmond Morris for his own good. Morris wrote The Naked Ape, in which he tried to use argument-by-analogy to draw rather shaky and tenuous...

Critierionati Dept. (2008/12/16 11:45)
New stuff! New stuff! Truffaut's The Last Metro was, well, his last movie, too, and one of his few that I never got around to see. (I was creeped out by The Bride Wore Black at a fairly young age,...

The Poison Ape (Arimasa Osawa) (2008/12/16 10:37)
The shopworn cliché “page-turner” describes The Poison Ape, but since I hate clichés, here’s another metaphor. It’s a machine for mass-manufacturing paper cuts on your fingers. That’s how fast you’ll be ripping through the follow-up to Arimasa Osawa’s Shinjuku Shark,...

Wide Screen Dept. (2008/12/16 09:40)
Oh, to be in L.A. right now. From AICN: Longtime contributor Elston Gunn talks to organizers of Laemmle’s 70/70, which celebrates the Laemmle cinema chain’s 70th anniversary with 70mm screenings of a handful of geektastic classics. It runs Dec. 19-23...

Blood +: Volume 3 (2008/12/15 02:41)
The original Blood: The Last Vampire was one fierce little piece of work, despite clocking in at barely an hour. The TV series has the benefit of being longer and more involving, but also that much more—well, for lack of...

One From The Pile Dept. (2008/12/14 12:39)
Here's another book I missed talking about, but which I picked up cheap during a previous Book-Off visit: Batten (×天 / ばってん), a loopy Edo-era story about Tsubaki Seijuro ("Sei-san"). He's a tsukeuma, or debt collector for patrons of Yoshiwara,...

Blade Runner (2008/12/13 11:21)
Blade Runner is not about the cities of the future, but about the human race of the future. This probably seems like heresy when talking about a film which has become to visions of the urban future what J.R.R. Tolkien’s...

The Genji Press Quick-And-Dirty Guide To Buying Cheap From Amazon.co.jp (ver. 1.0) (2008/12/12 01:16)
Many people have asked me how hard it is to order stuff from the Japanese Amazon.com site. It's become much easier as of late, now that many of their prompts show up in English. But what's been traditionally much harder...

Genji Press Holiday Gift Guide! (2008/12/12 10:05)
You probably saw this coming, but what the heck -- it's time for me to make a case for my own goodies as perfect gifts for that someone who has everything (or doesn't want anything, or... you get the idea)....

Ketchup Dept. (2008/12/11 10:07)
This one's a sequel to yesterday's loot post. Turns out there were a few items I overlooked because they deserved more detailed commentary. Fans of untranslated manga, take heed. Hinata no Ōkami (ひなたの狼 / "A Wolf in the Sun"): In...

New York, New York Dept. (2008/12/10 12:20)
Since when have I ever passed up an excuse to go into the city? Not in this lifetime, and probably not in the next one either. The excuse this time was a work meeting with some folks from Microsoft, but...

×××HOLiC: AnotherHOLiC (2008/12/09 12:14)
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. —Hunter S. Thompson You’re not really friends with someone unless you and the other guy can slag each other’s tastes with full-bore venom and still pal around with each other the...

Old Vs. New Dept. (2008/12/08 12:47)
Funny how within the week I come across two entirely separate pieces about nostalgia. The first was when Hayao Miyazaki gave a press conference and spoke intelligently, if ambivalently, about nostalgia for the past. The other was a Roger Cohen...

Kurohime Vol. 9 (2008/12/07 10:59)
The other day I did my best to describe Kurohime to someone who’d never read it, and my description came out something like this: “It’s a romp through Japanese mythology and fantasy, with shonen action scenes and hot girls, and...

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be Dept. (2008/12/05 01:49)
Normally I don't go in for nostalgia, but I had an idea for an ongoing movie review series through 2009 that might work in that vein. The basic idea is something like Overlooked Movies of the '80s that Didn't Suck...

Roadmap Dept. (2008/12/03 10:48)
I took a little time today to figure out what the roadmap is for Tokyo Inferno from here on out, now that NaNoWriMo is officially over. Here's what I have so far. December: Time off. I need it badly, especially after...

Yokaiden Vol. #1 (2008/12/03 10:32)
The problem with OEL (original English-language) manga is simple: most of them stink. Red String and In Odd We Trust were both awful by any standards, and the worst part is that I didn’t want them to be that lousy....

All In Blu Dept. (2008/12/03 08:25)
The Digital Bits has a Rumor Mill post about Blu-ray stuff due in the coming year. Stuff in itals is what I'm interested in. ... titles to watch out for in the next 12 months or so include Escape from...

Impress 'Um Dept. (2008/12/03 02:07)
Over at the Times ArtsBeat blog I posted about Random House's staff-cutting and reorganization. The general take is that as long as the publishing industry keeps doing the same old outmoded things, it's going to continue being gobbled up alive,...

Expunged Dept. (2008/12/03 10:10)
Ebert goes to town on Ben Stein for the risible Expelled. I used to like Ben Stein. After Expelled -- for my money the worst "documentary" since those wretched "Prophecies of Nostradamus" scare reels in the 1970s -- my respect...

Mifune Dept. (2008/12/02 03:47)
Criterion has a post by none other than Donald Richie, wherein he compares the Toshiro Mifune up on the screen to the one he knew in real life. I also got a sense of some of the same things in...

Blukira Blurosawa Dept. (2008/12/02 03:10)
Okay, terrible post title, but try this on for size, from The Digital Bits: ... we've learned that the first wave of catalog titles by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa has just been announced for release on Blu-ray Disc in Japan....

Shut Your Mouth Dept. (2008/12/01 01:55)
This post at Slashdot comes with the following summary. A 2006 paper by Matthew Salganik, Peter Dodds and Duncan Watts, about the patterns that users follow in choosing and recommending songs to each other on a music download site, may...

Darker Than Black Vol. 1 (2008/11/30 11:38)
Personal policy dictates that any story you cannot summarize in two sentences is probably not worth the trouble. I’m happy to break this rule for Darker Than Black, because while it has a story so convoluted it must have given...

So Much For The Sideshow Dept. (2008/11/30 10:03)
Even if I didn't make it to 50,000 words this year, I still think NaNoWriMo was more than worth the effort. Now that Tokyo Inferno is "booted up" and running, I can slow down a little bit and concentrate on getting...

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Part 1) (2008/11/28 07:35)
Welcome to the best new anime series that you have probably never heard of. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is up there in the same stratosphere with Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and all other...

Burp Dept. (2008/11/28 01:22)
Those of you in the U.S. reading this, you know what that's all about -- but I'll elaborate anyway. I spent today with the folks -- it was a small but wonderfully arranged Thanksgiving dinner, with only myself, my wife,...

A Little Something To Go With Your Turkey? Dept. (2008/11/27 12:22)
How about some Chocolate? That's right -- the stupefying Thai martial-arts blowout that looks like it may well one-up or at least sit comfortably on the shelf next to Ong-bak is headed Stateside in Region A. And, yes, a conventional...

Headfirst Into The Wall Dept. (2008/11/27 12:08)
I've got bad news, but maybe it's actually good news in disguise. The bad news is simple: It doesn't look like I'm going to get to 50,000 words by the end of November. I gave it a good college try,...

Spiritually Inclined Dept. (2008/11/25 09:16)
The second volume in the Moribito series of novels is set to come out next May. I'm watching the anime right now for a review -- do not wait for my word; GO GET IT....

Criterionizer Dept. (2008/11/25 07:10)
Criterion's new site is live! Aside from a redesign, they now offer a good many of their movies as streaming downloads for $5 a pop, and have trailers for quite a few others as well. Plus the ability to comment...

Am I Blu(e) Dept. (2008/11/25 10:30)
The magnificently lush but ultimately disappointing Wonderful Days is being released domestically on Blu-ray as Sky Blue, courtesy of Tartan. It doesn't work as a story, but as pure filmmaking and imagery it's unparalleled....

Cinema Paradiso Dept. (2008/11/23 11:03)
After my last post, I found myself thinking: If you were going to stage a film festival for North Korea (or some other country that has been under totalitarian rule with virtually no access to the outside world), what movies...

Northern Exposure Dept. (2008/11/23 10:15)
The Times has an absolutely fascinating piece about a film festival in North Korea -- one showing, amazingly, a fair clutch of movies from the forbidden West. I'm curious about seeing the recent North Korean production A Schoolgirl's Diary, which...

Trip Out Dept. (2008/11/22 08:49)
Because this got posted so far back into the archive, there's a chance many people might not see it. My old review of Ya Ho Wha 13's colossal God and Hair 13-disc box set (the original, "big" Captain Trip...

Ghost Slayers Ayashi Vol. #1 (2008/11/22 12:24)
A common beginning exercise for the budding critic: take the work in question and create an explanatory parallel with another work. With Ghost Slayers Ayashi, f’rinstance, you could come up with something like this: “It’s Mushi-shi for people who liked...

Boom Dot Bust Dept. (2008/11/21 05:18)
This week alone, two people I am on a first-name basis with lost their jobs. Both were with relatively small companies; in one case I'm fairly positive it was a case of belt-tightening that got dropped on his head an...

Trek Drek Dept. (2008/11/20 05:39)
I haven't had high hopes -- or much of any hope, really -- for J.J. Abrams's "reboot" of the Star Trek franchise. It doesn't have much to do with Abrams's skill as a filmmaker, really. For me, it breaks down...

Owning Up Dept. (2008/11/20 11:25)
The last couple of night's catch-up for NaNo / Tokyo Inferno came out a little better than I thought -- I'm still behind, but not as grotesquely as I was before. One of the beauties of last night's run was getting...

Shadow Play Dept. (2008/11/19 07:54)
Now how the hell did this slip past me!? Director Barbet Schroeder has adapted Edogawa Rampo's short novel The Beast in the Shadows (in English; see Black Lizard). It apparently took a beating in the press, but I'm still wildly...

Kontakte (Karlheinz Stockhausen) (2008/11/19 01:41)
Really, this is where it all started with me. Before Godflesh and Merzbow, before Meat Beat Manifesto and Suicide, before John Cage even, there was Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte, recorded over fifty years ago and yet still sounding timeless. Our ears,...

Mighty Dark Out Dept. (2008/11/18 11:19)
I haven't read the Twilight books. I probably never will, at this rate. After all the negative press from people whose tastes I trust, the well has been poisoned so thoroughly that not even a Superfund cleanup would help. What...

Quantum Mechanic Dept. (2008/11/18 12:16)
Me and the missus caught a whole buttload of commercials and trailers for $10 each, at the local multigigaplex. Oh, and there was a free movie, too: Quantum of Solace. It was a good-if-somewhat-shy-of-great followup to Casino Battle Royale --...

In February Dept. (2008/11/17 04:53)
It wouldn't be a complete month without some new Criterion announcements, would it? Oh happy day! Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel, long unavailable on video in the U.S. (you lucky PAL folks have had copies for a while now), is...

Kokkyō Junreika / 国境巡礼歌 (J.A. Seazer) (2008/11/17 01:57)
It’s like a cross between a funeral procession, a live performance of The Doors’s “The End” taken to its furthest possible extreme, and the incendiary rantings of a street-corner prophet. J.A. Seazer’s Kokkyō Junreika (“A Pilgrimage Across National Borders”) distills...

Amazonified Dept. (2008/11/17 01:07)
Time for some Amazon catch-up… Hideo Gosha's gone underrepresented for far too long on video in the U.S., but here and there some of the most crucial bits of his filmography have been coming out (like Sword of the Beast,...

Crosspost To LiveJournal [V.0.4] (2008/11/16 11:53)
Note: You can now access this page through a TinyURL shortcut: http://tinyurl.com/6cr2uu This is a simple index template I whipped up to allow people to crosspost their most recent Movable Type entries to a LiveJournal account. Revision History 0.4: Website-specific...

Absolute Elsewhere Dept. (2008/11/15 11:29)
Some stuff from the link backlog: A profile of author Lewis Hyde, a poet's poet and a Genius Grant recipient now hard at work on a manuscript about the Creative Commons: One of two reviews of Roberto Bolaño's mammoth 2666,...

Sheer Luck Dept. (2008/11/15 01:18)
One of the defects of JustTheDisc, despite my undying love for it, is how anything with a Japanese title is rendered incorrectly. Whenever such a thing shows up, you have to do a lot of "reverse engineering" (read: blind guesswork)...

While Supplies Last Dept. (2008/11/15 01:14)
Criterion's having a clearance sale in preparation for the inauguration of their new warehouse -- everything on hand is available for 40% off. Go get it....

Shonen Onmyouji Vol. #3 (2008/11/15 12:42)
There’s a big difference between a truly great show and one you just feel an endearing affection for. Shonen Onmyouji is by no means a ground-breaking piece of work, but darn it all if I don’t like it. It’s got...

Consumerism Dept. (2008/11/11 11:43)
I've created the CDs For Sale page, where you can buy spare copies of some of the discs I've reviewed. Look for new ones there from time to time. Addendum: Audio samples from the discs in question also show up...

Troublemakers and Hard Workers Dept. (2008/11/11 05:41)
People are perennially curious about the personalities of artists, healthy and dysfunctional alike. Small wonder the biographies of authors capture my attention. Easy example: I dug up not one but two separate biographies of Yukio Mishima—one by John Nathan,...

Black Jack Vol. #2 (2008/11/11 01:33)
We’re not always in control. Even when it looks like we have the powers of the gods at our command, it’s provisional. Nature, fate, and mankind too, all have their ways of getting their due.I don’t want to make it...

Death Trance (2008/11/10 04:08)
Death Trance comes to us courtesy of the same Japanese school of glorious cinematic overkill that brought us Versus, Machine Girl, Meatball Machine and Tokyo Gore Police, and will no doubt bring us many more such examples of wretched excess...

Epic Fail and Epic Win Dept. (2008/11/09 06:17)
I rented Bertolucci's 1900 and The Last Emperor (the new Criterion edition) from the library, since I'd been meaning to check out both. The former's been re-released in its full 315-minute uncut edition and the latter I'd seen in theaters...

When I Have Time Dept. (2008/11/07 12:09)
The grind of dealing with "NaNo":http://www.nanowrimo.org, work and various family obligations has left me a little winded, so there hasn't been much time for me to post casual stuff. * _Infernal Affairs_ is finally getting a domestic Blu-ray edition (on...

The 150 Murderous Passions (Nurse With Wound / Whitehouse) (2008/11/05 10:33)
“the listeners of these recordings will always enjoy the most intense reactions of all because they are the most violently repulsive records ever conceived” So read the text that accompanied Whitehouse’s Buchenwald album, an LP so loud that I feared...

Ballot Box Dept. (2008/11/05 12:07)
Politics behind the jump....

Black Lagoon Vol. #3 (2008/11/02 06:50)
The most pleasant surprise of Black Lagoon Vol. 3 is how it isn’t just about the “gun love”, in the words of the “absolutely freakin’ not for children” parental advisory block. There’s the gun-fu, to be sure—along with the gun-jitsu,...

The Starting Gun! (2008/11/02 01:38)
On the first day of NaNoWriMo 2008, I racked up a nice, solid 2,143 words for Tokyo Inferno. My initial hesitancies about how difficult it was going to be and whether or not I would get mired down in topical...

Pathétique (Hisou / 悲愴) (Fushitsusha) (2008/11/02 12:06)
The flaw itself which has been borncan become bigger than the flaw which bore itBecause I myself loved too much the universe itself,saying "I love you", I will continue to curse myself … The legacy of Fushitsusha ("The Unlost") and...

Shop 'Til You Drop Dept. (2008/10/31 06:16)
I’ve set things up so that whenever I review something which I have spare copies of on hand, you'll see a PayPal "buy now" button on the page for that item. I've started doing this because I've noticed that some...

Those Of Us Who Only Say They Know How To Write Really Annoy Those Of Us Who Actually Do Dept. (2008/10/30 11:30)
A friend of mine with no particular writerly ambitions of his own (but with good tastes in reading) popped me a question the other day: If the point of something like NaNoWriMo is to give you a boot in the...

The Happiness of the Katakuris (2008/10/30 07:44)
The inside of Takashi Miike's head must be like a cinematic scrapyard, where the front end of a musical comedy can be bolted onto the back end of a Coen Brothers-like thriller. That's more or less what he's done in...

Mizoguchi's Eclipse Dept. (2008/10/28 09:26)
The New York Times has a piece about the new Kenji Mizoguchi set from Criterion's perennially excellent Eclipse line of DVDs -- this one's series #13, and features Osaka Elegy, Sisters of the Gion, Women of the Night, and Street...

Guin Again Begin Again Dept. (2008/10/28 12:48)
The "transcript":http://vertical-inc.com/guinsaga/roundtable.html of the "podcast":http://ninjaconsultant.livejournal.com/29567.html I participated in along with the folks from "Ninja Consultant":http://ninjaconsultant.livejournal.com/ is now live. And if by some ridiculous twist of fate you haven't yet read the _Guin_ books -- well, go get them right now...

See Hear Dept. (2008/10/22 10:07)
The movie reviews section now has soundtracks for selected movies, wherever they may be available on Amazon.com or eMusic.com. Alien, Casino Royale, Doomsday, the Miyazaki productions, and a number of others already have entries....

BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Graphic Novel 1 (2008/10/22 09:16)
With the English-language release of BoBoBo-Bo Bo-bobo, I now have an answer to a question that has bothered me persistently: What would you get if the Monty Python crew dosed themselves with peyote and took over writing duties for Fist...

The Show And Tell Dept. (2008/10/19 07:57)
“Show, don’t tell” is easily the most common of all writer’s-class clichés—right up there with “Write what you know” and “Don’t depend on your mom for criticism”. (That last one might work if your mom was Doris Lessing, but you...

Blood +: Volume 2 (2008/10/19 11:58)
The second disc of Blood+ draws Saya and her adoptive family—and her “Chevalier”, Haji—deeper into the dark world of the “Chiropterans”, the vampire-like creatures that only Saya can stop by using her blood as a weapon. It’s a good, balanced...

The Blade of the Courtesans (Keiichiro Ryu) (2008/10/18 05:18)
The very things that make The Blade of the Courtesans deeply immersive and engrossing are also what make it frustrating. Here we have a novel of historical Japan written by a native Japanese, one who has obviously taken the time...

Witchblade Vol. #6 (2008/10/18 12:52)
There’s often a difference between an ending you like on a show, and the ending a show deserves. I’m not sure I like the way Witchblade has chosen to conclude—it’s rushed, it skips over things that could have been expanded...

Saraba Ogata-Sensei Dept. (2008/10/16 10:41)
From Criterion’s homepage: Japanese actor Ken Ogata died this Sunday after a battle with liver cancer. The star of several films by Shohei Imamura, including The Ballad of Narayama and Vengeance Is Mine, in which he memorably played charismatic serial...

Not Selling Out But Buying In Dept. (2008/10/15 03:42)
There’s a discussion going on right now in the NaNo forums about bad books that inspired their readers—if only in the sense that if someone could write something this horrible and get it published, then the odds of one of...

Chiba Chiba Dept. (2008/10/15 11:55)
Last night I watched one of the first Blu-ray offerings that could be filed under the “Japan” category—a double feature of Shogun’s Ninja and Killing Machine. Both star Sonny Chiba, both are from Toei, but the two movies could scarcely...

Getting All Personal Dept. (2008/10/14 10:56)
What with one thing and another, I’ve kind of fallen out of the habit of writing about Just Plain Stuff—goings-on with friends, other things apart from my writing or personal interests, things like that. A lot of the time I...

Faust Vol. #1 (2008/10/12 12:14)
There is something very intimidating in the way we have seen more of Japan’s own literary pop culture appear in English in the last few years alone than across almost all the previous years. “Literary pop culture” means the things...

Sukeban Boy (2008/10/11 12:16)
Sukeban Boy is a cheap, crass little movie about a punk kid with the face of a pretty girl, which causes no end of difficulty in his rough-and-tumble high school years. Please note, I am not using the words cheap...

Door Open At 8 AM (Merzbow) (2008/10/06 06:41)
Dad and I always used the same things for different ends. When he bought a shortwave radio, he listened to the BBC World Service and whatever Turkish-language broadcasts he could pick up. I listened to the atmospherics and the numbers...

Black Lagoon Vol. #2 (2008/10/06 05:57)
Volume two of Black Lagoon, like volume one, sports the following warning label: “Black Lagoon is rated M for Mature and is recommended for mature readers. This volume contains graphic violence, strong language, nudity, adult situations, drinkin’, smokin’, asskickin’, law-breakin’,...

From The Ashes Dept. (2008/10/05 07:10)
Back at A-KON this year, I blundered into a somewhat weatherbeaten copy of a DVD that at first didn't seem to have an English title. It took some squinting and peering at the thing under a strong light to make...

Horrors of Malformed Men (2008/10/04 01:30)
Horrors of Malformed Men isn’t really an adaptation of any one, or even two, or even three stories by Japanese mystery/horror icon Edogawa Rampo. It’s like a movie version of one of those jazz jam sessions where the band somehow...

NaNoDept. (2008/10/04 11:30)
I completely forgot to ask: Who else is doing NaNoWriMo this year? Since it's not possible to change your username there I set myself up with a whole new account -- so if you have an old account, you will...

Not Music To My Ears Dept. (2008/10/03 02:09)
Not long ago when my previous Samsung phone died (I think I dropped it on its face one too many times), I upgraded to a Nokia 6133 with Bluetooth, MP3/WMA playback, and tons of other trimmings. I'd actually planned to...

Black Lagoon Vol. #1 (2008/10/03 01:01)
One day rank-and-file salaryman Rokuro is kowtowing to his boss in his highrise Tokyo office, and the next thing he knows he’s getting punched in the face on the deck of a pirate ship somewhere in the South Pacific, blood...

A Glimpse of the Future (2008/10/02 04:06)
The first draft for the cover image for Tokyo Inferno is live. Check it out... Cover images, BTW, are by Heiwa4126@Flickr, and are available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license....

The NaNo Bookshelf (2008/10/02 01:00)
Because so much of what I'm doing with Tokyo Inferno requires research and documentation, I've been building a bookshelf of titles to keep close at hand while writing the book. Many of the things listed here I've mentioned before, or...

Oops Dept. (2008/10/01 11:31)
Apparently the links to the Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend samplers were out of whack due to me moving some directories around. It should be fixed now....

The Long And The Short Of It Dept. (2008/09/28 08:59)
I'm back from NYAF. It was magnificent. A big part of that was due to Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano being there -- both of whom I was able to greet, although not sit down in detail with. There's a...

Nightmare Inspector Vol. #3 (2008/09/24 10:23)
If you love a series because it plays to a whole array of personal fascinations, is that a bad thing? Nightmare Inspector is an anthology of things I adore without apology—1920s Japan, gorgeously dreamy art, and of course manga itself—but...

Black Jack Vol. #1 (2008/09/22 10:48)
Word has it the guy was nearly blown to bits when he was a kid, which explains that ugly piebald face and that mess of scars all over it—none of which is completely hidden by that also-ugly shock of white...

Writer's Unblock Dept. (2008/09/21 03:11)
There's little that's more frustrating and saddening to see than a writer hung up on their own ability to just write. The pressure to produce something, anything is so strong that, in the end, nothing comes out at all. The...

About Genji Press (2008/09/20 11:06)
Some people (mostly regular visitors to the site) have been asking me, "So what's the deal with you losing TheGline.com and moving to GenjiPress.com?" Some of this has been discussed in the About Me page, but I thought some description...

4DW: Indahouse! (2008/09/19 11:47)
That's right! The first new copies of The Four-Day Weekend are back in-house and ready to be signed, sealed, delivered and sent your merry way! Signed copies are $25 (includes shipping and any applicable sales tax). Unsigned copies ordered directly from...

A Fuller Criterion Dept. (2008/09/19 10:46)
Criterion did it again. Namely, they rescued a movie that's been out of circulation since it was filmed: Samuel Fuller's controversial White Dog. Previously only available in (bad) import editions and (even worse) bootlegs, this didn't even make it into...

Finite Jest Dept. (2008/09/14 05:32)
The sudden death of David Foster Wallace prompted me to check out the commencement speech he delivered. The whole thing is absolutely worth reading; it's a wonderfully Dutch Uncle-esque talk about the value of being the master of your own...

Categorically Speaking Dept. (2008/09/14 01:20)
I've created a separate writing category for Tokyo Inferno, this year's NaNoWriMo project, and appropriately updated the pinned messages in each section. What I may do this year is file excerpts from the ongoing NaNo on a daily basis --...

Backup Dept. (2008/09/13 11:22)
You probably noticed I posted a bunch of new stuff in the Movies department -- it's actually backlog that I had piling up and wanted to get published before it got too stale. Much of the tinkering that has been...

Doomsday (2008/09/13 08:20)
Neil Marshall’s Doomsday is like something you’d get from a random movie generator, with the Genre Mashup and Stylistic Overkill meters all turned up to 11. I can safely say that no other movie I have seen so freely intermixes...

Pyrokinesis (Cross Fire) (2008/09/13 10:58)
Pyrokinesis (Cross Fire in Japan) is a frustrating mixture of good and bad elements, a solid premise dragged down by needlessly hammy emotional moments and outright clumsy direction. I’m fairly sure this isn’t a case of things getting lost in...

Karaoke Terror (2008/09/12 09:06)
Some movies come off like actor’s workshop experiments, where the players are given a scenario—no matter how improbable—and are expected to play it straight through without breaking character. Karaoke Terror plays like an anthology of such scenes, with the common...

Tinkering Dept. (2008/09/12 11:14)
I'm in the process of migrating the site to a clean instance of the MT database. Some things might be a little flaky, but as far as I can tell all the basic stuff (commenting, rebuilding, etc.) works fine....

Death Note: The Motion Picture (2008/09/11 10:57)
My test for any live-action adaptation of an anime or manga is simple: Can I walk into this cold and not feel like I came to a stranger’s family reunion, where I have no idea why people are fighting or...

Come And Get Your Weekend! (2008/09/10 12:18)
The Four-Day Weekend is now available for sale from Lulu.com. Price: $14.99 (paperback, plus tax/shipping). Credit cards and PayPal are accepted directly from the site. The copies I've ordered (which I'll be signing and sending out) should be in sometime...

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things Dept. (2008/09/08 02:27)
After reading Ebert's wonderful essay on his favorite movie, I had to ask myself: What is my favorite movie? I don't know, for several reasons: If I told you what my favorite movie was right now, I'd probably be obliged...

Vagabond BIG Edition Graphic Novel 1 (2008/09/07 02:45)
When Viz announced their VIZBIG line of reprint editions for select titles, I couldn’t help but let my mind go scurrying off in a dozen directions at once. Three volumes in one for the price of two; an 8 ½”...

Orpheus Descending Dept. (2008/09/06 03:58)
Breno Mello, the star of the enchanting Black Orpheus (available domestically from Criterion), died earlier this year at the age of 76. He had been in a number of other films in his native Brazil, but eventually opted for a...

Lost And Found -- Mostly Lost (2008/09/06 01:19)
Attention everyone who was at AnimeFest 2008 and came my way: Sometime between 2PM Sunday afternoon and the following Monday, my camera went missing. The camera in question was a Canon PowerShot A560, with a small silver "REWARD" sticker on...

It's My Nightmare Dept. (2008/09/05 06:38)
I spent most of the last two days highballing NyQuil and wishing I didn't feel like red-hot pokers were being shoved into my eyesockets. That's right -- Con Crud (or Con Staph, ha ha), which is rather surprising since I...

What's A Few Missing Frames? Dept. (2008/09/02 11:18)
So what's the deal with Criterion's new edition of Salò missing a few seconds of footage as opposed to the BFI UK version? The whole story is far more interesting than you might imagine. My original theory was a permissions...

Don't Mess With Texas Dept. (AnimeFest 2008) (2008/09/02 08:57)
About time I got caught up, hm? This is a long one, so I'll put everything after the cut....

ATTENTION: ANIMEFEST 2008 COUPON CODE HOLDERS! (2008/09/02 08:54)
Note: To all those who replied, thank you -- I haven't forgotten about you. I've just been dealing with a horrid case of the flu for the past two days. I'm hoping to have all the pending orders fulfilled by...

Rashōmon And 17 Other Stories (Ryūnosuke Akutagawa) (2008/08/30 03:05)
Most of us English-speaking folks know the word “Rashōmon”, if only as a synonym for “conflicting points of view” and not as the title of a classic work of Japanese short fiction. A fair number of us know Akira Kurosawa,...

The Postman Rang Twice (2008/08/27 02:13)
No, seriously. First he showed up with the regular mail, and then he showed up with a big ol' carton full of copies of The Four-Day Weekend, for sale at AnimeFest 2008. The books looks great -- with one minor...

Dororo Volume 3 (2008/08/27 12:23)
When you open what you know to be the last volume of a manga series, you tend to go in with preconceptions or second guesses about how everything’s going to turn out. With Dororo, I thought I had all the...

Books In The Offing! (2008/08/26 12:54)
According to the fine folks at the U.S. Postal Service, the copies of Four-Day Weekend that I'll be selling at AnimeFest have shipped and should be in my hands before I make like a banana for Dallas. This'll be something of...

Come See What The Weekend's All About (2008/08/25 01:44)
You've been hearing me crowing about The Four-Day Weekend for long enough -- now it's time to actually see for yourself! I've posted the first chapter sampler (.PDF format) for 4DW, a cut-down version of the first several chapters of the...

Lala Pipo (Hideo Okuda) (2008/08/24 04:05)
Readers of Roger Ebert’s reviews columns will probably remember his discussions of the “hyperlink genre”, a variety of movie where multiple plot threads intertwine, overlap, lead into and out of each other, and sometimes strap on crash helmets and collide....

The Names, They Are A-Changin' Dept. (2008/08/24 01:22)
You might have noticed by now that the title bar for the site now reads "Genji Press" instead of just "Serdar" or "TheGline.com." This is the next step in my gradual rebranding of the site as GenjiPress.com, which I'll be...

Getting Vertical Dept. (2008/08/24 12:03)
Friday night I sojourned into Manhattan for a visit to the small but gloriously productive offices of Vertical, Inc. for a roundtable discussion about the Guin Saga books, hosted by none other than Vertical's Editorial Director, Ioannis Mentzas. Joining us...

Lucky Star DVD 1 (2008/08/22 10:25)
Andy Warhol once made an eight-hour movie of nothing but the Empire State Building at night. Ditto a five-hour movie of his friend (poet John Giorno) asleep on a couch. Ditto a twenty-five hour movie cobbled together from endless reels...

The End Of A Very Small Era (2008/08/21 08:49)
There's a part of me that still feels like I have something to do, but I know there isn't. Last night I sent the files for Four-Day Weekend to the printer's. After the usual endless round of checking and cross-checking, tweaking...

Recently, On Amazon Pt. 1 (2008/08/21 12:09)
An Actor's Revenge (titled here Revenge of a Kabuki Actor) is finally getting a U.S. release thanks to the good folks at AnimEigo. They've done really splendid gap-filling work when it comes to domestic editions of classic samurai titles,...

Northern Exposure Dept. (2008/08/20 08:13)
Slowly, with the help of its southern brother, North Korea may be changing from an iron-curtained isolate into an actual international player that does more than manufacture, say, counterfeit Viagra. The biggest tool shaping that changeover: Kaesong Industrial Park, a...

Get Your Game On Dept. (2008/08/20 12:15)
My friend Eric has fired up his blog, Gone In 60 FPS, which is highly gaming-centric. Now that I've inherited Sarah's old PS2 and unearthed my old Dreamcast (which, amazingly, still works) I have the distinct feeling I'm going to...

Let The Exhaustion Commence (2008/08/17 01:06)
At just a few minutes shy of 1PM today, I completed the third-draft edits for The Four-Day Weekend. I've since sent the edits on to my readers -- who, with any luck, will be sending me back corrections before I...

Spirited Academia Dept. (2008/08/16 03:42)
Here's how you know you've arrived: Your movie is the subject of a BFI Film Classics monograph. (See my review, too.)...

Bluterion Dept. (2008/08/16 01:01)
Criterion's announced pricing and availability for their first Blu-ray titles! Bottle Rocket Chungking Express The Third Man The Man Who Fell to Earth The Last Emperor All of these are $31.96 from the Criterion store (with an SRP of $39.95,...

Adventures In Air Travel Dept. (2008/08/15 11:54)
My friend Mike is finally back home, safe and sound, in Seattle where he belongs. Getting him there turned out to be an adventure and a half. On Tuesday, I took him to the airport (JFK) under the impression that...

Yet Another Rave For Summerworld (2008/08/13 08:27)
Call me absentminded, just don't call me late for dinner! A (positive) review of Summerworld went up at Gloria Oliver's blog a ways back and I totally freakin' forgot to link to it. Silly me....

Another Rave -- From The Lulu Book Review Blog (2008/08/13 08:15)
The Lulu Book Review Blog has an enthusiastic and spot-on review of Summerworld: Serdar was one of the very first authors to query his book to us here at LLBR when we were getting started, and we almost passed on...

Me And The Devil Blues Vol. #1 (2008/08/04 12:40)
When Adam and Eve were banished from Paradise, I was born. With the descendants of Adam and Eve, I was stolen away … and thrown into a new world. And in this land I was raised, amid the suffering of...

Sumi: The Art of Vagabond (2008/08/01 12:42)
In December of last year I stood less than ten feet away from Takehiko Inoue and watched him as he painted with sumi ink on a blank wall, where a single mistake would have scotched the whole job. He was...

Kujibiki Unbalance Graphic Novel 1 (2008/07/30 09:49)
The manga of Kujibiki Unbalance may well be one of the strangest in-jokes ever perpetrated on any fandom. It didn’t exist as an actual product for a long time—in fact, a part of me wishes it didn’t exist, period. But...

Vocabulary Dept. (2008/07/28 04:34)
The other day someone used the word "sheeple" in response to a blog post. The original post was about someone who had used an unconventional bit of formatting in their book, and the reply was ... well, the fact that...

Zaregoto 1: Book 1: The Kubikiri Cycle (2008/07/27 11:32)
Reading Zaregoto is a little like watching someone doing one of those wild juggling acts where they swap clubs for flaming torches for bowling balls for chainsaws, all without dropping anything on the floor. It’s a slick, addictive Japanese pop-literary...

*Phut* Dept. (2008/07/26 10:54)
It's possible to be exhausted and happy at the same time, but I think I've discovered new prolongations of each this time around. I got back from OSCON way early this morning -- my flight lapsed over into the a.m.,...

Forty-Two Dept. (2008/07/18 09:53)
After a bit more tire-kicking I've upgraded to the newest pre-release beta of Movable Type 4.2, which fixed some issues I was having with cached templates not rebuilding correctly. I'm still tweaking some of the template layouts as well,...

Parasyte Graphic Novel 3 (2008/07/17 11:02)
When I was younger I used to play creepy games with myself where I’d pretend that everyone else except me was an alien. Eventually the fun wore off and I turned to reading SF and comics to get my share...

Taste Less, Pt. 2 Dept. (2008/07/17 09:38)
I think I got more responses -- and more good ones -- about yesterday's post than I've received about nearly anything I've posted lately. I went back and took another look at it, and realized a lot of what I...

Taste Less Dept. (2008/07/16 04:58)
Not long ago I was a member of a mailing list that talked about avant-garde music, and one of the posts to the list made it into my clippings file. I stupidly deleted the original message, so I am not...

Black Magic (2008/07/15 08:10)
There’s no question in my mind that Dark Horse is doing the right thing by remastering and reissuing their back catalog of Masamune Shirow titles: Orion, Dominion, Ghost in the Shell. There’s also no question in my mind that Shirow’s...

Blade of the Immortal Vol. #3: Dreamsong (2008/07/13 09:12)
“Beautiful” and “deadly” are two words that seem fated to go hand-in-hand in most manga. They certainly apply to Makie the geisha, a woman of both uncommon loveliness and unearthly skill with her choice of weapons. A woman that gorgeous...

4DW: Phase Two (2008/07/13 06:36)
The edits for The Four-Day Weekend (formerly The New Golden Age) began in earnest this past week. 50 out of 300 pages is 1/6th of the manuscript -- not bad for only a couple days' work! That said, this is...

DTRT Dept. (2008/07/11 02:35)
The July 2008 edition of Dean Sluyter's Questions column provides two answers to the old standby "How can I get enlightened?" The first answer has one graf I particularly liked: The Eightfold Path is not a program of accumulating merit...

The Guin Saga: Book 5: The Marches King (2008/07/11 12:44)
The best thing about the fifth book in the Guin Saga is, in a way, also the worst thing. At last, the five-volume “Marches Episode”—the first five of the hundred-plus Guin novels—has come to the smashing conclusion it deserves. But...

Vexille - 2077: Isolation Of Japan (2008/07/10 04:52)
Vexille is a CGI demo reel that didn’t know when to call it quits. Sure, anyone with even a passing interest in digital filmmaking will be absorbed by it, and there are countless frames that more than pass the Desktop...

Cowa! (2008/07/09 01:03)
“From the creator of Dragon Ball Z!” proudly proclaims the blurb on the cover of Cowa!. Not being a DBZ fan, I wasn’t sure how much of a selling point this was going to be for me. But what a...

On Wings At Last Dept. (2008/07/08 11:25)
Thomas M. Disch is dead. The author of _Camp Concentration_, _On Wings of Song_ and, yes, _The Brave Little Toaster_ committed suicide at the age of 68 after life dealt him a few too many blows: an apartment fire, deaths...

Dance in the Vampire Bund Volume #1 (2008/07/07 10:17)
Nozomu Tamaki’s Dance in the Vampire Bund (I know, whatta title) is one of those books where a manga-ka normally known for adult material turns around and creates something for—gasp—relatively mainstream audiences. In fact, given the nature of this story...

Basilisk: Box Set (2008/07/06 12:59)
Once again, I’m fighting the urge to collapse into complete blathering fandom. Basilisk is as grand and glorious an anime as anyone could ask for, violent and beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I love most any show that taps...

Mushi-shi Vol. 1 (2008/07/03 01:30)
Miranda: O, wonder!How many goodly creatures are there here!How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,That has such people in’t! Prospero: ’Tis new to thee. —Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene 1 One of the creepier epiphanies I had in...

Witchblade Vol. #5 (2008/07/03 01:28)
You know a series has been more than worth the time when you come to a volume that’s almost entirely character development—almost no action worth speaking of—and at the same time you’re not the slightest bit bored. That’s the latest...

Shinobi: Heart Under Blade [Blu-ray] (2008/07/03 01:26)
Shinobi: Heart Under Blade is a live-action adaptation of Fûtaro Yamada’s ninja-adventure novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, which in turn inspired the manga and anime Basilisk—so with a pedigree like that it ought to be a knockout. It’s stuffed with...

Machine Girl (2008/07/03 01:16)
Machine Girl is all the proof you need that low-budget exploitation cinema is alive and well. Instead of looking for it in the now-demolished fleapit theaters of Times Square, it’s coming to you in the comfort of one’s own living...

Metropolitan Dept. (2008/07/03 11:39)
Hell just froze over _again_. bq. Film archivists at the Museo del Cine (Cinema Museum) in Buenos Aires have recently uncovered the lost footage from Fritz Lang's original 1927 version of Metropolis in 16mm negatives! ... Apparently a copy of...

Jack. Black Jack. -- Dept. (2008/07/01 03:52)
Gloryowsky and praise be! "Vertical, Inc.":http://www.vertical-inc.com's site now has a web page for their edition of Osamu Tezuka's "Black Jack":http://vertical-inc.com/blackjack/index.html. Be sure to check out the free preview as well, which is drawn from a story that has never been...

Keerieteryin Dept. (2008/06/29 10:06)
Criterion's gone on a bit of a Max Ophuls binge, much to our benefit. Look for versions of "The Earrings of Madame de... ":http://criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=445, "La ronde":http://criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=443 and "Le plaisir":http://criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=444 in stores this September. They've also picked up Ozu's "Autumn Afternoon":http://criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=446...

Completion! (2008/06/29 06:10)
The first draft of _The Four-Day Weekend_, formerly _The New Golden Age_, is complete. 6:08 PM, Sunday June 29 2008. 117,022 words. _Fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit_ ("May your dreams last longer than the night")...

Be Unfamiliar Dept. (2008/06/26 07:06)
Robert Rauschenberg once said: I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I am doing. I've used a bunch of different euphemisms...

アマゾン Dept. (2008/06/25 12:38)
(That's "Amazon", for those without UTF-8.) * Osamu Tezuka's _Dororo_ is now coming to domestic DVD courtesy of Universal. Conventional DVD only; no word about a Blu-ray. Runtime 139 minutes, so it's probably not edited. (Mieko Harada of _Ran_ also...

Yon and Hither Dept. (2008/06/24 06:53)
A quick skip-and-jump through some recent items of interest... Bertrand Russell's An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (probably public domain). Even if you're no fan of Russell's stances on religion, his reasoning for each of his points is defended with spirit...

×××HOLiC: First Collection (2008/06/23 10:36)
Some guys have all the luck, but high-schooler Kimihiro Watanuki is not one of those guys. Instead of being a chick magnet, as someone his age rightfully deserves to be, he’s a weirdness magnet. Supernatural beasties and bumps-in-the-night of all...

Frog Dept. (2008/06/20 11:53)
As in, I've been hopping about, and haven't had much time to keep people posted about what's happening on this end. Spent Dad's Day with Dad & Mom, as you can well imagine, watching Turkey beat the Czech Republic...

Cheap Blu Dept. (2008/06/17 12:57)
Amazon has the five-disc Blade Runner Collector's Edition on Blu-ray for a mere $15. Not a typo. This in addition to a ton of other deals that are meant to compete with Wal-Mart's recent price breaks on BD as well....

Out from the Caves Dept. (2008/06/14 10:06)
After reading Tun-huang I wondered about the collection of material salvaged from the caves, as described in that book, but I didn't realize the whole thing is slowly being put on the web. Absolutely fascinating stuff....

Strange Loops Dept. (2008/06/13 11:59)
An interview with Douglas R. Hofstader of Gödel, Escher, Bach fame; he's long been one of my favorite thinkers, and it's nice to see him still in fine form. He also had a few pithy things to say about...

Import Duties Dept. (2008/06/12 11:31)
A Japanese Region A Blu-ray edition of Avalon [my review] will be hitting stores later this year. It's pricy -- $75 -- but it has English subs, and I'm not sure this will be released domestically in that form anytime...

Violent Cop (2008/06/12 02:22)
The key to Violent Cop is not in the violent moments, but in the shots where Detective Azuma (Takeshi Kitano) just stands there. Late in the movie, after he has been thrown off the force and his friend has...

Amazonica Dept. (2008/06/11 11:52)
It's been a while -- look what bubbled up! HELL FREEZES OVER ALERT! Peter (War Game / Punishment Park) Watkins's Privilege, long out of print and next to impossible to find, has been given a July 29 release on DVD...

Dororo Volume 2 (2008/06/11 08:15)
Here’s something I could never have made up. On the way back from A-KON this year, I dug out some of the manga I’d bought for the plane ride back home and started reading. One of the books was Buichi...

Stuff Blus Up [sic] Real Good Dept. (2008/06/11 03:20)
A piece in Sound & Vision Magazine talks about the five biggest reasons a given movie is selected for a Blu-ray release. Reason #1 is that said title fits in the "home theater demo disc fodder" category -- or,...

Hatchet Job Dept. (2008/06/11 12:00)
Roger Ebert proved to us that you can take great pleasure in going to town on a bad movie, but I worry about people who make a habit of seeking out awfulness for its own sake. That said, this...

Pixel-Stained Peasant Wretch, Etc. Dept. (2008/06/09 01:40)
A recent column by Paul Krugman in the Times noted that in the digital age, the old business models of delivering content are going to die no matter what anyone wants.A subsequent letters column contained many reactions: It's  looking like...

The Yagyū Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan Vol. #3 (2008/06/07 08:50)
Nothing like seeing a series hitting its stride. The Yagyū Ninja Scrolls had a slow first volume, but picked up swiftly the second time out, and now its third installment follows nicely in the same vein. Come to think of...

Kurohime Vol. 6 (2008/06/07 01:55)
I gotta be honest: At first, with Kurohime, my frustration overshadowed nearly everything else. From what I’d seen of volumes one and two, the series sported great potential but hadn’t quite achieved liftoff. Now, however, by volume 6, the story’s...

What I Did On My Spring Break Dept. (2008/06/04 01:02)
In a word: A-KON. The major highlight of the event was meeting, talking to, buying stuff from and giving support to none other than Peter S. Beagle. His legal battles are coming to a head as of the end...

This Is Where I Get All Personal Dept. (2008/05/24 12:34)
Time for some personal stuff (gasp): 1) My 13th wedding anniversary was this past Tuesday.  Huzzah!  There are people who don't make it a quarter of that length, from everything I've seen -- there was a friend of the family...

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2008/05/24 12:24)
When I lived in New York City, I was within walking distance of no less than two major Japanese bookstore chains, Asahiya and Kinokuniya. Stepping into either one of those stores was both exhilarating and depressing. I looked at...

Maid Machinegun (2008/05/20 12:50)
I don’t think I’ve yet used the term “by the fans, for the fans” to describe anything I’ve reviewed here, but Maid Machinegun cries out for that label. It’s a novel set in one of the stranger corners of...

Orion [Remastered] (2008/05/17 11:47)
First, an admission of prejudice. I bought and read Orion back when it was in a much earlier trade paperback printing, and had many unkind things to say about it. It was, I claimed then, the embodiment of all Masamune...

Criterionizer Dept. (2008/05/16 07:22)
It wouldn't be a month without a set of Criterion releases, would it? First and most controversial: their completely revised edition of Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, the movie that "burns a hole in the screen"...

Pleasantly Vexing Dept. (2008/05/13 07:15)
The official website and trailer for the U.S. edition of Vexille has gone online. I was pleased with the CGI Appleseed movie, so this promises to be worth it as well. Both DVD and Blu-ray versions are promised for...

Of Hither and Thither Dept. (2008/05/13 01:59)
A profile of Tan Dun, the composer who gave us (among other things) the soundtrack to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but isn't simply being pigeonholed as a film-music creator. Japan's crow problem demands creative solutions, especially in a country...

Mom Dept. (2008/05/12 12:20)
Had a splendid Mother's Day outing with both sides of the family.  This may be the last time I see the in-laws for a bit, as they're headed off on a cruise (lucky them!), and my own folks are contemplating...

Toto! The Wonderful Adventure Vol. #1 (2008/05/07 09:28)
Kakashi, or “Scarecrow”, is aptly named. He’s a scrawny little tyke with an unruly bush of pale hair, a ragged suit of clothes and a head stuffed full of dreams. One day he’s going to cut loose from his little...

Criterion In Blu Dept. (2008/05/07 09:08)
The title should tell it.  Criterion is preparing its first wave of Blu-ray releases for this coming October.  Here's the list: The Third ManBottle RocketChungking ExpressThe Man Who Fell to EarthThe Last EmperorEl NorteThe 400 BlowsGimme ShelterThe Complete Monterey PopContemptWalkaboutFor...

Stainless Steel Dept. (2008/05/06 11:40)
Iron Man was everything I had hoped it would be and more. A more coherent discussion of it will have to wait until I have a disc of the movie in hand, but a) go see it now; it...

All In Several Days' Work Dept. (2008/05/05 04:14)
The one-two punch of work and real life has left me without a great deal to talk about as of late, but here's some tidbits. My last bit of foraging at Book-Off turned up a fun new manga: Batten,...

Vampire Hunter D Novel Volume 10: Dark Nocturne (2008/05/04 12:10)
Dark Nocturne may be one of the best bargains in the whole of the Vampire Hunter D series so far: it’s three D adventures for the price of one. What’s most interesting is that any one of these novellas feels...

Collapse 12 Floors (Merzbow) (2008/05/01 11:46)
Masami Akita seems to have four major sources of inspiration for the work he releases under the name Merzbow: “scum culture” (his term for pornography, fetish/bondage material, horror/gore, etc.), pure abstraction, animal and nature rights (viz., F.I.D., Bloody Sea, Turmeric,...

Chinese Hero -Tales of the Blood Sword- Volume 3 (2008/05/01 11:25)
One of the first Hong Kong movies I ever saw was a totally mad production named Savior of the Soul (co-written by none other than HK indie-film maverick Kar-Wai Wong). Any five minutes of that movie have more back-to-back action...

A Summerworld Rave From None May Say (2008/04/29 09:29)
The None May Say blog, by a fellow who "[spends his] free time searching out POD ("Personal Outlay Developed" or, more traditionally, "Publish On Demand") books, movies and music", has just published a rave review of Summerworld. With no...

Lifting the Dark Dept. (2008/04/29 11:50)
The guys at The Digital Bits made my day, and probably my week.New Line (via Warner) is releasing a Dark City: Director's Cut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 7/29 (SRP $19.97 and $34.99). According to the studio's press information,...

Nightmare Inspector Vol. #2 (2008/04/28 06:21)
The more I see of Nightmare Inspector, the more I hope it doesn’t just slip through the cracks and go unnoticed. This has to be one of Viz’s better mainstream acquisitions, a title that satisfies both me the critic and...

In Blu Dept. (2008/04/25 11:35)
Mega Star, one of the bigger DVD producers in Hong Kong, has released some information about new and forthcoming Blu-ray titles.  The Asian DVD Guide site has an image, but it might disappear at some point in the future.  Days...

Phoenix, Vol. 12: Early Works (2008/04/25 10:12)
I feel as though I am condemned to write nothing but lamentations for Osamu Tezuka whenever I read a new translation of one of his manga. It’s heartbreaking to know that the man responsible for so many brilliant productions has...

Lunar Legend Tsukihime Volume 5 (2008/04/25 10:10)
The fifth volume of Lunar Legend Tsukihime is a slowing-down and a summing-up, a way for both the creators and the audience to catch their collective breaths. There’s nowhere nearly the level of action found in the previous volumes, but...

Criterionizer Dept. (2008/04/23 09:37)
I goofed and forgot to report Criterion's reissuing Akira Kurosawa's High and Low in a newly-remastered edition, along with a slew of other new titles.  Carl Theodore Dreyer's Vampyr, another of the new arrivals, looks like something else I'll...

A Weekend That's Not A Weak End Dept. (2008/04/21 03:33)
I haven't checked in for a while, but that's only because I've been running around like mad in the best possible way. I spent the weekend at New York Comic-Con, talking to publishers, creators and fans alike. Phil Yeh and...

Bestial Machinery (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) (2008/04/21 01:49)
There comes a certain point after which being extreme for its own sake stops becoming interesting, and you have to actually be creative. This was the problem I had with Masonna, and why I lost interest with them in favor...

An update.... (2008/04/16 12:28)
Just so people don't think I've dropped dead (I haven't). I'm in the process of merging all the blogs I've been managing into one single site, with this being the first of the bunch. Don't expect anything to change immediately,...

The Guin Saga, Book 4: Prisoner of the Lagon (2008/04/15 04:55)
I’m going to use an adjective to describe the fourth Guin Saga book, Prisoner of the Lagon, which might seem completely out of place for this most fast-moving and hard-hitting of adventures: introspective. After the full-bore action extravaganzas of the...

Dororo Vol. 1 (Osamu Tezuka) (2008/04/14 12:26)
Tezuka's mythic fantasy of a man whose body was ransomed by demons is a great and compelling piece of work.

Metro Survive Vol. 1 (2008/04/11 11:19)
Grim story of modern survival in the aftermath of an earthquake covers little more than that but does it well.

What Happened To My Week? Dept. (2008/04/11 05:07)
Between work and ... well, work, I haven't had much time to post. Time to fix that with a quick rundown of interesting stuff. I've upgraded to the newest beta version of Movable Type, and am reporting bugs as I...

The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair (2008/04/06 05:48)
The first of Kei and Yuri's riotous cosmic-slapstick adventures, in English for the first time.

Good Friday Dept. (2008/04/05 12:00)
It was a good Friday, a very good Friday -- one that featured a trip into the city, time spent with loved ones, and a meal at a terrific Chinese noodle restaurant that we more or less blundered across by...

Unnatural History (Coil) (2008/04/02 02:55)
Unnatural History was the second of many Coil albums that compiled a slew of non-album tracks in one central form, if only as a footnote for the completists. Before this was the “stopgap / breathing space” of Gold is the...

4/1 Dept. (2008/04/01 09:57)
Well, what did you expect? Rick Astley? Actually, I'd already Rickrolled several friends of mine elsewhere -- and was tied up with work in general, so I didn't really have the wherewithal to come up with any kind of April...

Things To Do Dept. (2008/03/31 02:19)
In the next week or so I'm going to begin the next phase of the consolidation of all the disparate sites I've been managing.  The individual book blogs are all going to get slurped up and redirected, along with the...

Gunsmith Cats: Burst Vol. #3 (2008/03/30 10:13)
Back in my review of the last Gunsmith Cats omnibus, I figured out what makes this series such a blast: the contrasts. The Cats stories take place in an action-movie universe of guns, cars, computers, bombs, babes, and dudes, where...

Gunsmith Cats Revised Edition Vol. 4 (2008/03/30 01:27)
If you read the fourth Gunsmith Cats anthology and complain that it’s “unrealistic” or “improbable”, my response to you will be to yank the book out of your hands, smack your pinkies with it (it’s heavy, be warned), and give...

Hither and Thither Dept. (2008/03/29 07:38)
A defamation suit against Kenzaburo Oe was thrown out of Japanese court, one originally leveled against Oe due to his assertion that the Japanese military was involved in the mass suicides of Okinawan civilians during WWII (something which had been...

Prize Find Dept. (2008/03/27 01:20)
I keep an Amazon wish list of books on Japan which I periodically browse to see whether or not given titles have shown up cheap (i.e., as ex-library copies, which are usually only a couple of bucks even with shipping). ...

J-Words Dept. (2008/03/24 02:52)
While updating some older movie-related entries I bumbled into a Wikipedia entry about the longest novels currently known, with the serial novel (Nakazato Kaizan's Daibosatsu Toge) that inspired Sword of Doom as one of the entries.  5.7 million Japanese characters is...

Transparent (Zos Kia / Coil) (2008/03/23 09:13)
This is, strictly speaking, the first Coil album in name—but it’s probably not the first Coil album to start with, if only because you won’t have much of an introduction to Coil through it. Come to think of it, anyone...

Yoshitaka Amano: The Art of Vampire Hunter D (2008/03/23 06:00)
Beautiful, period.

Paper Dept. (2008/03/23 01:04)
From the NY Times Paper Cuts blog, a piece about bookshelf etiquette. If I buy something and read it and realize I've finished with it, it goes into a shelf that's reserved for giveaways.  I've donated sizable chunks of my...

East Is East Dept. (2008/03/21 04:05)
A piece about Asia Week in New York, courtesy of the Times. Memo to self: win lottery, move back into NYC at first convenience....

The Dirty Pair Strike Again (2008/03/20 08:45)
Kei and Yuri are back, and it's STILL not their fault.

Dreaming On Dept. (2008/03/20 12:22)
Like a lot of other movie/comics/anime fans, I sit around with friends and muse about the possibility of this or that show or book being made into a live-action movie.  Here's a quick updated run-down of my current wish list...

Blood+: Volume #1 (2008/03/18 04:24)
First season of the intriguing expansion of the eye-filling Production I.G short film.

Hither and Thither Dept. (2008/03/18 09:57)
Fascinating article in the Times about how some art from Disney ended up in a janitorial closet in a university in Japan.  A long, strange trip indeed. A new box set that culls together 13 hours of shorts from...

Irregularly Expressed Dept. (2008/03/17 02:40)
One of the "fun" things I did with Movable Type (note the sarcasm quotes) was create some special URL handlers.  F'rinstance, if I want to link directly to an Amazon product, I just have to create a URL that points...

J-Library 2 Dept. (2008/03/16 04:55)
Some more stuff from the Japan-studies bookshelf for your perusal... The Nobility of Failure, Ivan Morris: I've mentioned this book many times before, and it would be a huge mistake for me to omit mention of it in one of...

Mon Mon Dept. (2008/03/15 02:05)
A fantastic site that has .EPS versions of just about every Japanese clan crest, or kamon.  I have a Dover paperback that has a catalog of them as well, but having them in this form is just about indispensable.  (I...

The Wallflower (Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge) Vol. #14 (2008/03/15 12:07)
It actually doesn’t take a lot to make me laugh. Give me a comic with a funny premise, and chances are I’ll be doubled over in my seat. A manga with a funny premise is only half the story, though—you...

Eye of the Beholder Dept. (2008/03/14 02:59)
Now I have a reason to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art sooner rather than later: a spectacular exhibition of Chinese scroll paintings. The exhibition runs through August 10, which gives me plenty of time to check it out...

The Blu Knight Dept. (2008/03/14 01:36)
Batman Begins has just been announced for Blu-ray.  There's an Amazon SKU for it already, too, so you can sign up to get notification for when it's officially solicited.  The word is it'll drop around July or so, when the...

Paterson's Way Dept. (2008/03/13 08:56)
Now that Spitzer is stepping down as governor of New York, attention has turned to his replacement -- Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who is legally blind.  His perspectives on his own situation are well worth reading. I'm close to more...

No Country For Old Wars Dept. (2008/03/11 12:39)
"The Spoils of War in Peaceable Sweden" deals with a show at the Swedish Royal Armory (in Stockholm) called "War Booty": Speaking of northern Europe, Roger Ebert has a look at Ordet, a Danish Great Movie from a ways...

Blood +: Part One (2008/03/10 10:49)
Blood+ is, of course, the TV series that expands on the universe and characters established by Production I.G’s short film Blood: The Last Vampire. The TV show also comes to us courtesy of Production I.G, and while it’s not quite...

J-Library Dept. (2008/03/09 09:57)
One of the shelves I keep next to the desk is my quick-reference library for all things Japanese -- which is proving itself more and more useful over time, especially with the research I've been doing for the hero story...

Nightmare Inspector Vol. #1 (2008/03/09 12:29)
Japan’s Taishō era, so named for its emperor then, lasted from 1910 to 1925—a time obsessed with death and downfall. Suicide pacts, madness, and perversity filled the popular culture of the era, as documented in places like Edogawa Rampo’s mystery...

Sokoban Dept. (2008/03/08 10:32)
You've probably noticed a lot of stuff getting shoved around and appearing and disappearing and whatnot.  That's going to continue happening for quite a while.  A lot of the legacy data that I migrated into the new instance of MT...

RareBay Dept. (2008/03/07 05:42)
A rarely-seen copy of Toru Takemitsu's complete 2-disc score for Kurosawa's Ran is up on eBay (follow the image link). I've got plans to eventually snap up a copy ... when I'm not between paychecks....

Yagyū Ninja Scrolls, The: Revenge of the Hori Clan Vol. #2 (2008/03/07 03:04)
Always a good feeling, to open the second volume of a series and see that it’s leaps and bounds above the first volume. And I wanted that to be the case with The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: it’s based on a...

MW (Osamu Tezuka) (2008/03/06 03:30)
The other day I was trying to describe to someone how both prolific and talented Osamu Tezuka was, and for lack of any better way to express it I said, “He left behind masterpieces as freely as a tree gave...

Ketchup Dept. (2008/03/06 02:20)
Busy week on this end, but time for some tomato sauce: A piece in today's Times about a variety of solar power that doesn't use photovoltaics, but instead heating a vessel to generate steam via a mirror array.  I've seen...

Don't Run, We Are Your Friends Dept. (2008/03/05 02:50)
I've followed news reports in the past about the underground railroad that exists in North Korea to aid escape to China or other countries. If you want to ride that particular railroad, you'll need money or some other way to...

... (2008/03/04 09:31)
R.I.P Gary Gygax. I don't think I would have met a good chunk of my friends if it weren't for what he's given all of us....

Boondoggled Dept. (2008/03/03 10:29)
In a blind test, which do you think sounds better: audiophile cable, or coat hangers?The answers may surprise you....

What You Know Dept. (2008/03/03 01:50)
There was discussion elsewhere about the whole "write what you know" debate, and about how that relates to things like fantasy and SF.  Someone I know is taking a writing course, and the teacher appears to be discouraging the...

Peter Gabriel ("Melt") (Peter Gabriel) (2008/03/03 10:57)
I have no other record in my current collection apart from Peter Gabriel’s third album (“Melt”) that can drive me right to tears no matter what the circumstances. The 1982 edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide described this album...

Criterionator Dept. (2008/02/29 07:51)
...how could I let this slip past me? New from Criterion: The Lovers: Louis Malle's 1958 production, with Jeanne Moreau (of his previous Elevator to the Gallows, with a score by Miles Davis). The Fire Within: Malle's 1963 release...

Interlingua Dept. (2008/02/29 01:19)
While doing research for an article about machine translation, I happened to remember a piece of trivia: The biggest and most authoritative Japanese-English dictionary out there is affectionately referred to by its patrons and maintainers as the "Green Goddess", thanks...

From The Ground Up Dept. (2008/02/28 12:58)
Well, I've had to bulldoze most everything and start from scratch -- for the second time in a row -- but I think I'll have a smoother road going forward from here than I did before.  Again, I'm going to...

Monster Vol. #6 (2008/02/27 03:06)
Somewhere in the middle of the sixth volume of Monster I was hit with a wave of feelings that I’m not used to experiencing from a manga. It was something akin to what Roger Ebert talked about when he described...

Bride of the Water God Graphic Novel 2 (2008/02/25 03:07)
I am, I confess, of two minds about Bride of the Water God. As a romance it’s only middling, but as a visual spectacle, as a slice of Koreana (so to speak), it’s lovely and lush. The beauty and poetry...

Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula (2008/02/23 03:08)
Now here’s a premise for you. What if, after the events in Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Count Dracula had fled to Meiji-era Japan—that is, the 1880s, right when the country was just experiencing its first wave of Westernization? Why would...

Blood + Volume 1 TPB (2008/02/22 09:28)
It’s fascinating to discover all the different ways a given franchise can be implemented, and Blood: The Last Vampire has been put through its paces pretty aggressively now. What started as a 50-minute feature has been turned into a standalone...

Bookish Dept. (2008/02/21 01:39)
A nice bit from Timothy Egan at the Times about the pleasures of reading and printed books, even in the digital age.  He also takes time out to swipe at the probably-erroneous stats about who reads and who doesn't, and...

Andromeda Stories Graphic Novel 3 (2008/02/20 09:25)
Back when I read the first volume of Andromeda Stories I noted that any series that begins with the creation of the universe probably has no small amount of ambition in mind. The second volumefollowed suit and raised the bar...

Around And About Dept. (2008/02/20 01:19)
First off, the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD thing.  There's scarcely a warm body drawing breath by now that hasn't heard the news: Toshiba's thrown in the towel, and HD-DVD is soon to be an abandoned technology.  I banked on Blu-ray as...

Guin Saga: The Seven Magi Graphic Novel 3 (2008/02/19 09:30)

Guin Saga, The: Book 3: The Battle of Nospherus (2008/02/16 09:32)
Guin charges ahead and sweeps us along with him.

Odelay Dept. (2008/02/16 11:33)
I still haven't been able to iron out that weird Movable Type publishing issue, so for now I'm just going to work around it and post anyway.  Onward!! A bunch -- and I do mean a BUNCH -- of stuff...

myTunes Dept. (2008/02/13 04:52)
Some more new stuff that's been in the playlist recently: Pablo's Eye, You Love Chinese Food: One of two albums by an artist whom I know nothing about but would love to find more by.  It's a little like opening...

No Longer Stray Dept. (2008/02/12 06:49)
The Korean masterwork Stray Bullet (Obaltan) is getting a domestic DVD release.  I don't know if they found a better quality print for the film -- the version I have is the Korean release and was prepared from a print...

Blade of the Immortal Vol. #2: Cry of the Worm (2008/02/05 09:34)
Blade of the Immortal is shaping up to be one of the best arguments I’ve seen against living forever. There’s always a cost involved, and it’s usually not only paid in flesh and blood but spirit—and spirit is the one...

Rarecat Is Rare Dept. (2008/02/05 04:14)
An article in the Times about Japan's rare-and-getting-rarer iriomote.  (Fans of Azumanga Daioh, take heed!)...

Golgo 13 Vol. #13: Flagburner (2008/02/04 09:35)
Perhaps it’s a little unwieldy to start talking about a series just as it’s concluding its U.S. print run—but in Golgo 13's case, this last volume isn’t really the “end” anyway. It’s just the closing of a window that might...

Berserk Vol. #9 TPB (2008/02/02 09:43)
The older I get, the more I think there are few joys in life greater than the joy of knowing you’re not alone and few agonies greater than being abandoned—or abandoning others by choice. Small wonder I responded to Volume...

Purgatory Kabuki Volume 1 (2008/02/01 09:44)
Dear Yasushi Suzuki, I hope you’ll forgive me. I’m writing this to you today not simply as a critic, but as a fan—someone who saw your book The Art of Yasushi Suzuki and instantly began plotting how I could get...

Bondage Dept. (2008/01/27 09:25)
I just finished reading Casino Royale, the first of the Bond novels and of course the novel that was adapted into the newest of the Bond films.  There's a lot about the book that's dated -- Bond's innate sexism as...

Voluntary Illiteracy? Dept. (2008/01/26 03:55)
A piece in the Times about Amazon's Kindle got behind some of the usual statistics about the fact that "no one reads anymore".  It's something of a misinterpretation.  Those that do read more than make up for the many who...

Swag Dept. (2008/01/26 03:05)
The 5-disc Blade Runner set on Blu-ray arrived the other afternoon, at the store where I'd ordered it.  I'd actually gotten the 4-disc set on DVD from a friend as a belated gift, but I was able to swap it...

Women In Space Dept. (2008/01/25 01:11)
Deb Aoki, About.com's manga expert, spoke recently with To Terra... and Andromeda Stories creator/co-creator Keiko Takemiya....

myTunes Dept. (2008/01/24 12:10)
Over the last six months or so I find the list of records that spend the most time in my music player has evolved yet again.  Some of this stuff is material I want to review at length, but a...

Biblio-File Dept. (2008/01/23 02:57)
A piece in the Times entitled "Their House to Yours, via the Trash" talks about how book scavengers eke out a living on New York's mean (main?) streets.  The target of their hockery: the Strand Bookstore, a Mecca for booklovers...

Hero's Winding Path Dept. (2008/01/22 01:39)
In the commentary track for Kinji Fukasaku's film Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (a really outstanding piece of work that I will cover here shortly), there is some discussion of the covenant or pact that exists between rural...

Don't Miss This Dept. (2008/01/20 06:16)
The first installment in my ongoing series, What You're Missing, has gone up at AMN: What You're Missing, January 2008: Azumi Each month (sometimes more often, depending on what's at hand), What You're Missing will cover a different property, anime...

Look What's Coming Dept. (2008/01/20 02:38)
Never to be outdone, Criterion has once again grabbed up a title I thought I would never see in a legitimate edition: Blast of Silence, a New York City noir of such amazing nihilism that it's no wonder it almost...

Sunshine (2008/01/19 09:00)
Sunshine takes a movie premise that has been done to death and does it so well that it almost feels like this idea has never been tried before. There’s a whole subgenre of movies where an intrepid crack team...

Ketchup Dept. (2008/01/17 12:32)
Not a lot of posting going on due to work and various projects, but I thought I'd drop a few notes. New Golden Age is probably going to get a name-change after all.  The tentative new title I have is...

Post-Holiday Updates! (2008/01/10 10:09)
I hope everyone's 2007 holidays were terrific, and that you're all looking forward to even better things in 2008. Mine were, and I am! I've posted over at the New Golden Age blog about what's happening with that, my...

Close At Hand Dept. (2008/01/10 01:25)
I did some rearranging in the home office, and ended up with an empty shelf immediately to my right at eye level.  My first temptation was to fill it with the kinds of things that I like to pull out...

Dharma Chameleon Dept. (2008/01/09 12:29)
Somewhere along the way I bumped into a snippet about Richard Gere getting a dressing-down from the Dalai Lama.  It went something like this: the DL said [I'm paraphrasing], "Why do you make these movies?  You are only piling illusion...

What Really Happened Dept. (2008/01/09 12:07)
I haven't posted much in the last month or so, and I know it.  I've mainly been dividing my in-front-of-a-keyboard time between AMN, work and The New Golden Age, and between those three things I'm often left without a lot...

One Of Us Dept. (2008/01/07 12:45)
There's little that's more horrible than someone else going on this great vacation and coming back with a buncha photos and a lecture about this beach and that fishing spot and lookit all those people on the golf course --...

Swag Dept. (2008/01/06 11:51)
We had a belated birthday celebration here at my house for both myself and several friends -- backdated to December!  Some of the stuff I got is worth mentioning, both because I may write about them in the Books or...

Guin Saga: The Seven Magi Graphic Novel 2 (2008/01/01 11:36)
This may sound paradoxical, but I have more fun writing about the hard sell than the easy sell. The easy sell, I almost fall asleep at the keyboard: Great series, but you know that, you’re probably buying it as I...

Andromeda Stories Graphic Novel 2 (2008/01/01 11:35)
The first volume of Andromeda Stories dreamed big, took big risks, and got away with all of them. Here we had a far-future saga of man vs. machine that bristled with more creativity and wonder in its first book than...

Dominion TPB (4th Edition) (2008/01/01 11:34)
Dominion dates back from 1986, but I don’t mean “dates” in the sense that it’s “dated.” In fact, it’s probably one of the better things Masamune Shirow has done: it’s relatively easy to follow, funny, spirited, and doesn’t confuse story...

Hell Girl Vol. #3: Cherry (2008/01/01 11:33)
The first clues about Hell Girl's origin, after some repetition.

Glass Fleet -La Legende du Vent de L'Universe- Vol. #3 (2008/01/01 11:32)
I’ve written elsewhere that I would rather watch someone shoot high and go flat on their face than just play it safe and not take risks. The manga and anime I savor the most are the ones that stick their...

Mushi-shi Vol. #5 (2008/01/01 11:31)
O Hell! what doe mine eyes with grief behold,Into our room of bliss thus high advanc'tCreatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,Not Spirits, yet to heav'nly Spirits bright Little inferior … —Milton, Paradise Lost Thus spoke Satan on beholding Adam and...

Guin Saga, The: Book 2: Warrior in the Wilderness (2008/01/01 06:04)
1979 was a pretty good year to be a fan. Look at what was in theaters: the first Star Trek movie; Alien; the animated Lord of the Rings flick. And there was an even bigger kick waiting for us in...

Witchblade Vol. #3 (2008/01/01 06:03)
Three volumes in, and Witchblade is shaping up to be one of the better shows that’s come our way recently. At least some of that is due to the surprise factor, I think: I wasn’t expecting anythingfrom this Gonzo-produced adaptation...

Tanpenshu Vol. #2 (2008/01/01 01:11)
There’s got to be a way to talk about Tanpenshu #2 without scaring you all off. Think about it from my side, that’s all I ask. I’ve been trying to get this review written for two days, and I’ve shot...

Kanon Volume 1 (2008/01/01 01:07)
A moé masterwork (by other accounts) gets its U.S. release.

Glass Fleet -La Legende du Vent de L'Universe- Vol. #2 (2008/01/01 01:06)
The more I see of Glass Fleet, the more I slot it into what could be called the “good-bad-but-not-evil” category. Flawed or addled or fundamentally goofy as it might be, it is definitely not boring. It’s got plot contrivances you...

Real/Fake Princess Volume 5 (2008/01/01 10:19)
The great thing about Real/Fake Princess, for me, has been how it has kept the complete courage of its convictions. The bare outlines of the story are fairly standard romance fodder: a man and a woman, each one fiery and...

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