june manga

Yet another big round-up of manga coming out in June Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden is coming out!!!!! I am so excited! I think in some ways this is a stronger series than Fushigi Yugi, because Watase has really matured as a writer and artist. I’ve read a few volumes of Genbu Kaiden (with my extremely limited Japanese), and it seems much less repetitive than Fushigi Yugi and the characters also seem more complex. Genbu Kaiden is going to be a must buy for me in June, along with Miki Aihara’s Tokyo Boys and Girls.

3 subtitled movies

So this was a big knitting and veg-out weekend for me! This is what I watched:

The Emperor and the Assassin – I’ve seen Farewell My Concubine, but somehow I missed seeing this movie which takes place in the third century before China was unified during the warring states period. Lady Zhao (Gong Li) and the King of Qin plot an excuse to go to war against the kingdom of Han. Lady Zhao will convince the Prince of Han to send an assassin kill the King, thus giving the King a perfect excuse to invade Han. As you would expect, this is a gorgeous epic, and you see the effects of power change the relationships between characters, causing loyalties to shift.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – My little sister suggested that I see this. I think the only other Bollywood movie I’ve seen is Lagaan, Bride and Prejudice is probably more Bollywood-lite than anything else. The first part of the film introduces Rahul, a widower, and his daughter Anjali. Although his wife (Tina) died shortly after she gave birth she managed to write 8 letters to her baby before she died, and her daughter is able to read a new letter on each birthday. In the eighth and final letter Anjali learns that when her father was in college his best friend was a tomboyish girl named Anjali, who loved her father. Tina, Rahul and Anjali were all friends although Rahul was of course oblivious to Anjali’s feelings and feel in love with Tina.
The first part of the movie is an extended flashback to college in the 80s, it had a bit of a Grease feel, except with more neon and the occasional fanny pack. The second half of the movie deals with little Anjali’s determination to find the perfect wife for her father. It ends up being a little like the Parent Trap, except without twins. I don’t really have a feel for the whole Bollywood aesthetic, because I get the sense that Lagaan might have toned down some of the usual excess. I’m guessing that Kuch Kuch Hota Hai might be a little more typical, the acting style sometimes reminded me of silent movies because it is very broad and there is so much emphasis on expressing emotions wordlessly. I guess if you don’t have a tolerence for extreme cheesiness and musical numbers, this type of movie is not for you. I don’t really mind cheese or singing and dancing, so I did enjoy this movie. I’m starting to think that more western movies should have a massive choreographed song and dance routine where people get pelted with floweres whenever anyone gets engaged or married. It just seems like the thing to do!!!!!

After Life – This was my favorite movie out of the three that I watched this weekend. I’d seen Kore-Eda’s Marboroshi years ago, but I didn’t manage to catch After Life when it was showing in movie theaters. In after life a group of people arrive at an ordinary building. They are assigned counsellors, who tell them that they can pick only one memory to take into the afterlife. Their chosen memory will be recreated, and after they relive their memory, they will forget everything else and move on into the afterlife. Kore-Eda’s movies have a slow-paced meditative style. The camera will frequently linger on elements like a chair and desk, an ordinary flower pot, the moon, or a room right after a character has left it. The plot develops slowly as you listen to people talk about their past lives in an attempt to pick their one defining memory. How is personality constructed by one’s experiences, and how are memories shaped? Revelations gradually unfold as the counsellors also share details of their lives with the people they are interviewing.

more wiki action, and summer manga

I’ve been turning my attention to some of the underdeveloped pages on the wiki recently, I’m trying to collect review links on the Indie and Art Comics page, and even though I have a ways to go, hopefully it will be a good resource when it is done.

Precocious Curmudgeon runs down manga releases in June, Antique Bakery certainly sounds cute, but I wonder how many manga titles about baking the market will bear. I’d be curious to take a look at the Yakitate Japan! manga if it ever gets translated.

I agree with Johanna’s take on the whole Danger of Shoujo Manga ‘essay’ link that was going around a few days ago.

Oh No, They Say She’s Got to Go

Go Go Bridezilla, Yeah!
Oh No, There Goes Tokyo!

I’m trying not to be a bridezilla and actually have a mellow approach to planning my wedding, as I will be married in approximately 14 months (?). Being a librarian my first impulse on getting engaged was to research, so I bought a bunch of scary bridal magazines and started lurking on indiebride. We have an idea for a location (can’t book it until this July), and officiant (my dad), an outline for the ceremony (modified Buddhist), I was obsessing over invitations last week and I found myself wondering if the colors sage and mocha were not summery enough for a June wedding. Because the invitation colors have to match the season of the wedding! That seemed a bit surreal. I registered a domain for a wedding web site (because my hosting company offers one free registration) because I think I should collect a ton of links and directions for all the out of town people who might be at a loss for things to do in central Illinois. I’m also wondering if it would be crazy to try to knit a chuppa…..

happy and unhappy media consumption

Unhappy: I checked out Jacqueline Carey’s book Banewreaker out of the library. I was hoping that I’d like this because I did enjoy the Kushiel triliogy. But I’m around 32 pages in and I’m struggling because the book seems to have contracted a horrible case of High Fantasy disease, what with having to suffer through a long creation myth prologue, and often Random Things of Great Import are capitalized. So far the chararcters seem to be more of a collection of mannerisms than people I would want to read about. I’ll give it a few more pages to see if it starts appealing to me more, otherwise I might give up on the book. I almost never give up on books!

Happy: I am loving the Grant Morrison mini-series Vimanarama. The art by Philip Bond is great, I love the storyline combining the problems of a modern day arranged marriage and the return of the Indian Gods.

Happy: I finally watched the first disk of Full Metal Alchemist, I tend to wait to watch most anime series (even when they are on Cartoon Network) on dvd because I like watching them in Japanese. I can definitely see the appeal of Full Metal Alchemist, the dynamic of the relationship between the brothers Edward and Alphonse, with “little brother” Alphonse encased in a big suit of armor, is great. There is a darker theme underlying the show that makes it feel a little different from a standard action anime.