Month: July 2017

Today’s Tub Manga: I Hear the Sunspot

This was a really endearing, one-off, mellow book. Despite the BL tag, it’s very…tame.

I appreciated how easy it was to get sucked into the story despite it being just one volume. You quickly get a feel for the characters and their backstories. I guess the book is kind of like a warm sweater..? It was just “comfortable.”

One thing that interested me was how people made assumptions about Kohei’s disability and the ways they reacted to it, both well-meaning people and not-so-well-meaning people. It makes the reader think without coming across as preachy. This sounds ridiculous but the author did a great job of making Kohei’s hearing the focus yet not making it the focus. The bigger issue was Kohei’s difficulty interacting with people–in theory, anything (or many things) could have been the cause of that. For the sake of this story, it was a hearing disability. But it didn’t have to be. So that gave the story a unique twist while still keeping it easily relatable.

One minor thing–at first the font was difficult to me to get used to. It kind of felt like I was reading a scan. Fortunately, the story was compelling enough that I got over it.

 

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Today’s Tub Manga: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (volume 8)

I’m sure I’ve said this before but I LOVE this manga!

I was actually pleasantly surprised to get another volume so soon. This series just brightens my day. Every volume is hilarious to me.

In volume eight, we get some more great Wakamatsu/Seo interaction (?) made even more interesting by the inclusion of Seo’s older brother to really just screw things up. Misunderstandings abound (hilariously). We also get some super cute scenes with Hori and Kashima.

And I will never tire of Mikoshiba’s love of dating sims.

All in all, adorable and wonderful volume. Sakura still has her work cut out for her, but it’s all good.

Today’s Tub Manga: Princess Jellyfish (volume 5)

The first half of volume five (what would be volume nine of the Japanese edition) is all about Tsukimi’s budding love life…or it’s supposed to be. But for me, Hanamori stole the show. Maybe because the waffling of the Amars and the perpetual threat of eviction gets a bit overdone and exhausting that Hanamori is comic relief. Or maybe he’s just too strong a character and steals whatever scene he’s in.

I never really cared for the romance between Shu and Tsukimi because I felt that Kuranosuke actually knows her, whereas she can barely even talk to Shu. But I’ve rewatched the anime recently and while I still am not Team Shu, I can’t help but hear Junichi Suwabe’s voice when I read his lines. And he does do some adorably dorky and awkward things that I *almost* root for him in spite of myself.

But it always bothers me when someone is “in love” with a person they barely know. Perhaps I’m projecting but it’s a plot point that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

We’re getting into the stretch of Princess Jellyfish that has a lot more to do with the actual working side of fashion. Which is something I have zero interest in. I loved the initial dorkiness and comedy but once we get into hardcore fashion talk and try to sell dresses for real, I kind of zone out.

Aside from Hanamori being Hanamori, the upside of this volume is with Kuranosuke’s own self-examination. He could theoretically be in a lot more denial but I like that he’s willing to acknowledge he’s irritated with the romance between Tsukimi and his brother. I do like that despite everything kind of crashing down around him, he insists on pushing forward.

Today’s Tub Manga: Welcome to the Ballroom (volume 6)

I never thought I would be so in love with a story about professional dancing.

In volume six, Chinatsu gets a much bigger role and we learn some juicy (?) details about her past.

I wasn’t sure I’d like this volume as much since I didn’t really care for Chinatsu’s introduction in the previous volume but I actually really liked the details about the all-girl pairs. The technical side of this volume was very interesting to me and sucked me in. The whole concept of a good lead really intrigued me (maybe because in my limited dancing experience, every partner I’ve had yells at me for trying to lead?) and I especially loved how Tatara experienced a “good lead” and also decided that is not the type of lead he wanted to be. His consideration for his partner was just heartwarming.

Today’s Tub Manga: Planetes (volume 1)

I don’t know why I put off buying/reading this manga for so long, especially considering how much I love Vinland Saga. This is an excellent read.

The premise is intriguing and the story gets going right off the bat. I like how we’re just immersed in this world with minimal exposition and kind of just learn as we go along. At first I expected a bit more cohesion to the sequence of the story but I grew to like the random arcs. I especially got a kick out of the story of Fee searching for a smoke–it reminded me immensely of Hijikata’s similar predicament in Gintama.

On a more serious note, I was also blown away by the sequence where Hachimaki confronts his inner self while trying to recover from his isolation PTSD. It lined up so perfectly with so many “new age” books I’ve read that I just stared at the page for a while, amazed.

I don’t know that I really buy the Tanabe love interest, but it’s Makoto Yukimura so I’m willing to play along.

Toward the end of volume one, we start getting a more steamlined plot with a central focus, moving away from the one-off stories. I’m a sucker for surreal, high self experiences so I really liked the way this volume left us feeling: like bigger, greater things are out there waiting.

Today’s Tub Manga: My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness

Read this book.

If you’ve looked at My Brother’s Husband on Amazon, chances are you’ve then been recommended My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness.

I can see why it draws comparisons–they’re both amazing, well-written, and deal with complicated issues in very clear ways. However, whereas My Brother’s Husband is a bit more removed, more third-person, and kind of roundabout, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is very first-person, immediate, and full speed ahead.

So the style of delivery was very different but as with My Brother’s Husband, it only took me a few pages to know I was reading something above and beyond. Something life-changing. I would look at the world just a little differently after reading it.

The ending kind of brought me up short. But I thought to myself, “This is a story about real life. And real life doesn’t really have a tidy place for her to end the story.” So while it was almost uncomfortable at first, feeling like the end just “was there”…it was also kind of reassuring, that it fit the theme of the whole book, and like everything else it wasn’t perfect but it was good and that the author is still out there, doing her thing. Still working on herself, as we all should be.

Today’s Tub Manga: Berserk (volume 38)

**Spoilers Ahead!**

 

Listeners of the podcast know I’m an obsessive, incurable fan of Berserk. So when we finally got volume 38 after approximately a million years, I was really excited. I couldn’t wait to see Guts and see what he was up to now. I mean, it’d been so long I might’ve kind of forgotten what was even going on…

And for the vast majority of this volume, I was still wondering what Guts was up to and what was going on because it turns out this one is all about Rickert. Which isn’t a bad thing; I mean, I like Rickert. It was just unexpected and I started to have this weird feeling that Miura-sensei was trolling us readers and there wouldn’t be any Guts at all in this volume. (Turns out there was, at the very end. So I did get my Guts fix.)

Since I tend to lose track of what’s going on between volumes–I mean, there is a looooong time between–I checked out the opening recap and cast intro pages and was totally confused at Rickert’s because while I’d forgotten a lot, I knew that character bio was totally wrong. His name and picture was correct but the bio was of the goofy guy that’s engaged to Farnese.

Anyway, back to the actual story. It was great to see Rickert and Erica meet up with Luca and the girls. I got a kick out of the scene where they take Erica to the baths because, hey, baths are great. This volume is filled with some very intricate architecture and backgrounds and just panels full of insane detail. My brother always gets mad at me for glossing over those and not appreciating every little detail so this time, I tried to spend more time on those panels. Every time, I thought, “Hmm. This one probably took four months. Try to appreciate it.”

For me, the highlight of this volume was definitely Rickert’s meeting with Griffith. Considering Griffith’s creepy charismatic power over everyone, I was a bit worried at Rickert’s reaction to him and wondered if he’d be sucked into his spell. Instead, I smiled and was relieved and thought, “Bless you, Rickert.” I was really impressed with how that whole meeting was put together and the outcome was totally unexpected.

Then, at the end, we’ve finally arrived at Skellig Island. We get a strong dose of Puck being a total dork, which totally dilutes all the seriousness of the earlier 95% of the volume. But I did enjoy his, uh, backstory.

And then, of course, monsters appear and Guts is about to fight them because that’s what he does and…it ends. Quite abruptly. And in two more years or whenever the next volume comes out, I’m sure I will have forgotten that volume 38 ends with Guts about to fight a giant scarecrow monster.