anime, goodness, nerd

Spooky manga!

nothing like a creepy doll peeking through the window to keep you up at night

I showed Diminutive Roommate some manga the other night, specifically Mail of the horror genre, and let me tell you: she is freaked out.  It’s about a detective whose clients hire him to exorcise ghosts.  Spooky!  Diminutive Roommate is currently reading through the second issue in as many days.  She came into my room last night to sit on my bed with me while we both read our respective ghost stories because she didn’t want to read it alone.

One chapter involves a little girl who was stuck in an elevator.  As she climbed out, the elevator drops and chops off her legs.  At first, the ghost of just her legs is occasionally seen standing around in the elevator.  But the little girl dies a few years later, and a ghost of just her upper half can be seen dragging itself around the building in search of her legs.  Yikes.

Naturally, there was an article in the LA Times this morning about a woman who was in an elevator that got stuck between floors.  Apparently, she “climbed out of the elevator, but the car started moving again…The car dropped onto her, crushing her.”  She died.  I sent the article to Diminutive Roommate.  We may or may not be sleeping with the lights on tonight.

The Mail series is really excellent.  If you want to be spooked without too much gore, this is perfect.  There is, of course, death, and some murders, but the majority of the stories center around the mysterious circumstances surrounding the hauntings.  The author, Housui Yamazaki, is also the illustrator, so he gets to do exactly what he wants with each page.  The result is some of the scariest page-turns I’ve ever experienced.  Once, I was so spooked, I literally burst out laughing and had to put the book down for a minute while my heart hammered in my chest.  And it wasn’t gross or gory, it was just a well-done story arc that climaxed at a page turn and freaked me out.  Highly recommended.

heeeeere kitty kitty kitty

As long as we’re on the topic, I have to mention The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.  Housui Yamazaki illustrates this one, too, and it’s pretty great.  It has more gore than Mail, but there’s a surprising amount of humor in it.  I found myself laughing aloud at the dialog in every issue.  The premise is that a group of college graduates are having trouble finding work, so they group together to use their weird abilities (dowsing for bodies, speaking to the dead, etc.) to help the dead reach a place where their souls can rest, often resulting in shenanigans and various tom-foolery.  It’s a good, spooky time.

If you’re not into manga, I understand, really.  But these two are worth a shot.

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anime, goodness, humor, life, martial arts, nerd

I am many nerds

I’m a nerd in a lot of ways; I read comics, play computer games, play video games, read Tolkien, read manga, watch anime, watch sci-fi, play table-top games, attend (and dress up for) Renaissance Faires… the list goes on and on.  I pulled out my keys the other day and noticed that some of my nerd-dom was fully on display, and had been for quite some time.

the weighted companion cube was a gift from Diminutive Roommate 🙂

Behold!  My awesome nerd keychain crap!   A Weighted Companion Cube from Portal, a light I got at ComicCon from the Battlestar Galactica booth, and a little carrot icon from the old days when a carrot on a stick was the most valuable item you could pick up at Gadgetzan in Tanaris from that one goblin, and god help you if you actually got those blue goggles instead, because that 3% meant life or death on a PVP server.

I get made fun of (mostly by Sister) for being a nerd, but she can eat shit for all I care.  I’m having a blast.  I’m not shutting myself in my room every weekend, hunched over a comic or my computer, avoiding sunlight and making no attempt at human interaction.  I am not a Gollum-nerd.  I am a modern-day nerd, enjoying my nerd friends and my eclectic interests.  Plus, I have a few anti-nerd weapons I can whip out: I’m female, I’m attractive, do KARATE HAI-YA!, I have many friends, I go out, I have an (attractive) significant other, I socialize easily with strangers, etc.

I am many nerds, and I am happy.

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anime, goodness, humor

Old manga blog!

Turns out I’ve already posted the other blogs I wrote for the comics website on this, my very own blog as well.  All but this one about manga, which is hilarious and was totally topical in May of 2010 when I first wrote it.

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If you don’t read manga, I don’t blame you.  But here’s one reason why you might want to check it out (or do any other number of crazy things): a pretty lady.

ABORT ABORT ABORT

There’s been a small fuss raised over a mangaka (Japanese comic book artist) recently.  Mostly because she’s cute.  And because she’s a she (those of you calling “Screenshot or it didn’t happen!” can see evidence of said cuteness here).  Which is a big deal because when people think of manga, they picture something like Wing Bird (see horrifying cover art at right).  Then when you tell them it’s not all nudity and violence, they call you a liar and an otaku freak, and the horribly scarring pointing and laughing ensues.

Here’s an example of a conversation I’ve had with an average, non-manga reader (let’s just call him Some Jerk):

SJ– [nose crinkle] Man-guh?
Me– Yeah, it’s like comics, but they’re little books, and they’re black and white.  And they’re Japanese.
SJ– Oh, Japanese?  Like hentai?  Eew, tentacle penis monster!
Me– No no, that’s not what manga is!
SJ– Yeah it is, I saw that one Parasyte once, gross.
Me– Here, lemme show you something different… Um… here, Fruits Basket, that’s like the opposite of Parasyte.
SJ– [pause] WTF is wrong with their eyes?
Me– Nothing.  What do you mean?
SJ– They’re huge.  And where are their mouths?
Me– Um… I dunno, actually.
SJ– [blank stare]  Dude.  Yikes.

i like how the lady watching this man's face come apart barely reacts

Not all manga is good, I’ll admit that, and it’s not for everyone.  But if you read comics, your brain is already prepped for this stuff, and it’s unlike any American comic you’ve ever read.  The characters are expressive and often hilarious.  I’ve never been so shocked at what’s after the next page turn.  Once, I got so scared at what was on the next page that I burst out laughing, shut the book, and had to go watch the Food Channel for a while.

So I challenge our readers to do something stupid in the name of a pretty girl who authors some manga of her own.  Pick up a copy of Mail or The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.  They’re some of the more popular manga out there right now, and as comic readers, you’re ready.  It’s time to branch out, kids.  Be brave.  Be stupid.  Do it for the girl.

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life

Ogami Itto, the orphan

In early January I bought the entire Lone Wolf and Cub manga series on craigslist for $100.  Such a deal.  I finished it before the end of the month, which means that in about three weeks, I read 28 issues of manga about a samurai assassin and his infant son on their quest to destroy an enemy clan.  That’s one and a third manga per day, which doesn’t sound like much, but let me tell you there was a shit-ton of sword-slicing, blood spurting violence in every single issue.

It’s a really cool series though.  Lots of accurate depictions of various Edo-era lifestyles with plenty of bushido philosophy throughout.  The women though… yikes.  They get the shit end of the stick every time.  It’s pretty gross.

Regardless, what do I do with it now?  I have this whole series, which I was proud to finally own in its entirety.  I know I’ll want to go over it again some other time, but… it’s 28 little books.  Twenty-eight.  Where am I supposed to put them?  My parents bought my sister and I about a dozen books we used to read when we were kids, and I have no idea where to put those either.  Where am I supposed to find room for this stuff?

I’m going through a shedding phase, too.  I don’t want this stuff.  I want to get rid of it, but more than that, I want to not crave its company.  I tend to think of books as friends.  I don’t want to get rid of my friends, but they’re taking up so much fucking room.  Plus, I like the idea that someone else will then enjoy what I’ve given away (read: sold).

I really, really don’t want to get rid of this manga.  As a comic book reader, I take pride in being able to say I have a “manga collection.”  And to have the entire Lone Wolf and Cub series?  Braggin’ rights.  Mm’kay?  *sigh*  I have to find some place to put this shit.  Maybe get rid of the books I’m keeping just to feel smart (I’m looking at you right now, Women, Gender, Religion: A Reader).  But I can’t get rid of that, I’m totally gonna read that one day!  You see my dilemma.

I used to have just piles of books sitting around my room.  I thought buying a big ole’ bookshelf would solve this problem.  Surprisingly, it didn’t.  I forgot that I was also clearing up space in the lower shelves of the beautiful hutch my dad built when I was a kid to make room for my clothes, of which I also have too many (but I’ve made some significant progress in that department recently).

And y’know what I’ve been saying a lot lately?  “Tomorrow I’m gonna do some laundry, and vacuum my room.”  Lemme tell you, that shit does not do itself, because my hamper is over flowing, and my rug is still coated Diminutive Roommate’s cat’s (Calico) hair.  Calico is a sweetie and everything, but FUCK, the shedding.

So now we’ve come full circle: Manga, organization, cleanliness, cat hair, cussing.  And where do I find escape from the vacuum that stares at me as it sits next to my bedroom door?  Joss Whedon.  Specifically, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Oh no!  Look at the time!  It’s almost ten on a weeknight!  Darn, can’t vacuum now!  The noise might disturb the neighbors!  Hahaha!

(Feb 10, 5:19pm)

UPDATE: I’m taking a break from vacuuming to update my blog to let everyone know I’m vacuuming.  If only this wasn’t a secret blog.  Oh well.

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goodness, martial arts, nerd

Ogami Ittō, I come for you!

I recently finished the first volume of Lone Wolf and Cub, a manga about a rogue samurai and his infant son, who, against great peril, travel the countryside murdering the shit out of people for a large fee. It’s pretty friggin’ sweet. The main character uses his son as part of his often intricate strategies to assassinate his targets. And the son seems semi-aware of the danger. Their bond is hard to describe, pretty bizarre, and totally, ruthlessly, brutally awesome.

But who knew that there was a 6-disc TV series created in 1974? Apparently this series was first published in 1970 in Japan, where it was HUGELY popular. The original publishing company, First Comics, folded, and Dark Horse, bless them, re-published the entire series (even the last issues that were unpublished by First Comics).

So I’m hooked. But why isn’t there a collection of this somewhere? I need a Hellboy: Library Edition-style publication of this series. Am I really going to have to buy all 28 tiny little books? Yes. Will I? Probably. I’m going to get through at least the first four, and go from there. Wish me luck, oh people of the internet (none of whom read my secret blog)!

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