Friday, November 5, 2010

Baby & Me vol 1

Baby & Me, Vol. 1 (Baby and Me (Graphic Novels))

This series has been on my tbr pile for far too long so this month I decided to pick it up while I can still get my hands on it (series run ended and Viz published the last volume already.) The aspect I love about starting a series that is already fully published is that I don't have to wait months for the next volume to be released, and often times you can find used volumes cheap online.
I enjoyed this first volume and will admit to tearing up after reading only the first chapter! I wasn't expecting it to be pulling at the reader's heartstrings right away but it does pull you into the story and keeps you til the end. I'm interested in how this series will progress over 18 volumes. I plan on trying to see if I can snag some editions off Paperbackswap or used via Amazon, not a series that seems to have a high re-read value so I'll be swapping them as I read them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Watch I'm Watching This November

Emma - A Victorian Romance Season 1
Other than a few simulcasts via Crunchyroll this month I plan on finally getting around to watching Emma: A Victorian Romance.
I've already watched the first two discs of season 1, that I am renting via Netflix, and the series is slowly picking up the pace enough for me to hold my interest long enough. I loved taking British Victorian Writers in college so naturally I wanted to check this anime out. The first episode didn't impress me much at all and I even considered dropping it, but I kept on watching before making a final judgment.The plot of Emma focuses more on the social undertones of the time period rather than a typical love story. Partially because of the time period and setting I'm interested in finishing up the first season this month, maybe I'll even get to the 2nd season before December.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I've Been Reading 2010 Update

I've been getting caught up with reading the volumes I have of series I wanted to read this year, except for Bleach. It's not as if I am intimidated on beginning a seemingly never ending shonen series, where Bleach, Vol. 31 was just released this week. When I start an older series, or one that have several volumes out already, I like to collect a few first before I dive into it. I've been mainly collecting Bleach from sites like Paperbackswap which my wallet has been really thankful for.
Normally I like to read a series before diving into the anime but since it's not something I usually would pick up I didn't mind watching the anime first, except for Season 4 which I hope to soon forget.

I've also been going through the piles of unread manga I have at home and have been trying to keep them under control. If something doesn't have a high re-read value for me I've been posting them on PBS or Bookmooch to free up shelf space.

Black Butler, Vol. 2
Other than Black Butler and Happy Cafe there are not many new series that I've picked up in 2010. I've been mainly getting new releases from series that started before 2010 and filling in the gaps for missing volumes for series that run has ended.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pucker Up

Kdrama: Pink Lipstick

Yoo Ga Eun is a caring woman who is married to Park Jung Woo. Little did she realize that her best friend Mi Ran is not only having an affair with her husband but that her adopted daughter, Jung Woo, is Mi Ran and Park Jung Woo's love child!

Most of the dramas that I watch are ones that air weekly but I was curious to check out a daily drama. The first episode starts off in current day with Yoo Ga Eun realizing how her husband and best friend have been betraying her for years unbeknown to her. After this shocking discovery the series turns the clock and goes straight to the very beginning, with Yoo Ga Eun dating Park Jung Woo, showing the viewer where it all began.

At first I was a little annoyed with the background episodes since I really wanted to see Yoo Ga Eun take her revenge on her cheating husband and horrible friend. But after watching a few episodes my interest started to peak, especially around episode ten with the twist in plot. Crunchyroll currently has the first 12 episodes now available for all members to view. I honestly did not hear about the series til Crunchyroll rolled out the announcement for it. I was hesitant to start such a long series, still currently airing, but I thought of the seemingly never ending shonen series that I've watched (or ones that I am still keeping up with) and figured why not. It's not like I already have a huge list of anime and dramas that I want to someday watch ;)

Now I'm patiently waiting for the next episodes to be uploaded on CR. And by patiently I mean I've been checking their site daily to see if more were added yet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Two great sites for FREE manga

It didn't take me long after I discovered manga to get my hands on plenty of new series to read. Since money is tight while I'm still in graduate school I try to be frugal when it comes to my entertainment needs. After using several swapping and trading sites I wanted to share my personal two favorite sites that I utilize the most to get FREE manga. Also these sites have helped me to get rid of series that I've dropped to those that want to read it or give it a try.

This is the site I go to for older manga series and have gotten titles such as Ranma 1/2 and Marmalade Boy as well as some newer titles. Bookmooch uses a point system where you can earn points by sending out books to other members and by adding books to your inventory. I used this site not only to feed my manga addiction but I was able to get books I needed for my college classes too. Being an English major I accumulated a lot of books that I really didn't want to give a second read. I was able to use James Joyce, who I have a long standing dislike of, for some shojo instead. Since this is an international site you can also get Japanese manga straight from users in Japan. I've gotten a few volumes of Cookie magazine from a swapper in the Philippines. I've enjoyed sending my manga to users in countries were they may not have access to English translations. The default is for sending in our country but you can always opt to be willing to ship internationally.

I'm not going to lie when I say I check this sometimes before I even check my email in the morning. This site is much like with having a similar point system. For every book you send you gain one point that can be used to request a book for yourself. Over the past year I've witnessed more and more manga being posted every day, some days at least 50-60. So far for 2010 I've been using (PBS) for manga only. On PBS, as well as, you can create a wish list for books that are currently unavailable. When your "wish" is granted you have 48 hours to claim it. Lately I've been getting books on my wish list left and right. Out of all the book swapping sites that I've been a member of this one seems to have the most active fellow manga readers on it. I love this site for swapping old and getting newer volumes of (seemingly) never ending shonen series. I love Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist but I just don't have the shelf space for them. For manga that it's highly unlikely I will ever have the time to re-read I like posting them on PBS. Most of my manga I post gets requested that same week, and if it lingers too long I post it to were it doesn't have a slim chance of hanging around my inventory for long.

Both sites are great for anyone that is starting some early spring cleaning and wants to create some shelf space for both old and newer manga. So if you have a volume of Magic Touch that you are itching to get rid of , I sure was, I suggest you take a peak at one or both of the sites mentioned above :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Stoned With Rosetta

After much hesitation I went ahead and bought myself Level 1 Japanese from Rosetta Stone. My private studies have been lacking as of late and I really want to buckle down and get serious. I dream of teaching ESL in Japan a year from now. The thought of being illiterate in another country scares me, mainly since I already have a BA in English.
I've been practicing my writing with free worksheets I print off sites that I find via Google along with with "playing" on my DS with My Japanese Coach. I love practicing stroke order on the DS mainly because it will make me re-do if I get it wrong or try to cheat :)
After saving up money for a few months I patiently waited for there to be a sign that I should get Rosetta Stone, that sign came in the form of a sale they had on their website for President's Day weekend. Across the board it is the same price on other online venues so I recommend anyone interested in buying it to get it direct for the company, that way you can have access to support and money back guarantees.
I've only used it a few times thus far, mainly because of midterms consuming my time, but I've gotten more out of it than I have with self-study with textbooks alone. I like how it is interactive in both the visual and audio aspects of it. It had me talking within minutes! Which was kinda intimidating but I soon got over it. Til the summer begins I may only be able to use it 2 to 3 times a week but I feel any time that I use it I am making greater progress than if I tried to study flying solo.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yaoi Reading Month

To help combat the winter blues and to celebrate Women's History Month I'm going to try to see if I can read one yaoi manga a day for the duration of March. Since the majority of yaoi I own is written by women (in my mind) it makes sense to honor them during Women's History Month by enjoying and promoting their works, virtually, as best I can.

Where I work we are doing some more academic and/or artistic efforts to celebrate this month. Yaoi is something that is my utmost guilty pleasure written by women with strong honed artistic and storytelling abilities.

This is my way of showing my gratitude and how grateful I am that their works have been made available from one hemisphere to the other :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

So maybe I am an elitist

The other day I wanted to search for some blogs that discuss the series Chu-Bra. Most that I have read so far have pertained to the male perspective of the show but I wanted to find some fellow females to get their insight into what they get out of the series thus far.

So when I searched via Google it was just plain sickening. No I didn't stumble upon any pervy blogs about underwear obsessed teenage boys but found torrent after torrent sites where you can download episodes. I just have trouble wrapping my mind around the concept that people in Northern America that have FREE access to legal streaming video of each episode (via Crunchyroll) would feel the need to download an illegal fansubbed version.

So maybe I'm an elitist but if there is a legal, high quality, FREE way to watch a series I'm interested in I will tend to go that route as opposed to downloading a craptastic version on my laptop. Personally I'm a sub fan and if the subtext on the screen doesn't match what the characters are saying, or completely off the mark, its just one of my pet peeves. I still have a lot to learn with my Japanese studies but if the audio is different then the subtitles my little ears pick up on it right away, and its a major turn off for me.

Some individuals like to be on the cusp of the latest series and want fresh new entertainment the moment it is available to viewers on the other side of the globe. With each passing season there seems to be more new simulcasts available that are legally being streamed online. If that isn't enough to get your fix there is also a massive catalog of anime that is available at local libraries, for rental, or *gasp* purchase! My Netflix queue is busting at the seams with series from the 2000's that I want to watch so I have more than enough to wet my pallet and do not feel the need to download a series that isn't legally available. I got enough to watch so I can pass for the time being, and in that time it is possible that the series may get licensed in North America. And if not I'm sure I will some how stay strong and get over it ;)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reflection: Happy Cafe

*Update: Check out my review of Happy Cafe just posted over on Mangavillage

After my initial reading of Happy Cafe I felt something that I hope isn't taboo to say, but I will anyway, similar to my experience with reading Fruits Basket. Whenever I'm feeling down and out I escape to a world filled with members of the Chinese Zodiac and a kind-hearted, yet sometimes clumsy, Miss Tohru Honda. When I first encountered Fruits Basket I was working 2-3 part time jobs and going to school full time. I always felt drained of all energy and any ambition to keep going but when I did have a moment to myself I would curl up and escape for a bit.
Now that I'm slowly burning myself out, yet again, but this time it's for my last (hopefully) semester of grad school. Working full time and doing an internship, on top of an independent study, is quite a blast that requires much energy that I don't have anymore. With support positions being cut and/or people's positions not being filled when they leave I was worried about my own job last semester. Since I work full-time on my campus, along with school and interning, my workplace holds a lot of ground for me. Thinking that my position is not important transcended into negative thoughts about myself. Then one day I decided to snap out of my funk and shift my focus into being as helpful as possible to all the patrons that I deal with whether they be students, staff, or faculty (which are known on campus for treating staff horribly.) Being able to help others is my way of finding happiness at my current job. So when I sat down to read Happy Cafe I didn't move much til I finished reading it in it's entirety. Often I may sit and read a chapter of a manga while taking a break but I haven't been able to escape like I did in so long that I almost forgot what it was like to get swept away in a story.
So I think this is why Happy Cafe is something I may have enjoyed more than most new series I've picked up so far and think that anyone still searching for their own happiness will enjoy as well.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What I'm Reading in 2010

When I first got into manga I didn't really know what genres I would like so I picked up any series I could. This eventually lead to a pile of first volumes for various series. Now that I have refined my tastes to enjoying mainly three genres: yaoi, josei, shojo (oft sometimes guilty pleasures.)

Even after narrowing down my choices there are still some series that I was curious about and read the first few volumes. Below is some series that caught my eye in 2009 and hopefully I'll be able to get caught up (for those that are still running) or complete in 2010.

Full Metal Alchemist
Having read the first three volumes of this series in '09 I hope to (eventually) get caught up with the current issues. At first I was afraid it would be too graphic for me but that notion was quickly dismissed once I became engrossed with the plot overall.

Hana Kimi

Next to Fruits Basket this is one of the very first shojo titles that caught my eye and hooked my attention within a chapter. I'm already half-way through this series so I'm pretty hopefull that in 2010 I'll know how this tale will unfold. After watching the drama, based off the series dare I say somewhat loosely, I'm interested in how the manga will come to an end.


To try to step out of the comfort zones of genres that I have come enjoy the most I wanted to give Bleach a try in 2010. Never was much of an action fan but even after trimming down my to be read list I thought I would start a series that already has, oh 20+ volumes in print :)

Bride of the Water God

I've picked up a few, and dropped, some manwha series and am still exploring all they have to offer. But by far this is one of the most beautiful and majestic series that I started in 2009. It shall not take long for me to get caught up with this series since only a few volumes have been released in the States so far.

There are plenty of other series that I have sad first volumes lurking in my bedroom waiting for me to pick up, and when I do I hope to share my thoughts on them as well in this New Year :)

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