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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