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Old 2010-01-10, 04:18   Link #21
Fevvers
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I LOVE Real, and think it's even better compared to Vagabond (which is saying a lot cuz I adore that one). It's drama done right!

Dragon Head surprised me as well, having read the author's earlier work which seemed to be only focus on the shocking and sensational. Lots of people seemed to have hated the ending, though I found it was very fitting to end it in such a matter-of-fact (almost anticlimatic) way. A survival series that's actually profound, who would have thought!
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Old 2010-01-10, 10:49   Link #22
signorRossi
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'Takemitsu Zamurai' was a good rec. I wasn't into it's art completely at first but the detail-loving setting and the characters make this manga stand far above the ordinary stuff.
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Old 2010-01-10, 14:10   Link #23
upiro
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Yay! Great to find more reccs!!

The first chapter of Halcyon Lunch is craaaazy!! Haha, I’m definitely joining the please-scanlate-the-rest queue …

Glad you enjoyed Takemitsu, signorRossi! If you want to read more by him, I’d also recommend you to take a look at Hanaotoko. The art and story are very different but the manga tells a charming tale of a father and son who are polar opposites. The Dad’s a carefree baseball maniac while the son is a nerdy cynic and their interactions always make me smile. I personally prefer it to Black and White, which took me a while to get into.

I’ve read Real before and I really liked it. Very delicate handling of some very difficult issues and the tension in some places is pretty intense.

I’ve also followed Vagabond for quite a while now and I’m a huge fan. Haha, after thinking it through, I think I’m going to place Vagabond above Real (by a teeny-weeny bit) since it’s just so incredibly wide-ranging and epic with regards to its themes. But, I have to admit that a comparison between the two is pretty hard I don’t mind the slow pace since the action scenes are always very kinetic. The philosophical musings are interesting and the influence of Zen Buddhism is very apparent (I have to confess that I haven’t read his earlier work Slam Dunk, though, which I probably should).

I think I’ve picked up Dragon Head before and then put it down after the first few chapters for some reason. Now that I’ve just marathoned it, I’m pretty impressed. Would not want to be in their shoes. Not … one … bit! I see your point about the ending, Fevvers, and I think I like the matter-of-fact way it finishes as well.

I read Parasyte a long time ago and I liked parts of it although I wish he had focused on the ecological side a bit more. I also liked how the early death of an important character affected the protagonist deeply. But, it was a bit jarring when he transplanted the EXACT same art style for his characters into Historie :P

Oh, and how could I forget? A new manga called Memories of Emanon has been released. It has beautiful, beautiful art and a simple but fascinating story. More of a one-short than a series, the artist obviously had a massive personal crush on Emanon His constant close-up focus on her facial expressions and profile is very well done and allows us to easily follow her wide range of emotions.

I’m also reading Hour of the Mice which constantly reminds me of the novel, ‘Never Let Me Go’, by Kazuo Ishiguro since they’re both set in a pleasant boarding school which hides much darker secrets. So far, I like the novel better but have to wait for the manga to finish.

Last edited by upiro; 2010-01-14 at 09:01.
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Old 2010-01-10, 23:20   Link #24
Fevvers
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The art in Emanon is suuuuuch total eyecandy; I've read it weeks ago and although the character interactions felt a bit stilted for me, I thought the premise alone was fascinating.

As for Hour of the Mice, I'm not the biggest Toume Kei fan out there and vaguely remember reading the first few chapters a long time ago. Suffice to say, it didn't really leave a mighty impression, as to exactly why I can't even begin to remember for some reason. I'll get back on that one of these days.

This is really old (but still quite a classic in my mind, and a much better Eden), have you read Akira yet? Otomo's Domu is quite entertaining too, and no less epic.

Would also love to hear your thoughts on Kyoko Okazaki's works. Such a shame she's no longer working on anything right now.
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Old 2010-01-11, 05:40   Link #25
signorRossi
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'Helter Skelter' by Kyoko Okazaki was awesome. Loved the ending. ;-)

EDIT: Reading 'The Lives of Eccentrics' atm, the second story is hilarious. :-)

Last edited by signorRossi; 2010-01-12 at 14:00.
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Old 2010-01-14, 09:01   Link #26
upiro
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I’ve read Okazaki’s Helter Skelter and River’s Edge and wow, I’m pretty impressed. Multi-layered, complex, dark and gritty, they’re very different from other Josei mangas I’ve read. Personally, I prefer Helter Skelter and love the way Okazaki clearly explores the different motivations of each character and how nuanced they all are. Ririko behaved like a creep but is depicted very thoughtfully and I’m surprised that I ended up sympathising with her.

Oh, and that detective guy? He’s just too cool!

I’ve raced through Domu before and I loved the battle between the girl and that old man. Very imaginative and gripping!

As for Akira, I’ve heard it’s really epic but I haven’t even watched the movie. If it’s even better than Eden (woah?!), I’ll head straight to the original manga …

Oh, and Fevvers, if you find the premise behind Hour of Mice interesting but don’t care about Toume Kei’s style, and if you don’t mind reading novels too, I’d encourage you to jump straight into Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’ instead. He has a formal, precise style which some may find off-putting but which works very well in this book, making it subtle, poignant and full of suspense. It was nominated for the Booker prize (which is seriously over-rated but anyway …).

Back to manga, there’s a one-shot that I really like. It’s called ‘Dead Flowers’ and it’s by Tsutomu Takahashi (author of Jiraishin and other dark, moody seinen stuff). It’s not as well known (written under a pseudonym) and short, but I found it deeply affecting. It deals with a poignant encounter between an independent but insecure woman who drives a motorcycle and a boy who has suicidal tendencies.

Thanks again for the reccs!

Last edited by upiro; 2010-01-14 at 09:40.
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Old 2010-01-14, 18:48   Link #27
Fevvers
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My problem with Eden is sometimes I can't be sure if Endo even knows what to do with the large cast and the clunky pacing leading to the overarching plot (i.e. colloids). Or perhaps I'm just really, really bitter over
Spoiler:
death. Things go more smoothly when it comes to his one-shots. Nevertheless I still enjoy the heck out of Eden despite my complaints! ;p

Overall I prefer River's Edge, though there is no doubt that Ririko is one of the most complex and gripping female characters I've ever read, as unlikable as she may be. Once again I weep for the lack of more Okazaki manga.

And yeah, the detective! *swoons*

You've given me the much-needed push to read Never Let Me Go, will do once time permits (and when I finally finish Austen's Emma, hah).

What do you think of Takahashi's Sidooh? Frankly I thought it was a step-down from his previous works, though the art is still as kinetic as always. Felt more like typical shounen, except with more blood and attempted rapes.

Oh, and SignorRossi, the synopsis for the lives of eccentrics looks really interesting. Thanks! Do keep the reccs coming guys! XD
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Old 2010-01-24, 09:38   Link #28
upiro
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I agree that Sidooh resembles a shounen-style manga more than his other seinen-type works. Personally, I enjoy Takahashiís expressive artwork more than his actual stories. His characters are often very well defined and memorable but I find them to be too static. They hardly change and while they effectively carry the story forward, I find myself losing interest in them after a few volumes. As for Sidooh, the plot contains several potentially interesting elements but doesnít develop them sufficiently enough. Hopefully, it will get better.

Iím currently enjoying Noramimi but I find it impossible to categorise it. Frivolous comedy? Heart-warming exploration of childhood friendships? Iím impressed that a tale of mascots-come-alive as seen through the eyes of members of a bureaucratic agency could be so creative

A sports manga that I came across randomly (yay manga-updates!) is Giant Killing. Focusing on soccer, it shows the efforts of a passionate, talented coach who relishes leading underdogs to victory. I love the rough, sketchy art style and the story, strangely enough, reminds me of One Outs though they have a completely different focus. But, while the characters in One Outs are pretty 2-dimensional, the first volume of Giant Killing hints at deeper layers and makes them quite likable. Eagerly waiting for more chapters! Any other good sports mangas with excellent characterisation out there? (Oh, and I've read all the Adachi stuff.)

Is Pandora Hearts worth reading? Iíve read the first few chapters and the setting is interesting (and nicely gothic). But the angst ... !!! Haha, the characters are drowning in it. Are there any other really good/deep mystery mangas if Pandora doesnít pan out? (Running out of stuff to read too :P)
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Old 2010-01-24, 19:01   Link #29
Veritas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upiro View Post
Any other good sports mangas with excellent characterisation out there? (Oh, and I've read all the Adachi stuff.)
Okiku Furikabutte, also known as Oofuri. Yet another baseball manga. Is there something about baseball that makes it be an automatic indicator of quality? Main character is annoying at first, but if you can wade through the first several chapters, most people find he becomes weirdly endearing. Also there is a strong enough supporting cast that you can focus on other characters. The mangaka is so excellent at characterization that she manages to flesh out bit characters who only appear for a few chapters. Read it, read it, then buy the Funi DVDs.

This thread is making is making realize how badly I need to catch up on manga. I'll get to it after I catch on on anime. Only a billion more episodes to go...
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Old 2010-01-24, 19:21   Link #30
Fevvers
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I looove Giant Killing and its cast (at least for now, who knows if my opinion changes once they focus on the sport), especially the quirky, rough quality of the artwork. I'm kinda skeptical of the upcoming anime though; it was the art that made me look into the series in the first place and it's not exactly conventionally aesthetically beautiful. Can't help you with the sports manga though, which is a big shame. I like Cross Game and Touch (can't say the same for Adachi's Q&A since it seems like a rehash of Cross Game except with a different sport).

Quote:
Originally Posted by upiro View Post
Is Pandora Hearts worth reading? Iíve read the first few chapters and the setting is interesting (and nicely gothic). But the angst ... !!! Haha, the characters are drowning in it. (Running out of stuff to read too :P)
Hahaha.

Nope. Melodrama, characters the author keeps on forcing the readers to symphatize despite its rushed and atrocious pacing, contrived plot... There are better ways to waste ones time. Check out Shut Hell, awful title I know. But it's intruiging for now and with better art. ES is completed and filled with compelling characters, although it too suffers from more telling instead of showing that other Fuyumi Souryo manga suffers from.

Have you read Nihei's Blame by the way? Or Kitoh's Bokurano and Narutaru?

Oh, and I know you mentioned before how you can't stomach Jiro Natsumoto's works, but I'd just like to say that Freesia has been getting some tumultous and vital development (it was a long time coming, but it's here at last) that is nothing short of cathartic. The sex has been toned down I think, the violence not so much, but it's not really as worse as most noir, faux-noir manga/anime out there.
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Old 2010-01-29, 03:19   Link #31
upiro
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Thanks, Veritas, for recommending Okiku Furikabutte. I’ve read the 1st chap before and found (like pretty much everyone else) the main character fairly annoying. But, if he does get better, I’ll give it a 2nd try and hopefully, find other aspects of the story interesting

I’ll give Freesia another shot, Fevvers. Our tastes and interests in manga do overlap (a lot!) which I think is great.

I’ve just read Shut Hell and found it interesting. The story holds a lot of promise. But, <rant> Terrible, terrible translations!! The speech bubbles were paaainful to read. </rant>. On the bright side, loved the fact that the young boy decides to betray his clan because he likes books

Big fan of Narutaru (the anime) and loved the 180 degrees turn-around from the whole ‘cheery sentient dolls as cute household pets’ beginning to ‘Doom, Death, Despair and Destruction’ plotlines :P Very creative and twisted! But, I was less impressed by Bokurano (the manga) and found there was too much verbal exposition and pseudo-philosophical discussions. It started out strong but got a little tedious after a while. Would be interested in hearing your thoughts as well.

I’ve read ES before and found the characters and plot engaging. The only caveat is that her style is slightly clinical (as if she was planning for a creative writing class), which I think is related to your critique as well. Blame has amaaazing art (those buildings! that landscape!). Did you enjoy the story though? Although I found it intriguing, my impression was that Nihei just wanted to draw his pictures and added a thin storyline on top :P

Just started reading Girl Fight (volleyball manga). The art is very unique and the story fairly promising (though I do see dreaded hints of angst). Will have to wait and see how it develops …

Also, have you read Katsu? While I really like Cross Game (and find myself underwhelmed by Q & A as well), I find Katsu to be very tightly plotted and fairly tense. I think it’s one of his better mangas.

Oh, and will check out Life of Eccentrics, signorRossi. Completely missed that last time ...

Last edited by upiro; 2010-01-29 at 16:18.
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Old 2010-01-30, 04:08   Link #32
Fevvers
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Quote:
Iíve just read Shut Hell and found it interesting. The story holds a lot of promise. But, <rant> Terrible, terrible translations!! The speech bubbles were paaainful to read. </rant>. On the bright side, loved the fact that the young boy decides to betray his clan because he likes books
Lol. Beggars can't be choosers I suppose! Also doesn't hurt we've got a female character doing all the protecting!

I'm a big fan of Narutaru (which similarly reminded me of Alien Nine with its 180 degrees turn from a show with cutesy girls and creatures to complete nightmare fuel, all treated in a disturbingly cheerful way) but haven't actually finished Bokurano yet to make make a proper judgement. Cencoroll (a very, very short and underrated movie) is similar as well, though not as dramatic and horrifying, with blob-like creatures (which I find cute actually yet something that might disgust others) following the characters' commands. It's highly imaginative and quiet, bordering on apathetic, which I find refreshing and interesting.

As for Fuyumi Souryo, she's had tremendous improvement in Cesare although I found the overall premise of ES much more fascinating; I've read far too many Borgia books in my lifetime that reading this feels more like recap, haha. Not to forget how she still has the tendency to be heavy-handed in her exposition. Still, I'm very curious to see how she's going to characterize Lucrezia.

Do people even read Blame for the story alone? I'd be lying if I said I fully understood the events going on (heck I can barely remember what the net terminal genes were for! granted I did read Blame a loooong time ago), but I think I got the crux of it. Maybe. More importantly though, one of the appeals of Blame is, just as you mentioned above, the rough, detailed eye for architecture, heavy atmosphere, and the deafening quiet scenes that could erupt at any minute. Seems like Nihei's Biomega is a prequel to that and might shed some answers, though I honestly couldn't care less simply because of the pretty pictures. lol

Whee! Will read Girl Fight and Katsu next!

You (as in general you) might also want to check out Love Roma, a simple romance charmingly told despite its not-quite refined artwork. Ristorante Paradiso (much prefer the manga for the heavy, stark line work which the anime was unable to retain unfortunately) as well.
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Old 2010-01-30, 19:48   Link #33
upiro
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I adooore Love Roma!! It’s hilarious and I wish more romance stories were depicted in such a charming manner. Also, love the way each chapter ends with a 2-page spread that often has some profound and touching insight!

Ristorante Paradiso is based on a manga? Dashing off to read it … Oh, and Cencoroll sounds fascinating. Hadn’t heard of it previously. Will check it out …
Quote:
As for Fuyumi Souryo, she's had tremendous improvement in Cesare although I found the overall premise of ES much more fascinating; I've read far too many Borgia books in my lifetime that reading this feels more like recap, haha. Not to forget how she still has the tendency to be heavy-handed in her exposition.
Interesting … My sentiments exactly. Uhm, this isn’t a manga request but what’s a good Borgia book to read? Have to admit that Cesare is my introduction to the whole setting and it sparked an interest in that historical period and place. Thanks (and enjoyed reading your opinions!).
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Old 2010-01-30, 22:30   Link #34
Vile
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I'd second Abandon the Old in Tokyo, you can't go wrong with the other two collections of short stories from Tatsumi either. Great if you want to read about flawed characters, or degenerates even!

Also since Vagabond and Blade of the Immortal have been thrown around, in the chance that you haven't read it I'd suggest Lone Wolf and Cub, it's an older samurai manga but probably my favorite of the three. A great deal of the chapters are stand alone stories then it winds down toward the end in favor of a linear style. It'll definitely make you think, I'd say in contrast to Vagabond where Musashi more or less does what he does without much serious thought about the consequences, with the characters Musashi meets doing most of the thinking (until recent chapters), Lone Wolf is more about understanding why the main character does what he does, because he has a certain set of principles and he's not going to deviate from it.

The art is probably the greatest part of it too.

Spoiler:

Last edited by Vile; 2010-01-31 at 02:10. Reason: punctuation
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Old 2010-01-31, 02:53   Link #35
upiro
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Thanks Vile for reccing Lone Wolf and Cub. Gosh, it takes me back! I really enjoyed it although I did find some of the stand-alone stories and scenes a bit over-the-top. Having said that, the last several volumes were fantastic. The very last volume had me all choked up
And that art! Sooo beautiful! Yeah, I agree that while Vagabond tells a coming-of-age story (with Musashi's development on the line), LW&C follows the tale of someone who's deeply principled and knows exactly where he stands. While I personally love effective character development (it's like my holy grail in stories!), LW&C was charming in its own right.

Will try to get hold of a copy of Abandon the Old in Tokyo. They're hard to find but once I do, looking forward to reading it ...
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Old 2010-01-31, 03:24   Link #36
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I found Abandon the Old in Tokyo at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore surprisingly enough. They even had manga like A Drifting Life (Tatsumi's autobiographical work), Summit of the Gods, some Tezuka work, Children of the Sea and other lesser known stuff. Guess it depends on what stores are near you.

Abandon the Old in Tokyo has some awesome art too.

http://i34.tinypic.com/vwr68x.jpg
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Old 2010-02-01, 19:29   Link #37
Fevvers
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Upiro, not a lot of good books (fiction) I'm afraid (or at least none that I'd consider highbrow), but Jeanne Kalogridis' The Borgia Bride was quite enjoyable though felt a little bit bodice-ripperish (I like it a lot nonetheless, lol), if you don't mind that. Gregory Maguire's Mirror, Mirror, a re-telling of Snow White, is set on renaissance Italy with the Borgia siblings as minor (but very important) characters. For non-fiction, there's Sarah Bradford's Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy which is comprehensive and meticulous in the description of the turmoil of the setting's period, it's a fascinating first-hand glimpse though comes off a little bit dry and dull. Christopher Hibbert's The Borgias and Their Enemies is engrossing but doesn't really offer anything new; might be something to read for a beginner.

Girl Fight's a really fun read! A little bit angsty in the beginning (which can also be found in the author's other work G Sensou Heavens Door), okay, no, not really a little bit, but I'm enjoying the art and the development of the volley ball team. Besides, it's not as if we get a whole lot of sports manga that focuses on women's teams.

Will read Katsu next! ^_^

Been reading LW&C's first volume, and I really want to like it, but the episodic nature and dryness of the storytelling frankly baffles me. I still plan to read another volume or so, but was wondering if it gets progressively better overall.

There's Natsume Ono's one-shot Moyashi Fuufu which is a very sweet portrayal of an old married couple. Saraiya Goyou as well is fairly interesting however it's only just started and I'm uncertain if Ono could sustain a well-written historical piece. The scans are available in Ikki's website for free.
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Old 2010-02-01, 22:16   Link #38
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I felt the same way with Lone Wolf when I started. It does get better but if you don't find it entertaining as you get further I don't know if that would even matter, though I don't think anyone would find the later volumes dull. The last third of the manga pretty much sheds the use of the episodic stories, I mean not every single chapter takes place after the other but many do and the ones that don't are all close in the time line and progress the story. Prior to the last third or so it's mixed. Some chapters will be isolated assassinations, some will have battles against the Yagyu or will be tied in a way to the main story of Itto's revenge. I think the third volume has the first tie in to the main plot, which covers the details of how he was framed by the Yagyu, then the fifth volume has his first fight with the Yagyu.

I just read it at a pace of one or two chapters at a time after a while. Much slower than usual for me but the chapters are long and doing it in volumes could definitely be a grind. Now that I've finished it I could read it large sections though, maybe it's because I've warmed up to the characters or maybe it's because I know where the story is going, I'm not entirely sure but it's easier to read now.

Anyway, in short. Try reading it in smaller portions but if it it still feels too dry definitely stop, not worth trudging through it when you may not end up liking the manga anyway, especially at 28 volumes.

Last edited by Vile; 2010-02-01 at 22:27. Reason: Silly spelling mistakes
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Old 2010-02-10, 06:21   Link #39
upiro
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Quote:
Been reading LW&C's first volume, and I really want to like it, but the episodic nature and dryness of the storytelling frankly baffles me.
Strangely enough, I read LW&C in reverse chronological order (thereby breaking every law of reading fiction) and found that it worked a lot better that way. I found the first few volumes and most of the side stories fairly boring and it was only after I jumped to the last few volumes that I started appreciating the series more. As Vile mentioned, the continous storyline starts pretty late into the manga.

Thanks for reccing Saraiya Goyou! The art's interesting and I think the plot holds promise. But so far, the story's a tad on the bland side ... (I just wish the Ikki website had more Children of the Sea chapters!)

Quote:
Will read Katsu next!
If you can get past the 1st 12 chaps where the characters are basically mucking around (though there's important foreshadowing taking place too), the story becomes a lot more focused.

Oh, and thanks for the Borgia books! Will start with Hibbert's book (I am a Borgia newbie after all). And I really need to start dwelving into Maguire's alternate, twisted fairy tales ...

I just watched the anime, Spice and Wolf, recently and it was very, very impressive. Loved it and just can't stop raving about it!! Wish more such anime existed. Noticed that a manga version exists. May be worth checking out ...

Last edited by upiro; 2010-02-10 at 13:11.
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Old 2010-02-15, 22:07   Link #40
Fevvers
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Vile and Upiro, I'll continue reading LW&C simply because I think it really does have potential. Thanks!

Yeah, Saraiya Goyou's a little bit flat for now; the upcoming anime might be different in the hands of a competent director though, so do check that out next season.

I watched the first three episodes of Spice and Wolf and kinda dropped it along the way, probably because I loathe anything that has to do with economics and the voice acting was grating. I was wondering btw if you've watched Texhnolyze and the much recent Ghost Hound? Because you should!

I'm not really as much of a fan of Maguire as I used to be, in terms of alternate, twisted fairy tales, no one beats Angela Carter. Much better prose in addition.

Before I forget, there's Endo's All-Around Meguru (though it's only just started) and Iwaoka's Saturn Apartments which vaguely reminds me of Planetes.

Last edited by Fevvers; 2010-02-15 at 23:12.
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