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Nikki's Corner
just temporary
Killer note, silver balls, all in all, not amount to much. 
22nd-Sep-2011 11:51 pm
Once upon a time, there was a sweet-toothed samurai with silver hair.
One day, he helped a teenager and the kid followed him around.
Another day, he helped another teenager and the kid followed him around.
Together, the three took up doing odd jobs that pay their bills (and the samurai's sweets).
Occasionally, they became heroes.
But more often than not, they were lazing around (and maybe dodging their landlord).

The three met (and sometimes helped) all sort of strange, colorful individuals.
Like the samurai's old friends: the terrorist, the destroyer, the merchant.
Or the warped Shinsengumi: the gorilla commander, the mayo vice-commander, the sadist captain, the badminton spy guy.
Or the out of job government agent.
Or the idol singer (and her family).
Or the homeless man.
Or their landlord's family: the old crone, the cat thief, the maid robot.
Or the alien next door.
Or the huge alien dog.
etc. etc. etc.

Smile, smile, smile.
No use for tears.
Smile, smile, smile.
If smiling is not a choice, make it one.

Not really a review, but just some of my impressions of the volumes of manga I picked up this week. Assume spoilers on all these, though sometimes I'm scarce on the details.

Death Note V 12 (Final Volume):
Mah, I kind of knew how the main event would go down, but the details were disappointing. (Or perhaps I just find all the 'I know you know what I know but you don't know I know what you don't know' exchanges which take up almost half the volume annoying (and confusing, but maybe that's just me).) And N remained unlikable up until the end (hopefully I'm not the only one who is such a non-fan).

So I don't care that the finale is predictable (in fact, I need several key points I guess to come true, otherwise I would feel like throwing the book at the wall). I care that the execution (literally in this case) leaves a lot to be desired. So I don't know if I can really finish the anime at this point (I stopped at the part I felt starting to go down hill) since I'll be dreading the finale in the anime, assuming that the anime has the same finale as the manga (and already knowing the finale colors how I view the characters now). I think I might want to go with the live-action movies, but I keep hearing complaints about the ending there, so.

Gintama V 36
Honestly, this has to be my least favorite Gintama volume to date. But since this is Gintama, I powered through anyway. (I'll take a so-so volume of Gintama over many other series.) So take it as a warning that most of the comments are not positive.

The first two chapters serve as sort of wrap-up to the four Deva arc and you know (or maybe you don't) that I am not a fan of either Takasugi or Kamui. Only thing I like is the Amanto commander getting what he deserves. The next chapter...well...hmm...has a reference I'm not familiar with (about a cell phone company and its presenter, I think). And then there is something in this chapter that sounds suspiciously like "final" special attack...(I could be wrong, but why does it feel like this Gintama chapter was published before the first mention of FGT "that" final special attack... On another thought, I don't have the Japanese version, so maybe it's something completely different and I only think it's a reference because this whole chapter already has a few references to the detergent** series). Though not by much, I prefer the previous poorman Zangetsu Lake Toya (Gin-san's wooden sword, in case anyone is like 'Lake Toya who'?) chapter, even with all the soap opera drama in his family. The next one...I'm never a fan of Kondo stalking Otae, nor he being a butt of everything, from friends and strangers alike. (It's the repetitiveness of those actions that I don't care for, not that I don't think Kondo doesn't deserve some of them.) The next two chapters...you pick on Gin-san, you remain my enemy, no manner monkey with too long name. As for the next two chapters, I really don't know what to say about them. I did feel better about this mini-arc after a second read through, but I just couldn't believe my eyes the first time around. Oh well, thank you, Sunrise, for your sensitivity in not airing the anime episode at this time. The last from this volume is the first chapter (of several) about Sa-chan breaking into Gin-san's house (nothing new there) and breaking her glasses (first time it happens), (not?) dealing with unnamed assassins and (not) dealing with her unrequited feelings for the glasses Gin-san bought for her (I am not making this part up).

Oh well. I'm not too happy that my enjoyment of this volume is mostly derived from reading author's notes. Although it's nice to be able to hold the actual physical book in my hand.

Manga lessons from this volume and their anime equivalences:

I'm going from memory, so if, in some instance, my information is incorrect and you know it, feel free to point it out.

Lessons 310, 311 = Episode 215
Lesson 312 = No anime yet (I want to see it animated, if only just to hear the cell phone ringtone and Katsura-san trying to sing that (supposedly) cute ringtone).
Lesson 313 = Second half of episode 205 (first is Anpanzaki)
Lessons 314, 315 = Episodes 221, 222 (with added fillers)
Lessons 316, 317 = Episode made but apparently Sunrise delays airing it or might omit it completely. ETA: Episode 231 (air date: 24 October 2011). More ETA on 24/10: It's not painful to watch, at least.
Lesson 318 = About two-third of episode 207.

Natsume Yuujincho V 7
Well, after the two series above, I'm glad at least Natsume (the character) is being good old Natsume. But I have to admit I've read better volumes of this series. Sorry, Matoba is not doing anything for me. I'm not even sure what purpose he serves. If it is to show that there are people who are willing to abuse their youkai, that was already accomplished sometime back (when we first saw this Nanase person), and better, imho. Putting name and face to random one-eyed long haired guy wouldn't make me interested. Really, even with the last scene, I don't get a feeling that Matoba will ever want anything with Natsume if Natsume doesn't conveniently deliver himself to Matoba on a platter (the way he did in this arc). With that said, this is most likely not the last I'll see of Matoba, because otherwise the hype around his character makes no sense to me. But maybe he'll redeem himself to me if he did appear again... Natori's presence is a welcomed non-surprise here, however. (And me like his voice in anime, so there.) Nyanko-sensei is also pretty cool in this arc (I don't think he wants to eat Natsume anymore).

The special story is cute. It's a lonely childhood for Natsume due to his ability to see youkai, but I didn't know the extent he was alienated. He never even played the game he suggested when the youkai asked him which games human children play. I'm glad he was able to have fun here, even if just with youkai. Story-wise he has some human friends now, so it's not like the time he was young.

The last story is a short story not related to Natsume. Though it also deals with a kid with a special ability which leads to him being shunned. He doesn't seem to resent his ability as much as Natsume used to resent his, however. It's an enjoyable enough read, though the ending seems too open-ended. I'm cutting the manga-ka some slacks, however, since she openly admits that it is one of her earlier works.

Oh, I love 'find something wrong with the drawing of Nyanko-sensei' segment. As the name says, there is a Nyanko-sensei drawn with a few different details from the real Nyanko-sensei. I caught two out of four spots the drawing differs from the real one. Oh well. I've never been a great observer to begin with...

Bakuman V 1
In a nutshell, this is a manga about two teenagers writing manga to sell to Shueisha (JUMP, specifically) since they were aiming to get their manga animated. I'm actually not sure if this series is supposed to be a true (but somewhat dramatized) representation of the inner working of manga world (or at least JUMP, since it's the magazine Bakuman runs in), or is more of a light-hearted piece poking fun, since it has no shame referencing fellow JUMP series (Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach, along with Gintama. While on one hand I'm happy that Gintama is famous enough to be mentioned, I'm not sure if it should be taken as a compliment that the series is grouped together with the big three--I feel like Gintama is in a class of its own).

But do I like it? Well, can't exactly say that I'm not familiar with the creators' style since I've already read their previous collaboration (points up to Death Note), but this series is different. In fact, if I hadn't previously known about it, I wouldn't have guessed the same people were behind this series at the first glance (probably not until one of the main chara mentions a death note). The first book hooked me, but not as much as Death Note's first volume did (though that didn't mean much--just look at how well that turned out).

Yeah, I know I haven't really answered my own question, but only because I think my feelings are kind of shaky. It's an enjoyable enough series based on this first volume (the two leads complement each other well, imho), but I don't know if it will keep its freshness (well, fresh as in no one has done a stab at manga industry before that I'm aware of). And the information-dumping is rather painful to go through (though it's less painful than Death Note's 'I'm better than you' wall of text mind game). Perhaps I'll check out the anime adaptation since it might help lessen the pain of info-dumping, though it doesn't really seem to have any voice actor I know in it (wait, on a second glance, there is Kamui's as one of the main chara)... (Despite this, VA is not my first consideration when deciding to watch anime. I still am going to watch what I plan to. If I'm lucky enough to find someone I recognize, it's a bonus.)

Hmm...disjointed entry is disjointed. (And poor Natsume Yuujincho, being the only Shoujo series in the sea of Shounen JUMP series.) I wasn't sure if I should tag the series that only get referenced by other series. In the end, I decide to tag anyway, since they are mentioned by names (and if not, close enough that they couldn't be mistaken for any other series). And who knows, maybe fans of those referenced series might decide to check out Gintama or Bakuman if they haven't already.

(I'm still fond of Gintama, even if the volume I happen to write about doesn't reflect my feeling well. Well, as far along into the series as I am, I'll forgive an occasional volume that might not be up to my lofty standard. And since I prefer to understand references, I kind of owe it to Gintama for making me a bit more well-read (if only on manga and not on real life practical knowledge). Bakuman, ah, I don't know enough to recommend it, and so far it just references other series directly by names (and not building a whole chapter parodying a certain detergent** series like Gintama did). Someone else might be bored by the time they reach half of volume one for all I know (and unlike Gintama, Bakuman's (and actually Death Note's) female characters are not exactly strong point of the series) but at least you are aware of its existence now if you hadn't before.)

**That's what I saw in one Gintama fanfic so I just went with it. (Still, 'bleach' seems more like a process to lighten the color, I think.)
Family Dearest
25th-Sep-2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Nice to see you on LJ again ;)

I have actually never read Death Note (or watched it), but I know enough spoilers, so I'm not sure if I want to actually read the series, because I just feel they would be depressing...

That's too bad you didn't like this Gintama volume much... I guess it's not possible for Gintama to be constantly super awesome, some of the volumes set such high expectations that the readers get disappointed if the manga is even slightly less interesting than usually.

Anyhow, it was really interesting to see the comparison with manga chapters and anime episodes, I wonder why the animators want to change the sequence of the events and not just follow the manga.

I would totally love to have a real volume of Natsume manga - I don't like the art much, it looks kind of sketchy, but I do like the story. I think the main appeal of Matoba is that he is tall, dark and handsome XDDD

I am considering to give Bakuman a try, but then again, there are a number of mangas I'm reading right now, so it's not a priority.

A certain detergent, that phrase made me lol XD
25th-Sep-2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :) I hope I won't disappear again too soon.

Actually, I don't think Death Note is too depressing. There are parts that almost make me forget that this series is about a very deluded serial killer (who thinks he is god) and his attempt to clean up the world while getting rid of the people standing in his way. Death Note started out great, reached its peak, and went downhill for me. That said, I'm probably going to continue watching the anime at some point because I don't like leaving things unfinished, especially since I'm slightly more than halfway through already.

That's it, exactly. This volume came after Vol 35 (which is my favorite volume in recent time), so that really doesn't help. ^^;; I've made my peace with Vol 36 now, however. In retrospect, I should have waited a few days before typing up my impressions...

Well, Gintama is a gag comedy series, so, except for an occasional serious arc, I suppose it doesn't really matter how the anime episodes are ordered. But I don't know why they choose to change the sequence of the events either (you would think it's less work to just follow the manga), nor what criteria they use to sequence the episodes (by seasons, perhaps? But that wouldn't explain a New Year episode in April...).

Wanting to own the physical manga volumes is the main reason I don't read ahead on Natsume (besides not wanting to spoil the anime for myself) -- I prefer holding the manga in my hand. And I haven't even thought of Matoba's appearance as the main appeal. Maybe if I feel more favorable toward his character his looks might have worked for me...

Wow, kind of jealous that you're reading a number of mangas. I haven't been reading much, and watching anime (or anything really) even less.

Ah, thanks. Even though it's not all my idea, I'm happy to take credit. :)
25th-Sep-2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
I hope so too ;)

Well, it would not be that interesting if all of the series was just depressing stuff about killers, so it has to have some less serious moments... But still, from what I hear, pretty much everyone dies in it, that's somewhat depressing. But I will probably watch it eventually, since I have already downloaded the anime.

It's as you said, even a mediocre Gintama volume is still better than some other series, so it's all good :)

I suppose it does not matter for the plot, but I prefer the anime to follow manga really closely, and now that I read the manga, I notice quite a number of things that were changed for no particular reason.

Haha, well, I suppose Matoba is not really a likeable character, but from what I have heard, some people like him exactly because he is somewhat evil.

That's probably nothing to be jealous of since I tend to start ongoing mangas and then forget to check for new chapters and end up dropping them...

Since I saw the phrase here, I will give you all the credit ;)
26th-Sep-2011 11:50 am (UTC)
Yes, pretty much everyone dies in Death Note, but I'll say more than a few of those people have it coming, which is somewhat satisfying for me (criminals shouldn't be getting away with no consequence). Anyway, since you already have the anime, you could see for yourself whether the series would be depressing for you.

Personally, I don't mind the anime doing its own thing sometimes, because I don't want to watch anime just to get the exact replica of the manga, only in moving form and with voices (not to mention anime and manga are different mediums -- what works well in one medium doesn't necessarily translate over well into another). But, yeah, there are also times I wish the anime follows the manga more closely (kind of like what they say -- don't fix what isn't broken).

Well, there are many mangas I want to at least try (so I am not so clueless about popular stuff), but I get hold back for some reason or another (time, not wanting to deal with on-going series, preferring books (scanlations only as a last resort), etc.) so I'm kind of jealous (^^;) that you can manage to get start on reading them at all.
26th-Sep-2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
I don't know, if the criminals are likeable, I don't mind when they get away with things, besides, making the world better by killing all the bad people actually sounds like a good idea to me, somebody who does that is not really a criminal.

I wouldn't mind the exact copy of the mange (well, as exact as possible taking into account the fact these are different mediums) - I want the story to have a single timeline and I don't like it when there are as if two separate universes for manga and the anime. Well, it doesn't really apply to Gintama as it has no particular timeline, but still, I don't want there to be anime-only characters or something like that XD

I suppose the preference for books is the most difficult - if you start reading online, you will find time for it because manga just sucks you in somehow XD But if you prefer actual hard copies, it takes time and money to get them in the first place... Oh well, at least you are keeping up with some ongoing series, that's also good :)
27th-Sep-2011 10:12 am (UTC)
Well, I was not against Death Note's basic premise completely (and was somewhat interested in how it would explain the lead's thoughts and actions), otherwise I would never even try the series in the first place. As for whether civilians who take it into their hands to kill off bad people are good or evil, the series seem to leave that up to the viewers.

Gintama anime is doing fine then, because I don't think it makes any drastic change to the source material (at least all characters seem to keep their manga personalities). And I'm with you on no anime-only character, since I watch the series for the (manga) canon characters, not for someone I don't know.

Online reading is actually a great way to sample things (since it's free), but I guess I usually get distracted to do something else whenever I find the time to be online. And yeah, there is that -- grabbing a book off a shelf is so much easier for me than reading online. Ah, well, true, I'm keeping up with a few ongoing series and hoping I would not lose interested when the next volumes of those series are released.
27th-Sep-2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I guess it's good to hear that the series does not preach and lets the viewer have their own opinion about moral questions, it would be pretty lame if they tried to force some sort of conclusions on the viewers.

Yeah, and I'm really happy about that :) I agree, besides, anime only characters tend to be rather less interesting than the characters invented by the actual author.

I can understand that, besides, online reading kind of strains the eyes... But anyhow, you are reading some manga and watching some anime, and that's good enough already - one can't keep up with everything :)
28th-Sep-2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
I kind of get the impressions that the creators of Death Note might not exactly know what to think of their own series. But yeah, they are not preaching, which is all cool. :)

Given how much Sunrise seem to love Gintama, they probably could come up with good original characters. (/Devil's advocate)

While it's frustrating that we won't ever get a new movie (that is not based on existing stuff) at this rate, I'm still glad Sunrise don't try to invent a lot of non-manga canon stuff (a few fillers here and there are fine with me). Better leave it to Sorachi-sensei to come with the story and the characters...
29th-Sep-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
But at least they gave the series some sort of ending, it would have been worse if they didn't know where to go with it and just left it unfinished.

They might, but those would still be not canon characters, and fic writers would have to say they are using the manga or the anime continuity and there would be parallel universes and basically it would be a mess XD

I don't mind a movie based on existing stuff - for the same reasons I don't like anime creators doing stuff on their own. Well, I guess it the movie was all about the Yorozuya having some sort of fun adventure with same old characters, I would not mind, but a serious arc that reveals something about the characters (like the Birth of Shiroyasha XD) should only be based on the manga.

And at least we are getting a new movie, that's good enough already :D
30th-Sep-2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
There are probably needs to state which continuity a fic is based from already, I think. For instance, right now people are saying blue eyes for Gin-san is not correct. ^^;; I guess they probably don't know that it is Sunrise who choose to color his eyes differently from the manga...

Well, yeah, I would be fine with anime fillers if they don't have anything to do with character development/background. I cannot express enough how glad I am that Sunrise is adapting Gintama, because they took Gintama off-air when there was not enough manga material instead of padding it with fillers like some other animation studios do with their shounen JUMP titles (because apparently they don't want to lose their TV time-slots).

I honestly am not sure whether there is actually a new movie. It seems things are up in the air, as far as I know. I would be happy if I am wrong, however.
2nd-Oct-2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Hmm, interesting you should mention that, I'm not even sure what colour are his eyes in the manga XDDD

True, true, I have thought about it too - it was probably a pretty brave decision of them, and I'm glad they did that.

Well, we can never know until they really show the movie because it's Gintama, and they troll people XDD But I still hope there will be one :D
2nd-Oct-2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
It is somewhere between blue and grey (and sometimes it looks almost green), I think. Tatsunoko Pro (the studio who animates SKET Dance) uses the manga eye color for Gin-san, hence the discrepancy -- people who watch the anime only would think the red eye color is correct.

I hope so, too. :) I love Gintama, troll and all, but I am unlikely to have this uncertainty (of not knowing whether a movie will be made) in another fandom.
3rd-Oct-2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Hmm, interesting... I have investigated it, and his eyecolour seems to be sort of dark grey in most cases. I think it should not be as blue as in Sket Dance XD Lol, but I guess it shows how anime influences thinking, I probably would have considered the most correct colour to be the anime colour XD

Uncertainty is part of all the fun ;D
3rd-Oct-2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
Well, perhaps you're right, but I still think they got it his eye color more close to the manga in any case (and it seemed to be based on how the SKET Dance mangaka colored Gin-san, not Sorachi-sensei). Sort of like how no one probably would have said anything if his eye was colored brown in SKET Dance...
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