Category Archives: Reviews

Dune, book 1 Review

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I will start this review by telling you who I do not recommend this book too. I do not recommend this book if you are look for a light, easy time waster, a book just to relax. Dune is a book that requires not just your full attention, but your full mind.

Set on the desert planet Arrakis (Dune), a fifteen year boy boy named Paul, accompanies his father, a duke, to the new world to supervise the cultivating of the addictive spice Melange.

This is an extremely brief summary of the incredibly complex book and plot.

One of the things that impressed me most about Dune was the world building. Everything works to make this world, nothing is added just for the sake of feeling ‘exotic’ or ‘cool’. Everything works together in order to make this world seem so whole and unto itself. One thing about Sci-fi is that it can easily be dated by advances in technology, but Dune does not feel dated. I feel it could have been easily written today in the same form. That is how good the world building is. I cannot recall being pulled out of it for a moment.

I think i large part of it is the focus of politics and philosophy also keep it from being dated. Since so much of it revenant to us, especially the commentary on the interplay of religion and politics. Some of the quotes and lined made me pause and just think about them and their place in the contemporary world. The only other author that has ever made me do that is Orwell.

If you are looking for a book that can be considered ‘brain food’ and challenging to you, then pick up a copy.

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Sailor Moon V, Volume 2 review

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We continue our adventures with Minako and Atremis in the second and final volume of Sailor V. The over arching plot and the stories become more woven together. If you enjoy the light-hearted silliness of the first volume, you will not be dissapointed. From an evil plot to make girls fat to mosquito doctors who want your blood.

The story becomes more serious in it’s 11th hour, though there is seriousness in one of the stories involving a boy with a bad heart and hi surgery.

A new Character is introduced, Phantom Ace! A tv idol who is an ally to girls everywhere. He does everything to giving miracle instand weight loss candy to finishing a girl’s homework. The stories are actaully funnier to me than in the last volume. The fact that two involve cute animals is a bonus! My personal favorite is a story involving a manga creator, which I suspect was a lot of self parody on Naoko Takeuchi part.

The ending takes us to China and ends with a rather different mood than the one we have been experiencing, but it does not seem o clash with the tone. The last chapter is a treat for long time Sailor Moon fans.

This is a wonderful story and a must have for any Sailor Moon fan!

Sailor V, Volume 1, review!

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If I could describe this manga in one word it would be energetic. Energy flows from the pages from the art, writing, comedy, action, heroine, and the side characters all rolled into one fun package, which is also another word I would use for this manga.

It center around Minako Aino, a fourteen year old girl, who thanks to the help of a white cat becomes the super heroine Sailor V! Minako is a rather unlikely hero she is whiny, boy obsessed, and would rather go
to the arcade than do schoolwork. Despite her flaws she is becomes enduring to the reader thanks to her cheerful attuide, humor, and genuinely good heart.

This story is the prequel to Sailor Moon and it does show. You can see the early concepts of Sailor Moon being made her with the most obvious is Usagi’s and Minako (Though I would say that Usagi is more demure than Minako in this) and also character designs can be scene like the General Inspector’s design being almost exactly like Rei’s. Also the story concept of bad guys stealing an energy from the humans and it is up to a Guardian of love and justice to stop it!

The over arching plot of Sailor V is not as woven in as Sailor Moon is. It is still there, but it is more of an
undercurrent than anything, at least for this volume. The main gist of all the chapters is that a villian is stealing energy and Minako has to stop it, while this could get repetitive with humor and creavity it never got stale for me. Since the plot is not woven in this allows for less serious stories and more of
a focuse on a screwball comedy aspect.

I would definitely recommend this to all Sailor Moon fans and to those who are not as long as the like good humor and a story that does not take itself too seriously.

I do not know Japanese or have the original Japanese copies of the manga so I can not comment
on the accuracy. I never persoanlly got confused at any point of reading it

First Impressions of Buffy

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a series often talked about in Geek circles in fact
that fanbase founded  Tv tropes. Not watching this series made me feel illeterate in ‘nerdom’ if that
is the correct term so I finally settles down to watch it and what were my
impressions?

First, thing that stood out to me were the characters each  of them felt like real teenagers not the hollywood sterotypes that were too often seen on 90’s tv to even today. Everything from their strengths to their valunerabilitues as a nineteen year old girl I could see a piece of myself in every character on the screen even Giles. The one who ended up being my favorite was Willow, who I also saw myself in the most. The actors were also excellent. I would like to put the spotlight on Sarah Gellar the most.

I do not believe that Buffy would have been the character she was without being portyaed by Sarah Gellar. She is so wonderful at playing Buffy’s human side and still be a be a kick butt heroine. Too often when shows want to show the heroine’s valnurable side they end up going to the point where they undercut her strength.

That is not what happens with Buffy we see her fears, selfish actions, and emotions basiaclly everything a real sixteen year old girl is and she does not lose your strength because of it, but the fact she overcomes that makes her stronger. While the writing is at credit, I belive most of the praise for that does To Gellar
and her acting.

Along with realistic teen character is to mix it with teen problems with a supernatural twist. Ironically I felt that these issues from parental pressure to feeling ‘invisible’ was handled much better and with more tact thatn most normal teen dramas. One thing the show has a problem with is narm.

For those of you who don’t know narm is a term for when something that is suppose to be dramtitic or sad turns out to be funny. There is a lot of narm here. Moloch’s robot costume is basically a power ranger’s villian, The voodoo barbies, to the smoking kill’s sign, not to mention that despite the constant murders that no one is closing the school.

As you can tell, I enjoyed the show and will watch the other seasons and hopefull the comic as well

Folktales from Japan-Anime review

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I am completely unashamed to admit that I love children’s animation despite being an adult. I also love folktales and other cultres. So you can imagone how happy I was to see that Crunchyroll had become to stream the “Folktales from Japan.”

The series as you can tell from the title is about traditional Japanese folktales. Each episode contains three tales in varying animation syles, this becomes more obvious in latter episodes. The animation is simple, yet colorful and very eye catching. The animation displays the emotions of the charcters clearly and more often than not you can tell whether or not a charcter is good or bad depending on apperances.

I personally do not like show it when Chidlren’s shows do this. (the West is just as guilty of this) I have issues with showing that children that evil people are all ugly and can be told their moral status by a glance. I also think it is rather dangerous.

I know what many of you are thinking and that I am over-analzying it, but people are influenced on how they view the world by media. Just study propoganda techniques for more extreme versions of this. Also children are far more impressionable to media.

And let’s ask ourselves….should there by a way that evilness can be judged through looks in our culture? Anyway, enough of that…

The animation is very  simplified in order to tale get the message of the tale as fast as possible. There are few objects in the backgrounds, that are not used in the actual stories. However, the animation is hadly boring with amusing, over exaggerated emotions and actions constantly on display.

The scenary is often done in very lovely water colors that add much to the atmosphere of each tale. The changing are design of some tales do make it even more interesting to watch. However, much of the animation is normal anime children’s charcters on water coor background with some variation of this theme.

On to plot and characters….

Each epsiode is twenty-four minutes long. When you count the time of the opeing and closing themes that gives each tale less than eight minutes to tell their story.To add to thing all the tales are self-contained with no recurring characters.

Amazingly enough not only due the tales not feel to be lacking or shorten, they manage to get an emotional response of anger, sadness, and happiness. I do not mean tear worthy sadness, but you do feel empathy and sympathy for the charcter in the tale and often feel happy for their triumphs.

It is not enough to make you cry, but just enough to make you smile.

One of the things that stood out to me was how genuinely funny it is at times, even from an adult persepctive. Of course there is some toilet humor, (which I personally do not favor) though not to an absurd degree like I have seen on many American Children’s show.

Despite the simple aesop tales I found myself being drawn in and very intersted in the out come of the situation. I do not recall being bored for any of the tales, though that may be because of how unfamiliar I am with Japanese folklore. It may be different for someone who grew up with these tales.

It is a good show and if you enjoy good Children’s shows. learning about other cultures, and folklore I definatly reccomened it to you.

It can be viewed free and legally on Crunchyroll.