Archive for the Miscellaneous Category


ZZZ no Z ~Nemurichan to Oyasumi~ Manga(ZZZのZ~ねむりちゃんとおやすみ~ )

April 13th, 2017

Remember when I recently complained that I have read wayyyy too many “genius who sleeps makes hard-working classmate crazy” manga? As I was reviwing Kore de Wakatte Yo!, I commented that it was awfully similar to the Premise of Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo (A Kiss and White Lilly for My Dearest Girl, which I’m reading in English). Well, so is ZZZ no Z ~Nemurichan to Oyasumi~ (ZZZのZ~ねむりちゃんとおやすみ~ ). So it’s no wonder that I’m a little done with this plot. ^_^;

Fukaine Nemuri (“A deep sleep, eh”) is alway number one in the school results, even though she sleeps through class all the time. Hard-working and hyper Okita Soyoko (“That girl’s awake”), is driven mad by her classmate’s apparent sloth and evident genius. What could have been a really annoying gag comedy, actually becomes a kind of sweet friendship between the two.

It even develops into something vaguely amusing when it turns out that the number three position in the school is a guy who accounts himself very pretty, and had fallen for Soyoko, unaware that she is the very same Okita who has pushed him down in the rankings.

Thankfully, as the volume winds down we learn just why Nemuri is so sleepy all the time (aside from being named “A deep sleep, eh”). She is the primary caretaker to 9 younger siblings. Well that would do it.

The art reminded me of Fuurai Shimai, with that same crazy expressions and  overblown reactions to vaguely normalish situations. It wasn’t as bonkers as Fuurai Shimai, but it had a similar feel.

Ratings:

Art – 6 On-purpose messy
Characters – 5 They do develop, just not much and not fast
Story- 5 It’s a sit-com
Service – 2 lots of “girls sleeping”
Yuri- 1 Not really

Overall – 6

For a single volume I could tolerate the hyper-frenetic comedy of the story.  If there is a second volume I will pass. But watching Nemuri and Soyoko start to unconsciously rely on one another wasn’t that bad. I guess it just grew on me. It certainly helped me sleep at night.

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Kore de Wakatte Yo! Manga (これでわかってよ!)

April 9th, 2017

Mimoto’s Kore de Wakatte Yo! manga collection (これでわかってよ!) is a perfectly adequate little manga that suffers primarily from being instantly comparable to similar, but better, manga.

The stories in this collection will mostly likely remind you of those in A Kiss and White Lily For My Dearest Girl, simply because of the odd-couple set up that is the favored plot complication. But I have to be honest, I really hate the “genius who never tries” stereotype. From personal experience as the person who works constantly to try and get better only to be okay at best, there pretty much is nothing more irritating.

So while there’s nothing really bad here, it was hard to get behind these not-quite Yuri stories of not-quite- couples. Of these stories, “Aii Renai Futari,” the first, multi-chapter story, of the collection was the strongest, with a couple you could imagine being far more interesting once they left school and grew up a bit.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Service – 1 On principle only
Yuri – 4 Before the relationship, mostly

Overall – 6

It wasn’t bad, I found it pleasant to read and look at, just lacking in substance other than “Story A” Odd-couple style.

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Watashi to Kanojo no Otomari Eiga Manga (私と彼女のお泊まり映画)

March 22nd, 2017

Koharu and Mayumi have been friends since high school. They have a standing “date” on Friday nights. Koharu picks a movie and they watch it. And then they talk about it.

Mostly Koharu teases Mayumi for having very little reaction and Mayumi teases Koharu for having a very big reactions. Koharu likes romances and dramas, Mayumi prefers action and horror. 

At the end of every chapter we get a movie review. And that’s basically the entirety of Yasuda Kosuke’s Watashi to Kanojo no Otomari Eiga (私と彼女のお泊まり映画). 

In between movie reviews we do learn a little bit about the two women, and, in the final pages, they have a rather touching moment where they acknowledge that friendship with each other has changed them both for the better.

If you really want to read two manga characters discussing how Mad Max Fury Road, or Inside Out made them feel, then this is the book for you. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6 It has moments of not so good
Character – 7 Nice kids, I’d have them over for lunch
Story – 5 We’re literally listening to them talk about movies they just watched.
Yuri – 0 They are friends. They hug. Koharu even sleeps over in what had to be the most refreshingly unsexual sleepover scene I’ve read in ages
Service – 4 You wouldn’t think there could be, but sometimes Mayumi’s breasts are centered for reasons

Overall – 6

You know…I’d probably read another volume. Nothing happened in a refreshingly normal way and it was kind of nice.

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On Strike

March 8th, 2017

Every day on Okazu, I read, watch, write, edit, plan, publish, buy, sell and create. Not today. Today, I celebrate the achievements of women. International Women’s Day General Strike. A Day Without A Woman.

International Women's Day General Strike. A Day Without A Woman

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What Are We Watching, Western Cartoon Edition

March 5th, 2017

Several times in recent weeks, I have had occasion to comment that I am currently watching as many or more western cartoons than anime at the moment. In no way is this meant as a slam to anime. I still like it. I’m way behind on my watching, but that’s no one’s fault but my own. ^_^ 

I’ve written about Steve Universe several times already. It is, in my opinion, one of the finest cartoons I’ve ever watched, with moments of genuinely brilliant, Emmy-worthy writing.

Today I wanted to mention two cartoons that could not be more different if they tried.

First, if you are a fan of magical girl anime, you really must be watching Star vs the Forces of Evil. Star is a magical girl princess who has come from another dimension (As the OP says, “I ain’t from ’round here”) to live on Earth and the adventures she and her best bud Marco get into. It’s…well, it’s fantastic. ^_^ 

The story is smart, riffing on plenty of magical girl themes, but also just taking an intelligent tack on funny quirks of the genre, adding a dash of wacky and keeping the writing real for characters that are meant to be teens.

Star and Marco are often accompanied by a floating, glittery unicorn head and, of course, face evil bad guys, but the best episodes are often in the way every-day issues are blown out of proportion with magic. Shopping in “Quest Buy” with a gift card that if Marco doesn’t use, when it expires, will take them with it, for instance. A recent episode worth watching goes into the details of how Star’s magic wand has become corrupted and must be fixed.  (Click this link and watch it, at least for the OP, but the episode is a decent one, as well.)

The pacing is generally fast, the episodes are “wackiness ensues” with lots of screaming. 

The characters are likable. Marco and Star’s friendship is a friendship….and a good one. They have both had feelings for each other, but asymmetrically (which is the subject of a recent arc, in fact. This is the same arc which included same-sex kisses in a scene, a first for a Disney cartoon.) They make a great team, but are not perfect or one-dimensional. The bad guys do tend to be more for humor factor than any real threat. As handwaves go, it’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not that there isn’t a progression to the series, but most episodes can be viewed with no more information than that provided in the opening animation, but if you watch it regularly, you can see that there’s a definite change in Star and Marco’s relationship with each other and with their other friends (who do get caught up in their adventures, so yeah, they know Star’s a magic princess.) The writing assumes the audience is not a bunch of duds, which is refreshing. Things we’re thinking are things the characters say.

Ultimately, if magical girls without creepy service is a thing you’d enjoy, you’re probably going to enjoy Star vs the Forces of Evil. I certainly do.

Secondly, as far from the enjoyable teen antics of Star as possible, the other cartoon I’m consuming obsessively is:

Archer. No one who knows me well will be even remotely surprised that I like this cartoon. It’s vulgar and violent, but written for “mature audiences” as they warn you. This is not the immature tee-hee of fanservice. This is the hearty guffaw of “eat a bag of dicks” and nudity. 

A fairly brilliant parody of the super-spy narrative idealized by James Bond, Archer is really, really offensive. Remember, as Miss Meteyard said, ““Some people can be funny without being vulgar, and some can be both funny and vulgar. I should recommend you to be either the one or the other.” Archer is funny and vulgar. It also must be the most fun job to voice act in the world. Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane is the absolute epitome of voice-acting in America right now, but it is the bitter, rich, intolerant, alcoholic Mallory Archer who speaks deeply to my soul. I aspire to her glorious level of incendiary, incandescent loathing. ^_^ 

A good example of why I like the series is this line, in which Archer complains about an overcomplicated CIA plan, “all it needed was a sign that said, ‘free bird seed.’” Laughed for a good ten minutes at that.

There’s a lot of implied sex in the series. Lana is primarily straight, but Pam has had sex with all the other woman in the office and some of the men. Cheryl/Carol is…who the fuck knows what she is, and while Mallory is always looking for a sugar husband, we are led to believe that she has also had sex with Pam at least once.  One of the agents, Ray, is gay (and sometimes lacking the use of his legs or an arm) but he’s never gotten anything for it but a bunch of really insensitive jokes.

So, that’s what I’m watching right now. What are you watching these days? It’s an open thread in the comments! Let’s have those cartoon recommendations!

 

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