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review 2019-07-08 23:51
Devils and Realist (Complete Series)
Devils and Realist Vol. 1 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist Vol. 2 - Madoka Takad... Devils and Realist Vol. 2 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist Vol. 3 - Madoka Takad... Devils and Realist Vol. 3 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist Vol. 4 - Madoka Takad... Devils and Realist Vol. 4 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist Vol. 5 - Madoka Takad... Devils and Realist Vol. 5 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist Vol. 6 - Madoka Takad... Devils and Realist Vol. 6 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist, Vol. 7 - Madoka Taka... Devils and Realist, Vol. 7 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist, Vol. 8 - Madoka Taka... Devils and Realist, Vol. 8 - Madoka Takadono
Devils and Realist, Vol. 9 - Madoka Taka... Devils and Realist, Vol. 9 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro
Devils and Realist, Vol. 10 - Madoka Tak... Devils and Realist, Vol. 10 - Madoka Takadono,Utako Yukihiro

Woo-hoo, I completed another manga series. One down and a lot more to go. Here are my thoughts on the entire series.

 

Six years ago, my first exposure to this series was the anime adaptation. I enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure way. The anime wasn't mind-blowing, but it was enjoyable despite the average animation and artwork. Then, when the manga is going to get an official English translation, I decided to check it out because I wanted more of the story and I thought the manga artwork looked better than the anime adaptation from what I saw.

 

Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed the original manga than its anime. The artwork was gorgeous, especially if it's in color. I loved how Utako Yukihiro colors her drawings. It's hard to believe she gets it down around two weeks even when she is busy with other projects (Source: I attended the talk show featuring her at Anime Expo 2019). Though, Yukihiro needs improvement on is the male characters' facial design. Sometimes, I had a difficult time telling which character is which during some of the fight scenes. The clothing the characters wear makes it less hard to guess, but when you don't see the clothes, it becomes a challenge.

 

The story is similar to other fantasy stories, like Black Butler, with the mix of supernatural stuff with some slice of life stuff in the middle. But unlike Black Butler, which includes darker subject matter like serial killers, cults, pedophilia, and slavery, Devils and Realist's tone is a lot lighter. While the series was mostly light and fluffy, it does get serious when it needs to. The series becomes a lot darker during the second half around the time a specific character shows up. I'm not saying who it is due to spoilers, but it was a subtle surprise. Even during the second half, there are a few times dedicated to some silliness.

 

If you're looking something to read this summer, I highly recommend this title.

 

 

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review 2019-06-07 13:02
Good Omens: The Screen Adaptation -- Ten Comments, Two Addenda and a Summary

 

So, I finally had an opportunity to watch this (binged on the whole thing last night).  A few comments:

 

1.  The kids: loved them.  The only people in the whole production who were visibly in it for the fun of the thing, not because it was a job.  Sam Taylor Buck was fabulous as Adam, but I almost loved his friends even more.

2.  Obviously a huge star vehicle for Michael Sheen and David Tennant, and both of them used it to the max.  Tennant wins in the coolness department, but then, bad boys who aren't really bad always do.  As does tall, dark and handsome.  (As does, for the same reasons, Crowley in the book.)

3.  God bless Miranda Richardson.  And Jack Whitehall and Michael McKean -- but chiefly, Miranda Richardson.  Besides the kids, the trio that really grounded the whole thing.

4.  Anathema as a mllennial Californian with a Latina mother -- why, oh why???  She's the direct descendant of a 17th century rural English witch, for crying out loud ...

5.  Footnotes from the mouth of God -- and not the Metatron, either, but God (Frances McDormand) herself?  Please.  I mean, I do love Terry Pratchett's footnotes, but jeez.

6.  Adam and Eve: PC casting rather than inspired.

7.  The Four Horsemen: More PC casting, but I loved the looks.

8.  The (arch)angels and demons (except for Hastur):  More PC casting.  (What is one of the hallmarks of PC casting?  It goes to supporting and [relatively] minor characters who make up the background and "feel" of the production, rather than the starring roles.)

9.  Derek Jacobi as the Metatron: What a letdown.  No dice on Nicholas Briggs in the BBC audio production (nor, for that matter, on Alan Rickman in Dogma, but let's not even go there).  The Metatron is many things, but decidedly not an elderly gentleman dragged out of semi-retirement.  Being a huge fan of Jacobi's, it pains me to say this, but there we are.

10.  The Shakespeare scene was inspired.  Particularly so, the allusions to Tennant's previous role as Hamlet and to the Bard's mastery at appropriating source material from brains other than his own.  Loved seeing the actual [reconstructed] Globe Theatre as the setting, too.

11. Addendum 1:  The nurses and the switching scenes were fun.  Also, good old-fashioned stop-motion technology put to great effect in the winking exchange.

12.  Addendum 2: Benedict Cumberbatch was wasted as Satan's voice.

 

Overall:  Gaahhh, this is slick.  Make no mistake, I instantly downloaded the whole thing so as to be able to watch it again (and again), for Tennant and Sheen alone.  And it's enormous fun.  But it has a glossy, sleek, high tech surface that buries much of the rough, original force of the book under it; never mind that the essential plot remains unchanged and many of the lines are taken straight from the novel: It's the visuals that get in the way.  And while in both the book and the BBC audio adaptation, for all the humor and downright slapstick comedy, there is a real sense of dread and impending doom towards the end, I never once had that feeling while watching this screen adaptation -- even the end left me as cold as just about every blockbuster disaster movie produced ever since the early 2000s (which is why I don't bother watching them).  I'm not sure less would have been more there -- we're literally talking about the end of the world, after all -- but here, too, all I saw was CGI and other high tech effects being showcased for themselves, not in aid of the story.

 

This adaptation has all the makings of an instant classic, and there is much to love about it.  And most of its audience will probably not even think about, let alone be bothered by the things that are bothering me.  And I enjoyed it enough to want to watch it again, too, probably repeatedly.  And perhaps this is just the sort of production we have to expect, coming out of Hollywood, in this day and age.  Still -- for however much I did enjoy it, for me it's just a tad short of what it could and probably should have been.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-06-05 00:50
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

 

I enjoyed this book more than Circe, which I gave it the DNF mark. However, I had some difficulty engaging with the story during the first part of the book, but I got hook at the part where Achilles is introduced in the story. Then during the middle section, the pacing became too slow and tedious for me. I was close to DNFing the whole thing. Fortunately, the story's pacing improved when the Trojan War began. The Trojan War parts were my favorite because it combined the right amount of action, drama, and romance for me. Even though TSOA has much better pacing than Circe, it still has some problems of explaining stuff instead of showing thing happens. But, it didn't detract my enjoyment. I find the ending to be satisfying and avoids being too cheesy. 

 

Despite her small role, I enjoyed reading about Briseis and I felt sad when she died. Patroclus and Achilles's characters were hard to get into at first, but they eventually grew on me. It was the same for Thetis as well. It was heart-warming to read about her helping Patroclus reunite with Achilles after death.

 

As a stand alone romance book, I liked it. I don't think the story was mind-blowing, but it was a nice read to pass time during recess.

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2019-06-02 19:34
Ooooh, I like this one.
Sourcery - Terry Pratchett
Sourcery - Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer

It's got a "knife to a gun fight" reference (only involving porcupines) and a [literally] kick-ass heroine, takes digs at Aladdin and The Lord of the Rings -- especially The Two Towers --, the Four Horsepersons of the Apothe...ca...thingamagig make an appearance, and the Librarian is taking a stand -- an important one.  (It would be important.)

 

Also, it's safe to say that by book 5, Pratchett had found his Discworld legs once and for all.

 

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2019-05-28 21:54
Reading progress update: I've read 155 out of 276 pages.
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

Woo-hoo, the story is finally moving forward. The brief Patroclus and Achilles moments that happened so far was cute. But when the angsty stuff came along, I worried the story would halt, and there would be several pages of Patroclus angsting. I get why he is upset, but reading how he sad he is over and over again is getting old at times. Fortunately, it quickly ends when they commence fighting with Troy.

 

The Trojan War has begun at last, and some people had already died. I remember my older sister told me about how she kept track of the deaths while reading the Illiad in high school (or middle school? It was a long time ago). She said that there was a lot.  

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