Saturday, May 28, 2022

Daytime Shooting Star volume 10 (manga review)

A young teacher and his female student stand side by side, she pulls down the corner of her eye and sticks her tongue out.
    Been a slow month for new releases in the series I'm currently reading, and I'm on a bit of a tight budget at the moment so I haven't been starting any new series. Soooo, that means it's time to review another volume of "Daytime Shooting Star" which I've been slowly catching up on.
    This will be a short review, so be prepared for SPOILERS throughout (as there ain't much else to talk about): In volume 10, Suzume very cutely asks Mamura to be her boyfriend for real. He is cutely blushing throughout the entire chapter. And THEN...and then, just when you thought we were past this...G**D*** Shishio-sensei decides to act like a spoiled brat/total creep and gets Suzume alone in a classroom, and hugs her tightly, and when she asks him to let go, he says "no." 
    Let's remind everyone (for the millionth time) - Shishio is her adult teacher. She is about 16 years old. THIS IS NEVER OKAY. But, on the plus side for this series, she does reject him and commits herself to Mamura. So hopefully my internet friends who told me the series resolves in a healthy way are right and we're on a good path with Mamura. 
    But still, why can't we have a series with someone as cutely oblivious as Suzume and someone as cutely sensitive/devoted as Mamura WITHOUT the whole teacher and student thing? Is it too hard to ask for good shoujo with same-age protagonists ("Ao Haru Ride" FTW)? Also, is it too hard to get a good shoujo romance with same-age protagonists, that is actually interesting? (I'm looking at you "Shortcake Cake" - you started so good and got so bland, dropping all your high-drama stakes along the way and making your female lead take the backseat and erasing her personality - for shame!)
    So with volume 10 of "Daytime Shooting Star," we formally get our couple. Suzume continues to be a nicely uniquely characterized shoujo heroine, Mamura is likable with some of the characteristics of a modern shoujo male lead (kind, sensitive, devoted - not cold and cool like the late 90s, early 2000s shoujo males - ughhhh "Peach Girl" why did you have to give those two assholes your attention?). We're putting to rest (I think, finally) the teacher/student relationship in this series (and not a moment too soon), and so here's hoping that the series gives us some fun volumes of Suzume and Mamura getting to know each other and deepening their relationship as it finishes up.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Star Trek The Motion Picture 4k UHD Director's cut Remastered(Movie Review)

    Today was one of only two days to see Star Trek The Motion Picture in 4k, completely remastered, UHD, director's cut IN THEATERS! So naturally I was there! I won't bore you with too many details, but basically, they went back to the original footage in three different formats that it was shot in, cleaned it up, used the previous director's cut edit, and truly color-graded it for the first time. I have always liked this movie, far more than most people, but I also was well aware of its weaknesses. So I was definitely looking forward to seeing what they did with it. Let's do a quick good vs. bad to get things rolling:

The faces of the characters from Star Trek look out over the movies title with a rainbow color filter over them.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Kageki Shojo!! volume 5 (manga review)

Two teen girls in school uniforms promenading. One has a military coat overtop flaring out behind her like a cape.
Meh. That's what I think of Kageki Shojo volume 5 (and pretty much all the volumes other than the prequel/introductory volume "The Curtain Rises). I'm so sorry to keep subjecting you all to my reviews of manga that I just don't feel very drawn to (is that a pun?!). In general, I just find so much shoujo and yuri to be middling. And don't get me started on how little true josei is published in the US. My big question to all of you: is there no fantastically well written yuri, shoujo, and josei out there any more? Has the industry just become dominated by trite, superficial storytelling and bland art that can't decide if it's moe or realistic? Or is what gets translated to the US market so limited, that they pick lowest common denominator titles to publish even though there are a lot of higher quality ones in Japan going untranslated? (And yes, I feel meh about anime the last few seasons as well).
    But, let's talk Kageki Shojo Volume 5 while we're here. In this volume, the girls begin the process of rehearsing for, and then auditioning for, their brief Romeo and Juliet scene that they will perform with the main troupes at the school's cultural festival. Mostly, this volume focuses on Sarasa trying to figure out which character she will portray and how to develop her own style for that character. In this way, it reflects back on the earlier volumes where she was both magnificent at acting, but her acting was also a direct copy of another famous performer's style. Fascinating, is when Ai gives her some advice and then remembers where she learned that from (her famous actress mother...).

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Our Teachers are Dating Volume 4 (manga review)

Two adult women teachers holding hands, one has her other arm around the other, in front of a school on a clear day with flower petals floating in the air around them
    Somewhat unexpectedly, Our Teachers are Dating Volume 4 (Seven Seas) came shrink wrapped. I just assumed it was some weird Amazon warehouse thing. Well, for what is mostly a sweet, simple comedy/romance, it turns out the final chapter of this final volume was about as steamy as it gets. I was surprised there wasn't an explicit content warning on it actually, but the shrink wrap now makes sense. More on that to come.
    Our Teachers are Dating is a very light rom-com about two women teachers at a school who fall in love, date, and in this final volume, get married. It's a simple story. There is really no drama, no character growth, it's just meant as a feel-good story, I guess. I would honestly say that it's below average. Nice but nothing special.
    This final volume had the two women telling their families that they were planning on marrying which at least provided some interesting dynamics, especially when one family does not take it well to start. But honestly, there isn't much to say about this volume or series. Do you want to read a simple rom-com about two lesbians teachers falling in love? Do you not want to have to think while you read it because there is no depth? Then you're in luck.

Eclair Bleue, Eclair Rouge, and Eclair Orange (manga reviews)

Two teen manga girls sharing a bike
    During the period where I took a hiatus from blogging, I also had to decrease my manga purchases, and so as a result after reading the first two volumes of the Eclair series (Elcair and Eclair Blanc) I didn't purchase the final three (Rouge, Bleue, and Orange) [published by Yen Press]. I'm finally beginning to chip away at my backlog and given the nature of these volumes, it made sense to just talk about all three at once. And frankly, there isn't much to say.
    Do you like middling, repetitious, and tropy yuri stories that are way too brief, relatively simplistic, and often have an unresolved tone to the ending? Well then you're in luck, cause that's about all you get with these three. And BTW, if it wasn't clear, I'm not a super huge fan of this series.
    Let's start with the format. Each story is very short, shorter than your average chapter of a serialized manga. It's interesting to me, because while I don't enjoy reading short stories (literary fiction short stories), I have found that I do enjoy writing them. So with that growing understanding of what I like about my own writing of short stories, it has made me even more suspect of the one-off stories in manga. And frankly, these don't have much to say. A great short-story provides amazing depth on the characters, time, and setting without ever spending any time on it. The writing hints, implies, or at least provides fertilizer for the mind to imagine all that came before and all that will follow. You'll find very little writing on that level here. Further, a great short story manages to either really give meaningful insight into a character, situation, or event or actually transform (even if minutely) the character in the space of the short story. Again, you'll find very little of that in these stories.