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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: November 2005

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Light Invisible
by Robert Hugh Benson
Published by Once and Future Books

Review by Kathryn Ramage

The Light Invisible, originally published in 1903 and recently republished by Once and Future Books, is a sort of spiritual supernatural tale. The story is not so much a novel as it is a series of vignettes about an elderly priest who sees something beyond the material world (rather like the lead character in his brother E.F. Benson's short story, "The Man Who Went Too Far," with less disastrous results.) Each chapter/vignette is framed by the priest telling the narrator about the extraordinary things he has seen in the invisible world--visible to him--throughout his life.

Posted by Kathryn L Ramage @ 10:53 AM PST [Link]

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

FullMetal Alchemist Volume 1: The Land of Sand (novel)
by Makoto Inoue
Translated by Alexander O. Smith
Published by VIZ Media

Review by Tom Good

This novel, based on the hit anime and manga series FullMetal Alchemist, tells the story of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two boys who have suffered the consequences of an alchemy experiment gone wrong. This disaster left Edward with an artificial leg and hand, and his younger brother Alphonse as a disembodied spirit inhabiting a large suit of armor. The two heroes search for the Philosopher's Stone in the hopes that it can restore their bodies. On their journey, they come across a desert mining town in decline, with the gold rush over and its fortunes long past. Here, another pair of boys has been impersonating the Elrics and conducting alchemy experiments of their own. [more]

Posted by Tom Good @ 09:49 PM PST [Link]

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Chapter One
English Language version produced by Geneon, 2005

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

Gankutsuou is without a doubt the most stunning anime I have ever seen in my entire life. The visuals grab you by the eyeballs and swing you around like it's a three-year-old with a rag doll for the entire duration of this DVD. After seeing the trailer for Gankutsuou, I cynically thought, "Well, that's impressive, but I wonder what it will really look like?" Imagine my surprise to find that the episodes actually look like the trailer. It was quite a shock to a jaded critic like me, let me assure you.

Gankutsuou has an art film look to it, due primarily to the unique method the art director chose for presenting textures. Hair and clothing move over texture that remains stationary...Yeah, I'm afraid that's the best I can do to explain it. This technique gives the film a rich, but oddly off-kilter look. The creators throw in a lot of unexpected elements to almost every scene to keep the viewer off-balance and engaged. The first episode opens at carnival. The colors are dazzling. The amount of movement and detail stuns you. "Something," you realize, though, as you see the Earth hanging in the sky of a city on Luna, "is wrong here." [more]

Posted by Kelly S Taylor @ 04:34 PM PST [Link]

Rurouni Kenshin, Volumes 17 and 18
Story and Art by Nobuhiro Watsuki

English Language version produced by VIZ Media

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

Sometimes it's entertaining to enter a storyline in the middle of the action instead of at the beginning. This was my experience with Rurouni Kenshin. I had heard of this classic manga series and its anime adaptation before, but had never read or seen any of it. These two volumes of the manga series plunge the reader breathlessly into the heat of the action. Volume 17 presents a climatic battle. Volume 18 lets the readers see the characters collecting themselves before being swept up into Meijii era intrigue once more. Important relationships are already established and are being tested. These two volumes give the reader an exciting snapshot of vigorous series in progress. [more]

Posted by Kelly S Taylor @ 04:28 PM PST [Link]

Samurai Champloo, Volume 2 and 3
English Language version produced by Geneon, 2005

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

At first, when you hear the rap theme music paired with the wood-block print-like graphics of the Samurai Champloo's introduction, you're going to think, "What an interesting choice the translators have made here..." Nope. The rap is original. These people are serious about their anachronisms. Shinichiro Watanabe, who also worked on Cowboy Bebop and the Animatrix, directs the series. Chief designers include Kazuto Nakazawa (Kill Bill Vol.1) and Mahiro Maeda (Last Exile, Blue Submarine No. 6). If you can mentally combine the quirky, hip attitudes of all these projects into one very quirky, very hip series and set it in feudal Japan, you've got Samurai Champloo. [more]

Posted by Kelly S Taylor @ 06:59 AM PST [Link]

Blame! Vol 1
By Tsutomu Nihei
English Language version produced by TOKYOPOP

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

It's my own fault. I chose this book to review because its blurb lauded its similarity to French comics. Halfway through the manga, I remembered why I don't like French comics. It's not the French. It's me -- I say as if I'm breaking up with this manga. Although I'm no Mary Sunshine, I'm just too...American to enjoy this much existentialism in one large dose. If you are a jaded, Goth, cyberpunk with a taste for Satre, though, Blame! may be just your cup of absinthe. [more]

Posted by Kelly S Taylor @ 06:55 AM PST [Link]

Howl’s Moving Castle
From the Novel by Diana Wynne Jones
Screenplay written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki
English language version produced by VIZ Media

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

The first thing I feel I must tell you about this manga is that it's not really a manga. It's the picture book version of a movie by the same people who created "Kiki's Delivery Service," "Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind," "Princess Mononoke," and "My Neighbor Totoro." I call it a picture book instead of a manga because the illustrations are fairly uniform sized stills from the movie with dialogue balloons inserted. The arrangement of the pictures displays none of the artfully varied compositional style typical of manga art. However, that being said, it is a lovely little book. [more]

Posted by Kelly S Taylor @ 06:51 AM PST [Link]

Ghost Talker's Daydream
English Language version by Geneon

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

If I have learned nothing else from "Ghost Talker's DayDream," it is that you can't judge an anime by its trailer. The trailer for this DVD paints the picture of an arrestingly dark gothic fantasy. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the main character is a medium who works part-time as a dominatrix. Usually mediums in anime are very spiritual characters. In the same way that people in Western narratives who meet angels are usually nice, (at least somewhat) religious people, Japanese characters who have contact with the spirit world are usually good Buddhists -- calm and responsible. "What could happen," I wondered, "that could cause this person who is in contact with suffering souls to want to inflict pain for a living?" [more]

Posted by Kelly S Taylor @ 06:48 AM PST [Link]

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