Thursday, January 21, 2021

Wave Listen to Me!

 I just finished reading volume 5 of Samura Hiroaki's Wave Listen to Me! In this volume the store take a turn to being stranger, and in a very good way. While I greatly enjoyed his earlier Blade of the Immortal I find his works set in modern times far more enjoyable.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Penguin Highway

I just finished reading the novel Penguin Highway by Morimi Tomihiko author of The Tatami Galaxy, The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, and The Eccentric Family. This one was a delight. The entire book is written from the standpoint of Aoyama, a 4th grader who loves to learn new things. Armed with his curiosity and a growing series of notebooks as he and his friends explore the areas near the suburb they live in while avoiding conflict with the Suzuki Empire. Suzuki is a boy at school with two minions who likes to throw his weight around. Aoyama also has a good friendship with a lady who works at the local dentist. Then one day on the way to school a group of penguins is spotted, then things start to get strange. Aoyama starts adding more entries into his notebooks as he tries to solve this mystery, and others that start cropping up.

After I reading the last of the novel, I turned the page to find an afterword by none other than Hagio Moto.

The anime feature is also worth viewing, both are available for purchase at Right Stuf.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Friday, December 25, 2020

Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan

Recently read:

Galbraith, Patrick W.

Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan

Durham: Duke University Press, 2019

If you have any interest in Japanese fan culture this work is a must read. Galbraith has incorporated years of research experience into this study of otaku culture. The volume focuses on a particular type of otaku, the male otaku from the anime fandom and dōjinshi culture that stated in the 1970s, through the development of Akihabara into an otaku holy land, the development of maid cafes and related businesses. What I found especially informative is that he covers what this meant to otaku themselves. The struggle part of the titles involves the often negative reaction to otaku in mass media, the police crackdowns on public performance in Akihabara, and attempts to turn the phenomenon into tourism and product promotion while shutting out the "weird otaku" from the process. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Seven new recommended movies this week.

 This week I added seven movies to my recommended titles page. Some are out of print but easy to find second hand. Disc releases of foreign films are usually on limited licenses, if they sell well the license may get renewed, otherwise they go out of print.

The titles I added are:

Aragami: The Raging God of Battle 

First Love

Hana: Tale of a Reluctant Samurai

Incident at Blood Pass




Monday, November 9, 2020

A Rampo related movie.


This recommended title is a delightful action triller inspired by the crime stories of Edogawa Rampo.  This time the Fiend With 20 Faces is plotting something and Akechi Kogoro is out to stop him. However an innocent young man, Endo Heikichi, has become caught in the middle of the action, and not in a very good way. Will Endo manage to come through OK? Will the Fiend finally be caught? will justice be served? Watch K-20 and find out!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Gold Mask by Edogawa Rampo

Gold Mask by Edogawa Rampo

A spectre is haunting Tokyo - the spectre of the Gold Mask. An urban legend grows rapidly, spread by word of mouth to the point that the newspapers report on the rumors. A person with a gold mask, seen bundled up with hat low peering into a Ginza shop window, again at the scene of a tragic accident spotted by a shopkeeper, seen on the street by an elderly woman this time also wearing a gold cloak, again seen ...

Then a brazen robbery carried out by the Gold Mask shows that this is not a mere urban legend. Famed detective Kogorō Akechi is brought in to help the police capture the thief. But the Gold Mask is no ordinary thief, he and his gang seem unstoppable and ruthless. What follows is a cat and mouse game in which one is not always sure who is the cat.

Joining the story is a surprising visitor from France. Arsène Lupin, the first gentleman thief to go by that name, and his lover the young Japanese woman Fujiko. What role will they play in the story? I won't say as that will be far too much of a spoiler. Instead I recommend that if you are interested you get ahold of a copy of this work by the grand master of Japan's golden age of crime and mystery fiction.

The novel is available from Kurodahan Press in a translation by William Varteresian in both paperback and as an e-book.