Monday, July 4, 2016

Weekly Round-UP: June 27th - July 3rd

Well, let's see if I can get this and a review out in the same day, with today's rain keeping me from fireworks (boo) it might happen???

Since I updated so erratically last week I'd like to first point out that I get three reviews out and they were all of things I liked! I talked about the ambitious second half of Concrete Revolutio: Superhuman Phantasmagoria: The Last Song (and avoided accidentally titling it "the last son"), I made my final pleas for people to check out Satoshi Mizukami's (he of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer fame) latest work Spirit Circle,  and hopefully explained why Rachel Hartman's Shadow Scale feel a bit short of it's predecessor, Seraphina, but was still an excellent work.

I've also been trying out a number of new things and then dropping them so a few quick words for things that will never get a review: I was very excited to be finally getting around to Rose Under Fire, a sequel to Codename: Verity (WWII, British spy is captured, spend a large chunk of the story not actually sure which of the two girls in the story is telling it, a very emotional story) but then the character got sent to a concentration camp and nope! I've never been good at handling those stories (based on past experience, I'll start empathizing too deeply and it'll leave me completely frazzled in my day-to-day life) and it almost feels manipulative that of course the second, connected story also involves the character going through great torture. So I'm passing on that work and on Shinjū by Laura Joh Rowland as well, Shinjū is more boring than anything else (Edo-era Japan murder mystery) but there was also something about the style I disliked which requires a little elaboration:

There are two, broad types of settings, ones where the reader is familiar with (and is expected to know) and one where the reader is not. I'll call them A & B here. In type A, I would say "the girl was wearing jeans", in type B I would say "she was wearing pants made of denim". So type B is a fantasy novel a lot of the time, the author knows that of course the reader won't know these things, gives a quick description when necessary, and then moves on. Shinjū got under my skin by saying "she was wearing jeans, pants made of denim" and then every time afterwards would say jeans. Maybe it's a grammatical rule that when using words from a foreign language, even in the language's native setting where every character would be speaking the language, to highlight the word each time using italics but here it felt a little voyeuristic, also like I was constantly being reminded that "this is foreign, this is exotic". Plus, this is a library book which means that a former patron has made some corrections using a soft pencil and as far as I can tell they were right and the book is using the wrong terminology/just plain incorrect about a few of the details! (since yeah that one time the book was describing a haori it totally wasn't a haori) So the book really felt like an outsider looking in which wasn't what I wanted out of this book, or the sex scene which surprised me a bit....

I also got a few games from the Steam sale (partially because Steam will not let me vote in the Greenlight area until I spend $10) and so far I've tried 80 Days but I'm not liking it that much! As an exercise in "how fast can you get from Day 1 to Day 80" it's kinda fun but actually exploring the cities is pretty dull and doesn't always let you do a lot. I got the game thinking it'd had a lot of replay value (since you can't hit up every city in one go) but I doubt I'll finish more than one go-through.

Oh and finally, my brief thoughts on the spring 2016 anime season! I ended up only watching five shows which was both nice (since I didn't have a lot of time) and bad (since one aired Friday, three on Saturday, and one Sunday and I was trying to watch all of them in time to submit my votes for Anime Power Rankings). I ended up dropping Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto and Kumamiko since they felt rather mean-spirited to me and Joker Game since I couldn't even tell what character was supposed to be the focus of some of the episodes and without either an on-going plot or continuing character development there really wasn't anything there for me. I did pick up one more show, Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless (which had been a "maybe?" on my list before the season started) and I'm still horrendously far behind on Ushio & Tora. Summer actually looks way more packed for me and also more spread out, I think I should have my preview post up next Monday since everything should have aired by then but given how large/long those posts take to write we shall see!

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