Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: July 5th-11th Edition

Since this post is going up on Monday instead of Sunday like usual, yes the anime review is getting pushed back to Tuesday since dangit I wanna do Sound! Euphonium justice and I will not have that chance with a late work shift tonight. Or with all of the sewing that's been keeping me busy outside of work, and on that note reviews as normal this week but stuff will be different with Otakon next week, I'll explain more in that week's round-UP.

Funny enough, the stories I talked about last night went from good, to fairly good, to only average, usually it's not such a clear delineation! It's also funny since it was Yamada and the Seven Witches (the anime) that had the most potential to go wrong and yet really pulled the show off. It's an incredibly fast version of the manga but it keeps in every subplot and remembers that the show is about witches but it's even more about just the characters themselves and their relationships, I can recommend it in good faith even if I think people should also read the manga. Next up was Expelled from Paradise where the CGI was about how I expected, so I wasn't very disappointed there, but the story just wasn't as strong as I had been lead to believe. It did work, I think that Gen Urobuchi also cares more about writing characters and their relationships than writing high-flying plots, and on that level the story fully succeeds in any case. Finally, I swear I did like the third installment of The Shades of London series, The Shadow Cabinet, more than the second book but it still doesn't live up to how much I enjoyed the first book. I've read a number of Maureen Johnson's other works and all of those [that I've read] are pure realistic fiction, realistic fiction in weird circumstances but there is nothing supernatural to it and I really like how she brings a very familiar weird to the stories (her own life is so weird, check out her twitter for the saga of the neighbor with a hundred angel statues and a chainsaw). But I wonder if here it's holding her back, she's trying really hard to keep a story about actual ghosts still grounded in the modern day where character's have families and friends to keep in contact with, police to work around etc, and so the parts where that don't match feel really disjointed and I just really wonder how this series will end.

And in the "things I read but probably won't review" (since it's non-fiction in an area I don't feel well-versed enough to talk about), I just finished Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths by Nancy Marie Brown and rather enjoyed it. For those not familiar with the name, Snorri was a medieval Icelandic poet who is the source for the majority of Norse/Viking Mythology we know today from his works like the Prose Edda (also sometimes the Edda but that's different from the Poetic Edda, different authors). I've tried some of the actual Prose Edda before and found it too dense for me to get through and this isn't a copy of that work, it's about Snorri's life and times which I found fascinating since I knew nothing about Icelandic history and it's interesting to see just how few sources we have on the Vikings in some ways (I also especially liked the bits where Brown explicitly connects to later works, most notably J.R.R. Tolkien since that man borrowed so much that his colleagues felt like his works weren't original at all!). It has convinced me to give the Prose Edda another go (I'll try the translation she suggests but I think a heavily annotated one might work better for me since I have no frame of reference for most of the kennings which I remember confusing the heck out of me in high school with Beowulf) and it might have even convinced me to seek out other works with these influences including that ring saga opera which is impressive since opera is just about the last thing you can convince me to go see!