Category Archives: dead tree format

Stuff on paper

IV: Recklessly Helmetless

Motorcycle vs. mechanical horses.

In a quick read of the Mazinger Z manga this summer, I recognised the attitude that lies behind some of the good stuff which fills out Mazinkaiser and Shin Mazinger Z. How will SKL turn out, I wonder?

(I shamefully cropped and resized the image above from an eye-popping three-page sequence.)

Encroaching Emotion

I recently joined Goodreads, partly because I hope it’ll give me the chance to slap more people in the face with my lit-peen and partly because I find it useful to have a place to look up books I’ve read in the past — going through the bibliographies of past work is a time-consuming and haphazard method. I’d include a link to my profile, but I don’t want to, so I won’t. Continue reading

The One Safety of the Conquered

aku-una

. . . is not to hope for safety.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, for several reasons. One of these reasons is my preparation for a working holiday. In its (questionable) wisdom, my university has sent me to Cambridge for a month, to badger academics, raid libraries and generally gather enough material to write an impressive ‘Wot I Did In My Holidays’ piece when I return from the land of privilege. So far I can report that the land of privilege is efficient, friendly and just a little mad: there is, for example, a big white piano in my room. The room’s big enough that the piano isn’t inconvenient, or menacing, but it is there. Maybe I’ll attempt ‘Chopsticks’ once I finish writing this. Continue reading

Is That Really You, Father Virgil?

ddc-astray

Scanlators have been working on a manga adaption of the Divine Comedy (I seem to recall that Lelouch was a fan). However! Rather than simply translating the dialogue they’ve decided to admix it with appropriate lines from existing translations — not translations of the manga, but of the Comedy itself:

[W]hat we are doing with this as of now is 1. translating the manga, 2. comparing to the original divine comedy/history (when the mangaka leaves the context of the Divine Comedy), 3. mixing it all together and 4. re-writing it in a decasyllabic meter to match with the Divine Comedy’s poetry style. We used mostly H.F. Cary’s translation of the original Divine Comedy as reference, but if the translation was to archaic to be applicable, we used Longfellow’s.

While there’s obviously a lot of potential for a mismatch of tastes here — one person’s archaism is another’s ornament, and not all of us enjoy Longfellow — I instinctively approve of this. A translation is a new text, and so it’s perfectly permissible (though not always advisable) for a translator to throw accuracy out of the window and try something creative. Continue reading

Only a Quisling From the Waist Downwards?

It's not ice cream, unfortunately.

Just recently I read Blue Drop, or rather the three different manga incarnations of Blue Drop, because Owen told me to and I’m his bitch. It’s a yuri or shoujo-ai – I lack the patience to negotiate a path between the two terms – franchise, with three separate stories set at different times on an Earth devastated by an alien invasion.

Said aliens are all female, their male gender having died out, so in a sense Blue Drop is what happens after the end of one of those trashy movies with titles like Invasion of the Sex Vixens From Outer Space. Blue Drop, however, takes a slightly more logical approach to the idea of a human-like alien race with one gender: the invading Arume are all – in human terms – lesbians. (Or at least, all the ones depicted are; presumably if there are heterosexual or bisexual Arume then they’re regarded by their peers as deviants.) Continue reading

Need The Warld Ken About My Ramblings?

'Read yourself happy! Read yourself thin!'

'Read yourself happy! Read yourself thin!'

I reacted positively when the idea of writing about Catcher on an anime blog was raised in certain quarters. It’s always easier to write about something if you have something else to compare it to, as you can dress up a simple list of points of similarities and difference and pretend that you’ve been thinking. Moreover, I like to compare seemingly unrelated things and – better still – lots of people have read The Catcher in the Rye. (The idea was/is essentially that people – anyone who wants to – could chip in, if they felt so inclined. Not that this is organised, or anything.)

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Manga Most Strange

Reverse Trap Hamlet
I’ve used this before, but the internet needs more reverse trap Hamlet.

I have an unsubstantiated theory that any boys who encounter Hamlet during their adolescence will become slightly obsessed with the play. It is very easy to read Hamlet as a misanthropic, withdrawn and rather ‘emo’ teenager, and – though this would seem very alien to the original audience, who lacked the concept – it’s no surprise that 21st century teenagers identify with him.

You can probably detect the voice of personal experience here, though I no longer identify with Hamlet in quite that way. For a start, although his age is much-disputed, there is textual evidence for a rather older Hamlet. And withdrawn teenagers are, for the most part, boring. But the obsession itself is harder to escape; to this day, productions of the play have me reaching for my wallet with the same irrational fervour that others use for figurines. (‘Ooh, look! A 1:8 Ophelia, “distracted, playing on a lute, and her hair down, singing“!’)

And so it is that we come to Self Made Hero’s ‘Manga Shakespeare’ version of Hamlet. It’s a strange (though hardly the strangest) concept. Curiosity drove me to buy it. But is it manga? Is it Hamlet? And what’s it actually like?

Continue reading