Arrived home late last night, and it’s very nice to be here. I’m still on Mountain time, so my body feels a bit off, but I had a nice, lazy day at home, which was the perfect thing.
Pop music geek moment: My husband started watching Azumanga Daioh while I was gone, so we watched the first six episodes together last night (I said I was still on Mountain time) and today. At one point while the opening theme was playing, I said, “This sounds like something Andy Partridge would write.” Later I looked it up, and found out the opening and closing themes are both written and performed by a Japanese duo who call themselves “Oranges & Lemons.” Geekiness for the win! :D For the non-pop music geeks, Oranges and Lemons is the name of an album by XTC, Andy Partridge’s band.
Speaking of Azumanga Daioh, I am completely hooked. Now I need to track down the comics. I think I mentioned that I’d picked up the first volume of Yotsuba&! in Utah, so it looks like I’m going to be on a little Kiyohiko Azuma kick for a while. Random Azumanga Daioh question: Does anyone else think that Sakaki looks a lot like Hanajima from Fruits Basket, or is it just me?
Speaking of random questions, is anyone else cursed with getting the opening theme of Lucky Star stuck in their head? *sigh* Anyone else doubly-cursed with the closing theme of Mahoromatic as well? Oh, Japan, you will do me in.
I did read some manga on the plane, including some new releases like NANA volume 13 and Fruits Basket volume 21. On the flight back, I also read the first volume of an older series that I picked up used at a bookstore in Salt Lake City.
Spoilers for ES (Eternal Sabbath) after the jump.
ES is a story about a guy with the power to manipulate other people’s minds in pretty extreme ways. He can alter their memories and their perception of reality, and can even make them hallucinate life-threatening injuries to themselves that can eventually manifest themselves as real, or at least send them to an institution. He seems to be generally without malice, but certainly lacks any respect for the minds of the regular humans around him.
The concept is kind of interesting which is why I picked it up, and the story isn’t uninteresting, but I can’t help feeling that I’m being told too much up front. Explanations seem to come too easily, which I suppose makes for smooth reading, but I admit I like to have to work a little for answers. I don’t want everything handed to me right away, and that’s how this manga feels. Maybe I’m wrong and what I’ve been given so far is just the bare bones, but my impression at this point is that there isn’t a lot of mystery being held back.
The characters are attractive and compelling. The male lead (Ryosuke or “Shura” as we find out toward the end of the volume) is morally ambiguous, but just nice enough to be palatable. The female lead, Mine, a neurological researcher, is likable in a Temperance Brennan kind of way. She speaks in literal, clinical terms, and gets so excited about scientific facts that she scares away all the men who are introduced to her as potential marriage partners. Mine has a rare kind of mind that can’t be easily manipulated by Shura’s abilities, which is what sets up the story.
I wasn’t blown away by the first volume, but I found it interesting enough to want to find out what happens next. The art has a vaguely western look, though it is set in Japan, which gives it a sort of displaced feeling that actually works well for the story. We’ll see how it goes from here.