ariad: (san francisco // golden gate bridge)
[personal profile] ariad
Bakuman.
I'm on chapter 145 or so, getting close to the end. The series is still enjoyable, but I can feel it dragging. The conflicts feel contrived, and Miho, who was so crucial to the series' premise, hasn't appeared in ages. In general, the female characters in this series are really weak. I'll see the series through to its end, but I feel that it ideally would have been half the length. Perhaps the inspiration for the arc in which Niizuma wants to end his manga at the height of its popularity against editorial advisement was inspired by the Bakuman team recognizing that the series ought to end but being forbidden to make it so. Ah, well.

Breaking Bad
Almost done with this series!! Less than half a season left!! My heart breaks for my son Jesse Pinkman, who just wanted to cook some meth and make a killing but ended up killing people and being hating himself when he became entangled with the manipulative and abusive Walter White!! Burn Walter White!! Skyler is a champ! I hope Walter goes down in undignified flames! I kind of hope Jesse dies but that he at least gets a good death! I don't see this series becoming one of my Life-Long Faves, but it's very well done, and I am a bundle of nerves.

Kino's Journey
This is a weird artsy 13-episode anime series about a traveler who visits strange lands that are typically some sort of thought experiment or explore a philosophical idea. It's very much a conceptual as opposed to character-driven or story-driven series. I admit my affection for it skyrocketed when I was given cause to headcanon the protagonist as genderqueer. I have two episodes left, and I'm eager to see how the series will conclude the character's personal journey while equally emphasizing the kind of quiet rumination that has defined the series.

Lost
I just finished the fifth season! I've been warned that Lost is a show that you watch for the characters and that the plot and mysteries are not all that satisfying, which is a bummer for me because I'm a bit of an elitist when it comes to mystery resolution and because I'm not all that attached to any of the characters. The show is crafted well enough that I do feel for the characters, and I cried during the Season 5 finale. I don't especially care how to show ends, as my expectations are too low for me to dare be invested. A part of me is just eager to be done with the series.

The Mussorgsky Riddle
This is a novel by Darin Kennedy that I purchased in a Humble Bundle. It's about a psychic who is hired to help a child who seems to be trapped within his own mind. When the psychic enters the child's mind, it takes the form of an exhibition hall with worlds inspired by tracks from his favorite record by romantic composer Modest Mussorgsky. The characters in the novel aren't very unique or appealing to me, but the story has nice plot progression, especially as new subplots emerge and intertwine with the main story.

Tomie
I've read the first twelve chapters of Tomie, a twenty chapter horror manga by Junji Ito about a girl named Tomie whom men fall in love with and then are driven to kill and chop to pieces, only to have the pieces of her grow into full Tomies who continue the cycle. I would consider myself an Ito fan, and it's his first major work, as well as one of the longest I've read from him, so it's cool to see how he develops a concept over time and uses it in different ways. I also like this sort of thing that can be read as either misogynistic or empowering. It's a narrative that goes back millennia; witchcraft narratives and Eve narratives are all misogynistic scapegoating that nevertheless hands power over to the woman in question, and that is endlessly fascinating to me.

(A lot of the time, the case is that the writer actually is a misogynist who feels victimized by women, but Junji Ito actually writes a range of female protagonists so I don't think that is the case in this instance.)

Uzumaki
Possibly Ito's most famous work? I was surprised to find that a bunch of my friends have read Uzumaki, about a town beset by spirals. I love how Ito can take something as common and innocuous as a spiral pattern and make it horrifying. Uzumaki becomes increasingly absurd as it goes on because the only "rule" for the nature of each chapter's horror is that it take a spiral shape, so in that sense it feels less cohesive than Tomie. (Although, it also feels more cohesive because unlike Tomie, Uzumaki has a consistent setting and cast, as well as soon sense of progression toward calamity.) I'd seen a lot of images from Uzumaki just by being an Ito fan, so it was cool to see them in context and understand the level of horror deeper than just a drawing of something gross.
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September 2016

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