Kiki’s Delivery Service

Continuing to sample the works of Miyazaki, I tried Kiki’s Delivery Service. Upon the advice of my readers, I watched the subtitled instead of dubbed version, and I agree, Phil Hartman as the voice of the cat would have been too distracting. Although I’ve only seen a couple of Miyazaki films, I could already identify his common themes here: spirited young woman unsure of her skills meets neighbor boy fascinated by her strength and with unusual interest of his own. […]

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Erica Sakurazawa — Her Works

(This overview was originally published in The Comics Journal #269.) Earlier this year, Tokyopop announced a promotional push called “Manga After Hours”, an attempt to market some of their more mature female-oriented titles to “chick lit” buyers. Some of the first titles in this line are the works of Erica Sakurazawa. From 2003 to early 2004, six of her books were released. Although manga publishers do cross-promote based on creators — a recent volume of Maison Ikkoku shipped with a […]

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Dumped

Debby runs a vintage clothing shop, while Binny has a passion for used books. After fooling around at a party, they begin dating and trying to share their lives with each other. They both see stories in their hobbies, in the ways the books and clothes they acquire were changed and used by their owners. They’re very observant of the details of their property, while not noticing the most obvious signs about each other. Their respective passions sometimes get in […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 8

The series’ new direction begins in earnest with this volume by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Kenshin has left his friends to go to Kyoto to prevent an assassination. They react as suits their temperaments: the fighter Sanosuke with rage, the caring Kaoru with depression. They feel abandoned, although duty prevents Kenshin from doing anything else. He’s trying to protect them, in his way. I was impressed by the author’s confidence in his characterization. Kenshin doesn’t even appear until halfway through the book, […]

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Salamander Dream

Hope Larson’s Salamander Dream is a dream of childhood told in lime green and black ink on cream-colored paper. The book begins with a map of woods and creek that looks like a crayon drawing, reminiscent of the sketch of the 100-Acre Wood that opened the Winnie the Pooh stories. Hailey lives at the edge of the woods, and that’s where she spends her summer, amongst the trees and the birds. She’s exploring the wonders of the world and her […]

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Superman in the Sixties

If it’s classic Silver Age superhero stories you’re looking for, start with Superman in the Sixties. Many elements of the character’s mythology were introduced earlier (see the Superman in the Fifties collection for the first appearances of Krypto and Supergirl, for example), but the 60s was when the Superman Family really came into its own. Readers learned more about the culture Superman left behind, with stories about life on Krypton and its amazing “scientific” inventions. On the flip side, we […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7

This volume marks a major turning point for the wandering samurai. It begins with him having a flashback to the past, before he gave up killing, and ends with a new direction for the series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Kenshin’s thinking of the past foreshadows the appearance of an enemy with similar history. Fujita Goro was formerly a captain of a military unit of fearsome swordsmen. Now, he’s changed his name and meekly works for the police. He also takes on […]

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Breakfast After Noon

Andi Watson’s Breakfast After Noon tells the slice-of-life story of a British couple trying to deal with becoming unemployed. The Windsor Pottery, the town’s industry, has closed down, throwing Rob and Louise out of work. Not only are they worrying about everyday bills, but before the change, they’d been planning their wedding, adding another source of stress to their relationship. Rob learns some basic economics as he comes to terms with the idea that he’s not getting his job back. […]

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