Monday, February 15, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 2/13

It's a Monday morning, which means it's time for me to look at what came in my mail last week. (There are bloggers who get so much mail that they have to do this every day, but, luckily or unluckily, my mailbox is not quite as inundated as theirs are.) I haven't read any of these books yet, so my thoughts on them may be occasionally prone to misunderstanding or confusion -- but I do try to stick to things that I'm pretty sure about to begin with.

This week, it's all books with pictures in them, starting with a short stack of manga and related stuff from Tokyopop:

First -- and with one of the best, oddest titles I've seen in a long time -- is the first volume of Sakae Esuno's Hanako and the Terror of Allegory. (And those of you who have suffered through tedious English Lit classes can appreciate just how much terror there can be in an allegory.) Esuno was also the creator of Future Diary, which I have to admit I haven't read. But Terror of Allegory, the story of a detective who investigates the sources of urban legends in his spare time, looks like something I will want to find some time to read, if only to see if it can live up to that title. Terror of Allegory -- just like the next four books I'm about to mention -- is a March publication from Tokyopop, which means you should be able to find it at online retailers now (though probably as a pre-order) and in real stores in just a couple of weeks.

Haru Hana: The Complete Collection is a fat volume collecting the entire story (350ish pages worth, originally in two volumes, I assume) by Yuana Kazumi. It's one of those frantic shojo stories, with a young heroine (Hana Yamada) who breaks into hives when boys touch her, and who then therefore is thrust into a new job -- when living with her older sister, as a brand-new transfer student in Tokyo -- where there are cute boys dripping from the woodwork. (Manga for girls are just stuffed full of anxiety stories, which I find fascinating, particularly since I can get some distance, never having been a teenage girl.) It's nice to see a complete manga story, and this looks to be a solidly entertaining one in a popular subgenre, and still at a reasonable price ($16.99).

Aimed at slightly older young ladies is Blood Honey, a yaoi (Boys Love?) story from the Blu imprint and creator Sakyou Yozakura, in which a slinky blonde (male) vampire seduces a gy who looks like the Japanese Clark Kent. As usual with yaoi, this is complete in one volume, so, if you're looking for a gay romance with vampires -- and lots of people probably are -- this is brand-new and precisely what you need.

A second volume of Alice in the Country of Hearts (by Soumei Hoshino and Quinrose) has come around quickly -- so quickly, in fact, that I haven't managed to read the first volume yet. So I can say that this continues the revisionist manga take on Alice in Wonderland, but not be any more specific than that.

Tokyopop publishes books that aren't manga, too -- such as .hack//CELL, a light novel connected to the .hack manga series in a way that I'm not qualified to explain. The novel -- written by Ryo Suzukaze and illustrated by Akira Mutsuki -- is about the connection between two young women, one of them an average Japanese high-school student, wasting away from a mysterious disease, and the other a powerful warrior in an online game called The World. Don't ask me to explain the CLAMP-level weird capitalization, though.

And the only thing I saw this week that wasn't from Tokyopop -- my mail being disrupted by some slight snowfall in my immediate vicinity -- was The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade, an oversized guidebook to everything having to do with the webcomic and its extensions (the PAX gaming convention, the Child's Play charity, and so on). It's by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, as of course it has to be, and has a brief foreword by John Scalzi. It does collect a bunch of Penny Arcade comics along the way, but it's more, as Krahulik puts it in his introduction "a common FAQ that has metastasized into some terrible, physical form." If you like Penny Arcade, you need this book. If you don't like Penny Arcade, I don't want to know you.
Listening to: Haley Bonar - Holiday In Outer Space
via FoxyTunes

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