healyg: (apology)
So this week I've read Kino's Journey, Volume 4 and 5, by Keiichi Sigsawa. (Previous reviews here and here.) It's the same curate's egg as before, some great stories, most undistinguished, some big stinkers. Part of that is due to the anthology format, I think, but I also think a bigger part is because of protagonist Kino's personality.

Gonna put all these words underneath a cut )

So, a question not much different from the one posed in my first review: would I recommend the series Kino's Journey? Despite all my complaints about it, I do still like it; I enjoy reading it for the grace notes and the sometimes-great stories, even though the main character can be kind of a jerk. If you don't like it when the main character of a book is kind of a jerk, maybe you should steer clear.

(Note: Because of time issues, I could not get around to what was going to be a major part of this post. So, I'm going to cut it off here and put all that junk into a new post, due tomorrow! Er, Friday. Look forward to it!)
healyg: (apology)
Currently I'm reading Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels, edited by A. David Lewis and Christine Hoff Kraemer. It's a series of essays about everything from Judaism as portrayed in Will Eisner's comics to the death and resurrection (reincarnation?) of comic book superheroes to translation issues in Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa to comics made by Evangelical Christians, etc. I found some of the essays a little dull, but most of them are pretty neat. You probably wouldn't get as much out of it if you weren't interested in both comics and religion, though.

The second book I read this week was Kino's Journey Volume 3, by Keiichi Sigsawa. It still has pretty much the same flaws as the last book (stiff writing style, weak characterization, pat morals, people and places that are so thinly written they're practically abstract), but I enjoyed this volume a lot more for some reason. Perhaps the writer finally found his groove, or maybe I just got used to his quirks. There does seem to be a better quality of stories here; my favorites were the story about the land of clones and the one with the wanna-be pirate initiate. I have to say, though, I really hated the first proper story in this volume. It just came off as unnecessarily gross.

Also, I'm doing a playthrough of Gun Mute by C.E.J. Pacian! (IFDB link.) It's about a silent cowboy who takes up his six-shooter to save his lover in a series of violent puzzles. It's pretty fun so far. I think I'm at the last couple of fights. The puzzles are fairly simple, which I find heartening for my big Shufflecomp game (that I still haven't thought up puzzles for). Maybe I could steal, er, "borrow" a few ideas from this game?
healyg: (apology)
I apologize for yesterday's April Fools Day joke; I'm guessing from the lack of response that it was way too believable for a prank. But no, there is no light novel called Stranger Idol Panic -- Managerial Stress, although I would bet that there is one like it yet to be written, or already written, or being written right now.

I have read a light novel recently, though: Kino's Journey, by Keiichi Sigsawa. (Wikipedia article.) It's a girl named Kino and her talking motorbike, Hermes (no, really!), and they travel around the world, visiting countries and stuff; I read the second volume of it about a week ago, after reading the first one, translated by Tokyopop, many years ago. Honestly, I have to say I'm not too impressed with it, for a number of reasons.

For one, I'm not sure if it's just an issue with the translation or what, but the writing for the series seems really affected in a way I can't quite put my finger on. It's a fan-translation, so the translators may not have had the time to polish it real well, but it could also be that the original text is stiff and ungainly as well. Either way it's kind of a rough read.

Also, I didn't like how thinly characterized everyone seemed to be; it feels like most of the characters Kino and Hermes meet are just props for the story's moral. That's not necessarily a problem, depending on the story, but too often the moral seems a little pat and "been there, done that". Also, the main characters are also pretty thin; most of what Kino does is done out of boredom, and she seems really disaffected from the events of the novel. Hermes works as a foil for Kino, but he's not a strong character on his own, and I still don't get why he had to be a talking motorcycle.

I did enjoy parts of it, though. Some of the stories are more dramatic and punchy than the rest, and I did like a few of the ideas that the novel talks about. Overall, is Kino's Journey worth your time? I dunno, you might be better off with the anime.

(Tune in tomorrow for a special All-Comics Edition of Currently Reading Wednesdays!)


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