Thursday, December 13, 2007

FINALS ARE OVER!!! (yay), new manga, next semester plans, room plans


I just came from my last final of the semester. Yay!!! It was for U.S. History. Since the teacher usually does his tests with multiple choice and then essay terms, a few of us were discussing what terms we thought he'd use. None of the ones I guessed he'd use were on the test. The terms were Levittowns, Cash and Carry and Lend Lease, and Postwar Economy. We had to do 2 of those 3. Unfortunately, I didn't remember much about the third of these, but I did about the other two, so I simply did those. The multiple choice was only 20 questions, and I knew the definite answer to most of them. Just in case, I went back over my answers before turning in that part, changing a few of them.

A couple days ago, after my Literature final, I went to the mall to try to get more of the manga series I need more volumes of. They had none of them at Borders Express (the only bookstore at the nearby mall, and where I usually get most of my manga -- I also get some at the Barnes & Noble by my work sometimes -- and if I had the time I'd go to the regular Borders down the street from my work in a shopping center called The Forum, but it's kinda far to walk, plus most of the time I don't have the chance to get over there cause of my work schedule, which is a shame cause they have a good manga selection -- they even had Angelic Layer, which I had been looking for for ages!). But they were having a "buy 4, get one free" sale on all the books in the store, so I decided to take advantage of this and buy more manga than usual. Since there weren't the volumes I needed for the series I had been looking for (namely volume 4 of Cardcaptor Sakura, volume 2 of Wedding Peach, and volume 3 of Tokyo Mew Mew), I decided to go for new series.So I bought five volumes of manga series I hadn't read before (all volume 1, of course; I read manga chronologically). The series were: Pichi Pichi Pitch: Mermaid Melody, Peach Girl: Sae's Story, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and The Good Witch of the West. The first four I knew something about, but the last one I had never heard of. It looked good though, so I bought it.

Pichi Pichi Pitch: Mermaid Melody is the manga that the popular anime Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is based on. I know the anime is popular because, like with Fullmetal Alchemist, AMV's with footage from it are all over YouTube. That is usually a good indicator. Basically it is Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" with mahou shoujo and fantasy mixed in. Or at least the story is very similar to "The Little Mermaid." Having recently read the Tokyo Mew Mew manga, which came out around the same time as Pichi Pichi Pitch, I noticed a number of similarities, even though PPP is not by Mia Ikumi (TMM's creator). The manga features little notes from the creators throughout -- primarily from artist Pink Hanamori -- much the way Ikumi does, and Lucia and Rina look suspiciously like Ichigo and Zakuro respectively. Also Rina is really mature, as is Zakuro. Anyway, this manga is published by Del Rey, the famous sci-fi/fantasy publisher (well known for the Star Wars novels). The manga is more the size of a trade paperback (a normal-sized paperback book) as opposed to the smaller size Tokyopop employs. I'm not sure if this even matters; I just noticed it (my time working at a bookstore has taught me what a "trade paperback" is as well). Also, the "translation notes" at the end of the text are really well done and help explain a lot of things that need explanation, and each notation is given with the page number of the thing being referred to, so you can go back and look at the thing in question. And...yay!...they keep in the honorifics (which Tokyopop does to an extent as well), including a list of common ones and what they mean. But they go farther in emphasizing what it means to not use honorifics with someone, which means you have a special level of intimacy with a person.

Peach Girl: Sae's Story is interesting simply because of the perspective. Whereas the regular Peach Girl series (Peach Girl and Peach Girl: Change of Heart) are from Momo Adachi's perspective, Peach Girl: Sae's Story is from the perspective of her friend/rival Sae. I knew a little bit about the original Peach Girl storyline going into it, having read a sample of Peach Girl in a manga magazine (Smile), so even though I haven't read all of the other Peach Girl manga volumes, I had enough background for me to more or less understand Sae's Story. Basically, it's set after the other two series, and Momo and Kiley are off at college. Sae, on the other hand, got held back because of her bad attendance record, and thus has to repeat her senior year. But she keeps up her bad attendance by constantly ditching class to hang out at the college Momo and Kiley are attending. In the process, this guy who knew Sae when she was a kid shows up, and she tries to avoid him so people won't learn about who she used to be. But he keeps pursuing her anyway. Pretty interesting story. There's three volumes, and I will probably get them all.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days is basically a much happier version of the infamously dark Evangelion anime series. The back cover advertises it as "Imagine a Neon Genesis Evangelion where dating the right girl is more important than saving the world." Basically, there's still NERV, the Evas, and all that (which they begin to introduce in volume 1) but on top of that Shinji, Asuka, Rei, etc. actually have normal lives, whereas their normal lives were more or less scrapped in the anime. The result is something more along the lines of a lighter sci-fi comedy series, like Tenchi Muyo. The casting is slightly different as well; Shinji's mom is still alive in Angelic Days whereas she's dead in the anime. Also Misato, while she does work for NERV, is also Shinji and co.'s teacher, and Ritsuko is the school nurse while also working for NERV. A couple of Shinji's friends appear who I don't recall from the anime; Rei is a transfer student, and Asuka and Shinji are childhood friends. Basically, the whole series is supposed to be a manga continuation of a dream sequence Shinji has in episode 26 of the anime. As I have only seen half of the NGE anime, I have not yet seen this episode. Anyway...oh and Kaworu appears too, even though he doesn't appear in the anime series till almost the end. Pretty good; Rei is a little goofy but oh well. She was a bit too serious in the anime anyway.

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is basically a crossover fanfic brought to life by the genius that is CLAMP. While it primarily crosses over xxxHolic and Cardcaptor Sakura, it also contains crossovers from most of CLAMP's other series. Volume 1 alone features characters from Cardcaptor Sakura (Sakura, Syaoran, Touya, Yukito, and Tomoyo), X/1999 (the two Hanshin Republic characters -- the girl resembles Hideki's landlady from Chobits too), Chobits (Chi), and Magic Knight Rayearth (Mokona and Rayearth). According to Wikipedia, only Wish and Shirahime-Syo: Snow Goddess Tales out of all of CLAMP's works do not crossover (at least not yet -- the series is still ongoing) with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (or with xxxHolic). Kurogane and Fai are original characters in Tsubasa, not crossing over from any other series, and the "dimension witch" Yuuko is from xxxHolic. This manga is also by Del Rey and provides the usual translation notes as well as a character guide to help you keep the characters and what series they cross over from (if they do) straight.

The Good Witch of the West supposedly inspired an anime as well (which I really want to see now). The manga is actually based on a series of novels, much like certain parts of Tenchi Muyo. The novel basis I found rather influential, since the manga has a very literary feel, much like a fantasy novel or fantasy video game. The title sounds somewhat like a title for an early mahou shoujo anime (many of the earliest mahou shoujo series were about witches coming to the human world) and is somewhat misleading since the main character, Firiel, is not a witch at all. But there is a legend about a "Good Witch of the West" in the manga's world, and a piece of this legend is quoted at the beginning of the manga. So this is probably where the title comes from. Anyway, very good though.


I already enrolled for spring; I am just taking one class for fun. It is a class in Printmaking (doing woodcuts and the like), which should be interesting and fun (and hopefully not too hard). I will have to prepare for graduation and transferring during the spring as well. I am still waiting to hear from Cal State about whether I got accepted. (I'm checking online now...they have a thing where you can check your application status).

Uh ok can't get on. I need to call them.


While I wait for that, I'll talk about my room. My dad measured the bed I am getting from my grandparents' house, and so now I need to measure the area where my bed is now (in a little three-sided jutting piece of wall with a window - a nook, I guess) to see if it will fit there. At any rate, I am going to rearrange some stuff and get storage boxes. I am also getting rid of my large dresser once I have a chance to go through it (ok, granted, I had chances the last two weeks, but I never got to it) since I don't use it much. Normally, I would not be so motivated to organize my room, except that I have been watching a lot of decorating shows lately. Plus the storage box idea I got from my parents' organization of the garage. I bought one organizational thing already: a shelf, technically made for kitchens, that sits on little legs and has non-slip stuff on the top, for putting my TV on when I move it to my small, low dresser (where my boombox is now - I'm getting rid of that too cause the CD player doesn't work) so that it is a little higher. It is high enough (I think) for me to slide my VCR underneath.

Also I am getting a new desk for Christmas, and so I need to figure out that too. I told Mom I want one tall enough for me to put my file cabinet underneath (since I think that would be much more convenient. And I need a real nightstand (not the TV tray I'm using now). I will be able to figure out this stuff much better when we get the bed in the room.

That's all, I guess. Bye.

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