Author Topic: What Are You Reading?  (Read 66662 times)

Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2011, 10:48:58 PM »
I'm a little more than half-way done with 20th Century Boys, right now (well, that's not including any of the chapters from 21st Century Boys added to the total chapter count), and its definitely a great read and full of all sorts of Urasawa awesomeness. But, still, I can't help but feel that its a tad bit weaker in delivery than Monster was. I think one issue I sort of have with it is that it mostly feels way too easy to predict upcoming twists, and this does seem intentional since Urasawa throws in all sorts of hints and foreshadowing to upcoming events and big reveals, but I'm not sure I quite like that style of story-telling as much as how he just completely throws people for a loop with Monster (yet when you read/watch it, you never get the feeling that it was random, in that the twist always makes sense, even if it was completely unexpected). In 20th Century Boys, it also never feels random which is a good thing, and it does always make sense, but its just missing that factor of being unpredictable, which hurts its overall quality just a little bit, IMO.

Still, its top-notch story-telling by a top-notch mangaka, so there isn't much else that I can complain about, anyways. ;)

Spark Of Spirit

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2011, 10:54:59 PM »
I think it gets better and better as it goes. The first arc is nice as a mystery, but is overstuffed, and the second is kind of insular but has a lot of nice character moments and some cool plot twists. The third part is by far my favorite, however. It brings it from being great into being awesome.

Monster wins in consistency and characters, though. I think that comes from there being a tighter cast, so there's less to focus on.
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Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2011, 04:21:41 PM »
I finished 20th Century Boys and now I'm starting 21st Century Boys. I'm confused, though, how many chapters long is this supposed to be? The place where I'm reading it has it go straight up to chapter 16, and then....chapter 40, and then 78....am I missing something?

Anyways, its still a great manga, and I actually wanted to mention that I heard the song that goes along with Kenji's song on youtube (I think Naoki Urasawa released it on a CD with volume 20 o the manga or something like that). I'm not a music buff like the rest of you, and I don't understand any Japanese, but I still think its a pretty awesome song, personally. Has anyone else heard it?

Spark Of Spirit

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2011, 04:24:47 PM »
The title change was only because of the year changing in the manga, it wasn't for any plot related purpose that I can remember.

The song was pretty cool from what I remember, it would kinda have to be considering its place in the story.  ;D
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Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2011, 06:48:25 PM »
I just finished 21st Century Boys. Such a great manga. I'm pretty sure that I still prefer Monster by a bit for its consistency and perfect length (I'll admit, at some points I felt that 20th Century Boys kind of dragged and it could have been just a little bit shorter, IMO, but the overall product was still nothing short of amazing, regardless). I guess now I'll move onto Pluto and give that a shot but with lower expectations since I hear its not quite as good as Monster or 20th Century Boys, then I'll check out Happy (I think that's what its called), and any other Urasawa works which I haven't read, and then I'll try catching up with Billy Bat.

BTW, Has anyone seen the live action movies for 20th Century Boys? Does anyone know if they are any good at all? I'm a little skeptical after how craptacular those Death Note live-action films were, but if the movies are faithful enough to the source material and unlike DN if they actually have "good" acting, then I'd be up for checking them out sometime.

Spark Of Spirit

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2011, 07:05:04 PM »
The movies are actually really good. I saw the first two parts at a film festival two years ago and it was a real treat. They did the concept and story justice, and the added realism to Urasawa's ideas are quite disturbing at times. I'd recommend them.

Happy is such a hard manga to read. It's quality, I can't argue with it because it is good, it's just so hard to read. Yawara is a bit easier to read, and quite similar, but I'm not sure if it's written quite as well.

Pluto is really good. I think my only negative against it is that he's too slavish to Tezuka's original story that the story suffers for it by the end because he simply refuses to change the story to suit his characters more. but, it's really good. A great combo of Tezuka's worldview and Urasawa's storytelling.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. 20th Century Boys is quite an expansive story with a ton of characters and fun ideas that makes it a joy to read. While Monster is one of my favorite manga, 20th Century Boys cemented Urasawa as my favorite mangaka. I'm waiting for Billy Bat to get further ahead before I get into it, because I find it hard to read his material unless I can sit down and absorb a lot of it.
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Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2011, 07:13:56 PM »
Yeah, his work is so damn addicting that I'd get kind of pissed if I caught up to something he was currently doing and then actually had to start WAITING for chapters to release. :>

Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2011, 12:40:47 AM »
20th Century Boys (SPOILERS BELOW):

I noticed a bit of a plot-hole in 20/21CB. Manjoume was trapped in the virtual reality world and Kenji reasoned that he was killed while still having the VR visor on. However, in the flash-back scene of his death in 20CB, we clearly see that he has them off and is even consciously aware of his real world surroundings as he talks to Takasugi, and he even shows fear knowing that he's going to die right before she shoots and kills him. It just doesn't really add up that he should still have some form of his presence stuck in the VR world, but then again Urasawa can be forgiven for messing around with a few details and ret-conning some stuff given the overall quality of the story.

Also, I really would have liked to know how Kenji escaped from that explosion. Urasawa never explained that bit either, though the way it was initially presented I could already tell that he didn't really die in it, so to be honest it came as no surprise to me when he was revealed to be alive much later on in the story. The fact that they showed the time-bomb ticking by itself in some panels without zooming out to show Kenji still standing in the robot kind of gave it away, as best as Urasawa tried to cover that up. Its also totally against Urasawa's story-telling style to kill off a character so abruptly before he's served his full purpose in the story, and knowing that Kenji still had so much business let unfinished, I knew it would only be a matter of time before he showed up again. Still, it was a great moment when he finally made his big return later on, and it was well worth the wait.

Oh, BTW, I was a little confused about Kenji's revelation that the TRUE "Friend" was Katsumata, at the end. I know that there was a rumor that Katsumata had died and his ghost could be seen at night in the science room dissecting carp, but how could every single classmate of Kenji and even the teachers buy that forever if he was still there, just with the same exact mask as Sadakiyo? I mean, sooner or later you'd expect somebody to find out who he was when he was still going to the same school. It just seems like its stretching things a bit too much, but once again, it can be forgiven in the grand-scheme of things.

Speaking of Sadakiyo, I have to say he was by far the most tragic character in the series, IMO. Even though he killed Mon-chan (I only call him that because I forget his full name, lol), I couldn't help but pity him, as he was basically either bullied/looked down upon or just completely forgotten altogether for most of his whole life. It was kind of nice that Kenji made his virtual reality self actually acknowledge him at the end, and that somehow that caused the real-life Sadakiyo to smile before he died.

Oh, One more thing....WTF was that virtual reality supposed to be. It clearly isn't an instrument to interact with the past since it didn't affect the future of the real world, at all, but its not so simple that it can all just be computerized stuff, since the characters in it clearly have real-life thoughts, feelings, and memories, and Kanna was even able to psychically communicate with the virtual child Kenji. Its really weird, and I kind of wish more insight was given into what it really was, since I know it couldn't have just been a simple simulation machine.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2011, 01:00:51 AM »
*Spoilers for 20CB*

While I haven't read it in a while, I always thought he escaped there with his last breath, but didn't quite make it... Or maybe he did. Even though he was a horrible person, I still kinda felt sorry for him. That's one hell of a way to go.

Katsumata is the one thing about the series that I didn't care for in the story. He seemed a bit forced in, and his existence as a whole seems tenuous at best, but the way Urasawa wrote him, I think that was the point that his whole existence was basically like that. The whole 'blending into the background' thing I noticed is a common theme in Japanese works, gag manga use it as jokes, and serious manga use it as motivation. I'm guessing it's a culture thing, and it's sort of lost on me, even if I get what he's going for.

Kenji... Well, after Roberto in Monster, I knew to expect something like that from Urasawa. He's not the type to kill someone off if their 'purpose' has yet to be fulfilled. No one dies pointlessly in his stories. I assume like that episode of KOTH 'He got blow'd out by da explosion... owww' by being in just the right place escaping from it.

I almost get the impression that a lot of what happened in the past were lies or half-truths and not everything went the way the flashbacks and VR told us. Especially considering who made it. It probably help explains why the Katsumata thing is so odd.

I thought the VR machine was like a time machine in that it pulled from that period of time and instead of physically put the user into that time period, brought the time period (though simulated) to the user through the machine making it basically time travel without any of the risks involved. It's a very odd idea, but considering the sci-fi bent in the last third after Friend takes over Japan, it makes more sense. If that happened in the first arc, that would be some shitty storytelling.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 01:02:48 AM by Desensitized »
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Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2011, 01:06:44 AM »
But the thing is, if it really did bring them back to that time even if they weren't really physically manifested in it, it should have still had some sort of affect on the present. Either that, or its going by the DBZ rule of time-line of an alternate dimension, so what you do there doesn't affect what happens in the time-line of your own dimension. That'd make more sense. Either way, I don't buy that the people in the VR simulation are really simulations. They are real living breathing people....within the fiction Universe of the manga that is, of course. :P

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2011, 01:10:42 AM »
But the thing is, if it really did bring them back to that time even if they weren't really physically manifested in it, it should have still had some sort of affect on the present. Either that, or its going by the DBZ rule of time-line of an alternate dimension, so what you do there doesn't affect what happens in the time-line of your own dimension. That'd make more sense. Either way, I don't buy that the people in the VR simulation are really simulations. They are real living breathing people....within the fiction Universe of the manga that is, of course. :P
Well, I mean it takes the data from that time period and puts the user in it without sending the user into the past and potentially fucking things up. That way the past can be explored, and timeline damage can't be sustained because the user doesn't go into the physical past in order to mess with events.

It's not real time travel in that the user isn't traveling through time, but time is being brought to the user, filtered through a machine so shit can't be busted.

If that makes sense. The concept is hard to talk about.  :drool:
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Dr. Ensatsu-ken

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2011, 12:46:07 AM »
I started reading Pluto, and I'm currently 3 chapters in. Its off to a sort of slow start, even a bit slower than Monster and 20th Century Boys, IMO, but its still got quality writing to back it up and I'm sure it'll pick up its pace soon enough.

Also, aside from that, I'm really in the mood for a classic shonen series, so I'm going to start reading Flame of Recca pretty soon since I here the manga for it is really good (and I've been told to ignore the anime, which I probably will do). I might also switch from watching Saint Seiya to reading the manga since that'll likely be faster paced than the anime, though I have to admit that I do like what I've seen of the anime, so far for that particular series.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2011, 12:00:41 AM »
I'm currently 25 chapters into Flame of Recca. I have to admit its pretty decent so far considering that its in its really early stages (most shonen, even classic ones, usually sort of suck with their first few arcs, but this stuff is OK), which kind of surprised me, and it looks like the author of this manga had already had further big plot points planned out by this point with all of the foreshadowing that he did early on.

I also have to say, I really don't get why this gets labeled as a YYH rip-off, unless its something that happens in a later arc or something. I can definitely see how it certainly borrowed some things from YYH, such as Recca being a delinquent much like Yusuke and having a rival friend very similar to Kuwabara (in fact Domon almost feels too much like Kuwabara, but I still wouldn't really call it a rip-off as much as a great character type that should be used in more shonen to begin with ;) ). That kid who used the weapon Ensui also serves as the "intelligent pretty boy" character of the group, like Kurama (well, where I'm at he's not part of the group yet, but its made extremely obvious that he'll eventually join the group later on), and there are probably some other character parallels that I could come up with if I read some more, but the point is that they feel more like that same type of character rather than carbon copies of those characters. They each still have their own substance and unique attributes about them that still makes them their own characters. It definitely doesn't seem like a rip-off of anything, or if it is, than I'd say that FoR is just as much as rip-off of YYH as it is a rip-off of Saint Seiya (which is to say that all its guilty of is following some traditional shonen tropes just like those preceding series themselves did). Its really still its own story when you get down to it, though.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2011, 03:03:52 AM »
Got a copy of From Hell from the library. This is supposed to be the book that made Neil Gaiman want to throw up upon hearing about the plot, so expectations run high.

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Re: What Are You Reading?
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2011, 10:58:43 AM »
I'm currently 25 chapters into Flame of Recca. I have to admit its pretty decent so far considering that its in its really early stages (most shonen, even classic ones, usually sort of suck with their first few arcs, but this stuff is OK), which kind of surprised me, and it looks like the author of this manga had already had further big plot points planned out by this point with all of the foreshadowing that he did early on.

I also have to say, I really don't get why this gets labeled as a YYH rip-off, unless its something that happens in a later arc or something. I can definitely see how it certainly borrowed some things from YYH, such as Recca being a delinquent much like Yusuke and having a rival friend very similar to Kuwabara (in fact Domon almost feels too much like Kuwabara, but I still wouldn't really call it a rip-off as much as a great character type that should be used in more shonen to begin with ;) ). That kid who used the weapon Ensui also serves as the "intelligent pretty boy" character of the group, like Kurama (well, where I'm at he's not part of the group yet, but its made extremely obvious that he'll eventually join the group later on), and there are probably some other character parallels that I could come up with if I read some more, but the point is that they feel more like that same type of character rather than carbon copies of those characters. They each still have their own substance and unique attributes about them that still makes them their own characters. It definitely doesn't seem like a rip-off of anything, or if it is, than I'd say that FoR is just as much as rip-off of YYH as it is a rip-off of Saint Seiya (which is to say that all its guilty of is following some traditional shonen tropes just like those preceding series themselves did). Its really still its own story when you get down to it, though.
Jesus christ, you read fast. Been wanting to read Flame Of Recca.

A week or so ago, I read The Killer volume 1 and Spider-Man 2099. Will be continuing to read both.
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