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All reviews - Movies (45) - TV Shows (29) - Books (35) - Music (3) - Games (4)

Nice collection

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 28 May 2007 11:08 (A review of The Mammoth Book of Best New Manga)

I can't believe I let this sit untouched on my shelf for 5 months! It is a wonderful collection of unknown manga talent from Britain and a few other places and is definitely worth a read for the teenage or adult manga/comics fan.

As with many collections, some of the stories weren't quite to my taste, but I can still apprieciate them. The book features a wide variety of styles and genres and it is highly likely you'll find something you like in here. Among my favourites were the mini Carlos and Sakura strips by Joanna Zhou, Jinn Narration by Asia Alfasi, and Fat Panda by Craig Conlan. Some of the artwork was a lot more comic-orientated than manga, so readers shouldn't expect direct manga-copies but this is explained in the introduction.

The introduction itself was good, but I felt it was also a little lacking. I was surprised that it didn't mention anything about Korean manwha along with American comics and Japanese manga. Oh well.

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Actually a decent show

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 28 May 2007 09:13 (A review of Ugly Betty)

**Warning! Contains spoilers**

So, series 1 is over. I have to say that I didn't expect much from this series when I saw the adverts, but it has really grown on me. And though parts of it have been a little too predictable (the plot with Daniel and Sofia was just a little too much like Down With Love), but there have also been some great surprises.

I think one of the best features (if not the best) of Ugly Betty has to be the characters. I think that the majority of them are just perfectly casted and I especially love Christina (Ashley Jensen) not only because she was born in my part of Scotland, but because she's a great Scottish character and I love her interactions with those around her (especially the interplay between her and Mark). And you've got to love Justin. Who wouldn't love a pre-teen queen? :P

The last episode: The Betty-Henry story is heartbreaking, the Mark-Wilhelmina reminiscing hilarous, but the Daniel-Alexis accident was a little too obvious (hey, I even typed this sentence before it actually happened).. But the very end! I just don't want to risk spoiling that. Plus I loved the crazy movie-obsessed dental woman. Perfect cliffhanger if i do say so myself. So much to wait for!

It's not a favourite, but it certainly is good watching. I'm looking forward to series 2!

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The Kitchen God's Wife

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 27 May 2007 09:02 (A review of The Kitchen God's Wife (Flamingo))

**May contain spoilers**

I really liked this book, especially how the mother's story was enclosed by two sections from the daughter's point of view. It was a good fictional account of China during the 1920-40s which I enjoyed thoughroughly even though my knowledge of the actual events is still sparse.

The introductory chapters reveal the "present" as it is to Pearl, but the main story of the book is the story of her mother's secret history: her hard childhood; her life with her abusive husband, Wen Fu, a pilot for the Chinese army; her friendship with Helen; and her eventual escape to America. The narrative takes the form of a story being spoken out loud to the daughter and soon we learn the truths which have been hidden from her.

It is a good book and easy to get into as the story develops. A book about both mother-daughter bonds and a tragic past that is well written and not too heavy on the historical details for the casual reader.

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The life of a burnt piece of bread...

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 27 May 2007 04:32 (A review of Kogepan)

Kogepan means burnt bread, and this is exactly what the show is about. The series is made up of 10 four minute episodes based on the San-X character called Kogepan, a burnt piece of bread. The show is cute, short and simple, exploring Kogepan's life and that of the other breads in the bakery. Kogepan is unhappy with the way he is and knows he will never be bought by a customer like the "beautiful" breads. Nevertheless he can usually be seen trying to cram himself into a customers bag.

I quite like the show because it has elements of comedy in it and although it is a kids show Kogepan can often be seen drunk, but by drinking milk! It's a nice little kids show and very unique.

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Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 27 May 2007 11:01 (A review of A Case of Spring Fever)

In this old short we watch a grumpy old man wish away springs and have this granted by a creepy little animated spring called "coily", only to regret it. After he begs them back off the crazy sprite he bores his friends to sleep talking about springs as he reveals his secret extensive knowledge of them. In the car back from their golf game you can feel the oblivious tension and plotting as the friends look like they are ready to kill him, if only they hadn't fallen asleep.

Truly a creepy piece of work. The voice of that little spring is sure to haunt the viewer for a while after it ends. "No springs!!"

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Great British medical drama

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 26 May 2007 09:01 (A review of Casualty)

Casualty has been one of my favourite shows on and off for years, and I can always stop and start watching at any time and be back in the loop within a few shows. This is partly because I basically grew up watching the show every week, but also because each episode has a story of its own along with the main, making it very easy to get into.

It is officially the longest running medical drama in the world (at 21 years) and there is even one character that has been on the show throughout it all. Unlike its spin-off Holby City the characters are long running, and it is probably for this reason that I never really stuck with the latter show but kept coming back to Casualty even after breaks of a year or so.

Casualty is more gritty and realistic than other medical dramas which has definite appeal as the characters are more easy to relate to.

Long running like the classic British soaps (but so much better) and easy to get into, it is a favourite of mine for weekly watching. It is a great drama with plenty of stories to follow which last for varying durations, and characters that have something to offer the watcher. A great British drama that I hope continues long into the future.

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Alright little teenage read

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 25 May 2007 11:54 (A review of The Concise Coping with Girls/Boys)

This is one of those tiny books that you pick up in school at a book fair because its cheap and funny and placed right next to where you pay, and it actually turns out to be an ok short read.

I first read this when I was probably around 11 or 12 and I found it quite funny. Flicking through it again now it still holds some of that childish humour that can make me smile. The illustrations are probably the best thing about it, and that isn't surprising since its the same person who illustrates the Horrible History books (Martin Brown).

It's a good teenage read about the opposite gender, catering for both in the one concise (as the title says) package. It only takes about 10 minutes or less to flick through, and overall it is not bad and certainly has some good gags, but it is more of a novelty item than anything.

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Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 23 May 2007 09:47 (A review of The Show-Off)

A teenage girl (Kay) rants at us about the boy who shows off in her class (Jim) and tries to teach us why being a "show off" is a really bad thing. The culmination of Jim's pranks is a banner saying "Yay Juniors" on the front of the school, wow, real rebellion there. Filled with bad close-ups of teachers facing the wrong way, bad acting, and outdated ideas, its something to watch and cringe inside at.

Spend 12 minutes watching this and laugh at the past. Poor naive Kay... If only she could see the present...

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Bloody good anime!

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 23 May 2007 06:44 (A review of Sailor Moon)

**May contain spoilers**

This is the original Japanese series of Sailor Moon, the first of four (I think) that were adapted and reduced to make the [Link removed - login to see] version of the show. In this 46-episode series we are gradually introduced to the five sailor warriors, and their alter egos, and we follow their fight against the Dark Kingdom.

Though it follows the same storyline as the dub, there is a huge difference in the two because of all the extra episodes and scenes that were cut out of the dub. The dub was also more aimed at children while this series contains a lot more mature scenes, and the odd swear word, that were removed in America and other countries. Even the theme tune was changed to make it more childish! I think that changing it to suit a much younger audience was a bit of a mistake, I mean, Usagi is 14 and Mamoru is in his 20's and their relationship is an odd one (in this series, they even kiss when Usagi is drunk!).

I much prefer this series over the dub in many ways, although one thing I did like about the American version was the voice actors, though by now I've gotten used to the Japanese ones.

So it may be odd that everything seems to be focussed around Japan (apart from one random demon in London and the end being set around the North Pole), the art seems so outdated now, and the monsters are just hilarious at times, but it is a fantastic storyline and the characters and great. Unlike a lot of new cartoons there is a good build-up to events throughout the series.

The end of the series is wonderful, such a dramatic build-up of events that leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering how exactly it is going to be resolved.

Onto the next series and finding out what is in store for the Sailor warriors!

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Nice indie flick

Posted : 16 years, 9 months ago on 22 May 2007 02:51 (A review of Brick)

I think I'm going to have to watch this again as I'm sure it deserves more than a 7/10, but I just didn't hear enough of it to make complete sense of everything that was going on (hearing problems).

I really liked the noir-mystery style of the film, and the acting was good from everyone. I was surprised to see a couple of more well-known faces in the cast (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emilie de Ravin) but I think they did a good job of their respective roles and I'm glad that it was kept to a more indie feel with a less famoous cast. The camera shots and amplified sounds were also quite nice features, and definitely an improvement on attempts in other indie film (*points at Elephant*).

I'll be watching this again when I get the chance.

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