Imadoki Remarks

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Title: Imadoki 1 – 5

Author: Yuu Watase

Publisher: Viz

Remarks: This was a short Yuu Watase series about Tanpopo, a girl from Hokkaido who transfers to an exclusive school in Tokyo. After initially being bullied by her classmates, she eventually makes friends by starting a planting club. And yes, that’s pretty much what this series was about.

The first 2 volumes reminded me way too much of Hana Yori Dango (only with better art!). This was a pretty unremarkable high school drama series. There were lots of stale devices keeping our intrepid heroine from her romantic interest, including: his estranged older brother, a jealous classmate, family obligations and a suicidal finance, to name a few. It all felt rather stale, and only Watase’s art kept me turning the pages. While I don’t always enjoy her plots, I love the way she draws her male characters. So hot!

Grade: C

The Tack Sale

The tack sale was today. I was hoping to get a saddle and some clothes. I met up with M and a couple of other people from the barn. The sale was at a middle school, and was in the auditorium and the gym. It was pretty crowded. I am always amazed when people insist on bringing strollers to these types of events. There isn’t any room for them!

Since I want a specific saddle, the odds of finding it weren’t very good. We didn’t find one. However, M said that she found one on trot.org, and she had emailed the seller to see if it was still available. Since it includes the leathers, it’s a good price, but as the ad was placed in November, I’m not too optimistic about it.

I did find a saddle suit. It’s brown with pin striping, and included 2 vests and a pair of jods (which are a little too big). M wasn’t sure if she liked the jods; she didn’t think they flaired enough, but for the price, she said it was worth it. The suit was $175. I’m not sure that I’m too wild about the color, but compared to the prices of other suits, it was a deal. I need to buy a dress shirt and a tie, and then I’ll post a picture of everything.

Full Metal Alchemist #2 Remarks

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Title: Full Metal Alchemist #2

Author: Hiromu Arakawa

Publisher: Viz

Remarks: As I’ve mentioned before, I really love the concept of the Full Metal series. I love the theme of sacrifice that binds the story together. When Edward and Alphonse Elric’s mother dies, they think they have discovered a way to cheat at alchemy, and bring her back to life. All they bring back is a formless monster, and in the process, Al loses his body, and Ed loses an arm and a leg. With Al’s soul bound in a suit of armor, and Ed fitted with automail limbs, they search for a way to restore their bodies. Ed becomes a State Alchemist, as position gives him access to research needed to develop the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary amplifier of alchemical power, which they believe will help restore their true forms.

In this volume, Ed an Al have an opportunity to study with the Sewing Life Alchemist, Shou Tucker. Tucker has been experimenting with combining life forms, and as he is a specialist in biological alchemy, they think he might be able to help them regain their bodies. However, they learn the terrible secret behind his research, and the awful price he paid for his "equivalent exchange."

This volume also introduces Scar, an Ishvarlan who has a grudge against State Alchemists, and has been killing them one by one. Driven by his god, he believes that it is his divine obligation to murder all the State Alchemists. He injures Al and Ed, and just barely manages to escape when the Col Mustang and the gang show up at the last minute to save the brothers.

I didn’t care for the first volume of this manga at all. I didn’t care for the first few episodes of the anime, either, but I stuck with it, and it has become a favorite. The story becomes very complex, and the characters have a lot of depth. With the concept of equivalent exchange, there is a ramification for everything that everyone does. Ed is haunted by his past actions, and he feels such overwhelming guilt for what happened to Al. Roy Mustang is also haunted by his past, and it is due, in part, to his actions during an earlier war that Scar develops such a hatred for alchemists.

The whole plot thread with Tucker and his research really creeps me out. He’s so blinded by his ambition that he’s ready to sacrifice his family to ensure that his research continues. I wasn’t too upset when he met his fate. You sicko! Die!!

Grade: B+

Model 1 – 8 Remarks

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Title: Model

Author: Lee So-Young

Publisher: TOKYOPOP

Remarks: Model is an 8 volume gothic romance series. It’s about Jae, a struggle artist, who meets Michael when her friend drags him, unconscious, to her apartment. Since she got him drunk, she didn’t want to leave him passed out in the bar, and asks if he can spend the night. Jae reluctantly agrees, and then spends most of the night wide awake, worried that he an ax murderer.

Turns out he’s better than an ax murderer. He’s a vampire! The two strike up a deal, and Jae finds herself staying in his mansion, commissioned to paint his portrait. During her stay there, she meets the other inhabitants of the manse, Eva, the dour housekeeper, and Ken, her belligerent son. She finds herself becoming entangled into their lives, as she begins to fall for Michael.

I didn’t care for the art over much in these books. Like Mayu Shinjo, So-Young draws hands that are weird and totally out of proportion. Everyone also had long, thin necks that never would have been able to hold the weight of a head. It was creepy.

The story started out simple enough, but soon became a somewhat muddled mess. The time line for some of the events confused me; the flashbacks and current events weren’t presently clearly enough. And I was totally confused as to whether or not Jae was aware that Eva’s goal was to turn Ken into a vampire. I thought she knew, but in volume 8, it was a big revelation. I think I probably wasn’t reading these carefully enough.

Grade: C