Because I loved the excerpt of Xxxholic: Another Holic from Faust (an amazing collection of short stories), I went ahead and bought Zaregoto: the kubikiri cycle, also by Nisio Isin.
Being an avid fan of mysteries, as you can tell whenever I announce my love for the works of 07th expansion and the infinity series (of course, I’m also a fan of the stories of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christy), I went into this book eagerly. I wasn’t disappointed. The setting is very familiar to those who often read mystery novels: 12 people trapped on a lone island, a person gets killed, and our protagonists try to find the killer. What makes the setting so interesting, however, is the fact that almost every person present on the island is a genius. There is a genius cook, genius painter, genius scholar, genius engineer, and genius fortune teller, all on the island, invited by a rich young woman to relieve her of her boredom.
Throughout the story, we are shown facts and hypothesis, truths and lies. I’m reading it a second time, and only now am I realizing all the lies that went on in the story. The story leads you to believe that the mystery is solved, only to explore the true reason for the events on the island, which was amazingly well planned out (in many aspects) and unexpected. The reason for the murders and the way it was done was just absolutely ridiculous, but somehow the author makes it work.
All throughout the story, the protagonist’s psyches is examined, and we are shown that there is a much deeper story behind his existence and inexpressive personality. This, and the very interesting personalities of the other characters on the island, is just begging for a sequel, which I’m hoping Delrey will translated in the near future.
Verdict: Very interesting, worth the 12 dollars.
Ah, Eureka seven. I don’t know why, but despite not liking the anime so much (the last couple of episodes were amazing, but I can’t say the same for the earlier episodes), I’m just a great fan of the manga.
In the fifth volume (also known as the second to last volume and the one that I bought), a whole bunch of things happened. I’m just going to gloss over all of that because of ANEMONE. She was my favorite character in Eureka Seven, and one of my most favorite characters of all time across all mediums. In this volume, there was a large focus about her relationship with Dominic, coupled with touching flashbacks and a tearful confession. It was absolutely amazing and touching and oh so sad to see Dominic sacrifice everything for her. They are one of my favorite couples, and I can’t even bring myself to think about how this relationship is going to end.
For some reason, Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou just have this kind of magic to their works, with their amazing use of metaphors , hallucination, and just plain good storytelling. The volume ends in a cliff hanger (of course), and you’ll have a hard time sitting still if you can’t get to the last volume, and FAST.
Verdict: Great. If you’re a fan of action, giant robots, well developed relationships, bittersweet romances or great stories, go and pick up this series.
Along with Eureka Seven and Zaregoto, I also picked up the Gothic and lolita bible. I love gothic lolita fashion, particularly because it’s so much fun to draw, and I’ve collected every volume of this mook. So you can imagine my disappointment when I picked up the spring 2009 volume, and it’s considerably thinner than the precious volumes, selling at the same price. That was just like finding out Tokyopop canceled Gosick due to budget slashes.
However, the articles in the book are as great as ever. This was the wedding volume, and almost everything was focused on, of course, weddings! My own is still in the far, FAR future, but the articles were interesting to read, ranging from dress selection to dream weddings to an very interesting article on designer wedding cakes. My volume had some problems, and the patterns at the back of the book were firmly attached, unlike the precious volumes where they had small cuts along the side (like stamps) to help with removal. I encountered the same problem with the first volume, but thankfully this can be solved with a hairdryer.
To those who have never heard of this mook before, there are several full sized patterns of clothing featured in the book, which the reader can use and adjust to make their own garments (size conversion was covered in an earlier volume, although I still believe that a good background in pattern drafting is still needed). If you want to remove it, then one can simply use a hairdryer, blow on the inside seam, and gently tug out the pattern sheet when the glue is melted. A video tutorial can be found here.
Verdict: It was around 25 dollars, but if you like Gothic and Lolita fashion, it’s a good buy, with lots of advice, articles, and photos.