By Jason S. Yadao
Those of you who read Tuesday’s Cel Shaded know that I’m going on vacation and taking a week off from writing the column. Well, that vacation starts today, and I’ll be diving into my stacks of unread manga, unwatched anime and unplayed games. You’ll be seeing the fruits of much of that labor here in the form of reviews in coming weeks — it’s nice to have work and leisure naturally blend like this, really –but here’s a look at some of my top priorities over the next nine days or so.
The manga roll
Black Jack (Vertical), 20th Century Boys, Hayate the Combat Butler, Love*Com, Nana, Oishinbo, Ouran High School Host Club, Pluto, Real, Slam Dunk, Yakitate!! Japan (Viz), School Rumble (Del Rey), Sgt. Frog (Tokyopop), Higurashi: When They Cry (Yen Press). The manga equivalent of old friends that you haven’t seen in a while but welcome back with open arms. In this case, these are the manga that I usually tear into immediately after I get the latest volumes … except I haven’t had time lately to do that. I’ll definitely be starting with everything I haven’t read yet in these series.
Faust (Del Rey). Ever heard of the Otaku Ohana feature “From the Pile,” in which we profile something at random from our large pile of yet-to-be-reviewed anime and manga? Of course you haven’t, because the first two features, on Faust and Amefurashi, are still sitting here in the “Recent Drafts” basket waiting to be finished. But to finish Faust, I have to finish reading Faust, and that’s going to take a bit of time. Particularly when you’re reading stories like Otaro Maijo’s “Drill Hole in My Brain,” the tale of a teen boy with a giant hole in his head, a girl with a horn, and their torrid affair, the end of which calls down Armageddon on the world. Literally.
Magic Touch vol. 1 (Viz). Discussed as one of the worst manga today at the Comic-Con International “best and worst manga” panel, I’ve been curious about whether it really lives down to the nega-hype that’s been building across the blogosphere. Having read parts of the book in what little spare time I’ve had so far, that answer would be “yes.”
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Yen Press). Because hey, at least it’s not another “Endless Eight” episode.
The anime roll
All of some of a small portion of FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS PURE AND HOLY ANY PORTION OF my Funimation review-copy backlog. One of the perks of being an anime reviewer is that I occasionally get “care packages” from Funimation with their newest releases. Since they’re the leading U.S. anime publisher by a comfortable margin at the moment, that means they’ve been faithfully churning out a healthy volume of content. The problem is when, like me, you get caught up in a pile of non-anime-related work and end up with this collection o’ schwag, which may or may not be everything I’ve received over the past few months:
Where to begin, where to begin … well, there’s a good chance the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium OVA Collection will go first. Thirty-five minutes, yay! But it’s evident I’m going to have to clear out at least some of this backlog soon. Gunslinger Girl ~Il Teatrino~, Big Windup and Sgt. Frog are coming soon, after all.
The video game roll
Afro Samurai (Namco Bandai). Purchased for $15 on clearance at Target, yay! (Don’t bother looking; they were wiped out a long time ago.) Sure, it’s the same run-around-and-beat-up-enemies-causing-fountains-of-blood-to-spew mission-based gameplay we’ve played for years, but hey, Samuel L. Jackson voice! And given that there probably will never be a Snakes on a Plane: The Video Game, this is probably the best Jackson-voiced video game you’ll get. Dug the demo, looking forward to playing the full game.
Final Fantasy IX (Squaresoft). Sad but true story: The only games in the Final Fantasy series that I’ve ever finished are 7 and 8. The rest have been backlogged for several zillion years (except for 11 — I never was interested in the whole MMORPG thing). Not sure why I locked in on FF9 one night, but I feel compelled to play it now. And yes, I know, I probably ought to play FF6 eventually as well. I figure I have a few more years and a few more vacations until FF13 comes out, right? (And perhaps in the interim, I can finally figure out just how in the world FF12’s battle system works, too.)
Dynasty Samurai Warriors Orochi Gundam Pizza Cats 5718971 (Koei). Because all the games blend together after awhile, but sometimes you just want to settle in for some pseudo-mindless hack-and-slashery with Chinese warriors or samurai or big horkin’ robots. Plus tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. keeps tweeting occasional quotes from Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, and it’s made me quite curious about seeing them for myself.
Anyone have any other suggestions on what I should check out?