I went to the manga shop to pick up the latest volumes of Naruto. As I grabbed the latest one, one of the two ten or eleven-year-old boys standing there examining them said, "Oh, that's the one where [GINORMOUS AND TOTALLY UNEXPECTED SPOILER HAPPENS!]"

"...what?" I said. "WHAT?! HEY! I DIDN'T KNOW THAT!!!"

I had the volume in my hand, and I bopped him atop the head with it. (Not hard!)

"Dude!" said his friend. "Don't blurt out spoilers like that."

"Uh, sorry," said Spoiler Boy.

"You SHOULD be sorry!" I retorted ungracefully.

The shop employees attempted to console me ("you should have hit him harder!"), but the damage was done. It was just like Kakashi getting spoiler-attacked, only worse.

And then I went home and tried to console myself by printing the yaoi-illusion since stupid Viz censored it by transforming it into a silhouette, only the site linked on [livejournal.com profile] reread_no_jutsu is virus-infected and completely crashed my computer, forcing me to type from a net cafe until tomorrow, when hopefully the computer repair place can fix it. (Details at [livejournal.com profile] oyceter.)

...please do not put spoilers in comments, or I will hit you with a shrink-wrapped volume of Naruto.
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Sand Sibs)
( Feb. 19th, 2009 11:21 am)
Would anyone like a brand-new copy of this volume? I bought it twice by accident. I'll mail it anywhere in the USA for $5, fic, or baked goods. Best offer gets it.
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Feb. 18th, 2009 11:38 am)
In honor of Viz flinging new volumes of Naruto into the market - up to 41 in English now and I'm not yet caught up so please don't spoil me - [livejournal.com profile] octopedingenue has launched [livejournal.com profile] reread_no_jutsu, a group reread community for Naruto, the shounen ninja manga that charmed me with its portrayal of a young ninja losing his mind during the ninja written exams and then broke and healed my heart more thoroughly than anything ever. (Volume 31, in case you're curious. Again, please do not spoil here.)

Please join and discuss!

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Start as you mean to go on)
( Feb. 4th, 2009 10:46 am)
I have posted a Naruto story focusing on Tsunade. It's rated PG, and isn't spoilery if you know who she is.

Five Things Tsunade Didn't Save (And One She Did.)

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1
I am having a hard tine getting net access, so I am way behind in recording what has been going on. Expect some out of order reports as I catch up.

A couple nights ago Stephanie and I were tired, so we decided to spend a quiet night in the hotel watching DVDs. But before putting in a DVD, we decided to check out Japanese TV. Two DVD-less hours later, we went to sleep. This is what we saw-- all in Japanese, but I translated a bit:

1. An international women's shot-put competition, held in Osaka. This was pretty amazing. I had previously not known what shot-put is: it's a very heavy-looking metal ball on a long wire, which you spin around your head until it spins you in a tight circle, heels digging a hole into the earth, and then release it to fly some ridiculous distance away. Those women were really built on the upper body, and it was great to watch.

ETA: Stephanie says that's actually the hammer throw.

(Speaking of women's upper bodies, a number of people at the con seemed quite hypnotized by mine, due to the spectacular outfit I had previously purchased in Harajuku and wore to the con. Several men asked to take my picture (and some women did too) and some of those asked if they could post it on their home page. Due to a language barrier, I momentarily thought one of them was asking if he could use it as a model for a figurine, but alas, no-- he just belonged to a figurine club and was indicating the home page on its business card.)

2. A sushi-eating contest. The contestants, three men, one of whom had matching green clothes, and hair, consumed plate after plate of conveyer-belt sushi in a leisurely fashion, with a loud DOING every time they finished a piece.

(We had conveyer belt sushi for lunch today. It was delicious! The sushi chefs stood in the middle of an enormous conveyer belt, bellowing (in Japanese) "Two uni for number thirty-nine!" HAIIIII!!!" My favorites were lush salmon striped in orange-pink and white like rock strata, a very nice tamago (egg omelet cooked in dashi), and cold but still fine and sweet unagi (sea eel-- not to be confused, as I did once, with usagi (rabbit.)

I did not care for the disturbingly cartilageneous crab salad or the natto roll, though Stephanie enjoyed both! A roll involving some fish and salmon eggs was also very good, and probably the first time I've enjoyed salmon eggs. We also got some nice broiled salmon-- finished by a chef with a blowtorch in either hand.)

3. An episode of an anime series I like, Naruto. It was the conclusion of the post-timeskip Sakura puppet battle of DOOM. Nothing can shamelessly break your heart like anime, and I especially liked the image of the lonely little boy with puppet jutsu, creating two life-size parent puppets after his own parents had died, and using magic marionette strings to make them embrace him. Awww!

4. A competitive glass-blowing show, in the style of "Top Chef" or "American Idol." This was fantastic and I think would do very well in American remake (probably in the works right now.) Four glass-blowes, three men and a woman, were first assigned to create donburi-- rice bowls-- in glass. One made an eel bowl, one made pork cutlets (tonkatsu) that doubled as a money box, one did a mixed one that doubled as a jewelry set (shrimp brooch, ginger rose ring, salmon egg bead necklace, etc.)

The last two continued to the final round, where they were tasked to create a goldfish bowl like none other. The methods were amazing, and the results were spectacular: the man did a fisherman's net with a crayfish peeking out inside a gold swirly bowl, all in a moat-dish with guppies in it. The woman did a three-tier planet thing with rings of Saturn! I kind of preferred his, but hers was the most spectacular and she won--Japan's newest Top Glassblower!
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Jul. 11th, 2006 03:00 pm)
1. I've been given a membership to Comic Con, and will be there probably Friday and Saturday. Who wants to meet up?

2. Some people I know are signing up for a Japanese class. My Japanese could certainly use all the help it can get. However, the class is on Sunday afternoon, which is a good time for me to either write or relax, and which prevents me from taking a two-day weekend in Santa Barbara. I'd really like to get back into the Japanese groove, and that's a lot less inconvenient than another City College class. Hmmm.

3. I am taking time off from karate and have begun lifting weights three times per week in an attempt to not have my back hurt all the time. About two weeks in, I feel pretty good, my back is definitely improved, and I find lifting pleasantly meditative. Does anyone here lift weights seriously? How much improvement in strength can I reasonably expect if I persist?

I also walked three miles yesterday. Go me.

4. Today I finished and sent in revisions for Secret Project GW that I'm doing with Sherwood Smith. Go us. This makes me feel better about not having accomplished anything else this week.

5. DO NOT SPOIL ANYONE IN COMMENTS IF YOU CAN FOLLOW THIS but having recently hooked [livejournal.com profile] oyceter on Naruto and knowing that she was a fair way into the chuunin exams arc, I e-mailed her, "Have you gotten to [so-and-so]'s past yet?" She replied, "I think so, so-and-so mentioned such-and-such, which was interesting." I wrote, "Never mind, you're not there yet."

I knew exactly when she got there when I received an e-mail with the subject line: [so-and-so's spoiler-protected name]!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The flashback which completely changes your view of a character is an old and very frequently well-done device in manga, and one which Kishimoto uses to good effect in several places in the series, but [!!!!!!!!!] is the best take on it I've come across yet.

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Jun. 29th, 2006 10:45 am)
I present to you songs from my four favorite Suzanne Vega albums. I'm not so crazy about Days of Open Hand, and Songs in Red and Gray, the breakup album, works well as a whole but doesn't have any really stand-out tracks, in my opinion.

From Nine Objects of Desire, a very warm and sexy album, one of the warmest and sexiest songs on it, Caramel. The "nine objects of desire," as I recall, are four men, a photograph, a woman, her baby daughter, Death, and a plum. I cannot help but read the plum as a metaphorical as well as an actual fruit, though-- the Plum of Knowledge.

Two tracks from 99.9 F, an album which I thought was overproduced and discordant when I first listened to it, but which has grown on me a lot since the chance discovery that it functions as a soundtrack for one of the characters in Naruto made me dig it up and listen to it again. That discovery happened like this:

[livejournal.com profile] octopedingenue: "I think of Blood Sings as so-and-so's theme song.

Me: "You mean Blood Makes Noise, right?

Both of us: "Whoa, check out some of the other tracks on that album."

Suzanne Vega is her first album, with lovely melodies and a cool, controlled tone in the lyrics overall, though not so much in the two tracks I'm hightlighting, Undertow and
Marlene on the Wall.

Solitude Standing had two famous tracks, "Luka" and "Tom's Diner," but I especially like the title song.

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Jun. 22nd, 2006 08:51 am)
[livejournal.com profile] octopedingenue kindly posted a list of recommended Naruto fanfiction, doujinshi downloads, and a gorgeous song by Aimee Mann.

Some of these are massively spoilery, so proceed with caution. If you're not that far into the series, I would not read anything that doesn't have the phrase "no spoilers" or an exact note of when it's set in the subject heading or author note at the top.

Also, some of the pairings listed are possibly spoilery in and of themselves, as they at least suggest that the characters interacted with each other in some memorable way in canon; though given my discovery (not on this list) of the Naruto/Tenten community, maybe not.

But anyone at all familiar with the series can (and should) read Naruto's email inbox.

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( May. 21st, 2006 05:21 pm)
I fled to a Borders with an attached Starbucks, and decided to browse and read manga until the weather got less cold and wet, as all my other plans involved a great deal of outdoorsiness.

I just spent the entire day in Borders. I have now read through volume 6 of Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura.Bautiful smudgy-pencil art, somewhat in the tradition of Lone Wolf and Cub (so is the story, come to think of it) but even better, or at least even more to my taste.

Last night I had some lovely flaky fried fish and soggy chips. The waitress asked me if I wanted "mushy peas" to go with it. My God! I thought, they do that on purpose! How horrible!

"Don't like the mushy peas," said the waitress wisely, before I could respond verbally.

I have been watching some of the Naruto anime that [livejournal.com profile] telophase was kind enough to send me before I left, and have some non-spoilery thoughts regarding language.

1. Apparently "Kakashi" is the best name ever to say in slow and gloating tones. It sounds really great when spoken that way, which is why all the villains who confront him tend to have dialogue like this: "So, Kakashi... I have found you at last... Kakashi... Heh heh heh."

2. Does "dattebayo" or "-te bayo," which Naruto uses so much, literally mean anything? Does anyone ever use it in real life, or is it purely a made-up character thing? It reminds me of Chichiri's "no da," which I think does have some sort of meaning but is basically just a speech tic. (Last night while at ish and chips the young Japanese woman at the next table, who was talking on her cell phone, ended half her sentences with "da yo!" It sounded similar enough (and her voice was pitched a bit similarly to Naruto's) that it really startled me for a moment.)

3. I had a 3, but I seem to have forgotten it. Hmm. Perhaps that Orochimaru sounds even creepier and more pedophilic when he has an audible voice than he did in the manga.

4. I think my all-time favorite of Kakasshi's lateness excusesis, "I got lost while walking the road of life."

ETA 5. I remembered 3! That thing Shikamaru says, "mendokusei," that gets variously translated as "how bothersome," "what a pain," etc. Is there a literal meaning?
I stare at it.

It stares back.

I stare at it.

It stares back.

I eat dinner and watch the first episode of Naruto, which is ever so much more poignant when you've already read thirty volumes of manga. Also-- yep, that was Urahara and Tsuzuki's voice actor, all right. Too bad he's not in the rest of the show, although I see why they wanted a good actor for that role.

I go back to staring at the project.

It goes back to staring back. Balefully.

I will now work on for another forty minutes without doing anything else, and will then knock off and continue reading The Black Stallion's Blood Bay Colt, which is excellent despite the total lack of aliens, vampires, or rabid vampire bats.
Massive spoilers for everything up to volume 31, which is as far as I've read so please don't spoil me for later events.

Read more... )
rachelmanija: (Books turn brain)
( Jan. 31st, 2006 10:50 am)
I got all these at a thrift shop for six dollars total. Comment if you've read them/heard of them/hate them.

Laurie Colwin, A Big Storm Knocked it Over. I like her nonfiction food writing enough to overcome my reservations about buying an adult mainstream novel about "marriage, friendship, motherhood, and careers as experienced by a cast of endearingly eccentric Manhattanites,"-- a genre which I usually loathe.

Mollie Hunter, The Kelpie's Pearls. Obviously out of print kid's book with an appealing title. I think I've heard of the author, but can't recall the context.

Eloisa James, Kiss Me, Annabel. The sequel to Much Ado About You.

Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter. I wish I'd read these when I was a kid, but I still like them. They are very odd and Scandinavian.

Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking. I remember adoring this, but who knows if I still will.

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink convinced me to give it a try.

L. M. Montgomery, Mistress Pat, which is the sequel to a book I have but haven't read yet, and Magic for Marigold.

Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase. Because I keep meaning to read his novels.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder, And Condors Danced. Looks like a realistic YA novel about a lonely girl and her dog. The dog better not die.

Erik Weihenmayer, Touch the Top of the World. A memoir by a blind man who climbed Everest. I have recently become obsessed with climbing and in the last week, I re-read Into Thin Air and watched Touching the Void, even though I wouldn't personally want to do any of that sort of mountain climbing, which combines three things I detest: cold, high altitudes, and serious danger.

Jay Williams, Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave. Oops, I already have a copy of this. Anyone want this one?
rachelmanija: (Default)
( May. 10th, 2005 06:30 pm)
I am now in Walnut Creek hotel room with... drum roll...

Naruto # 6

Double Helix


Angel Sanctuary # 1

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Tipping the Velvet

Stalking the Divine

I was afraid I might not have enough to read, so I overstocked. I knew that would happen.

My SuperShuttle to the airport was late. The flight was uneventful. The driver for the shuttle to the hotel had some of the stinkiest BO I've ever smelled. Every time he moved a wave of smell would attack me like a ninja chakra: "Body Odor of the Bear!"

Yes, I read Naruto on the plane. Also Double Helix.

Naruto # 6, with the kid ninja teams doing their practical final in a forest, was fun but not as funny as # 5, the written final. My favorite joke, a Spinal Tap reference, was probably an inspired piece of translation. The characters are really growing on me, though, and I was annoyed to see that # 7 won't be out for another two months. Why aren't they releasing one per month? I would buy one per month! Heck, I'd buy one per week. Especially since Gaara, who had intrigued me last time, is not in this one. I want to know what he and his team are doing.

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1

Double Helix, by Nancy Werlin. YA suspence/spoiler. 6' 7" and brilliant-at-everything Eli has just graduated from high school, but didn't apply to college. After a huge fight with his father over that, he writes a drunken email to Dr. Wyatt, a famous scientist and former acquaintance of his parents, begging for a job at the lab. To Eli's amazement, Wyatt hires him and takes Eli under his wing. Eli's father hits the roof and demands that he have nothing to do with Dr. Wyatt and his genetics lab, but won't tell him why. Meanwhile, Eli's relationship with his girlfriend is foundering because Eli won't tell her his deep dark secret-- that his mother is dying of Huntington's Disease and Eli refuses to be tested to see if he's inherited the gene or not. But who cares about that when you're being wined and dined by the brilliant Dr. Wyatt, who introduces you to a gorgeous, sexy, and seemingly perfect teenage girl acquaintance of his, and lectures you over dinner with comments like, "We can't sit back and leave science policy in the hands of politicians and pundits or alarmist writers of science fiction. Face it, most people are unbelievable idiots."

You can probably see the problem with the book right there: the basic set-up, although presented as a mystery, is really, really obvious. Dr. Wyatt might as well wear a "Hello, I'm evil" nametag. Though Werlin's style is as page-turning as ever and I admire her willingness to let her protagonist be a real jerk at times, this one lacked the compelling set-up and oddball characters of Locked Inside or the intensity and creepy moral ambiguity of The Killer's Cousin. Though Werlin does come up with one genuinely shocking plot twist toward the end, it loses its potentially devastating impact because the supporting character it involves hasn't been developed enough. And it's not until the last few pages that Werlin seems to remember that genetic research is not the sole property of eeeeevil megalomaniac scientists. The situation at the end of the book, in fact, is in many ways more interesting and angstful and morally complex that the one at the beginning. I don't think she's planning a sequel, though.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Apr. 28th, 2005 05:50 pm)
My former orthopedist's office did indeed lose all my X-Rays. We hates them, we does, my preciousssss.

I am now up to the episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena aka Shoujo Kakumei Utena aka (for no apparent reason) La Fillette Revolutionaire, (the anime, not the manga) called "Nanami's Egg." I have concluded that Utena is not just the most whacked-out anime I've ever seen. No, it is the most whacked-out thing in any media I've ever seen. Whacked-out-- and also erudite, sexy, disturbing, thought-provoking, and very, very funny. I'll write more about it when I finish it, because right now I haven't a clue even where to begin.

One of the odd things about it is that patterns of imagery are set up very carefully and consistently, but in a way which doesn't give you a means of interpreting them. For instance, Nanami is consistently associated with or in opposition to or equated with or even turned into animals of various sorts. Why? What does that mean? I have no clue.

Naruto, a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, is about a kid named Naruto who lives in Ninja Land. Basically, everyone's a ninja, and so Naruto, a rascal with a good heart but not too much upstairs (he'd get along great with Saiyuki's Goku), wants to be the best ninja of them all. But everyone treats him like an outcast. Turns out that an evil fox spirit attacked the village, and could only be quelled by transforming it into a baby boy. That's Naruto-- who could turn back into the evil fox spirit at any moment.

(ETA: As pointed out in comments, the fox spirit was actually implanted in Baby Naruto, not transformed into a baby.)

Volume 1 was OK but not my kind of thing-- it really seemed aimed at ten-year-old boys. But I wanted to study some good manga fight scenes, so I jumped ahead to volume 5, which was about the ninja exams. I figured that would be wall-to-wall fighting. But it turned out that volume 5 was about the ninja written exam. It was friggin' hilarious. Like this part, from memory, of Naruto's classmates' thoughts as they contemplate questions like "If a ninja throws a shuriken from the top of a 23.3 foot tree at an average speed of 49.6 mph while surrounded by 16 enemies whose average height is 6' 1", what is the parabola of the damage? Show your work."

Sakura: Wow, this is kind of hard... I hope Naruto isn't tempted to cheat... Oh, he'd never cheat.

Sasuke: This is really hard... I wonder how Naruto's doing... Well, he's a stand-up ninja, so at least I know he's not thinking of cheating.


The moment I put it down, I was seized with the desire to dash straight out and buy volume 6-- a desire which so far I've only resisted because the store I dropped in on didn't have it.

Order the series from Amazon: Naruto, Volume 1


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