Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka

Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka
Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka
Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka
Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka

Title: Storm Fairy
Scored a: B+
Status: Read the first story.


Gosh! What a lovely little fairytale. .

Little backstory: I got this book via a kickstarter run by Digital Manga/ as part of their ongoing project to publish tons of Tezuka’s work. My copy came with a collection of bookmarks and postcards as well as a cute lil’ Unico pin.

Anyway, here’s the summary of Storm Fairy:

Once upon a time, an Empress flees her burning castle to the nearby forest where she encounters a forest fairy. A deal is struck where in exchange for the fairy’s favor, the Empress must give up the face of her next born child. Thus, two girls’ lives become entwined: one has to wear a mask to hide her disfigured face, the other born with the face of the first. One night, a malcontent discovered Princess Ruri’s curse and steals her mask to put his own daughter on the throne. Ruri, now on the run, meets a samurai Tonosuke who decides to care for her. Hakobe, the fairy born with Ruri’s face, finds out the princess is on the run and decides to help her win back her kingdom, but little does she know, she wears the face of the one she’s trying to save…

I really liked this! Sometimes I’m not too sure with Osamu Tezuka’s work, it can become unexpectedly gory but this was the kind of fairytale story that I was used to as a kid before I was allowed into the old translations. Princess Ruri, Hakobe the fairy, Tonosuke the ronin, this was the sort of story I wish was as old as it felt so I could share it with everyone. It would have fit in perfectly with my shelves of fairytale books when I was a child.

The story is fast paced – it’s not what I’d call short and it felt like there was a new exciting development on every page. Osamu Tezuka’s art is unique, a fun cartoony style (part of why it’s so disorienting when it gets gory) that gets across the action with ease. Some of the scenes are downright adorable, like when Hakobe is thrown to the snakes. Really, it’s cute.

There is also a hot air balloon battle.

The reason I didn’t give it a full A is because I think it was just missing a tiny thing I can’t put my finger on to make it exceptional. But it’s definitely worth your time and money to get a copy. There’s some references in here I didn’t get as usual with Tezuka (keep that in mind when you read), but that’s not why I dinged him. These comics are old and I am young plus the whole cultural divide so it’s very likely it’s just something out of my personal experience.

I hope to read the next two stories, one about a girl detective and another about magic clouds, soon.


Other titles by Osamu Tezuka you may know:

Astro Boy
Princess Knight

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Scored a: C-
Status: Finished

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a disappointment. I picked it up because the art looked like a lot of fun. And it’s true, the comics in it are pretty charming. The problem was the characters.

With a few exceptions, the characters are pretty repellant.

The father’s sexism/homophobia/whateverness made anytime he was on the page teeth-gratingly irritating. While he was a good explanation for why the wimpy kid was a real jerk, I could have really done without him.

One of the bits of the story that really stood out to me was how the kid wanted a Barbie Dream House for some reason, and his father threw a fit, so the kid asked his uncle, who gave him a Barbie instead. So the father threw another fit and ordered him to get rid of it.

I don’t care much that the kid never learned a lesson about how not to be horrible, because that would have been fine if he was at least entertaining to watch going from situation to situation. But in the end I just wanted my money back.

I rated this a C- instead of anything lower because the art was fun.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Fuan no Tane

A wight from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs ended on a sour note because I didn’t realize it was part of a series so the ‘TUNE IN NEXT TIME’ ending was more’n a little annoying.

That said, I liked it! Ransom Riggs is good at atmosphere, and his description of the world around Jacob is great. The vintage photographs used to illustrate the characters and concepts throughout are a nice touch.

The plot is, Jacob’s grandfather always told him stories about the magical children he grew up, as well as monsters he fought. When Jacob grew up, his father told him that the children’s magic was that they were Jewish, like Jacob’s grandfather, and the monsters were the nazis.

Then Jacob finds out his grandfather was telling the truth.

Like I said, I overall liked this and my only stylistic complaint is the mythos in the book didn’t mesh fully with itself.

The other thing I read was Fuan no Tane by Masaaki Nakayama without realizing I’d read a book until I was entering Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children into the spreadsheet and went ‘oh wait, that counted, didn’t it!’. It’s a collection of ghost stories in scenes, some stories no more than two pages. One of the stories is here, it takes place in a hospital.

Don’t expect an origin or explanation to the ghosts, it’s just a nice little capsule of horror. My favourite is early on, The Giant. I will enclose it in this post, since there’s no legal English version of this comic and I can’t just tell you to buy it.

Below is The Giant:
Continue reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Fuan no Tane

The Carpet People and Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl vol 1

The Carpet People written by Terry Pratchett age 17 and Terry Pratchett age 43.

This book was originally published when Terry Pratchett was 17 and then once the Discworld series started picking up in popularity, they went to him and said ‘hey, we’re going to publish that book you wrote when you were a teenager’ and Pratchett wisely did what I’ve wanted to do with my old stuff: He rewrote the fuck out of it.

I’m pretty curious what the original one was like. In the author’s note he says that it was written back when he thought fantasy was all about kings and battles, and the book I read was a lot of musing on civilization and the difference in people. Also, everyone living in a carpet. The biggest city in it is the size of a period.

It’s a thinky book mixed around trying to survive an incoming group of people/animals called the Moul (which means ‘one true human’) who eat animals. Look at their name. In-between this, there’s a roving natural disaster called The Fray that is followed by Moul attacks. The Munrungs, a hunter tribe, must survive and generally find a nice place to live after Fray hits their home.

It’s a decent book, but I wish there’d been more women in general. There’s a good effort near the end, but more speaking parts/doing parts is always appreciated in a book.

In other news, on the recommendation of Ann Larimer and the fact that Pokemon Adventures won’t have another volume out until September, I ordered the 8-volume set of Pokemon Diamond Pearl Adventures, which is a different continuity (Pokemon Adventures follows the trainers of the game in order with their own adventures) and is a lot looser in writing and style than the main series.

But so far I’ve learned that Professor Rowan, who is not actually the main character Hareta’s grandfather and I have no idea how he has custody, is the worst person to have custody of a child ever. Please look at the pictures below to see what I mean.

Just gonna leave a toddler in the woods and walk away. It’s all good.

PS: Read Castle Waiting vol 2 by Linda Medley and it was glorious. Excellent comic.

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang was picked up on a whim and it’s excellent. It has three main characters: Jin Wang, a Chinese boy who wants to be All-American (which means white, at least in his eyes and his classmates eyes), the goddamn Monkey King who has his own problems, and Danny, who is ‘All-American’ and suffers from visits from his cousin Chin-Kee that end so badly he has to constantly keep transferring schools.

They’re three separate stories that came together in a way I really was not expecting.

There’s parts of this where kids are cruel enough that it hurts to read, especially on the tail of something that I’d just read in Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett (gonna be done that today) and it’s a good example of how kids can be horrible for no good reason. And it’s placed so expertly you can see why Jin makes the decisions he does.

Plus any scenes with the Monkey King are great. Gene Yang draws him with the best face.

Art was excellent, and the story was great. I recommend this without reservation.

Cardcaptor Sakura

Comic talk! I just finished reading the first Cardcaptor Sakura omnibus #1 which both delighted and totally horrified me.

The good: Fancy, cute art with lots of costumes and general sweetness. Every character seems to be pretty darn gay. Sakura fighting with Li (her future love interest) over the affection of the same boy (who may actually be with Sakura’s older brother). Sakura’s bff Tomoyo’s crush on her.

The bad: I can live another thousand lives without seeing a teacher/student thing ever again. Fortunately one is in the past (her parents), and one is very much in the background (and actually the reason I’ve been reluctant to read this at all) and not involving Sakura in any way.

Plot of Cardcaptor is these sentient tarot-ish cards (Clow cards) have escaped their confinement and are causing magical havoc, and it’s up to Sakura with the help of her best friend Tomoyo (who makes costumes for Sakura and films her exploits, is her biggest fan) and the magical guardian of the cards Kero-chan (Cerberus) to catch them all. She gets to use them as attacks once they’re hers. So around that framework, the plot happens.

It’s not Castle Waiting level, but it’s good eyecandy and a fun read. Just warning for the squick. No nudity, gore, or major violence so far and I think it stays that way? Either way, I ordered the next ones.

ALSO. The omnibus has a bunch of colour prints throughout it! Super pretty.

Castle Waiting

In my last post I briefly mentioned Castle Waiting by Linda Medley and I think it deserves more than a quick shout.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my friend Ann and what is now customary we went to the bookstore and I aske her for comic recommendations, and this is one of the things she handed to me.

The plot is, essentially, what happened to the castle after Sleeping Beauty left with her prince. In Castle Waiting, it’s become a sanctuary and in volume 1 (volume 2 is shipping its way to me right now. I’m sort of dreading it because 1 was a paperback, weighed two pounds, and made my hands shake when I read it. Volume 2 is a hardcover) we follow the adventures of a new resident, Jain who has come to have her baby, and in the latter part the adventures of Sister Peaceful, who is part of a sect of bearded nuns.

Lots of jokes and character humour, and except for the Sleeping Beauty opening, not especially fairytale oriented, besides everyone living in a world where those sorts of stories do take place, just not to these characters.

There’s some strong Christian elements (because nuns) which seem to be less about Christians and more about bearded women, which I did not object to. Skeeter, the little novice with the huge mustache is adorable.

There’s a rough, racist bit about Roma in the first third, which is mostly redeemed in the last third, but be on alert for that.

Castle Waiting is sweet, easy fantasy with a lot of charm and the art is fabulous. My biggest regret is that I could not get a good picture of Nessie (Sister Peace’s good friend) that was on one of the covers for this post.