Thursday, May 31, 2007

Manga to Love - "Blood Alone"

I am back, finally, from my hermit days. Or at least, I hope so! I haven't been up to very much, really. Feeling way too tired most of the time, which is a waste of time, but then again I must accept that things are like that from time to time.

At least I've been reading lots lately, and finding some real gems of my beloved manga genre! This one is called Blood Alone, by Masayuki Takano, and tells the story of a girl (Misaki) who is not only cute and honest and intelligent. She is also a vampire. And she lives with a writer called Kuroe, who is also intelligent and gorgeous, and holds some mysterious connection with her own past. It may sound at first like nothing but ordinary, but believe me this is not just yet another vampire manga. There are lots of intrigue, suspense, unusual characters and romance too. And the artwork may be one of the best ones I've seen lately, very accurate (facial expressions are just amazing) and detailed, extremely elegant. Impossible not to fall completely for Misaki and Kuroe.

For screenshots of the book, visit the publisher's website and select Blood Alone from the list, so you can read it online first. I have not tried though, since I read the books already, vols. 1 and 2 (and back-ordered 3), but it must work!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Le Japon Artistique

My Dad gave me a book years ago, an encyclopaedia of Japanese Arts, when I first entered the University, in 1979-80, some time before he passed away I think... It's an amazing collection of 3 books dated from 1888, by S. Bing, an art dealer specialised in Art Nouveau and Oriental art. It may be the oldest books I have and, unfortunately, way too heavy to bring it home to Dublin. It's called Le Japon Artistique.

When I was younger I used to sit down at a table and copy some of the patterns reproduced there. It's an invaluable reference. I just found out in my last visit that there is even a chapter on "manga", showing old manga reproductions. Not the manga that we know nowadays, but the manga as is, ie, "irresponsible (whimsical) sketches", inside the large section dedicated to Hokusai. The collection is exquisite, and has everything one needs to know about Japanese Art up to some years after the Meiji era. Lots of text, black and white and coloured plates. Hard it is to preserve such an old book. It is in quite good state, however not perfect. Rio's humidity is to blame for its not-so-perfect condition, but still, if you handle it with care and love you'll gain an endless number of delightful hours. A gem...