chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Yuki-dreaming)

lady_ganesh wanted to know about "Top five characters more dangerous than they look." Because proving this about a character always involves a reveal, there are spoilers (which I have covered) in each answer.

Cho Hakkai from Saiyuki (right). On the surface, a mild-mannered, absent-minded young man. But cross him, and you'll find out that he's totally bad-ass - even before he takes off his power limiters and becomes a youkai covered with prehensile vines and whose strength and reflex speed greatly exceed those of virtually every other youkai we've seen in the series.

Sanada Saemon-no-Suke Yukimura from Samurai Deeper Kyo (in the post icon), a cheerful short guy whom we first see as a harmless drunk with a woman on each arm. A few minutes later, he's puking his guts out. Who would suspect that he's one of the only swordsmen in Japan who can give the notorious Demon-Eyes Kyo a good fight ... and can chop lesser opponents in half vertically with a single stroke?

Yoshino Dōa from Blade of the Immortal (right), a very petite, very young Ainu woman who turns out to be a ruthless, blood-thirsty swordswoman with ultra-fast reflexes who takes out male opponents much larger and stronger than herself with fearsome efficiency.

Sister Yolanda from Black Lagoon, an elderly, sweet-faced one-eyed nun who is the Mother Superior of a church outside of Roanapur, Thailand, who packs a a gold-plated Desert Eagle pistol and is efficiently running an arms-smuggling and intelligence-gathering operation. (Sadly, I have no Sister Yolanda icon ... )

Ayasegawa Yumichika from Bleach (left), a fey, vain, eccentric little goofball who's too pretty for his own good and seemingly too refined to even perspire, yet in actuality is the Fifth Seat of the notoriously combat-ready and violent 11th Division of Soul Reapers, meaning that he can whip the ass of just about any even semi-normal opponent without ... breaking a sweat.

chomiji: Crazed Oda Nobunaga from SDK, with the caption Manga saved my sanity! (manga sanity)

I had errands to run today and stopped at a Borders. And they had Samurai Deeper Kyo vol. 35/36 - the first of the two Del Rey doubles that will finish out the series.

It looks lovely, although of course we're missing one of the two covers (the one they used is the Hishigi/Fubuki badass double portrait, which I think was the vol. 35 cover originally. It looks like all the extras are there in the back, and there are even a few Del Rey cultural notes!

Unfortunately, they also seem to have continued the Tokyopop tradition of all-over-the-place translations ... really, guys, only Hishigi would be tossing around a word like "atavistic."

chomiji: Hotaru from Samurai Deeper Kyp, looking horrified, with the caption OMGZWYF?! Translate plz (hotaru - OMGWTF?)

Via inkstone on Dreamwidth:

... TOKYOPOP lost the license to Samurai Deeper Kyo! But that explains why volume 35 has been impossible to find, no matter what Amazon says. I can't believe it though -- there are only 4 volumes left! (Never mind the fact that SDK is supposedly one of their better sellers. This can't bode well for TP if they lost the SDK license and the final English volume of Furuba is released soon.) On the other hand, it also appears that Del Rey has the license to the final 4 volumes and if the listing for volume 35 is accurate, they'll be released in double-sized volumes. Let's hope it's true. That'll be imminently sad if SDK ends its English run with only 4 volumes to go!

You can take a look at the Delray catalog listing here.

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

Volume 35 of Samurai Deeper Kyo was supposed to be available yesterday. But Amazon says "usually ships in 10-12 days," which is not like them. And there is absolutely no word anywhere on volumes 36, 37, and 38.

C'mon, Tokyopop - there are only 4 more volumes and then it's all over! Please? Please?

(Yes, I know what happens next. But that's not the same as having the actual books!)

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

Kyo and co. receive advice and information from Julian, the premier Mibu swordsmith, about the intensely magical Muramasa blades. Akira insists on facing Tokito alone to rescue Bontenmaru - and the bulk of the volume consists of Akira's battle with Tokito.

There was some really great art in this issue. I'm just annoyed that it involved Tokito, who is my least favorite character. The image where Tokito first draws the Muramasa blade a fraction of an inch, and the scene when Tokito uses the Seven Stars attack (a double-page spread), were both very beautiful.

On the other hand, even though I remember laughing at loud with joyful surprise at a couple of things that happened near the end, this volume faded from my mind really quickly, and I didn't have the urge to immediately go back and read it again - and again - as I did with the two recent volumes focusing on Hotaru. And like meganbmoore, I'm a little worried about what Kamijyo might be trying to tell us about social class and ability.

Read more ... with spoilers! )

chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

SDK seems to occupy a kind of middle ground for me between Bleach – which is probably the most shounen-ish shounen series I'm reading seriously (Hoshin Engi continues to mainly confuse me) and Saiyuki – which isn't really a shounen series at all, it just plays one on TV.

These two volumes illustrate the point pretty well. They're mostly about Hotaru, the wolf-child space-cadet with the very short attention span, double-ended sword, and deadly magical fire skills. Because SDK is mostly a shounen series, Hotaru's scenes are very much about getting stronger and mastering himself. But because SDK is SDK, there's also lashings of backstory – tasty and humorous backstory. Hotaru doesn't really do angst, so there isn't much, but parts of his story are surprisingly touching. They also involve the last big crew of new characters we'll meet in the series.

There's also bigtime angst for Kyo and Kyoushirou, a little more Mibu villainy, a tough situation for Akira's ego, Yuya fanservice, the re-appearance of someone we haven't seen for a very long time, and almost no Yukimura-san >snif!< at all, unless you count one of the extras in vol. 30.

Cut for fangirling and spoilers ... ! )

ETA: meganbmoore reviewed vol. 30 here and vol. 31 here; magicnoire writes up vol. 30 here.

chomiji: A chibi drawing of Akari from Samurai Deeper Kyo, holding a plate of mochi dumplings, with caption Coming Right Up! (Akari-mochi)

So now that it's officially autumn (or will be, this afternoon, I think), here are the icons I've been working on ... .

Previews:

Sanzo, from Saiyuki Orihime, from Bleach Yuya & Kyo, Samurai Deeper Kyo

Click for the rest )
chomiji: Momiji fro, Fruits Basket, with the caption Oh! (Momiji-satori)

I love my love with an F ... ! Actually, no, not really - because F is a tricksy letter, which no doubt accounts for the fact that it's worth 8 points in Scrabble (as opposed to, say, S, which is worth only 1).

Anyway, I got this at athena8's place. The meme prompt is:

1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters whose name starts with that letter and post their names and your comments on these characters in your LJ.

Cut for my five! )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

Kyo must face his old foe Oda Nobunaga, who now possesses the body of the shaman Nozumo. Nobunaga's skills with the sword and his deadly demonic attacks aren't the only dangers Kyo will face. But before the conflict can be resolved, Yuya interrupts the combatants and changes the stakes drastically.

The human element comes strongly to the forefront in this volume. Although the situation with Yuya is by far the most dramatic element, this installment also ends with Kyo farther from regaining his real body than ever, and Akari continues to have to face her past history with the Mibu.

And there simply isn't much more to say without risking major spoilers.

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

As the volume opens, Kyo and Sasuke Sarutobi continue their confrontation with Shihodo, the strange guardian of the "latrine level" of the city-sized Mibu palace/temple complex. It's far from clear whose side Shihodo supports, but through flashbacks we learn a lot more about her history - and Kyo's. Escape from the Stygian depths of the Onmyo Palace will eventually hinge on whether or not Kyo can truly master his Muramasa-forged sword, Tenro - which turns out to have a very strong mind of its own.

Meanwhile, Bontenmaru, Akira, and Benitora become the unwilling guests of the unpleasantly impish Tokito, whose idea of fun and games is on level with that of Kami-sama in Saiyuki. Although three of them will join Tokito in spooky Tsukikage Castle, only two will emerge afterward.

In the final chapter, Kyo and Sasuke meet up with Akari and Yuya - and make a terrifying discovery about the fate of Yuya's brother that will affect them all.

This volume suffered from being rather betwixt and between: the incident in the final chapter is the set-up for the next sub-arc, and although the other two incidents were interesting - and provided some valuable puzzle pieces - their emotional impact is simply not as great as some of what has already happened. I also miss the characters who didn't appear: Yukimura, obviously, but also Hotaru and Shinrei. And although Yuya and Akari make an appearance, they don't get to do much. The same is true of the more intriguing villains: Fubuki and Yuan give the intro and then pretty much disappear, while Hishigi gets nothing but a few lines in the Shihodo flashback and two frames of editorial comment right near the end. And there's far too much Tokito ... but that's just my opinion!

The artwork's a little odd in this volume: everyone continues to be very elongated and leggy (not just Shihodo, who's meant to be that way), and yet the faces seem even more rounded and childish than usual. But there are some very cute drawings of Kyo and Akira in the various flashbacks (Akira-chan is rather more believable as a child than Kyo-chan, who looks more like a Kyo-chibi from one of the extras).

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: Yukimura from Samurai Deeper Kyo, smiling and clapping his hands. Caption: Happiness (Yuki-happy)

Because that's when Tokyopop is releasing both vol. 5 of Wild Adapter and vol. 28 of Samurai Deeper Kyo!

Anticipation!
Anticipa-a-ation
Is making me late -
It's keeping me waiting ... .


chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

I have been awaiting this volume for more than a year, and it did not disappoint: More revelations, drama, and fun with Yukimura and the Sanada Ten! A long-awaited yet still surprising duel!! New revelations about Kyo! A strange development in the Mibu thaumaturgical operations! Our heroes meet the Four Elders in person! Akari has to face a shadow of her past! Hotaru has a eventful familial encounter! But wait, there's more ... .

OK, I'm being very silly. But I can tell you that the story is beginning to pick up steam. We are about three-quarters of the way through the entire tale. The vast majority of the significant players have been introduced. We're getting to the point that where there's no action, there will be angst, and where there's no angst or action, there will be shocking revelations.

And I love the cover in this issue too. I wish I had the original painting, or even a poster without the text.

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Yuki-promises)

Warning! Large amounts of fangirl squeeing below.

Poor, duped Shinrei! The Former Crimson King! And the whole back half of the book is Yukimura, Shindara, and the Sanada Juyushi! So. Much. Love!

Ahem. More soberly:

After Bontenmaru's fight with Haira, the last Mibu berserker, is over, Yukimura faces a highly unpleasant blast from the past - with the aid of several members of the Sanada Ten. Meanwhile, Shinrei learns that Taihaku and Hotaru were all too right, a lost joker reappears, and we get to see who strikes fear into the hearts of the Four Elders of the Mibu. The volume ends very much in media res ... I'm going to be on tenterhooks for 2 months.

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

Kyo's party, still split into groups, is pressing on into the heart of the Mibu city in search of the shrine where Kyo's real body is being held. Akira, Benitora, and Hotaru continue their confrontation with the true Kubira, master of illusions. Akira finds himself pushed beyond his limits on two fronts: his fighting prowess, and his senses of justice and compassion. The resolution of the encounter forces him to grow (I think it can be argued that Akira shows more spiritual/emotional growth during the series than any other character), and we learn more about the Mibu and the mysterious disease that affects so many of them. Several more members of the group are reunited with the three young men at the end of this sequence.

Meanwhile, Kyo and Bontenmaru seem to have arrived at their destination - only to find the way blocked by the last of the berserkers, Haira, who is accompanied by Shindara the Undying. We then get a little visit with Yukimura and his faithful Saizo, who are having a bit of trouble with some Mibu elite guards. The resolution of this scene answers the question of what Yukimura did after he left Muramasa's, and how he was able to evade Kyo in their previous encounter. Finally, Yukimura and Saizo join Kyo and Shindara in watching Bontenmaru fight Haira: a scene that is pretty comical but that got old quickly for me.

This volume wasn't quite as satisfying for me as vol. 24, but the end of the Kubira encounter was quite touching, and I like how Akira continues to develop. And of course I really, really appreciated having some more Yukimura scenes, and the flashback sequence within them was very interesting.

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Kyo (SDK))

Onime-no-Kyo continues his LJ conquest ... a couple of months ago, it was telophase who had succumbed (scroll to near bottom), and now it's rachelmanija, who discusses the situation both without spoilers (she compares it to Lymond! squee!) and with spoilers (through vol. 5 ... don't mess it up for her!).

This makes me very, very happy. SDK is a wonderful series - once you get past the first couple of volumes - and deserves more attention than it's had. It's a fantasy adventure, a political thriller, and a soap opera - all at once.

chomiji: Crazed Oda Nobunaga from SDK, with the caption Manga saved my sanity! (manga sanity)

This was a pleasure, from the beautiful front cover painting of Sarutobi Sasuke sitting protectively back-to-back with his lord (and savior, and chief responsibility, and pet peeve) Sanada Yukimura to the sweetly silly back cover pic of Yuya hugging Kyo's sword Tenrou (with his old teacher Muramasa's little bird perched on the hilt guard) like a teddy bear. There are several action-filled fights, but I also have to say that there's also a lot of love, and I don't really mean romance.

Akari's fight against the physically attractive but ethically repulsive Mibu berserker Mekira comes to a dramatic end, and we learn a little more about "the worst" Emperor's mysterious past. Meanwhile, Sasuke and Okuni find that their path is blocked by an old friend of Sasuke's. The volume finishes up with another visit to SDK's answer to the Three Stooges: Akira, Benitora, and Hotaru have to break off their bickering to face the mysterious powers of another of the berserkers.

Read on ... with spoilers )
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

I've been having much too much fun with my icons. At first I felt very protective and parental and didn't want to let any of them go, but now that I have lots of them, I don't mind so much ... and it's very warm and fuzzy to see them show up in other folks' posts.

Samples:

cut for 29 icons ....  )

If there's another one I use regularly that you'd like to have, you can always ask ... (the ones I still feel the most protective about are the Yukimura ones I use regularly), and I love making them by request too.

ETA: And I meant to put all the disclaimers: no hotlinking to my poor Earthlink account, please credit, etc. etc.

chomiji: Crazed Oda Nobunaga from SDK, with the caption Manga saved my sanity! (manga sanity)

Despite the unsettling news that Okuni has brought about the Mibu plans for Kyo's real body, the group is optimistic: now that the Four Emperors are back together, it seems nothing can stand in their way! But the reunion doesn't last long: the way to the Onmyo Shrine, where the body is held, could be through any of the four doors that Kyo and his companions soon encounter. They draw lots, and continue as four separate parties. Beyond one door, Hotaru has an unsettling meeting with a special person from his half-forgotten past, while beyond another, Yuya finds out a number of Akari's own secrets - including the nature of the destructive skills that made her such a valuble member of the Four Emperors - as they face several increasingly deadly sets of opponents.

Yukimura fans should note that he actually has a scene in this volume - the first in quite a while - as he and Saizo have an emotionally-charged encounter with their ex-companion Shindara. (And there's also a funny "extra" cartoon that tackles the issue of Yukimura's near-complete absence from the last several volumes.)

Read more ... with spoilers! )
chomiji: Crazed Oda Nobunaga from SDK, with the caption Manga saved my sanity! (manga sanity)

Kya ha ha! Guess what I just found at Borders, more than a week earlier than I'd been led to believe!

Samurai Deeper Kyo vol. 23 !!!

I'm going to wait a bit to blog it properly because the Tokyopop site gives the release date as July 10 and Amazon says they won't have it until July 3 (WTF? Why is the "official release date" after Amazon's sales date?) so I bet a lot of stores don't have it yet, and I want to wait until more people have had a chance to read it.

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