The entertainment value of human misery

Is generally pretty low for me these days. There is an endemic trend in both the general populace and general criticism to conflate tragedy with maturity. Largely because it requires very little mental effort to bridge the gap I imagine. But that discussion is rather tangential to the, brief, topic at hand. The title is misleading as this isn’t a general post exploring it, rather its simply my thoughts on the first volume of “Ushijima the Loan Shark”. An award winning series that is currently going strong on its thirty first volume. Continue reading…

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This desert life

My faux-Lenten retreat from the insidious snares of the online world has run into a few snags. Nothing apocalyptic but enough to besmirch the pure wall of restraint I was hoping to build. At least my few small indulgences were so replete with vestigial Catholic guilt that they didn’t absorb too much time. Which was the main thing I wanted to avoid. Continue reading…

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Best of 2011 – Manga

It’s currently September 29th, if past years are anything to go by that means that I should get this posted sometime mid-2012, possibly in June as an early birthday present to myself. Then again starting three months early may actually mean that this is one of my rare yearly round-ups that make it out at an appropriate time. Despite the tragic intervention of an MSc into my life of lazy media consumption I have already read what could fairly be described as too much this year. So much in fact that I’m rather apprehensive of adding up exactly how much. Went and added them up, 16543 chapters read since January. Not counting that a large number are monthly releases (i.e. generally twice as long) lets assume a weekly chapter size of 20 pages, that’s 330,860 pages. Around 135 individual titles. Seems a bit excessive if I do say so myself. On the other hand though its been an awesome year, lots of long-running series finally finished scanlation and I got around to reading a large number of the “classics” that I had avoided or missed (including the “Big Three” – Bleach, Naruto and One Piece). This means that paring this list down to ten was an even bigger pain in the arse than it usually is. Continue reading…

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Best of 2010 – Manga

This list is a little dis-honest. Well that’s not quite the right word for it; artfully structured? constructed? biased? In short this list may not be a true Top Ten of the manga I’ve read this year. Why is that? I hear you cry. Well quite simply because I didn’t want to put the same things on the list two years in a row. While I do largely write these things for my own self-satisfaction I do hold out the slim and naive hope that someone other than I actually reads them. As such I feel it would be something of a dis-service to not highlight as diverse a range as possible. After all, if I recommended a series last year and its still on-going (as over half of last years series are) then theres no reason to think it isnt worth your time. Continue reading…

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Best of 2008 – Definitive Edition

I think only the lucky or the terminally un-opinionated actually fully enjoy reading Top X lists. For the rest of us it’s an experience all too often filled with bewildering disbelief that some idiots voted item X above item Y even though it’s clearly inferior or why poltroons who engaged in voting entirely forgot about item M. The one advantage of public Top X lists is that they have at least the pretence of objectivity as they’re based on public votes. On the flip side this means they’re an indication of popularity rather than quality (as only the naive believe the two are inseparable). Though I suppose “Top X” has always been shorthand for “Most Popular X” rather than “Best X”. I sure do love me some variables. Continue reading…

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