Tuesday, December 27, 2011

josei manga short reviews: Hapi Mari, Hotaru no Hikari, Pink Lady

Hapi Mari
A josei manga by Enjouji Maki.
Takanashi Chiwa never had a boyfriend and focuses on working hard to pay the debts of her father (mainly in order to keep the house). One day she's called to the new president (young and good-looking) of the company she's working for - and asked to marry him. There's something in it for both of them (she gets her debts paid and he can stay president of the family company), so she agrees. So far, so WTF.
Of course they don't get along at all at first and of course they fall in love with each other later on. He's the boss not only in work life, but also in their personal life and the virgin woman never really carries through with any of her efforts to get a little freedom on her own. He's violent, nearly raping her several times, but she always comes running back to him. They never talk much with each others, they sulk, and she's trying to be the good wife and no burden to her husband, crying and apologizing for everything even if he's being a huge asshole. Did I mention she's not the brightest? They're constantly fighting and hurting each other but of course they "love" each other.
Pretty much run-of-the-mill josei. The best character is his mother-substitute secretary.
So far there's 27 chapters, it's ongoing. I will not continue reading.

Hotaru no Hikari
Another josei manga, by Hiura Satoru with 31 chapters so far.
Actually, similar to Hapi Mari, Hotaru isn't interested much in relationships - she's a so-called "dried fish" - and she also suddenly comes to live with her boss (secretly). The difference is, he's forty-something and they don't marry. Actually she finds herself a different boyfriend, an furniture designer three years younger than her, but more experienced relationship-wise. The plot is about her struggling to make the relationship work after having been several years "out of the game".
I think I can identify with Hotaru - working at the office, loving to laze around at home, no relationships the past years... So I really like this one.
But I have to say that the drawings sometimes aren't really that good. Apparently there's a TV drama series, too - I think I'll try that one out someday.

TV Tropes

Pink Lady
This one actually is a manhwa - that's the Korean version of mangas or comics. Since it started out as a web comic, it's in colour.
Gyeo-Wul studies art at the university. One day she meets a blunt male co-student whose drawing style is praised by the others. She starts doubting her own skills. Then it turns out she and the young man have already met as children.
There's only about 7 chapters translated, so the plot didn't progress very far. It has a different stlye than what I'm used to, and also it's all in colour - but that's a nice change. Apparently the creator Yeon Woo is an art student, too, so you can notice that they know what they're talking about (there's references to techniques, famous paintings, etc).

The Webcomic (Korean)
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to take a science fiction plot and make it into a fantasy bestseller

A young boy lives with his uncle on a quiet and remote farm (he has no knowledge about who his parents are). He finds something round and blue - that turns out to be alive. When he isn't at home one night, the farm gets burned down and his uncle killed. He meet with this one guy... what was his name again? Short and starting with B? Anyway, the old men was supposed to be a strange hermit, but it turns out he had been a member of a long-forgotten group of warriors. He has this blue word and teaches the young boy how to use it and how to do magic. Together the two of them leave the village, but are hunted by the evil empire (who are behind killing the young boy's uncle).
On their flight they get knowledge of a princess who is held captive by the empire (who by chance is the one who actually send the round blue thing to the old hermit in the first place). They also meet another young man. Young farm boy wants to rescue the princess, the other young man is somewhat reluctant. Anyway, the emprie catches up with them, the old man is wounded badly and sacrifices himself so the two young men can escape with the princess. Farm boy has the hots for her and wants to join the rebels, the other guy again is reluctant but accompanies him.
In the course of the later story it also turns out that the young farm boy is the son of the right hand of the evil emperor. And the other young man gets the hots for the woman who is leading the rebels.

Well then, tell me what the name of the story is... Star Wars, right? Or maybe Eragon?

I admit it's recently annoying me again how much praise Paolini gets.
He just fucking stole the whole thing from different sources.
Eragorn sounds similar? Yeah, not only that.

Dragonrides communicating telepathically with their dragons? Dragonriders of Pern
Young farm boy with a mark in his palm getting a blue sword and becoming a great magician? Belgariad
A language only known my magicians in which you can not lie, in which dragons speak and in which everything and everyone have a true name, knowledge of which will bring power over them? Earthsea
Roran is basically Perrin from Wheel of Time, the dwarves are really pretty much 100% like Tolkien's and the elves are not far off either, with Arya being pretty much a copy of Arwen (right down to the falling in love with a mortal human issue).

Why the hell does hardly anyone notice? Is Eragon the only fantasy book you ever read?
And this is not just similarity, in a way that many fantasy books are inspired by LOTR. This is in your face stolen stuff. There's whole paragraphs that are stolen from other books (e.g. Eddings).

After reading the second book, we (me and some girls from the New Murtagh Fanclub) guessed on how Murtagh would end. Since he was based on Han Solo and Anakin Skywalker we figured he'd "do a Dath Vader" and save Eragorn and destroy the evil emperor last minute. Then we weren't sure: either he'd die killing the emperor (like Anakin), or he'd end up with the rebel leader lady (like Han). I haven't read the last books yet, but according to wikipedia we were right.

Here's a blog post who gives some examples (incl. one for a stolen paragraph): Paolini and plagiarism
Another source and blog post: http://aydee.wordpress.com/2006/12/17/eragon/ Read more on this article...