Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket 1Title:  Fruits Basket Volume 1

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Paperback:  216 pages

ISBN:  1591826039

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home.  Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.  Discover for yourself the Secret of the Zodiac, and find out why Fruits Basket has won the hearts of readers the world over!

First off, a caveat:  This is my first manga, and my first review of a manga book.  I’m not exactly sure how one writes a review for manga.  I could read a bunch of reviews then write it, but I’d probably end up regurgitating what I’ve read, then.  I don’t even know if the title is supposed to be italicized like novels, and can’t exactly use a quote from the book since it uses pictures to tell the story.  But, here goes….

I first heard about Fruits Basketfrom a friend who said his niece loved it.  I’d been circling the manga pool and dipping my toe in every time I went to the book store, but had not as yet jumped in.  I’d also been sampling anime with Maggie, and so I thought this series would be a great place to start.  This book was originally published in Hane to Yume magazine in 1999.  It was finally published in English in 2004 by TOKYOPOP (if you click the link, you can read the first chapter online).  It is also a 26-episode anime series, AND an online petitionpleading FUNimation to make a second season of the show (I’ve signed, btw 😉 )

So, right from the start, I know I’m going into a beloved series and am fairly safe in thinking I’ll like it, which, of course, I did.

The story is about how orphaned Tohru, who has never fit in anywhere, comes to stay with the Shigure, Yuki and Kyo Sohma, members of a family who suffer from a strange curse that transforms them into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  It’s a book about transformations, both the humorous, and often inconvenient, physical transformations of the Sohmas themselves (and embarrassing, especially since transforming back to human form renders them naked).  It’s also about how Tohru’s kind and quiet spirit affects them, causing them to mature and let go of some of their anger and bitterness, and to grow in affection and acceptance of one another.

Maggie’s Review:

I really love-love-LOVE Fruits Basket!  Yuki and Kyo are cute and it’s so funny when they fight.  Yuki’s mysterious and it’s funny when Kyo gets mad (which is all the time) and gets cat ears, eyes, teeth and tail and hisses at Yuki.  I like the whole Zodiac thing.  It’s funny, especially when Shigure is acting like a pervert 😀  Kagura is CRAZY!  She’s in love with Kyo, and she shows it by destroying him and beating him up and flipping him through the wall.  One thing I did NOT like about it is that it’s got a lot of cuss words in it.

Maggie is funny, she says she doesn’t like the cuss words, but she sure does laugh a lot at them.  BTW, the cuss words used are Damn, Dammit, and Bitch and Bastard are used once in the second book when Kyo and Uo are playing a card game (both have anger issues).  No F-bombs, or other strong words are used.  The books are labeled for teens, which I didn’t catch until after she’d watched the whole anime series, read book one and got halfway through book two. 

and now, a few moments of love’s reflection by Kagura Sohma 😀

and, after writing this, I realized that, technically, Vampire Kisses:  Blood Relativeswas my first “manga,” though it’s not really manga because it reads like a normal American book, not right to left.  It’s the right-to-left reading of FB that’s made it so dificult for Mags to read on her own.  I’m sure a few books in and she’ll be okay.  Also, since she won’t let me put FB on BookMooch or PBS… she’s already made off with the book… I guess she’ll be re-reading it on her own, which should help her manga-reading abilities.

Well, off to Hardee’s for dinner and to finish up FB vol 2 😀

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Wait, How Did You Find Me?!

Okay, I had so much fun doing the last search results post, That Brought You Here?!? That I wanted to do another.

When I was scrolling down my stats page, one of the search terms caught my eye, and I wondered if enough time had passed to post another.  It’s been over a week so… YuP! 😀  Here goes.  The search terms are in bold, btw.

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bad effects of eating your boogers ~ Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea… yeah!

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spray cheese ~ on cracker… eat immediately.

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sex with sleeping doll ~ I believe this is illegal, and you knowChatty Cathy’s watching and’ll tell everyone…

.

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william shakespeare (dr. faustus) ~ Dr. Faustus, meet William Shakespeare 🙂

compare anne frank to the book thief! ~ NO! I don’t wanna!

I won't do it!  NOOOOO!      NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!      You can't make me!

invention of “invisible shirt”~ Yeah, I’m selling them out of my invisible store, and they come with an invisible receipt. I guarantee all eyes will be on you when you wear the matching invisible pants. I’ll sell both to you and throw in a pair of invisible Nikes all for a visible $20 bill. 😀

gary larsen plant comics~ Personally, I plant vegetables and herbs, maybe a few annuals, but hey… to each his own. I wonder if any of his comics have been famous? Tom Arnold must of been a bad year for the old winyard, eh?

isabel ice custard ~ It’s the movie version of Custard the Dragon. When Isabel, Ink, Wink, Mustard and Custard are flying over the Andes on their way to a rugby match, the plane crashes and they are forced to do the unthinkable to survive. Custard kept crying for his nice safe cage, until Isabel couldn’t take it anymore and turned him into Dragon tartar.

half-blood prince’s comments on love pot ~ He said, “Dude… DUDE… duuuuuude…. ya gotta try this pot…. one long drag and you like… totally love everyone. *puff.. puff… blow* DuuUuuuUuDe! I love you, man!”

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Then there are a few Vampire ones:

where can i read vampire kisses blood~ Anywhere you want, dawg, as long as you buy something every couple hours so the don’t think you’re loitering, home slice.

cheap: vampire kisses: blood relatives ~ This would be the Redneck family reunion slash speed dating slash wedding version.

read vampire kisses vol 2 free ~ Dude… it’s called the LIBRARY.  If that’s not free enough for you, I don’t know what to tell ya.  Get the audio book?  Except it’s a manga book.  Have someone read it for you, then transfer the memory into your brain…  It’d probably have horrible side-effects, and you’d probably grow a tail and develop a tic, but it’d be free.

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And… of course… there are all of the BOOGER searches, some of which made me swallow my tongue…

is it dangerous to eat your boogers?  Yes, that’s why you look left, then right, then left again before taking a nibble… oh, wait, that’s crossing the street.

how to eat boogers ~ Now… mind you, I’m no expert on this, but it seems fairly straight forward…  freshly picked, breaded and deep-fried and served with marinara sauce, right?

cure smelly boogers ~ Dude!  Stop sniffing your gym shoes!  Get some Odor-Eaters or something!

im 18 and still eat boogers, and 20 years old and eats boogers why~ Seriously, an even better question is WHY did GOOGLE think I knew the answers?!

throw poo ~ okay… here you go…

I'm throwing POO at you!

What are some of the weird search terms that have led people to your blog? Or what’s the oddest search you’ve ever done?

The Sunday Salon.com

Well, I missed last week’s Salon, and finishing Breaking Dawntook a bit longer than I had anticipated… like 10 days longer; it was an exercise in self-torture and perseverance. I wanted to finish before my boyfriend, but I think we both finished the same night, and I’m not sure who read “THE END” first. You can read my review here.

One of the things disappearing in Second Life for a few months has done is rob me of the time to comfortably achieve my reading goal of 75 books for the year by December 31st. After Breaking Dawn, I had 19 books to go… it’s a seemingly impossible goal to achieve; it works out to one book every day and a half. So I’ve been piling headlong into this insurmountable quota. It’s my goal, set by me, and if I miss it I’ve only got myself to answer to. But still, it chafes a bit that I might NOT make it. I have every intention to meeting this goal if I go blind in the process.

For that reason, my next book was Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. A short 125 pages with a lot of illustrations, this cute little book took a little over 2 hours to finish. Maggie looked it up at her school to see if it’s an Accelerated Reader book, which it is, so I’ll be reading it a second time with her next week 😉 . You can read my review for Nim’s Island here.

I finally returned to my Viral Video Wednesday post, this week posting music videos. The concept was “If there was a soundtrack to your life, what songs would be on it?” I listed mine, along with my reasons for them in a brief history of my life, which included songs like “Crawling” by Linkin Park, “The Unforgiven” by Metallica, “Wonderful, Merciful Saviour” by Selah, Natasha Beddingfield’s “Unwritten” as sung by Team Lachey, and Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love”, among others. Personally, I thought it is a story of triumph and resilience, but it would seem that it was more depressing than joyous, inspiring pity. I apologize to those of you who found it more of a downer than a sharing of my life and recovery. You can check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday here, if you dare.

I tried hard to finish Fragile Thingsby Neil Gaiman by Thursday to hit that one book per each day and a half quota, but didn’t quite make it. So I finished a book Maggie and I had been slowly working on for the last month or so. Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 by Ellen Schreiber was my first experience in Manga. It’s an interesting and by no means a small genre of reading material. Manga covers any subject matter and age group that books of text cover, only they do it with graphic art panels and thought and speech bubbles. You can read <my review of Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 here.

I did finish Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wonders by Neil Gaiman today. I really loved this book, and read the two poems I posted in the review, plus the short story “Other People”… making that my fourth time reading it… to my boyfriend. I remembered another short entry (not written in verse form, but feels like poetry nonetheless) that I liked in it a while ago. It’s called “In the End”:

IN THE END

In the end, the Lord gave Mankind the world. All the world was Man’s, save for one garden. This is my garden, said the Lord, and here you shall not enter.

There was a man and woman who came to the garden, and their names were Earth and Breath.

They had with them a small fruit which the Man carried, and when they arrived at the gate to the garden, the Man gave the fruit to the Woman, and the Woman gave the fruit to the Serpent with the flaming sword who guarded the Eastern Gate.

And the Serpent took the fruit and placed it upon a tree in the center of the garden.

Then Earth and Breath knew their clothedness, and removed their garments, one by one, until they were naked; and when the Lord walked through the garden he saw the man and the woman, who no longer knew good from evil, but were satisfied, and He saw it was good.

Then the Lord opened the gates and gave Mankind the garden, and the Serpent raised up, and it walked away proudly on four strong legs; and where it went none but the Lord can say.

And after that there was nothing but silence in the Garden, save for the occasional sound of the man taking away its name from another animal.

Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wondersby Neil Gaiman, “The End” page 233.

You can read my review of Fragile Things here.

I started reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon today, and hope to finish and post the review tomorrow. I’m about 70 pages in and am enjoying it so far. It’s an alternate timeline in which Sitka, Alaska became the interim Jewish homeland after the fall of the State of Israel after three months of independence. The book opens with a murder, a messed up homicide detective, and the stress of the reversion of the Federal District of Sitka to the state of Alaska.

Unfortunately, though, I may not be able to finish it tomorrow… Second Life has made a claim to my time tomorrow, as a SL friend is getting married there and I’m a bridesmaid. Busy, busy, busy!

Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives vol. 2 by Ellen Schreiber

Title: Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives volume 2
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Illustrator: REM
Paperback:
Publisher: TOKYOPOP
Publish Date: 2008
ISBN: 9780061340826

Almost two months ago, I visited the book fair at my middle daughter’s school. With me were Gwen, it was her parent-teacher conference we had just finished, and Maggie. Knowing Maggie’s love for the anime cartoons, and pretty much anything Asian really, I pointed out a few of the Manga books. Of the books available, she picked Vampire Kissesbecause, unlike regular Manga, it opens and reads left to right like any other western-civilized reading material… regular Manga opens and reads right to left, making the average American feel as if the book is backwards or defective; some kind of misprint. So today I am writing my first review for a Manga book 🙂

According to the Anime Critic website’s glossary, Manga is:

The Japanese term for comic book. In Japan, manga are targeted at all age groups and cover a wide range of genres. This is in contrast to Western comics which are typically based around superhero themes.

Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives volume 2 is a continuation of the first book (unfortunately, we’ve not found volume one anywhere) in which Raven, the goth heroine, and Alexander, teenage Vampire hero, meet and fall in love. In volume two, they are already in love and kiss a lot in the book (which always brought a loud “EwWwwWWw!!” from Maggie, followed by giggles, then her looking back at the panel again, and giggling some more).

In this book, we meet Claude, Alexander’s half-vampire sexy cousin, and his gang. He has come from Romania to Dullsville, that’s the name of the town Raven and Alexander live in, to steal their grandmother’s vial of whole vampire blood. The construct of Vampire Kisses is that vampire blood will turn a half-vamp into a full vamp and a human, like Raven, into a half-vamp (and make her immortal).

Claude pushes this angle to try to get Raven to betray Alexander’s trust and give him the vial, telling her how, when she’s a half-vampire, she will be able to really share a common bond and a deeper relationship with Alexander. In the meantime, Alexander struggles to work out a plan that will get rid of Claude without giving him the blood.

It was a lot more interesting an pleasurable to read than I had thought it would be. The illustrations are edgy and modern, Raven in her goth gear and Claude with his lip ring, and it has a fun comedic quality to it. We laughed at several silly events… like a lot of Japanese-style animation, Vampire Kisses‘ characters become Chibi-looking caricatures of themselves until they regain their composure. The fact it was about vampires appealed to me, and I think one of my next mangas will be Vampire Knight… and Fruit Basket for Maggie.

Still uncertain of my feelings about manga, and having nothing to compare it to, I’m going to give Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives volume 2 by Ellen Schreiber 3 out of 5 stars.

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