Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Sherlock by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Jay

Mark Gatiss
Steven Moffat

An adaptation of the BBC re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, Sherlock, which aired in 2010 (season 1) and 2012 (season 2), with season 3 currently in the works.

Alternative names
シャーロック ピンク色の研究
神探夏洛克 粉色的研究
Sherlock - A study in pink
SHERLOCK ピンク色の研究
(more coming for Blind Watchmaker)



Manga reader sites
Manga Reader, Manga Fox 

Rosy's scrawlings on Sherlock
I ran across this manga by chance as I'd missed all the advertising for it (my head has been securely buried in the teach-my-kid-to-crawl-downstairs-backwards-so-he-doesn't-fall stage of life and all the stages before it). Curious, I started reading and found it to be an almost exact replica of the tv shows currently starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. There are a few oddities though, that might interest you to go and read it instead of re-watching the shows whenever you need a bit more Sherlock in your life (these things happen, I know. Its all right.). Mostly these take the form of Watson's thoughts and the drawings of emotional reactions being a little more of a manga style than a pure replication of the show's characters. There's the old 'budump' for the heavy heart beat and the shaded top of the face for crestfallen or shocked and such like. This adds a little more life to the already fast-paced and bubbling show and I couldn't help but want a little more again. Actually, I've been left wondering what a full conversion with alterations to the stories would be like. I can only start imagining the likes of strange Black Butler relationships mixed bubbly almost-but-too-shy-to-go-there yaoi: all flashing coats and strange crimes and forbidden love. A full mangarisation of Sherlock would definitely be fun to read. But I digress...
I assume you are all pretty familiar with the tv show Sherlock so I won't bother going into storyline and plot. The lines are pretty much word for word and the action spot on, down to most of the facial expressions. The artist Jay has done a fantastic job reproducing the show by hand. The panels exclude unnecessary backgrounds, which are replaced with shading for mood, focus largely on the people and have an appropriate level of grittiness. But what I personally love are Benedict's more exaggerated expressions are priceless. 

See? Brilliant. Just, brilliant. Its worth reading just for the funny expressions alone.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone who likes the tv show Sherlock or anyone who'd prefer to read rather than watch it.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Recommendation: Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar

Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar

As teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, the MacRinnalch Clan is plotting and feuding after the head of the clan suddenly dies intestate.
As the court intrigue threatens to explode in all-out civil war, the competing factions determine that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Unfortunately, Kalix isn't really into clan politics - laudanum s more her thing. But what s even more unfortunate is that Kalix is the reason the head of the clan ended up dead, which is why she s now on the run in London...



Rosy's scrawlings on Lonely Werewolf Girl
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as so many werewolf stories portray a male lead or at least a male werewolf (or male only werewolves). There have been some stories I've read with female werewolves but they are usually either outnumbered or not the lead. So here's one of the few stories I have run across that lets me explore the world of a female werewolf and I have to say I'm not at all disappointed with the find. Not only are there more than one female werewolves, all leads, but they are powerful, possess hobbies, talents and careers. They also have clear motivations that are quite political within the werewolf world and (in some ways best of all, as it is such an easy trap to fall into) their romantic lives are absolutely abysmal in a rather realistic way (minus the random deaths, power plays and family troubles - well, some of the family troubles, anyway). This I found interesting as rough and mostly unsuccessful relationships are a rarer read.
Lonely Werewolf Girl follows the two sisters, two brothers and a female cousin of the predominant werewolf family of Scotland, all of whom are now acting out a succession battle in London. The elder brother wishes to take over the Thane position (the ruler of the family and other werewolves) and goes about his campaign in the traditional manner expected of him. He is as traditional as any of the werewolves, except the dead Thane who was his father. Otherwise, his competition is his beautiful brother who is more into the arts and cross dresses in secret (some of his girl-friends know and accept but he's reluctant to let the wider werewolf community know. Wielding all the power in the decision making are some of the most unruly and interesting werewolves of the entire clan, including the fashion designer and

sorceress werewolf Thrix, the coolly intellectual Dominil and Kalix, the most battle-crazed of them all who also cuts herself, is addicting to laudanum and struggles to get along with anyone at all. Supporting them is the Queen of the fire elementals and fashionista extraordinaire Malveria, her almost adopted, overexcited and anti-fashion niece and the pair of humans who've decided to drag Kalix in from the cold and look after her whether she wants to be or not. The characters are really interesting to follow and the politics, while slow paced at times, is rather violent at others. Far more is within the story than is given away by the blurb and in fact I pity the person trying to sum up the story so succinctly.
The writing of Lonely Werewolf Girl is steady and attentive to detail. There's much included and many points of view covered, making the story both long and full of inter-character intrigue. The length of the book is one that would make you pause given that the topic is werewolves, as most that touch on them are shorter for lack of an original storyline or for the werewolf aspect being secondary to, say, romance or quick bloody horror. But trust me when I say that it isn't a book with a lot of waffling filler and the length of the story is rather appropriate to the subject. Lonely Werewolf Girl is not at all what I would have guessed and will probably surprise you still, even after reading this.

I'd recommend this book to: anyone who likes werewolf stories, quirky characters, political intrigue, large-scale battles and complex stories. This book would appeal to male and female readers alike, as long as they like out-of-the-box thinking.