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J LHLS Archives: May 2006
Sunday, May 7, 2006
The Law of Ueki, Vol. 1 (DVD)
Release date: May 16, 2006
Review by Tom Good
The Law of Ueki is about a bunch of junior high school students who have to . . . oh, go ahead, guess. Hint: there are no space aliens, dragons, or giant mecha in this story. So there's only one thing it could be, right? Yes, that's right, they have to compete in a fighting tournament. This may not sound like a promising concept, but the series definitely makes up in its execution what it lacks in originality of the premise. As one of the candidates for the position of "Celestial King," Mr. Kobayashi has to choose a student to back in the contest, and grant him a special power. The mentor whose student wins will become the next Celestial King. [more]
Posted by Tom Good @ 08:55 PM PST [Link]
Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco
by Rick Smith
Review by Tom Good
When I was younger, a story like Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco would have sounded like an exciting, exotic adventure, and might have inspired me to plan my next overseas trip. Today, it sounds more like the type of hassle that would encourage me to stay home. But it is an entertaining story either way. Rick Smith and his wife Tania explore the deserts, kasbahs and towns of Morocco, but at times it seems everyone they meet tries to cheat them, sell them drugs, or both. Sometimes the locals come up with inventive variations like charging "admission" to the kasbah, or slipping the travelers drugged tea to make it easier to rip them off. And given that this story takes place in 2000, I can only imagine that the going might be even rougher today. But their trip had its appealing moments, too, such as when Rick and Tania listen to some great Berber music. [more]
Posted by Tom Good @ 02:54 PM PST [Link]
If Only They Could Talk: The Miracles of Spring Farm
by Bonnie Jones Reynolds and Dawn E. Hayman
Published by Pocket Books
Review by Kathryn Ramage
On the one hand, there is a fairly interesting story here, along the lines of the veterinary tales of James Herriot, about two women who made their farm into a haven for strays, and eventually into a charitable organization dedicated to caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned animals. Several of the stories of badly mistreated animals being found and rescued were really moving.
On the other hand, these stories are frequently infused with a goopy anthropomorphism that assumes the animals really do talk, and communicate with humans on common terms. [more]
Posted by Kathryn L Ramage @ 11:17 AM PST [Link]
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