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J LHLS Archives: December 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Directed by Sang-il Lee
Screenplay by Sang-il Lee and Daisuke Habara
Review by Ginger Mayerson
Okay, I'm going to explain the plot of "Hula Girls." You will think I've gone even further over the edge, but please bear with me. This story sounds insane, but it's a true story and that's why, in the best tradition of true stories, it sounds completely nuts. In 1965 or thereabouts the huge Joban coal mine in Iwaki-shi in Fukushima Prefecture and Kitaibaraki-shi in Ibaraki Prefecture began to close. The surprisingly foresighted management decided to save a percentage of jobs, (out of thousands) take advantage of the area's other natural resource, hot springs, and build a Hawaiian Center in Iwaki-shi, complete with hula girls. And this incredibly gutsy project it saves the town of Iwaki-shi, at least. I am not making this up, this really happened. In the film the project succeeds because 18 coal miners' daughters learn to hula dance and smile through their tears. Also, some of the miners get over their coal miner rage and pitch in to help get the Hawaiian Center up an running. The interview with Mr. Yukio Sakamoto, director and general manager of the Joban Kosan Co., Ltd. Planning Division. Mr. Sakamoto, whose family has worked for the Joban Mine for three generations and he makes it sound like, after a little initial confusion, everyone pulled together. For dramatic purposes, there is a lot of conflict in "Hula Girls": labor vs. management conflict, mother vs. daughter conflict, teacher vs. student conflict, good looking city woman vs. hunky coal miner man conflict. Und zo on. [more]
Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:47 PM PST [Link]
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Prince Charming, vol 1
Art and Story by Akemi Takaido
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
Review by Cat
What is love? High school teacher Asahina doesn't know nor care. Womanising, boozing, chain smoking, and playing truant on his own classes are the fuel of his life. But soon all that ceases to matter when one of his students, Yuasa, appears with a candid snapshot of an amateur sex video, supposedly filmed at a love hotel where Asahina and an anonymous woman had sex.
Asahina isn't happy. Even more so when he realises that while Yuasa seems to know where to find the discriminating video and is willing to help him to get it, he clearly wants to get in Asashina's trousers. It's bad enough that the school already isn't happy with Asahina, these photos will kill off his already shaky career and reputation. In spite of his cool misgivings, he accepts Yuasa's help. Mainly to see how will it go down.
Only if he had known what was to come... [more]
Posted by Catya W @ 07:40 PM PST [Link]
Sunday, December 9, 2007
The Last Days of Krypton
By Kevin J. Anderson
Published by Harper Entertainment
Review by Logan
I'll just cut to the chase: I struggled with this book. When I saw that noted sci-fi spin-off author Kevin J. Anderson had written a prequel to Superman's story, I rushed right out and bought a copy. As I started reading the novel, my excitement faded.
To be fair, I didn't hate the book. But, it was incredibly slow to get into. The key difficulty I had was with the narrative style. Anderson does a lot more telling than showing; he narrates instead of using interesting dialogue to give us glimpses into the characters' psyches. As a result, the characters are flat, seemingly stuck in a Phantom Zone of character development - never quite able attain a rich three dimensional quality. [more]
Posted by Logan @ 03:52 PM PST [Link]
Heroes, Volume One
By Various authors and artists
Published by Wildstorm
Review by Logan
I watched Heroes religiously last year. Unfortunately now that Heroes isn't on iTunes, I haven't kept up with the this season's episodes. The only reason for this is that watching episodes on NBC.com is a horrible experience.
Imagine my delight, then, in being able to dive into the world of Heroes in a completely different way. DC Comics recently released it's first print collection of the web comics. Because I had never followed the web comics, I was looking forward to reading these new Heroes stories. I tried reading the first web comic online, but just didn't find the online experience to be satisfying. There's something altogether different and satisfying about reading them in a printed book, though!
The trade is a nice hard-bound book with stunning artwork on the jacket. All of the first season characters are depicted in a beautiful collage. The only unfortunate artistic renderings are Claire (Hayden Panetierre) and Peter (Milo Ventimiglia). Peter looks fat and Claire casts an out-of-character ominous look. [more]
Posted by Logan @ 03:02 PM PST [Link]
Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 1
By Hideyuki Kikuchi
Adapted and Illustrated by Saiko Takaki
Digital Manga Publishing
Review by Tom Good
In the year 12,090 A.D., many people ride horses and dress like cowboys. But some high technology still exists, leading to great lines like "Directions are being transmitted to your horse's navigational system." Vampires also roam the land, carrying out a wide range of humanitarian aid projects . . . well not really, this is a typical vampire story so you can imagine the plot. The odd details keep it from being too predictable, and the hero's goth / cowboy / Road-Warrior style makes a good hook. [more]
Posted by Tom Good @ 01:31 PM PST [Link]
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