Another kind of lopsided week for me, what with travelling for Christmas and everything.
I read a little over half of 鬼滅の刃 vol. 9 while I was on the go. I really hope they keep on adapting the series after the infinity train movie, because this arc would be amazing to see animated. I’ll probably finish up this volume next week.
The last few days (ever since I got home) have been practically nonstop P5R. I’m moving soon and my PS4 will probably be in storage for a little while, so I want to get through as much as I can. At the time of writing I’ve just finished the second chapter. There’s been an uptick in the amount of new content recently; we just unlocked a new area to explore, plus a few scenes with Kasumi and now (as I write this) I’m on a date with Caroline and Justine to teach them about Big Bang Burger. Still picking up a lot of good vocabulary and finding some nice grammar (my most recent acquisition is だの from N1), and I’ve also run across some kanji that I’ve only seen rarely (off the top of my head, 呑む and 顎 were two I saw just recently, along with the ever-so-distressing 押忍, which I’ve now seen in two Persona games).
This week I was on vacation so I had to take a break from Persona 5. Fortunately I had a ton of time to read manga.
First up was 愚者の星 vol. 1, a sci-fi action series that I picked up for no other reason than it had just come out. I thought it would be fun to be an early adopter and try out a brand new series with no English presence (indeed, even though the author has had work translated before, I can’t find anything about this new series at all). I guess I might pick up the next volume in four months, but I wasn’t honestly too impressed — the pacing felt really rushed and the MC is super uninteresting (as opposed to a secondary character who gets killed off for motivation in the first chapter). It’s also kind of obnoxious in how it uses a lot of made-up katakana terminology and sometimes adds furigana to entire phrases to signify some kind of “ancient language”. So would I recommend it… probably not? The art is good and I learned a bunch of new words I guess, one of which (膠着状態) showed up in the next book I read too —
鬼滅の刃 vol. 7 and 8 comprise the Infinity Train arc, which is set to be adapted as a movie as a followup to the first season of the show. This arc was super great and I hope it gets distributed in the west. I love the way it takes advantage of established character traits to set up foreshadowing, as well as elegantly avoiding the problem of hamfistedly jamming in a flashback for a new character before something happens to them. This arc also includes カナヲ’s backstory, which was shuffled back for the anime — I noticed that the coin she flips to decide what to do is a 銅貨 (どうか) which I feel sure must be a pun.
A lot of the reading this week was really smooth and just happened to have a fair amount of word reinforcement. Three volumes in one week isn’t a new record but it feels good.
This week I had a long flight with plenty of time for reading — followed by a few days where I barely had enough time to clear my Anki cards (vacation is suffering). Fortunately I was able to frontload my immersion to a large extent so I still have a decent amount to report on.
First off, I read all of Komi-san vol. 10. It seemed like the whole volume focused on this new character Rumiko, who’s pretty interesting — she uses a ton of ギャル slang and for all intents and purposes might be a totally different language. Whenever it introduces a new word you get a translation of it (into plain Japanese). I’m both relieved and disappointed that it’s tapered off as her character has developed. Aside from that, the reading is still pretty smooth.
The other manga I read this week was vol. 12 of ５等分の花嫁. This is still probably the most difficult series I read just in terms of vocabulary — there were a few points where I didn’t understand anything until I looked up some words. I’ve reached a point where I feel like the benefit of skipping over stuff is starting to decline, so I’ve been allowing myself to use the dictionary more often.
Finally I continued my replay of Persona Q2. I’m continuing to run across grammar that I know for sure I hadn’t studied when I played it a year ago, and a lot of the reading is coming much more easily than before as well. Feels good to see that noticeable improvement and I wonder if I should start casually re-reading some of the manga I read when I was first starting out (and skipping stuff).
This week I finished 鬼滅の刃 vol. 6. I think I’ve got about one more chapter until I catch up with the anime. Found some neat new kanji (痙攣 is a notable word with two unusual kanji I’ve never seen before) and some very formal/archaic speech which is always fun to read.
I know I said I wasn’t planning to move on to more manga this week, but I did read a few more chapters of 甘々と稲妻, finishing off vol 6. Incidentally, the reason I’ve been reading this series more slowly is because it’s kind of formulaic, but lately the recipes have been taking up less of each chapter and they’ve been focusing more on character development and plot.
Persona 5: Royal continues, with today being the last day I’ll be able to play it for a little while (I’ll be out of town until the 20th, so it’s back to manga for the next week). I’ve reached the end of Madarame’s palace with just the boss fight remaining, started my social link with Yoshida, and progressed with Ryuji, Maruki, and Takemi. Once again, the wide variety of characters is great for broadening my horizons; I can learn medical vocab, proverbs, and political language in the space of one play session, not to mention getting exposure to all the different registers they speak in.
This week I finished vol. 5 of 鬼滅の刃 and got a little over halfway through vol. 6. I’m so close to being caught up with the end of the anime and I’m excited to be in uncharted waters. Continuing to come across words/kanji I’ve learned recently on WaniKani (so close to being done!).
I also read another chapter of 甘々と稲妻. Going chapter-by-chapter feels like a good pace for this series since it’s pretty formulaic, so reading an entire volume can be a bit fatiguing. Just like last time, I didn’t have to look up any words, though admittedly this chapter was pretty simple (and didn’t even have a proper recipe, FeelsBad).
My trek through Persona 5: Royal continues. I’ve made it to Mission Start in the 斑目 chapter (the actual start, after Yusuke awakens his Persona). Yusuke was a fun character to try to read when I was playing PQ2, since he speaks in a very literary way and will often drop proverbs into his normal speech. This past week has uncovered a lot of N1 level grammar that I’ve started turning into Anki sentence cards.
Speaking of Persona Q2, I’ve actually started replaying it — I’ve been on the road a lot lately and will be away from home for a while starting next week, so it gave me an excuse to revisit it and see how I’ve improved. When I first started playing it (almost exactly a year ago) I was way out of my depth, but the first few hours of my replay have been very smooth and enjoyable.