Japanese reading report

This week I was on a fanily trip for three days and fully expected to fall behind my goals for the week, but as “luck” would have it my sleeping arrangements left me with no choice but to try and read myself into exhaustion. Ended up with nine volumes of manga, more of my novel than necessary, and a bunch of audiobooks.

東京卍リベンジャーズ vol. 29 came out and I read this one in about half an hour just like the last. Aside from a pretty big reveal partway through it was pretty much just hype fight scene moments like the last volume. I’m guessing the next volume will finish out this arc.

The majority of my manga for this week was 火葬場のない町に鐘が鳴る時 (vol. 8-14, finishing the series). Rather conflicted about how I feel about this one. I guess a lot of my thoughts can be summed up by saying it feels amateurish in a lot of ways. Despite enjoying it enough to finish out the series I really can’t recommend anyone else read it. I do want to unpack it a bit but it ended up taking up so much space that I moved it to a post of its own. TL;DR: has its moments but is very much not recommended and the only reason I finished it is because it had that certain “something” that had me hungry for more. Full thoughts here.

Incidentally, my last manga of the week was also vol. 14 of a horror series that somehow kept me reading despite initial misgivings, 鬼獄の夜. The difference in this case is that it actually got genuinely good at the end. I didn’t realize until I got it that this was going to be the final volume, which is kind of a bummer. The last two volumes each came out a month apart and I was excited to be following a series that came out so rapidly. Oh well. Originally I had planned to stop at vol. 10 because I didn’t see how it could keep going, but I’m glad I stuck it out to the end. This final backstory arc fit nicely into the main story, answered some questions about the nature of 鬼 in general, and filled in some gaps that I had previously dismissed as “it’s a horror series, don’t worry about it”. This last volume also had a bunch of fancy language like 降りとう御座います and あるべかりなむ.

Not much anime this week, just two episodes of ハイキュー season 4 and one of よふかしのうた.

I got ahead of schedule with おるすばん妹 because I had plenty of time to read in the car and also it’s gotten to the part of the book with the really good emotional core. The distinction between 花楓 and かえで is one of my favorite aspects of the story and I really like how this book doesn’t try to pull any “it’s actually just like that famous thought experiment” shenanigans like with previous entries.

Lastly, I spent the whole week listening to audiobooks, literally wearing my headphones every waking moment and just pressing play when I had some dead air. I wasn’t sure how to log these at first because sometimes I’m barely registering the audio and other times I’m totally keyed-in, but I figured I’d just take each one as it comes.

First up was vol. 1 of a fantasy series called Unnamed Memory(11:40). I randomly heard about this recently and noticed it had an audiobook so I decided to give it a try. The basic premise is that the main guy has been cursed such that any woman he marries will die, and in order to break the curse he’s enlisted the help of a certain witch. This one was pretty low-focus and as such there was a lot about it that I didn’t track. The actual language itself wasn’t difficult per se, I just found myself thinking “hold on, who is this again?” or “why are they here already?”. What I do remember is that the two main characters have great chemistry and the writing is really fun. I bought the first two volumes and will probably re-listen to vol. 1 while reading along. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like there will be an audiobook for vol. 2, which is a real shame since it was quite an impressive production. I especially appreciated the that there was both a male and female narrator to handle characters of each gender.

The same day I also listened to all of このすば vol. 1 (about 6:00) and vol. 2 (about 7:00). My focus was a lot higher for these and I bet my familiarity with the anime helped out too, though it’s been a while and there was a lot that I didn’t have any memory of at all. I’m probably going to get through a bunch of these in pretty short order. I had previously been under the impression that the animation was a major selling point but honestly I think this series is just good. I’m laughing constantly and the narrators (Aqua and Megumin’s actresses for each of the main books so far, plus Kazuma for the bonus chapters) do such a great job capturing the rhythm and energy of the dialogue.