Japanese reading report

Another very busy week. If not for my audiobooks I probably would have broken my 900+ day immersion streak. Fortunately, thanks to the long weekend and a new series that has hooked me, I read six volumes of manga between yesterday and today, so once again it all came together in the end.

First up: ブレイクブレイド vol. 1. Got this for free a while ago and decided to give it a shot. I’m not totally blown away yet but I am curious about some of the setup, which is pretty unconventional — namely, the core group consists of one underdog shounen boy and his two childhood friends, but they’ve already gotten married before the events of the series and there’s no apparent tension about this from the main character; they all get along and seem to be good friends still. It’s a small thing but it made me realize how uncommon it is to see relationships like this. Other than that it’s kind of a normal fantasy mecha series so far. Will probably read more and see what happens.

In よつばと! vol. 7, yotsuba and the gang go to a farm and they all bully やんだ. There was more but that was the best part.

I read それでも歩は寄せてくる vol. 8 (aloud again), and I think I can tentatively call my monotone reading experiment a success. I kept noticing myself pronouncing certain phrases with the right pitch without even meaning to (mostly stuff like 違うって or っていゆーか), and I think what’s happening is essentially the “monotone” part loosens me up and gets me talking, and then the rest comes naturally as I come across things I’m familiar with. In terms of the actual story not a lot to say, it’s still anime recap and just a good time generally.

My last three volumes of the week (all today) were 圧勝 vol. 1-3. I’ve already started vol. 4, but won’t be finishing it tonight probably. This series started off pretty unspecial but it hooked me pretty good partway through the first volume and I haven’t put it down since. Very basic overview: the loser nerd main character moves in next door to the hottest girl on campus, and it turns out she’s a gamer too! Awesome! …and then it starts to get weird. I don’t really know how I can possibly summarize it here but it’s an absolutely wild ride. Half the characters are manipulating the other half, and the way they all think of each other (wrongly or otherwise) seems very layered and nuanced. Is this person a yandere or is this one just delusional? Sure, that guy might be running a cult but technically his story would explain a lot… I’m quite enjoying it and am planning on prioritizing it for a little while.

I did stay mostly on track with 探偵はもう、死んでいる, though only due to a technicality; I bumped the deadline up one week in order to give me a bit more room to breathe. The writing style continues to be enjoyable. I learned たるや, which completely broke my ability to parse the language for a few minutes when I encountered it.

Audiobooks: First up was a very short story called ぼくは明日、きみと恋する (0:47, high focus). It’s available for free online and I want to recommend it, so I won’t say anything else about it except that it made me cry and it’s surprisingly positive considering the subject matter. You can read it here.

The rest of the week was 裏世界ピクニック vol. 1-3 (20:11 combined, mostly high focus). This series is delightful and I’m already planning to read the novels when I get a chance. The characters are really fun and have great chemistry, the premise is creative and evocative, and in particular, the audiobook is really high production value, with the occasional special effect to bring a scene to the next level. I’ll write more when I get around to reading it properly but I’ve been enjoying this a lot.

Finally, quick anime summary: 11 episodes; caught up on Spy Family, Mob, Blue Lock, and うる星やつら. Started watching ロマンチックキラー and it’s probably the best-executed show this season. The animation is so vibrant and full of character. I read maybe half of vol. 1 a while back and thought it was fun but this is an incredible adaptation so far (one episode in); highly recommended.

Oh, one more thing (very much a bonus; only accounted for maybe 15 minutes of my morning today). My friend こむぎさん from twitter, whom I’ve done several manga translations for, frequently shows up in Twitter spaces and I’ve always been too shy to try joining. Well, today I decided to go ahead and give it a try, and I wish I’d done it sooner. I didn’t get offered the chance to speak (thankfully), but when she noticed me in the space she also said some nice things about me and the work I’ve done for her, which felt pretty nice haha. The rest of the time was just spent listening to her talking to her friend about a recent camping trip (slipping into 奈良弁 from time to time). It’s always nice to be able to fully follow along with real unscripted speech. All told a very nice time. I’ll be looking for other opportunities to do it again.