Japanese reading report

My conception of time is way off somehow. I was about to say this week had been really bad, but apparently I read over 120 pages of 本好き 2.3 since my last report so…I guess I scraped by. The latter half of this book introduced a new character who’s more insufferable than anyone who’s come before. So far マイン has a pretty good track record with turning people around, but I don’t know about this guy. I can’t tell what his purpose is going to be and he’s not very fun to read. Oh well. Planning to keep trucking with the series so maybe he’ll get better soon. As usual, this was also an audiobook readalong (10:13, full focus).

I don’t usually mention partially-complete manga volumes but I’ll make an exception in this case. I read almost all of Gantz vol. 12 before leaving my ereader in my mom’s car when she came to visit. I’ll be able to get it back in a couple of days but I was bummed out to have it interrupted. The new cast is fun and the main guy seems to have finally had a bit of actual character growth; taking initiative, showing courage, and showing real care for his girlfriend for the first time since he was dared to start going out with her. Good stuff.

I only watched one episode of Naruto (86). Started a new audiobook about aquariums. Read a bit of some other manga here and there but I’ll cover them in full next week.

Japanese reading report

Another pretty packed week of anime. I finished Mashle (ep. 12) and it was okay. Might watch the next season if I don’t have anything better to do. I also watched ep. 56-85 of Naruto and it was a lot of fun. Some of the later episodes at the end of the 我愛羅 arc dragged on a bit but overall I thought it was great. The emotional core of the last part was solid and I think his character was developed really well. Watched a bit more into the next arc as well and it seems to be getting pretty intense.

I read about 80 pages in 本好き 2.3. Fallout from the upset at the end of the last volume has マイン being escorted by a personal guard and the ink industry is out to get her too. It feels a bit directionless at the moment but hopefully it picks up once I pass the halfway point. Planning to finish this one off early this coming week.

Three volumes of manga; Gantz 10 and 11, and 無能なナナ vol. 11 (!). Gantz abruptly shifted gears to introduce a couple of other characters out of nowhere but they’re being incorporated into the story now and I’m guessing they’ll probably join the regular lineup. Each one has something that makes them feel like they’d make things…interesting… if forced to work together so hopefully it turns out the way I’m expecting.

無能なナナ never misses. This volume was great. A really poignant backstory at the beginning; a nice self-contained mystery with good characters in the middle; a huge reveal at the end. Next volume confirmed for spring 2024…泣くしかあるまい

Played a bit more Zelda…had I finished the Zora temple last week? I guess not. I have now!

Japanese reading report

I watched a lot of Naruto this week. 39 episodes spread across four workdays. I’m really enjoying it now. 桜’s inner voice (しゃーんなろ!) is great and her “イメチェン” moment felt like a really good character beat. The one-on-one training arc had a lot of fun moments (I laughed out during a fight with 影真似の術­) and the matches with 日向 and リー were both very hype. The current arc with 自来也 (I knew what his name would be right away) is a bit irritating with all the pervert hijinks but it also seems to be getting pretty serious.

I only read one (full) volume of manga this week; Gantz vol. 9. Our boy keeps on being the worst guy ever to live and yet he somehow gets all the ladies.

Played quite a bit more Zelda. I’ve lit up the whole map at this point and I’m partway through my first temple. I’ve been reading the dialogues aloud which makes things more fun and feels like good practice.

Finally, read about 50 pages of 本好き 2.3. I fell a bit behind schedule on this one but I expect to finish it well ahead of schedule in the end so I’m not too worried. It seems like movable type might be in the near future! マイン has been approached by an acquaintance who’s been told “his metalwork is too fine to be useful” and I can only imagine she’s going to put his particular skills to use. There might also be trouble brewing among the ink 工房 over new advances in ink production.

Japanese reading report

This week was fairly heavily focused on anime, and I decided to bite the bullet and increase my goal from 365 episodes this year (which I was well ahead of schedule on) to 730 (which I’m now just a bit behind on). I watched ep. 11 of Mashle, all 11 episodes of ダンス・ダンス・ダンスール, and the first 13 episodes (1/50th!) of Naruto.

Naruto definitely feels like a show from the 90s, which is interesting considering that it started in 2002. The first few episodes felt like a straight gag format but it took a more serious turn pretty early. Not sure how I feel about it yet but at least it’s very easy to understand. ダンス・ダンス・ダンスール was excellent and I wish I hadn’t put it off for so long. Really good characterizations and some beautiful animation at times. I particularly liked the part where the main guy improvs a ballet routine and is essentially told “you have talent, so go do some other kind of dancing because ballet doesn’t want your creativity” and then takes that opportunity to get serious rather than bucking the system and trying to do it his own way.

I read the last 114 pages of 本好き 2.2 and it was pretty nice. The first epilogue had a really sweet moment which made it very clear how much マイン has grown since the start of the series. This was a readalong as well (12:18). I started on the next book but haven’t really “read” any yet (the first day’s pages were accounted for just by the table of contents etc.

More Zelda, doing a bunch of quests and taking pictures of things (and reading their descriptions) now that I have the camera.

Finally, my one manga this week was Flying Witch 12. Honestly this whole volume was a drag. There were some moments that had me laughing but it took forever to read just because I wasn’t very motivated.

Japanese reading report

Another pretty balanced week. Got some anime, some manga, and some novel/audiobook.

Manga: 僕のヒーローアカデミア vol. 38. I simultaneously felt like it was all over the place and getting too busy, and that it was doing a good job of bringing in characters from all across the series to get their time to shine in the final battle. Plotwise it didn’t feel like much happened here. I think the entire volume covers about 15 minutes of elapsed time. Still fun and had a fair number of “hell yeah” moments.

Also 光が死んだ夏 vol. 3. Fun to see best girl 朝子 on the cover and taking a central role all of a sudden. I do feel like this volume lacked a bit of the tension that I like about the series but it’s still quite good.

I watched anime during work most days this week and ended up with a total of 24 episodes. Finished My Home Hero (pretty good ending, interested to read more) and この爆 (actually kind of a weak final episode imo but still funny). Finally wrapped up Trigun Stampede and thought it felt kind of flat; not bad I guess but it didn’t live up to the hype for me. Also watched all of 魔法使いの嫁 S2 (some good moments but not nearly as good as the first season) and the first ten episodes of of Mashle (funny overall but I can’t tell why it’s such a phenomenon every time a new volume launches.

Only had two good reading days on 本好き 2.2 but it’s going alright. Gonna try and finish it this coming week. The part I thought was most interesting was just that マイン tries to turn Cinderella into a book and everyone thinks it’s a dumb story that would never work in real life. Just kind of funny to think that a fantasy story would be less realistic when it’s being told in a fantasy setting.

Also more Zelda but not much of note.

Japanese reading report

This week ended up being pretty cleanly segregated into three media “eras”. The first few days of the week were all anime, then all manga, then the last were spent entirely on reading my next novel.

For anime: I finished ノラガミ ARAGOTO (ep. 4-13) which I’d forgotten about a few months ago. The first season was only okay for me but I liked the end of this one a lot. Cool character developments and a really good redemption/twist that turned a very cool antagonist into an ally in a believable way. Also watched the latest two episodes of この爆 and the latest My Home Hero — I’m not sure if the last moment of the episode was a fakeout but if not it’s a pretty bold move. Either way looking forward to what comes next.

For manga I read vol. 2, 3, and 4 of 新しいきみへ and enjoyed them even more than the (very good) first volume. I wasn’t sure if this one was still running and I was pleased to find out that it is. Vol. 3 has a paradigm shift that feels somewhat obvious in retrospect but struck me by surprise and I’m very curious to see where things go from here.

I thought it might be fun to blast through a novel in a day or two and ultimately ran out of stamina about halfway through, but it was still a pretty good attack. 191 pages of 本好きの下剋上 vol. 2.2, which puts me just over halfway through the book. I’ll probably be finishing the rest at a more leisurely pace over a week or two. Myne is due to become an older sister and decides to make a picture book (based on the holy scriptures of course) to instill a love of reading in her new sibling, new developments in the italian restaurant and library classification system, and apparently it’s time for a disruption in the gallnut ink market.

Japanese reading report

This week I mostly read Gantz. It is, without a doubt, the most transparently “intended for young boys” series I’ve ever read. It’s kind of funny looking at reviews/reactions on bookmeter as I mark each volume off — people will say stuff like “系 is so cool” while I’m over here thinking “this guy is such a child”. I have to believe the author is fully aware of how uncool he actually is and is planning for him to have a big character growth moment down the line. All that said, it is still a lot of fun. I got through vol. 3-8 without really trying and will probably have to buy more soon.

Played a bit more Zelda, progressed the main quest a little (I never went back to the camp after unlocking towers, so I totally missed a bunch of stuff) but not too much to report.

Finished the おさまけ vol. 3 audiobook (7:39, medium focus) and just like the last one it was kind of bad. Just typical “guy surrounded by a bunch of girls” stuff and not in an interesting way. Once again it’s just serving as a way to get consistent easy audio immersion.

Seasonal anime: My home hero (ep. 10), この爆 (ep. 9), スキップとローファー (ep. 6), plus Trigun Stampede (ep. 8-10). I hope the next episode of My home hero pulls something pretty good because I felt like 恭一 taking the fall would have been a great point of drama. Trigun is still sort of lukewarm for me. I did like the Vash backstory arc but the current trajectory makes me feel like I’ll be let down by the eventual resolution.

Japanese reading report

This week I had planned to do something fun and that immediately made me think of manga. I considered doing another big bet (14 volumes or something) but I’m glad I didn’t because I ended up finding my fun with two other things instead. It ended up being a pretty good week, even if some of my goals are still falling behind.

First up, I watched two more episodes of この爆 and then binged the entirety of My Home Hero (ep. 1-9, which is all that’s out so far). I really like this series. The very beginning was a bit underwhelming but it’s been consistently good for a while now. Despite 哲雄 being ostensibly the main character, I’d say 歌仙 deserves nearly equal billing. I love the way they complement each other; it feels like they’re actually two different people with different thought processes, strengths and weaknesses, rather than two characters written by the same author. Very impressed and if the anime doesn’t cover the whole series I’ll probably read it after it ends.

I read メガネ、時々、ヤンキーくん vol. 2 and I honestly don’t think I’ll be continuing it after all. I had kind of an interesting realization about why the main boy just rubs me the wrong way; he’s clearly designed to appeal to a female audience, but it’s done in a way that doesn’t feel authentic to me as a guy myself. I talked to my sister and she said a corollary for her would be 中野三玖 (五等分の花嫁). If nothing else it prompted an interesting conversation.

I finished listening to 幼なじみが絶対に負けないラブコメ vol. 2 (8:45, medium focus) and don’t really have anything to say about it.

Most of the week was Zelda. Still haven’t done much of the main story but I’ve been exploring a lot, reading all the item descriptions and talking to any NPCs I find.

Finally, I was sick on Saturday and didn’t want to stress myself too much. I’d heard Gantz was pretty easy so I decided to read it and yeah, it is. I blew through two volumes pretty quickly. It’s pretty weird but I’m enjoying it. The main kid is probably the most unlikable manga guy ever but the Plot is pretty good.

Japanese reading report

I felt pretty unmotivated this week and ended up kind of just scraping by most days. I’ve been thinking about reconsidering my goals for the year so I can refocus onto only things I’m interested in. Haven’t made a decision yet but it’s definitely on my mind.

At the end of my previous report I said I’d be finishing 呪術廻戦 19 that same night, but I ended up passing out pretty soon after (jetlag hit me pretty hard this time). Not a lot else to say since I was so close to the end anyway but just wanted to correct the record.

Other manga for this week were 見える子ちゃん vol. 9, which went by in no time at all like normal. The current arc made me go hmmm and I think I need to revisit vol. 8 (it’s been so long since it came out) to see if a particular theory might have legs.

My sister twisted my arm into reading メガネ、時々、ヤンキーくん (vol. 1 and part of 2) and it’s fine. She loves delinquent boys and the series is clearly for girls who love delinquent boys. It’s a pretty short series but it’s apparently been recently picked up by a new magazine and resurrected, which is what put it on our radar when we were in Japan. I’m definitely not the target audience but it’s still pretty good and it’s easy to read. Had a crisis moment when I realized I’d been reading 口外す[る] as くちはずす for quite some time and never noticed my mistake until it showed up with furigana here. Will likely try to catch up to it soon if only to have some leverage to get my sister to read something I recommend her.

I listened to one audiobook this week; 幼なじみが絶対に負けないラブコメ vol. 1 (7:55, medium focus). It’s somewhat entertaining and feels very self-aware but also kind of annoying. The whole gimmick is that seemingly every character is the victim of unrequited love in some way and they’re all secretly scheming to get back at each other. It’s pretty easy to listen to so I’ve started the next volume but honestly only out of lack of inspiration of what to read next. All that to say I’m desperately in need of good LNs to listen to so if you have ideas please let me know.

Played a little of Zelda but not as much as I’d planned to. Yappari it’s really hard for videogames to hold my attention. I did also manage to get back to FFX this week, putting in about two hours in one session and getting to the end of the ice crystal forest area. Saw some Jekt backstory and found out about the kanji for 魁(さきがけ).

Oh yeah I also watched some anime I guess. Skip and Loafer x1 (best show this season), 鬼滅の刃 x1, ロマンティック・キラー x3 (finished), この爆 x2 (second best show this season), 推しの子 x2.

When I type it all out it does look like I did a decent amount this week but I’ve really been feeling pretty down about my reading pace lately. Hopefully next week is easier.

Japanese reading report

Kicked off the week with three volumes of manga during the plane ride home from Japan. First: She Is Beautiful vol. 1, which I enjoyed a lot. I can’t remember what put it on my radar originally but it’s a pretty interesting suspense-type story and I was immediately regretful that I didn’t have another volume to read once I finished. I will say I feel like the story subject matter is essentially impossible to adapt in a holistic way but it is what it is.

Next: 新しいきみへ vol. 1 — another one I wished I could continue immediately. It might be a yandere story, jury’s still out. The characters are written well and there’s a lot of very good tension, plus the surprise introduction of some kind of deadly virus whose involvement is still a mystery at the moment. Reading more soon.

Last up for manga, 呪術廻戦 vol. 18 and most of 19 (finishing it up tonight). 日車 is a great character and I hope we see more of him.

I spent the rest of the week playing the new Zelda. I never played Breath of the Wild but I think it’s pretty interesting that you don’t even play Zelda in this one, you play her friend Rink. There’s a lot of pure gameplay moments which don’t have a lot of writing but to account for that I’m making sure to read every item description instead of just navigating by visuals and whatnot. Coming across a fair amount of fun character speech styles; the weapon guy calling himself あっし, and of course the old-timey stuff (volitional ん!) in the shrines etc. Having a pretty good time.