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Thursday, October 21, 2004
The Problem with Shakespeare 
Seen at Daphne's
In Malaysia, when you attend a production of a play by WS, you are exposed to a lot of snobbish people with fake English accents - so, so off-putting. No attempt is made by the "arty", theatre crowd to make the plays accessible to the masses. They are determined to be the only ones who appreciate Shakespeare's work so that they can feel special, important and superior. Makes me mad!
More here!

graceshu  # 7:05 PM


Wednesday, October 20, 2004
xxxHolic From Clamp 
xxxHolic is a manga comic from Clamp, a famous team of four women who create manga.

It concerns a young man, Kimihiro Watanuki, who can see spirits because of some abilities he inherited from his family. He wants to get rid of this ability to see and attract these spirits, and by a twist of fate ends up getting drawn into Yuko Ichihara's shop, where she offers to cure him in return for something of great value. Now Watanuki is working for Ichihara to pay off his debt, and watches as she cures different spiritual ailments for others.

The art in this manga is very typical to the Clamp and manga movement in general, where everyone is sleek and lanky, the men are effeminate, the women are seductive and flowery looking and the children are drawn to look adorable and certain cover pages has them standing together in provocative looking poses that I can only imagine will appeal to the paedophiles. The backgrounds and objects aren't as detailed as mangas tend to be, but makes good use of the black and white format, dramatising most of the panels and giving it an elegance.

The most interesting character here so far is Ichihara, as she seems very psychic and well versed in the occult arts. She also likes to throw strange questions at Watanuki, make him do weird things that only make sense later, and seldom explains anything (though when she does, rest assured it won't be the complete answer). Infuriating and wily, brash and intelligent, powerful and mysterious, she basically embodies the personality-filled characters you tend to find in manga comics.

The story is somewhat cliched, revolving around questions of fate, occultry, philosophy and spirituality, with a fair bit of slapstick humour for some laughs. Fans of Clamp manga will find the comic very interesting as it featues cameos from other Clamp comic characters.

From the first book alone, Rikuo and Kazahaya from "Gohou Drug" (Legal Drug to the rest of us non-Japanese speaking folks) make an appearance, and so does Sakura of "CardCaptor Sakura" (Watanuki even finds a plastic replica of Sakura's sceptre in Ichihara's house).

I found it a somewhat predictable yet entertaining read, with a storyline typical of manga comics yet followed through with other interesting sub-plots and art well enough to overlook that. Last I heard, an anime movie is in the works for this comic, and I'll probably check it out when it's done because this comic has a lot of potential.

Available at RM 8.90, in English, reads from right to left.
Lainie from http://tabulas.com/~Lainie is a woman after my own heart. She reads non-acdemic books like comics, etc. when supposed to be studying! Ahhh. We should get married, or something. (jk.)

graceshu  # 5:33 PM


Monday, October 18, 2004
Going Postal, Terry Pratchett 
From Bujang Lapuk Abroad,

"Going Postal", which I've just finished reading, is Terry Pratchett's latest Discworld gem. As with many of his previous instalments in the series, "Going Postal" co-opts, satirises and lampoons other fantasy tales and real-life shenanigans. For those unfamiliar with these books, the Discworld is an enchanted world carried through space on the backs of four elephants standing on the shell of a giant title. Often chaotic and comical, this is a magical land inhabited by humans, vampires, werewolves, dragons, Gods, dwarves, trolls and much more. Ideally, one would have read the rest of the series prior to picking up "Going Postal", as recognising characters and places from previous episodes is a tonne of fun in itself. Nonetheless, this delightful and entertaining book is entirely capable of standing on its own.More here

graceshu  # 6:03 PM