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Reborn! Volume 17: The Power of the Rings by Akira Amano

Reborn is one of my favourite mangas that I cherish very dearly. I love Reborn so much that despite costing a fortune in my country, I bought the English translations by VIZ because of the quality of it. But you know what makes me tick? The fact that they stop halfway. I don’t get American manga companies. Reborn is not the only one to be treated like that. Future Diary got the same treatment when there was only two more volumes to complete the series. What gives?

To me, manga companies in the States should take responsibility for the manga they translate. By not releasing more translated, licensed manga that has had a huge following, they would only be promoting piracy. Ain’t nothing could better describe the consequences of chickening out of translating a manga.

But moving on, I decided to start reviewing Reborn from Volume 17 because this is one volume after the Future Arc, one of the longest arcs in Reborn, started. The Future Arc started in Volume 16 which I will review later. The Future Arc started right after defeating Xansus in Volume 16. In Volume 17, Tsuna and the gang are discovering the chilling secrets of this era ten years in the future. Another reason is that this is the start when VIZ chickened out of translating the manga. Without giving reason, they just put it in hiatus. Its been two years and not another volume has been translated.

Moving on, after coming to the future, Tsuna and friends receive an SOS from Hibari’s Hibird. But as soon as that happen, Haru reports that Kyoko is missing. What the hell? So what will Tsuna do? Luckily, he has quite a big family so he divides into two teams. One will respond to Hibird and another will look for Kyoko. Thing is, people still need to hold the fort so in the end, two respond to Hibird and two more search for Kyoko, which is pretty thin considering there are swarms of Volgola-thirsty Milliofiore Family member all over Namimori.

Gokudera and Yamamoto, their weak and young version go to Hibird in a place crawling with bad guys and have been alerted that one of the strong bosses of Millifiore, Gamma will be there and Tsuna and Lal Mirch search for Kyoko in a city where there are less people. Why this weird decision? Because Tsuna is injured and can’t fight. To me, won’t it be better if Lal Mirch respond to Hibird? She’s powerful. If they get in a fight, which they will, Lal Mirch is more experienced than young Gokudera and Yamamoto.

In the end, to me, this volume is all about Gamma. This volume introduces Gamma, an A-level captain of a Black Spell squad who is now in Japan with Irie Shoichi who’s motives is still a mystery. Gamma is a lighning user, which puts him in the same attribute as baby Lambo who is present in this era. Be assured that we won’t see those two rumble unless Lambo calls his other self from another 10 years in the future. We seen that once, right? During that fight with Lancia. But thing is, Gamma is stronger than Lancia.

But now that I mention it, if boxes are so important this future, why didn’t adult Lambo used boxes? Shouldn’t it be common sense to use them or did Xansus should’ve been the leader? It’s paradox, no? Tsuna changed history by becoming the new boss and by changing it, created the boxes. Wow, this is so weird. I’m gonna stop now.

In a nutshell, this is a very interesting volume as it tells more of this era and introduces Gamma, the A-level captain who loves pool and is so good at it, he uses it as his weapon.

Castle: Season One

What is Castle: Season One about?
Castle tells the story of a writer who has found himself drawn into an investigation after a murderer uses his books as killing references. During that first episode, Richard Castle, the writer is brought into the investigation after the murderer uses his books as reference for a few murderer. After the first case is resolved, Castle, who is experiencing writers’ block at the time goes to his friend the Mayor and asks to be with the team, especially Detective Kate Beckett who Castle intends to make his muse. So begins a writer-detective relationship that will span many seasons.

What did you think of the story?
It was creative, I can tell you that. Instead of just a detective like in CSI, they make a crime writer follow her and eventually, falling in love (that is many seasons ahead). This idea of a writer in crime investigations is really intriguing since writers are known to be excellent in detail. Which is why in the series, Castle is always the one who figures out stupid scenarios that eventually lead to the murderer.

What did you think of the character?
A male writer following a female detective. A romance story and crime stories. The female despises (in a friendly way) the male character. This has great character development written all over it. The characters of Castle has some serious development to do because most traits shown in the first season is subtle traits, traits that can be exploited as the series goes on. Because of that, Castle will continue for a long time because of this potential character development.

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Worst Week

What is Worst Week TV series all about?
Well basically, its about this man named Sam Briggs who’s girlfriend, Mel Clayton was pregnant out of wedlock. They are planing to get married but there was just one obstacle: Mel’s family. Being a traditional family, the Clayton’s wouldn’t appreciate that Sam had made Mel pregnant. And it doesn’t help that Sam is extremely nervous when it’s about the Claytons which will result in accidents and disaster towards the Claytons whenever Sam is around.

Was there anything you thought was wrong with the series?
Actually, there is. The series is called Worst Week so you would expect that it happened in a week but it didn’t. It would be fine if it was in a couple of weeks but events sometimes happen on random days, not week. Totally contradicts the title but don’t judge a book by its cover. Another thing is that the accidents that happened around Sam, while is highly believable would be highly improbable. Oppose me all you can but I don’t think that someone would have that much bad luck.

Did you think Worst Week was funny?
Before watching the series, I did check whether or not it would be rewarding to watch Worst Week. Some say that it was the best of the year but some say it was a total rip-off of the British series The Worst Week of My Life. Rip-off or not, it was hilarious. I laughed the whole time because Sam was so careless and people weren’t showing signs of anger. They were mad but they sure as hell didn’t show it. Maybe that’s why I thought it was so funny, action and reaction of the characters.

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Paul

What is Paul all about?
Paul tells the story of two British comic fans who decided to attend the San Diego Comic Con in America and embark on a road trip across the States to places famous for UFO activity. Along the way, the meet Paul, a crazy and rude alien who claims to have been living on Earth since his saucer crashed in the 50’s. He also claims that he has helped humanity (one instance is that he inspired ET) and that he his being chased for his stem cell in his brain.

What did you think of the film?
At first, I thought that this film was part of The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy but it turns out, it was not. Despite having the same main actors, it was missing some major things. One of them is the Cornetto itself and the other is the fast-paces scene cuts that was present in the previous two films.

Did you think the film was funny and enjoyable?
Funny? Yes. Hilarious? No. Enjoyable? Only when you’re alone but not when there were kids around. Unbelievably, there was a lot of cussing and sexual references that watching it with my brothers became… uncomfortable. The film comes across as being children-like but then, it ruined it by all the cussing and sexual references. Perhaps if they had gone through with making this a children’s film rather than deviate to a more adult theme, they would make quite a success because I bet there would be a lot of children who would want to see Paul the alien and his craziness.

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The Woman In Black

What is The Woman In Black all about?
The Woman In Black is a story set in England around the Industrial Revolution era. Basically, there was a solicitor, Arthur Kipps played by Daniel Radcliffe who was given the responsibility of managing the assets of Alice Drablow who had died recently. He goes to this scary house on an island in the marshes called the Eel Marsh House. But what Kipps didn’t know was that Alice Drablow is a child kidnapper and she had kidnapped her own sister’s son who later on died under their care. So the sister dies of self-murder (suicide) and becomes this scary Woman In Black who kills a child whenever someone sees her for revenge.

What are your thoughts on this film?
Scary. The film was definitely scary. Sound effects are only suspenseful. The film had silent moments. That was nerve-wrecking. Plus, there was the matter of The Woman In Black. She was creepy scary. Especially when she screamed. You can’t predict when she screams so when she does, you’re usually off guard.

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Portal 2 by Valve Corporations

I am actually not someone who is fond of games. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing games, maybe as much as I love reading. What I am not fond of are games that waste my time and have ridiculous plot lines that I don’t even have fun playing. For Portal 2, it is neither time-wasting as everything is fast-paced and the plot is exquisite, especially the ending.

In Portal 2, gamers take control of Chell (her name is not even mentioned once in Portal 2), a test subject at an abandoned Aperture Science Innovators Lab. Having survived the first games after destroying GLaDOS, the ‘controller’ of the Lab, she wakes up again in a room at Aperture and after accidentally causing GLaDOS to wake up again, she must once again survive the tests and kill GLaDOS for a second time.

GLaDOS, as she appears in Portal 2

To me, what is most important in a game is the story. A good game has a good story and because of that, people keep playing. With Portal 2, I just had to keep playing. The mystery and the twists especially after Chell defeated GLaDOS was pure class. Another robot, one that helped Chell kill GLaDOS no less was the one who took over. And the mysteries surrounding the origins of GLaDOS was also something to ponder about.

I bet that some gamer just hate this game because of the puzzles. This game is not a game for people who only feel fun playing a game that kills people or monsters. This is a game of brains. A physics game no less. To beat the game, the mind must be sharp and the eyes must be minute. Every detail is important. That detail may just get you out of Aperture alive.

Old entrance of the Aperture Science Innovators

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The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø

The Redbreast

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø

It’s been a long time since I have been so affected by a novel that I’ve read. Whilst reading The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø, I have literally shouted, yelled and gasped while reading it. It was such a riveting experience that when the novel got to the good part, I knew I just had to finish it in one read. I did it in two.

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø tells the story of Inspector Harry Hole, a Norwegian police officer who finds clues to an illegal import of Marklin rifles. When investigating the rifle, he stumbles upon a secret relating to a group of Norwegian soldiers fighting for Germany on the Eastern Front. Little by little, with help of vividly portrayed flashbacks, dark secrets are revealed until the climax is reached. By then, it was actually too late as many had been killed.

This is actually the first time that I have read anything by Jo Nesbø though I am not a stranger to Norwegian crime thrillers. I have read the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson and to me, there is no comparison to that trilogy. However, The Redbreast is coming close to beating the legacy of the Millenium trilogy. It has the same equation that made Stieg Larsson’s work great: an out-of-sorts idealistic man who has peculiarities, a female assistant who will be in almost constant danger and a mysterious crime that dates back decades before the protagonist even investigates it.

The scenes that lead up to the part where I became ’emotional’ was when Harry Hole finally meets a woman who could love him after all that he has gone through but then, suddenly, that woman is forced to have sex with her boss. I almost yelled when reading that scene. Harry Hole was a poor guy from all the long descriptions by Jo Nesbø and I felt sorry for him. He is like a narcissistic and sadistic version of Inspector Jaques Clouseau. When he meets love, I felt happy for him because of how Jo Nesbø expertly conveys Hole’s feeling to readers. Then the blackmail happened and I was devastated and I also felt kinda bad because after that, when her boss was killed, I felt happy. Not normal, right? That’s exactly what Jo Nesbø makes you become.

Though there is a long, long beginning to the novel that introduces the surrounding and background in an excruciating manner of flashbacks and also foreshadowings, it is worth it to stay and read on because in the very end, all will be revealed in a way that you will feel that reading more than one hundred pages of description is worth it. To people who want to find a replacement for the late Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbø is the man you want to look for.