Category: Reviews

Being demure, and as a consequence, often awkward, Charlie has a difficult time starting freshman year. Add in the fact that he has no friends, and well, that’s really just the icing on the cake.

Sounds like a typical coming-of-age story at first glance, which, without the painfully human characters, it would be.
The book is written as a series of journal entries each addressed to a person merely¬†called “Friend.” Every few days or so, Charlie recounts his experiences in and outside of school to his journal in very explicit detail. He even expressly states that he writes lke he talks, so the style is very simple. At times this makes the reader wish for something wish for something more exciting, but I think in this way the author is quite clever; he never strays from his narrative, and it makes Charlie all the more solid a character.

Patrick and Sam, two seniors, befriend him early on in the story, but he doesn’t come to know their true colors until much later. These two characters are by far two of the most intricate in the entire novel. Patrick, while seeming to accept eveyone he meets, is in fact in love with a very superficial person. Sam does much the same.
What really makes this book magicial, though, is the fact that anyone can identify with it. We’ve all been in a low spot before, and probably will be again. Charlie is so innocent that his character becomes a magnet that the reader can attach onto and get caught up in. In a way, he’s the reader’s baby from the start; and they get to watch him grow. And that he does, because growth and acceptance are two of the central themes of the novel.

I will say now that this isn’t a book for anyone say, younger than 14, just because of the adult content. And because of the candidness, well…

If you want to see the movie adaption, please do. It was fantastically done. Perhaps even better than the book! ūüėÄ Everyone gave sincere performances, so it’s worth the look.


I remember my¬†classmate reading this when I was totally obsessed with Black Butler, and it’s nearly a year later that I’ve actually taken the initiative to read it myself, though I was actually quite intrigued by it even then. It was one of those mangas I didn’t watch the anime beforehand, just simply bought.

[This is not really related, but I’m quite sad that Borders is closing down. It was my favourite place to shop for books ūüė¶ Now I’ll just have to deal with Barnes & Noble]

I think my favourite parts about the first volume were the art style [such big eyes!], the characters, and the range of emotions they displayed.
My favourite ‘stories’ if you could call¬†them that were probably From Within the Darkness, Fallen Idol, and The Inaudible Scream. The first because the¬†antagonist was such a [for lack of a better word and my teenageness] bitch that I couldn’t help but feel sorry, but at the same time scream at the girl for not just standing up for herself or admitting¬†her mistake. Fallen Idol also had a hidden nasty in it, but I truly felt sorry for the girl this time because her friend wanted stardom so badly she had to hurt her friend to get it. They both had issues to solve, but I think her friend was more at fault this time {shakes head} How terrible. And the last one was simply horrid! How could you do that to an animal? GAH!

I’m not sure about the repetitiveness of the volume… perhaps they just wanted to show what Hell Girl could do in different situations… or I’m just dense.
That aside, I think Hell Girl was definitely worth the read, and if I wasn’t trying to save my money for Hetalia, I’d go back and buy¬†the second volume¬†ūüėČ I should probably go check out the anime online for now if I want more.

Three angels are sent to Earth to fix problems caused by ‘dark forces’ in a small, sleepy town called Venus Cove. All is going rather well until the youngest angel, Bethany, starts to fall in love with Xavier Woods. Angels aren’t allowed to fall in love with humans, lest they become fallen.

The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover. It was pretty and, well, angelic. I really liked the different explanations that went along with how angels ‘worked,’ because that’s how I write my own stories; using things that already exist and putting new twists on them or finding holes in them. And I’m not usually one for full-on love stories, but in the beginning I really liked it.

…then, it hit. I’m going to give you a minor spoiler because I need to in order to explain. Something happens at the prom that makes Xavier pissed and not want to talk to Bethany, and she doesn’t want to leave her bed or eat. Then, after convincing by her oh-so-talented siblings, he comes back to her right away and she tells him to forget about what happened, and he does, no questions asked. -___- At first, I really loved Xavier, because he’s exactly the kind of boyfriend every girl wants. And that’s the problem. He doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses.¬†He doesn’t even truly cry for his previous girlfriend, who died in a fire! [sure, maybe a little, but not like you would for someone you loved]
Xavier is exactly that hero type, and maybe if he had more weaknesses, I wouldn’t be so harsh on him. Maybe I missed something he wasn’t good at? Even Bethany says that he’s good at everything! But one thing I do like about him is that he truly loves Bethany, even if she is an angel.

And there’s demons. Of course there’s demons. I mean, I don’t mind demons vs. angels¬†at all. In fact, I like it. But the demon, Jake, is incredibly boring to me. He’s bad, definitely, but not as bad as you would expect a demon to be. He retaliates after Bethany’s rejection [yes, he likes her] by hurting people. I understand how much angels care for the human race, but if he was really that hurt, he should have done something bigger. Hello, evil demon from hell!

Overall, the story was rather clichéd, and was similar to Twilight [after reading this review, I realised it]:

…it is very obvious that the majority of her ideas came from Twilight. A few examples are people’s eyes turning from vivid colors to coal-black, going to a nearby city to buy prom dresses with her 2 friends, “There are 2/3 things that I am absolutely certain”, etc.

Bethany often can’t go without seeing him for more than an hour, and that’s not very realistic. I realise she’s an angel new to love and she’s sort of obsessed with this boy, but even supernatural love stories need about 40% basis in reality.

As a review, these are some good points:

  • How Bethany and her family adjust to life on Earth and some misconceptions they have.
  • Gabriel’s personality. It was refreshing to have someone like him be able to drag all the floaty, happy characters down a bit and make them think.
  • The cover. That’s what drew me in the first place, and probably what kept me reading.
  • The supernatural character is a girl ‚̧

These are the bad points:

  • It’s often repetitive; for example, Bethany often talks about this all-consuming love for Xavier, and it would’ve been okay once or twice, but it happens a lot.¬† Situations are repeated, too.
  • The battle scene at the end is disappointing, to say the least. It builds up to this awesome, ‘we’re gonna kick your ass,’ ‘good vs. evil’ moment, but… yeah. I’ll leave it to you to read it to find out what happens.
  • Even if this is Bethany’s first love and it’s ‘cute’ and ‘sweet,’ it’s not Xavier’s. He’s a guy, and there’s not one time where he tries to really be one. You know what I mean. He may be cautious and rule-abiding, but he’s a boy for God’s sake. A teenage one, no less!

There’s two other books coming out, and even though this one wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, if I see them in the library, I’ll probably at least try to read them. The author’s young, and she’s a pretty good writer even if she’s not exactly fine-tuned yet. If she can save this series, I will be one happy reader~

Black Butler Season 1

I’ve reviewed this one before, but I’m going to re-do it. It’s a series that’s actually near-and-dear to my heart, because it was¬†the first series that I really, truly fell in love with. But I don’t like it quite as much as I used to, so maybe I can be more neutral with this now. And hopefully I won’t give too much away…

And so, we begin.
Black Butler is a fantasy series serialised in GFantasy, and has been turned into two anime series [I will only be reviewing season 1 in this post]. It’s about a young British aristocrat named Ciel Phantomhive and his extraordinary butler, Sebastian Michaelis. Sebastian is a demon that is contracted to Ciel under the terms that after they find whoever murdered his parents, Sebastian will get to eat Ciel’s soul.
It takes place in Victorian England, around 1887 or 1888, I’m guessing, because of a certain historical¬†case they solve.

Overall, I would say the way it was developed into an anime was good. The first half of it [about] is almost an exact adaption of the manga. But after, the two storylines begin to diverge. Since there’s no spoiler-hidey-thing here, I’ll be good and I will keep it secretive. I will admit that their way of incorperating the original characters into the new storyline was pretty good. For example,¬†Sohma and Agni still play a part, but they also keep the story moving rather than being a break of sorts from the story. You’ll be surprised how a cooking competition can turn deadly [minor spoiler].

But towards the end, when the action really heats up, I felt that it was a bit rushed. And our main antagonist is pretty weird, if you ask me o.O Talk about split personas [spoiler]
I would reccommend checking out the manga, because the art is beautiful and there’s more story, trust me. Five volumes have already been published in English by YenPress, and the sixth is on its way!

A quick comparison of dubs:
The voice casting in Japanese was [as a lot of animes are] pretty awesome. Daisuke Ono captured Sebastian’s sexiness perfectly, and if anything, made him more sexy. Jun Fukuyama plays Mr. McNutty– [ahem] Grelle Sutcliffe well, too. When I listen to his other roles, it’s like, where did that beautiful voice come from? And believe it or not, Ciel is played by a girl: Maya Sakamoto. Her preformance was gorgeous. Aw, hell, most of the characters had amazing voices!
Now, in the English dub [which I own], there’s obvious things to pick at, because I watched the Japanese version first. The thing I enjoyed the most was their British accents, which was something the Japanese cast obviously couldn’t do.
J. Michael Tatum plays a good Sebastian, but I think we’ve got different views of him [Japanese: sexiness to the max! English: badass demon butler who gets the job done; aka, not too much sexiness going on]. There’s also¬†obvious pitch differences in Ono and Tatum’s voices, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.
Brina Palencia: Ooh, a lot of people don’t seem to like her as Ciel, do they? I do give her props, though, because it’s Ciel for God’s sake. I agree that she doesn’t sound natural in the role, but it wasn’t that bad. We’ve all heard worse, haven’t we?
Lau and Madame Red are awesome. I don’t really have anything other to say.
Grelle is kind of iffy for me… I’ll let you decide on him.
Sohma sounds Indian, but I never thought they rolled their Rs that much, and sometimes he’s really hard to understand :/ I remember listening to the comentary, and Brina and the other girl sounded excited because he was the only one who was really good at it, but I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be.
Hehe, Agni sounds a lot like Germany from Hetalia xD It wasn’t bad, no, but it didn’t sound as Indian as it could of… [Yes, I realise it’s the same voice actor for both Agni and Germany; haha, it’s the same in Japanese, too!]