Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Battle Angel Alita Vol. 3

Yukito Kishihiro

The co-worker who lent me this didn't have volume two. It seems that all I missed was a human kid obsessed with Tiphares, the awesome city that floats above the Earth, and then his body got destroyed and he became a cyborg. Then Alita turned him into her pet project and he killed himself. So that's that.

Alita was so traumatized, as she should be, so she runs away to drown her pain in Rollerball. She's the best player in the third division. Ido finds her after a long search and because she doesn't acknoledge him, he decides to destroy her pride so she'll come back to him. What?

There's a lot of fast pace, arm ripping, panther kunst, blading action. All so Alita can become second class and fight the best player of that division, Jashugan. Who happens to be hanging out with Ido.

The climax of the book is Alita and Jashugan arm wrestling while talking about the power of Chi. He blows her arm with his Chi. This to Alita is like foreplay and even though Jashugan let her win you can feel the cyborgy sexual tension as his arm falls from his shoulder.

They are meant to be.

Dead Until Dark

Charlaine Harris

The first book of the Sookie Stackhouse series is very similar and completely different from the True Blood (Season 1) TV show it eventually morphed into. I won't go into spoilers, both the book and the TV show feature a murder mystery, but I will discuss Sookie and Bill's relationship.

Sookie in the book comes off a bit more stable than the TV version. It could be because the book is narrated by her and so we understand more of her motivations. She's not as wishy washy as you'd think but she is way more naive than you could realize.

One of the biggest differences between the book and the TV show is that vampires in the book are suffering from a virus, so they can't help drink blood. Or that's what they want you to believe. Everyone can smell the bullshit except Sookie. When she understands that she's been having sex with a dead person instead of an infected one, she pukes. Then promptly forgets about it because Bill is so dreamy.

Bill for the most part is very unlikable, and treats Sookie like a pet. Once she finally gives in and has sex with him, that's pretty much all he wants to do. Not that Sookie complains, but sheesh. He's not as romantic as the TV version or as fleshed out. One could argue that True Blood is as much Bill's story as Sookie's (or Eric's for that matter) and you kind of miss that in the book.

Most of the secondary characters in the book are just that, secondary. We hardly know anyone outside of Sookie's immediate circle of friends and family.

All in all it was an enjoyable quick read, but you can see how the writers of True Blood really fleshed out the world and it's inhabitants.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Battle Angel Alita Vol. 1

Yukito Kishihiro

I don't read a lot of manga, and when I do it's usually the girly kind, but since a co-worker insisted that I give it a chance here we are. It's set in a dystopian future (is there any other kind?) where a apparently wonderful city floats over the Earth. The refuse and the unworthy people live on Earth, and modify their bodies with cybernetics in order to survive.

Daisuke, a tinkerer of sorts, finds Alita among the garbage and in a paternalistic twist tries to fix her and protect her from the filth. He's not only a scientist but a hunter as well. The first story arc is very interesting, a mix between Jack the Ripper and Frankenstein. The payoff does not deliver though because even though this is meant to be a very dark story, it's surprisingly upbeat. Alita is ever positive and ever chirppy. Alita always triumphs and it's not because she has an awesome killer body (literally!) but because of her spirit.

The art is pretty standar manga fare but I'm sure it turned heads when it was first published. The color pages you sometimes find on the beginnings of collected volumes here are drenched in fine crosshatching and ink washes and I kinda wish the whole comic was like that.

I would be interested in reading more about Alita just to see how she matures as a person and how that affects her realtionship with Daisuke.