Review: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 2 by Usamaru Furuya

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 22nd June 2014

Read my review for Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1 here.

As in Volume 1, Volume 2 is once again centered around the main characters of Hikari ‘Picasso’ Hamura, a budding artist, and his angel best friend Chiaki Yamamoto, both of whom are school-aged teens. They are joined by some of the people helped by Picasso and Chiaki from the first book, now friends of Picasso. I liked the continuation and inclusion of more characters, especially since they had been helped by Picasso and Chiaki and were then in a position to help others.

I enjoyed the second volume of stories even more than the first, mainly because it faced a lot of even more challenging topics; bullying, gender identification and finding the courage to follow your dreams and work hard to make them come true. Difficult topics for any book, but ones which I think were covered well – from my perspective at least.

I look forward to reading Volume 3!

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

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Review: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1 by Usamaru Furuya

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 13th June 2014

This is the first of a three-volume set by the author Usamaru Furuya, centred around the main character Hikari ‘Picasso’ Hamura, a budding artist, and his best friend Chiaki Yamamoto, both of whom are school-aged teens. Given the age difference between myself and the characters I did wonder if this was a little young for me but found that the problems faced by the characters were still fitting and applied to me.

The volumes are split into chapters, each of which focuses on a character, their problem and the solution to their woe. In the first chapter, Picasso and Chiaki are involved in an accident – one which proves fatal to Chiaki who then becomes an angel-like being, helping Picasso with his new problem. He rots. You see, he should have died too but thanks to the prayers of Chiaki he was saved to help others. This he does by drawing what is in a troubled person’s heart and solving that problem with Chiaki (and sometimes others) assistance. An interesting idea and one I haven’t seen before! In the first volume this includes problems and misunderstandings from childhood, bullying and more. I really enjoyed this book and would certainly encourage others to try it – I especially enjoyed the images of the troubled hearts – they were amazing and so detailed. Each one told a detailed and somewhat intricate story.

Like Alice in the Country of Hearts, this is a Japanese styled visual novel, reading from right to left across the page and from the back to the front of the book. After a few pages you get into the swing of things and stop thinking about it. After reading I looked up the translation of ‘Genkaku’ and found that it could mean rigid or severe – fitting for Picasso’s character.

So yes, if you’re looking for something different to read please give this a try.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fanatic Rabbit Vol.1

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Paperback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th June 2014

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a Japanese re-take of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novel. It is a visual novel – a manga (from my understanding of the word) type book. It is made up much like a comic book with lots of illustrations and few words, although at 190 pages a few more than a normal comic. This was my first time reading a book of this sort and I really enjoyed it. I loved the pictures and found them extremely expressive. Being Japanese based, there were many expressions – such as twitch/piku, twinge/kyu and shock/gan – alongside the spoken text parts which took a while to get used to but which expressed movement and emotion far more than expected of a 2D page. I also found the way of reading the book to be confusing – it is based on the Japanese reading style, moving from right to left across the page rather than left to right. The book also started from the back, rather than the front!

When I started reading, I did feel that I started in the middle of the story, and having done my research it looks like this book is an offshoot of another series. It didn’t stop me from enjoying this story though. The main character ‘Alice Liddell’ is an Outsider, brought into a strange world by Peter White. She comes to live with the Hatter Mafia at Hatter Mansion with Blood DuPre, his 2nd in command Elliot Marsh and the guards Dum and Dee. Alice goes between many emotions and seems to be slightly clueless and unstable… but the book was interesting so I will certainly try another and see what happens next.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: Tintin in America by Herge

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Hardback
Price: N/A
Date Read: 3rd April 2014

Tintin in America is the third book in the series by Herge. Unlike its predecessor, the Congo, there is far more of a ‘Tintin Adventure’ feel and I really enjoyed it. As with most Tintin books, situations and places can be very dated (this was written in 1931!) and extremely stereotyped – the Indians in this book, for example. However looking at the book as a story, rather than as an example of the time period, I did very much like the style of writing and the mix of images to move the story along – a picture is worth a thousand words after all!

I look forward to reading more.

Rating: ♥♥

Review: Tintin in the Congo by Herge

Own the book: No
Source: Library
Format: Hardback
Price: N/A
Date Read: April 2014

Tintin in the Congo is the second in the Tintin series by Herge. It was originally written in 1930/1 and is extremely dated to that time. The attitudes to and the amount of needless slaughter of animals by Tintin was probably thought nothing of at the time, but nowadays I had to put the book down a few times and almost didn’t finish it. For this and many other of the attitudes shown by Herge/Tintin in the book I believe this is my least favourite Tintin and I won’t be reading it again. Apart from that, I do find the style of reading to be interesting, easy and engaging. The mix of words and pictures tell the story well and to all ages.

Rating: ♥