Film 365

Death Note

It’s not that I’m a major anime fan. I can honestly say that I prefer dubs over subs. Guess what I mean is, there is no pretension when it comes to my watching cartoons—doesn’t matter what country the animation originated. That doesn’t mean that the Netflix adaptation of the classic anime/manga Death Note didn’t send a shiver down my back the moment it was uttered into existence. I had hoped that the production team would try to keep it faithful to the source material. And if not that, maybe set in the same universe but deviating away from the original characters. Like how I once imagined a FLCL adaptation would work out (college was a strange time, kids).


It’s not just the whitewashing that got to me, though that’s a fatal epidemic running rampant in Hollywood these days. It’s the entire massacre of the source material. Nothing about this movie even echoed the genius behind the manga and anime. And that’s damning for Death Note fans everywhere.

Light Turner isn’t Light Yagami. While Turner is painted as some sort of high school genius—he’s caught helping other cheat for a fee—it’s never touched upon. Where Yagami was clean cut and pristine, Turner comes off more as the kid you’d buy your nickel bag from. And maybe not even that. Yagami’s sense of justice is what drove him to do terrible things; meanwhile, Turner is the epitome of pussy-whipped. Turner treats the Death Note like an twelve-inch cock, whipping it out to impress the girl at the first opportunity he has.  Yagami knew better. He kept it secret, hidden. Even when Misa turns up, he’s restrained.

On the subject of Misa—what’s with the Mia character? Her emotional acting range is the love child of Kirsten Stewart and Megan Fox. She’s a beauty—nice to look at, but less than a one-dimensional character. Misa’s motivation behind following Kira is adoration and admiration. Mia has no real motivation. There isn’t a backstory that makes her character meaningful. She serves no purpose other than someone the boys can fawn over.

L. Where do I even begin with L? Lakeith Stanfield isn’t the issue. He’s proven his acting ability in movies like Straight Outta Compton and Get Out. The problem isn’t his ability. L isn’t L. Not even a little bit. His emotions run wild, unlike his anime counterpart who’s collected and in control. Watching Light Yagami and L plan each step is watching a chess match between genius. Watching Light Turner and L doesn’t even get a checkers metaphor. There is no build up. There is no relationship. There is just blame and nothing more. The scene toward the climax, L goes as far as stealing a police cruiser to chase Turner through the streets with every intention of killing him. And it ends with L struggling against knowing what’s right and writing down Turner’s name on the single sheet torn from the Death Note.

Ryuk is—well—the white man’s version of the character. Most of his badassry is washed away. Dafoe’s voice acting doesn’t fail to send shivers of glee down the viewer’s back. But what we’re given isn’t the same apple-loving death god we all came to know and love. He even notices that Turner isn’t suited for the Death Note moments into his introduction.

There are a few inconsistencies throughout the film, but what movie isn’t full of them? It’s the over all destruction of the source material is what hammered the final nail in the coffin. We can’t just be mad at the whitewashing, though we should. We should always be mad at the whitewashing in any film. (I’m looking at you Ghost in the Shell.)

I do make a plea that Adam Wingard, Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, and Jeremy Slater never make another movie, music video, or even a YouTube video again. And that Netflix removes and destroys all copies of this film. So that it never has to waste the time of another viewer again.


Nerdgasms & Other Misadventures of a Library Worker

Returning to my nerdom, I went comic book/manga shopping today after work. I had Shaun for an extended period of time today, so why not take him out? We stopped at Barnes & Noble before heading over to Myth Adventures (for the comic books). Shaun stayed in the car with his grandmother. Because it’s not the wisest idea to take an almost-two-year-old into a place with collectables.

Now I only intended to buy Btooom! at Barnes & Noble.  As I strolled through the dwindling manga section, I noticed Judge vol. 3 was out, too. I put both in my bag and dragged Shaun to the check out counter and paid before I got the notion that I’m made of money.


At Myth Adventures, I strolled up to the 2-week-old shelf to seek out Batman: Joker’s Daughter. The new 52 one-shot issue got by me, somehow. I learned about it in a review via Flipboard. I didn’t find it. Exasperated, I walked to the new comic book table and snagged my copy of Harley Quinn #3. Right across from it, sat Dexter Down Under issue one.

After last year’s abysmal series finale, I picked it up in hopes it might act as an act of contrition. At the counter, I asked if they had Joker’s Daughter in stock. They did. And somehow the book eluded me because the man took little to no time finding it on the 2-week-old shelf.

Nerd Booty

In non-related news: I caught wind that there is paperwork floating around that will bump me up to a full-time position. In the wake of my co-worker’s departure, they promoted me to his position. That kicked in this Monday, the day after his last.

Now, I won’t find until next fiscal year (this October) if the full-time position kicks in. This also means that I should get that pesky driver’s license that I’ve been putting off for the last fourteen years. I shouldn’t raise my hopes. They promised a full-time position two years ago when I started working there, after all.

I also joined Crushee a few months ago. It was just last week that I decided to complete my profile and start using it. I’m getting the hang of it. Now if I could only use the social skills I’ve acquired there in the real world, I might just have a chance of, you know, meeting people.

Note: I edited this post using the Hemingway App.


Another original story by Yukito Ayatsuji, art by Hiro Kiyohara

There’s just something chilling about Yukito Ayatsuji’s original story, brought to life with the art of Hiro Kiyohara. The tale pulls you in with the mention of a curse on a middle school class—specifically, third year class 3—and you’re enveloped by the sheer mystery of it. And when the main character—and, therefore, the reader—Koichi Sakakibara learn the origins and gravity of the curse, we’re taken for a ride on how it can be stopped.

Not since Doubt (and, to an extend, the first two volumes of its sequel, Judge) has a manga held so tightly to my attention that I couldn’t wait to finish it while all the time not wanting it to end.

Yen Press collects four volumes in one single book, leaving the reader no time to recover until the very end. Yukito Ayastsuji’s mastery of storytelling (yeah yeah, I know it’s translated) is incredible. And Hiro Kiyohara’s ability to breathe life into the horror novel is anything but sub-par.

Kiyohara_Another_TPAbout the book (from Yen Press):

In the spring of 1998, Koichi Sakakibara transfers into Class 3-3 at Yomiyama North Middle School. But little does he know…his new class has a horrible secret. When he takes his seat in class for the first day of school, Koichi is unsettled by his fearful classmates. Despite this atmosphere and warnings from fellow students, Koichi is drawn to the beautiful, distant Mei Misaki, another classmate. But the closer he tries to get to her, the more mysterious she and their class become. And when a fellow student dies a disturbing death—the first of a long chain of deaths—Koichi seeks to learn the truth behind the curse of Class 3-3. But can he get answers before the curse kills him?

original story by Yukito Ayatsuji
art by Hiro Kiyohara
Yen Press (October 2013)
ISBN: 978-0316245913

Another is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A Kindle and Nook also exists. The original Yukito Ayatsuji horror novel is available in two volumes for Kindle (vol. 1/vol. 2)  and Nook (vol 1./vol. 2), as well.


Solanin by Inio Asano

I spent all day trying to figure out how to review this book. Two volumes published in one, Inio Asano not only tells a tale of a group of twentysomethings living through their final months of Peter Panism, he also does an excellent job of drawing it. As any author who’s master the skill, the pages of Solanin will have you laughing and crying as you grow to love the characters—you may even recognize a little bit of yourself in them.

Solanin by Inio AsanoThe only thing that kept me from enjoying the book on my first run was the publication error. The first copy I purchased at Barnes & Noble (in store), repeated the ending of chapter 12 and the entire chapters of 13 and 14, skipping chapter 15 and dropping me off at the end of chapter 16. I returned the book to the store (tweeted Viz Media who never got back to me, those assholes) and hunted down the last copy at another Barnes & Noble location which—huzzah!—wasn’t a bad copy. I also met a cute cashier(?) who handled my return at the first Barnes & Noble who detailed a tragic manga tale much like my own.

About the book (from the back cover): Meiko Inoue is a recent college grad working as an office lady in a job she hates. Her boyfriend Naruo is permanently crashing at her apartment because his job as a freelance illustrator doesn’t pay enough for rent. And her parents in the country keep sending her boxes of veggies that just rot in her fridge. Straddling the line between her years as a student and the rest of her life, Meiko struggles with the feeling that she’s just not cut out to be a part of the real world.

by Inio Asano
Publisher: Viz Media, LLC (21 October 2008)
ISBN: 978-1421523217

Buy your copy of Solanin at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. An ebook edition is available for Nook.


Doubt 2 by Yoshiki Tonogai

There’s no doubt that I found the conclusion of Yoshiki Tonogai’s second omnibus as a little unsurprising. I mentioned the parallels to a certain Hollywood gore-porn franchise that peaked somewhere during the third flick. Nevertheless, the journey through the last chapters keep the reader gripping the covers. And it’s not just that, the open-ended finale leaves the reader thirsty for more—thankfully the first book of Doubt’s sequel hit shelves this months.

About the book (from back cover):

Doubt Vol. 2Within an abandoned old building, the popular mobile-phone game Rabbit Doubt—in which players must try to discover the wolf in rabbit’s clothing or pay the bloody price—has become a grotesque reality for a group of online friends. As the bodies pile up, the survivors begin to question one another, and the seeds of suspicion take root. Who to trust? Who to doubt? With the wolf on the prowl, culling the herd, will any of the unfortunate souls caught up in this twisted game of murder be there to bear witness when the mastermind is finally unmasked?

Doubt book 2
by Yoshiki Tonogai
Publisher: Yen Press
Publishing date: 23 July 2013
ISBN: 978-0316245319
Manga, $18.99
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches

Doubt book 2 is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai

Yoshiki Tonogai‘s Doubt is the second book in my quest into anime/manga nerdom. It appears that my coworker has placed some sort of mind control device that has me hungry for more. Unlike Utsubora, Doubt spans across four volumes (I’ve only just finished the first, and have to wait until next paycheck to buy the second), and has a sequel.

The cell phone game, Rabbit Doubt, has several citizens of Japan playing. The premise is simple. There’s a wolf in the pack of rabbits devouring a rabbit a day. The rabbits most seek out the wolf by executing the rabbit(s) they suspect of being the wolf. The player who finds himself playing the wolf is given the rules on how to play the game and how to win. Manipulation is key. If the rabbits are successful in executing the right rabbit (the wolf in disguise), the game goes to the rabbits. But if they are wrong, the wolf wins the game.

RabbitDoubtVol1CoverWhen six young adults—five of which are players—decide to meet up in real life, they find themselves playing a real life game of Rabbit Doubt. And the stakes are raised. Can they find the wolf in the pack before it’s too late?

“Never judge a book by its cover,” the saying goes. Much like Utsubora, I chose Doubt solely on its cover. I mean look at it. A couple of teenagers wearing rabbit heads, what’s not to like? I flipped through the pages and liked what I saw so I bought it (I’m in a book buying mood lately). The book has a Saw feel to it—before it started being just about the gore. The kids wake up in a place they’re not familiar with, knowing nothing of how they got there, and concluding that one of them is a killer. The art excels and moves the story forward. And those bunny heads? Well they’re creepy as sin, aren’t they? While not as suspenseful as I’d like, it’s still something I’d pick up again (when I finish the series, of course).

You can buy your copy of Doubt on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

A quick note: I’d like to apologize for these reviews. Still being new to reading manga, I’m finding it difficult on how to review them (shouldn’t be any different than reviewing a graphic novel, but at the same time it is). Perhaps it’s the esoteric aura that shrouds them. Either way, bear with me. I’ll get better. I promise.

Side note: I just learned only two volumes exist through Yen Press. Which means, I’ll have to bide my time or something.