Pulled a manga off the shelf last night in an effort to reduce the piles of unread manga. It's shoujo and dated and evidently the second series about this guy Hongou's adventures in early Shouwa, but it's set in Shanghai which should be interesting. But while the wrap-up of the previous volumes talks about him leaving Japan in the first year of Shouwa, 1925 more or less, I suddenly find we're in Shouwa 11, mid-30's, with Japanese imperialism advancing in Manchuria. Our naive hero believes that his government is trying to help China to come into the modern world, while his Chinese friends try to whack him with a clue by four before giving up in despair and requesting that he stop visiting because with anti-Japanese terrorism around their lives and businesses are in danger. This one cannot possibly end happily. Wonder if it's worth the squinty plow-through.
So I read a volume of Matendou Sonata instead. I've had it for nine years now, an absolutely arbitrary vol 11 bought at KBooks or somewhere to sample the series, which in this medias res test proves to be pleasant and forgettable and only mildly confusing. It's about heaven and demons and magicians, and Satan is the good guy on the side of the angels- I think that's the older Hebrew tradition reflected in Job, though I'd bet any money that's not why he's made the good guy here. It's also wordy. I discover again how wordy older shoujo tends to be; almost as bad as western graphic novels.
Watched the first disk of Read or Die, which charmed me by introducing Hiraga Gennai. Hiraga and I go back a good fifteen years now via a schlock TV series about him set in an Edo nagaya that never was, with the usual baggage of such-- one hesitates to call them chambara or even jidai-mono because they're a television tradition of their own with no reference to any other older avatars. We get female police-assistants and moue-ing onnagata and respectable citizens by day turned Nezumi Kozou burglars by night; we get the Disneyland version of Edo. But it was fun and taught me the word for dissection, so...
I wish it might have been a little more on crack, like Hellsing, but my crack is a very specific kind. It's batty enough as it is, I suppose, even if The Paper is such a pure-hearted and genki heroine.