Japanese Recommendation Exchange – April 2016 — 8 Comments

  1. -Watching-

    1. 蒼き鋼のアルペジオ – Arpeggio of Blue Steel (4 stars)

    A mysterious force of AI-controlled warships known as the “Fleet of Fog” has driven humanity from the world’s oceans, and cut off all international communication. The nations of the world seem helpless in the face of this unstoppable force – but what happens when some of the Fog ships choose to follow a human captain instead? Why, a harem of battleships, of course… Wait, what?

    This anime is short and sweet at 12 episodes, features awesome ship battles with gorgeous animation, and lots of umm…cute AI warships. Just trust me it’s good. 4 stars for heavy use of naval vocabulary.

    2. ガールズ&パンツァー – Girls und Panzer (3 stars)

    Miho Nishizume has just transferred to a new school – Oarai Girls’ Academy. She wanted to escape her family tradition of competing in the sport of “Tankery”(戦車道), but the student council has other plans.

    I wasn’t expecting much going in, but this one’s actually really good. The cast is hilarious and the tank battles are AWESOME. The military vocab is similar in difficulty to Arpeggio, but the presentation makes it easy to enjoy even if you miss a lot of the technical details. 3 stars.


    1. ReLIFE – (3 stars)

    ReLIFE is an online Manga that follows the story of Arata Kaizaki, a 27 year-old man who thought everything would just “fall into place” after he finished school. Instead, his life is in shambles. He quit his first job after 3 months and can’t find another, has no real friends, and now his parents are threatening to cut him off financially if he doesn’t move back in with them. All in all, a pretty hopeless situation.

    That is until he encounters Ryo Yoake, a representative of the ReLIFE program, who’s apparently been scouting (stalking) him as a potential research subject. He tells Arata that the program will pay all of his living expenses for a year, and maybe even set him up with a job, if he agrees to participate in their study. It’s simple, really – all he has to do is take some medicine to make him look young, and then go back to High School for a year.

    This series is fantastic. I’ve been binge reading it over the last week and probably read over 3 volumes’ worth already. The art is great, the cast is interesting, and the story is funny, emotional, and thought-provoking.

    You can check it out on the comico app, or online here-

      • I really want to read ReLIFE but I know I can’t ughhhh!!!!! I’ll tackle it at the end of may. I have the comico app installed and it bothers me everyday with notifications but I know I won’t understand any of the manga, I tried.

  2. I marathoned volumes 11-20 of “I am a Hero” in March so my April reading was a bit non-existent. But both of my reads are huge recommendations. Speaking of “I am a Hero” though, I saw the movie on opening night and it was a lot of fun. It basically covers the beginning of the zombie-stage and goes through the mall scenes. Was really fun to watch if quite grotesque. If you’ve read the manga before watching the movie, you’ll have no problem watching it.

    神々の山嶺 ***
    – historical fiction drama about Fukamachi, a photographer who finds a camera supposedly belonging to George Mallory, a mountaineer who went missing on Mount Everest. But when the camera he finds is immediately stolen, he finds himself going on a new journey surrounding a mysterious Japanese climber. Very interesting and engrossing read with quite simple grammar. Only put 3 stars because it has no furigana and climbing words that might give you pause if you’re not already familiar with that vocabulary in English.

    コタローは一人暮らし ***
    This one is by the same mangaka who wrote コンビニの清水, the manga I keep recommending out on this site but have yet to see someone pick me up on my recommendation. Unfortunate since it’s super funny and all my Japanese friends who have read it have gone ふっふっふ while reading. コタローは一人暮らし is in the same universe following a four year old who moves into an apartment building but lives by himself. Why does he live himself? Imagine this as the new Maison Ikkoku.

  3. Books:
    *** 海の友情 (Friendship on the Sea)
    Anecdotes and ruminations on the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan-America alliance. Haven’t gotten too far into it yet, but looks good.

    *** 陽動ミッドウェー海戦 (Diversion: The Battle of Midway)
    In an alternate reality where Admiral Inoue becomes smart after the Battle of Coral Sea, the Imperial Japanese Navy starts winning. Power fantasy, pure and simple.

    **** そこまで言って委員会NP
    Not sure how best to translate this… A rapid-fire discussion of economics and politics.

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