never let me go

earlier this week, i finished kazuo ishiguro’s never let me go.

two years ago, i stumbled upon this quote while browsing the literature posts on tumblr:

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”

i instantly fell in love with that quote. really, who wouldn’t? it struck a chord within me, and i suddenly wanted to sit down and read the novel it came from. however, it wasn’t that easy; i finally seized the chance to read never let me go in december 2013, and took my time. it isn’t science fiction, in my opinion, but rather surrealistic fiction with some sci-fi elements mixed in. i loved how kath narrated in such a conversational manner, but there were times when i had to go back and reread certain parts in order to understand the chronological flow. there were some plot holes, too, though these were minor and easily overlooked. overall, the story was wonderful. i loved kath, tommy, ruth, and the intricate relationship between them. i also loved the setting; i hope someday to visit norfolk, england, and maybe read a book or take some photos while i’m there.

and that quote is still one of my favorites.

on nabari no ou

personal accomplishment: i’ve never had a naruto phase.

that being said, nabari no ou is also a manga series about ninjas. it’s one of my all-time favorites. a long time ago back in 2012, a girl named katie was creating character bios for her first nanowrimo. while searching for suitable images on google, she came across this picture. thus began her nabari no ou phase, which continues to this day.

From mangafox:

Set in the modern age, the story is about Miharu Rokujou, who just wants to live a normal life and inherit an Okonomiyaki restaurant. At the moment, his biggest problem is the constant pestering from Kouichi Aizawa and Durandal Thobari Kumohira, who started a Nindō (忍道?, lit. “Way of the Ninja”) Club. Miharu wants nothing to do with “ninjas” and turns them down every time. But soon, he is attacked by an actual group of ninjas and is protected by Kouichi and Kumohira. There, Miharu learns of the hidden ninja world Nabari, the roles of his classmate and teacher in that world, and of the secret art Shinra Banshou (森羅万象 Shinrabanshō?, lit. “all things in nature”) within him. The secret art, containing all the world’s knowledge, is sorely coveted in Nabari. And because of that, Miharu cannot return to his normal life. He must become the “Ruler of Nabari” to survive.

a lot of people dislike nabari no ou after reading the first volume, mainly because of the rough, ‘weird’ art and miharu’s apathetic nature. please read the entire series before jumping to any conclusions or dropping the series!
(the anime’s first half is good, but it then spirals downward into ridiculous cheesiness because the manga was still ongoing at the time. so skip the anime and read the manga. or, if you must, watch the anime first, then read the manga. the latter does a much better job with fleshing out characters, tying up loose ends, etc. or, read the manga while listening to the anime’s soundtracks.
but anyway.)
the story follows miharu rokujou, who seems to be the typical indifferent junior high school student. but then there’s a plethora of other characters too, who’re all tied to the shirabanshou. the beginning is humorous, filled with the antics of miharu and his interactions with tobari-sensei, his english teacher, and kouichi aizawa, a fellow classmate. everything feels all light and slice-of-life ish. raimei shimizu only adds to this new camaraderie that’s soon tested by hostility surrounding the shirabanshou. miharu is blackmailed into using the shirabanshou by the enemy clan’s main weapon – the kira user ninja, yoite. the story soon branches out and plunges downward, throwing off all its readers. what happened to the school life fluffiness? (refer to anime’s opening theme, ‘crawl.’) the manga goes from carefree to frighteningly dark and twisted. there’s a huge cast of characters that range from ninjas to samurai to a blind mastermind to an intersexed character and more. everyone in the story is important in some way, even side characters  there is no black-and-white sense of good versus evil, which is another part of this story that i love. miharu no longer knows who to trust. who is the enemy? who is the ally? who really accepts him for who he is? who befriends him for the shirabanshou? and talk about CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. and REALLY AMAZING ART. as the chapters progress, yuhki kamatani’s art style slowly changes and morphs into the style she’s known for today. it’s really beautiful. everything about this manga is beautiful.
my favorite characters are yoite and miharu. at first, there’s a lot of tension between them. yoite is the angel of death, after all. he forces miharu to use the shirabanshou for his one and only wish, and the two work together to collect the forbidden arts of nabari to unlock the shirabanshou inside him. throughout the story, however, yoite and miharu gradually grow close, and we see that yoite isn’t an angel of death at all, though he firmly believes that. miharu begins to leave his shell of indifference and trust others again, too…
i ship them. i most definitely ship yoite and miharu. ;-;
and talk about that art. afdkhqgdwl;afgjwakj ((here are just a few examples of the loveliness to come))
~score: 5/5 stars. so many feels.~

on romance

i don’t believe in insta-love.

falling in love with someone simply because of their appearance just doesn’t cut it for me. i believe in aesthetic attraction – i’m aesthetically attracted to friends and even strangers sometimes, with nothing past that. i also think that it’s a person’s appearance that attracts you, but their personality that convinces you to stay. that sounds much more reasonable (and much better) than falling in love with some jerk because s/he is physically attractive and/or charming.

same with love triangles. they appear in books, movies, anime, manga – everywhere, really.

why?

what makes them so popular?

they always irritate me. if alice really loved bob, then she wouldn’t fall for charlie. even if he tempted her, she would stay with bob, wouldn’t she? so that she could avoid causing him pain and heartbreak. there’s been a rising trend in the shoujo heroine falling for the handsome douche bag, too, while abandoning the male best/childhood friend. even if that best friend is intelligent, hardworking, caring, and loyal.

maybe that’s just prevalent in manga.

on a less frustrating note, i prefer more subtle or sadder romance over the full-blown, cheesy, lovey dovey kind. i’m sure that the latter would be wonderful (and maybe a bit unrealistic) in real life, but i feel uncomfortable reading that sort of romance. i’d rather read about implied love – love that isn’t thrown into the reader’s face, but rather expressed through small, seemingly trivial actions. or unrequited love. hidden heart ache. two people realize that they’re in love with each other, but it’s too late. or, on the supernatural side, two people finally confess their feelings for each other, and briefly enjoy their time together before one of them loses the other forever.

yuki midorikawa is a master at expressing subtle love.

at the same time, she apparently hates drawing in the shoujo genre?

i don’t know how i feel about that.

-ktc