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Mr J.W.A.Walmsley

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Turning Point 1997-2008
Turning Point 1997-2008
by Hayao Miyazaki
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare treat-like insight into the masteful Miyazaki, 17 July 2014
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This is essential reading for anyone interested enough in the masterful Hayao Miyazaki to want to hear more from the man directly about his movies. Whilst the material on Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo are rather disappointing, as in there isn't enough of it (or really any directly relating to Howl for that matter), the stuff on Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away as well as a myriad number of different related and unrelated topics make up for it.

Whilst Miyazaki himself cautions in the afterwards against this 'type' of book collecting together numerous essays and interviews and other bits and pieces from over the years into a work representing him and his views, you cannot deny what insight it does provide into the man's creative mind and processes. Written material on Miyazaki and his films, particularly of a scholarly nature, is rather few and far between, so anything, especially directly from the man himself, is like gold dust. Its an arresting read for the most part, that whilst sometimes can dip into areas of more limited interest for the Miyazaki fan, nonetheless show how diverse and wide his interests go when relating to his creative works. You might not agree with everything Miyazaki believes or thinks, but it still shows what an interesting person he is even outside his creative endeavours.

Now I just want a book on Miyazaki's conceiving and writing of the Nausicaa manga, his true masterwork which to this day is still veiled in mystery in terms of the working and thought processes behind it.

Patlabor 1 And 2 [1989] [DVD]
Patlabor 1 And 2 [1989] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mamoru Oshii

1.0 out of 5 stars Great movies mirred by extremely poor quality DVD's., 16 July 2014
I would avoid these DVD's like the plague if you want to be able to enjoy these great movies without offending your eyes. Truly I have not seen a worse DVD in terms of image quality; its probably just barely 360p. Almost worse is the aspect ratio, 4:3, which completely undersells the cinematic scope of these films - it should be 16:9 or nothing. I didn't even attempt to watch these movies in this small boxy and blurry excuse for a presentation - I would suggest either importing other versions from the likes of America or Japan if you can play them and they're affordable or solicit these movies through other means, as they are both great (especially the first one).

Targus AWE55EU Laptop Cooling Pad 2 fans laptop cooler fits 15"-17"
Targus AWE55EU Laptop Cooling Pad 2 fans laptop cooler fits 15"-17"
Price: £17.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Not cool enough., 19 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This laptop cooler is no doubt adequate most of the time for basic computing needs but when it comes to gaming, especially in hot summery weather (like we're having now), I'm afraid it isn't good enough. The cooler failed to keep my laptop chill enough on two occasions resulting in an automatic shutdown due to overheating. With any game that is graphically and processing wise taxing on ones laptop this coolers ventilation isn't adequate enough. Its particularly lackluster at delivering cool air to the front of the laptop despite its supposed ventilating grid design. Therefore, if you game, or if your laptop heats up around the front particularly, I wouldn't recommend this. However, it is very well built and sturdy not to mention super quiet and is well designed for use on ones lap so it would no doubt serve other more basic cooling needs. Nonetheless I give it 2 stars as it failed my own needs.

Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume 1 (Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus)
Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Volume 1 (Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus)
by Kazuo Koike
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A visually stunning samurai tale that still disappoints, 1 May 2014
One has the distinct sense when reading `Lone Wolf & Cub' that one is reading a clearly serialised manga collected together in an omnibus volume as opposed to a larger story with an over-arching narrative originally split up but now brought together into a cohesive whole. If viewed in this light, `Lone Wolf & Cub' can be enjoyed if you accept this reality and are not expecting much of an over-arching narrative, but even then it has its problems.

Even if accepting of its form, one can't help but feel frustrated that with such a great setting and a potentially interesting character in an unusual set of circumstances and that despite a lot seeming to happen in terms of action and interesting stories in of themselves, `Lone Wolf & Cub' never brings these individual yarns together into a larger satisfying whole. Still, one must review what is here as opposed to what one wishes was here.

Despite its lack of a larger narrative, there is still something resembling a plot strand connecting the assassinations together, but little progress is made in terms of said plot in this first omnibus anyway (somewhat forgivable with the serialised nature) but even when it comes to character development, the manga falls short. Indeed it is this latter of points which is most unfortunate. The Lone Wolf himself is a very typical brooding, masterful Ronin samurai warrior, and in this respect he's rather uninspired and unoriginal, but it's his characters more interesting 'dark side' aspects (without actually being evil or malicious, rather having a strange version of the samurai code) that have so much potential and yet develop little over the course of the series of assassinations he goes on. You can see there is an inner complexity to this character that is very fascinating, steeped in uniquely Japanese concepts, but the characters fixed, unmoving nature makes it hard to care about him or his journey on anything other than a distant, intellectual level. His son, the 'cub' in question, is equally an unchanging character, and perhaps this is a point the writer is trying make considering the nature of the tale, but either way it doesn't make me care too much about either character.

This is particularly true with the action scenes, which always follow the same well-trodden formulas: either a massacre with Lone Wolf emerging unscathed or a one-on-one showdown that takes the all too familiar 'two samurai stare at one another over a distance then one swift, single strike' form. The action becomes frankly tedious as opposed to exciting and riveting as the viscerally impacting drawings make out because there is nothing ever at stake for the titular protagonist. In all, reading `Lone Wolf & Cub' is a strangely unemotional, cold affair.

However, what makes me want to keep reading, or more accurately looking, is the art, for here `Lone Wolf & Cub' excels beyond so much other comic work. The drawings, whilst clearly by a Japanese manga artist, nonetheless posses their own unique style that help them stand out from a good deal of said art which can often feel very homogenised. It stands out most of all for its gorgeous attention to detail, which I'm a stickler for. What they depict as well is equally as impressive; the rendering of Tokugawa Japan is incredibly authentic and indeed the manga's historical accuracy so well evokes the time and period that if nothing else, `Lone Wolf & Cub' is an excellent window into this fascinating period of Japanese history. Its just unfortunate that the backdrop to the story is more compelling than either the story or characters themselves, despite their being great potential for both to shine.

I have also read the second Omnibus, which again has some spell-binding art but still lacks any really compelling character or narrative developments. Despite even the arts greatness, I'm not so sure if I'll be picking up the rest.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2014 7:28 PM BST

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Price: £9.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slightly disappointing movie but a brilliant soundtrack, 30 Aug. 2007
Alough the movie was not quite as good as I would of hoped (though its still worth 4 stars in my opinion) the soundtrack that accompany's the entertaining movie is in one word, FANTASTIC. It is in my opinion better than the previous two pirate soundtracks having much more fast paced and head beating music. The music accompany's many memorable scenes such as the comical 'Up is down' where our crew of heroes attempts to tip the ship over. Then there is the robust and passionate love theme of Will and Elizabeth, the twangy guitar showdown piece where the opposing sides heroes (and villians) meet for 'Parlay' and of course the main Pirates theme interwined with the new love theme. This soundtrack is well worth buying and has much more music than I have mentioned (don't worry) Its got more music then the previous two individually and of course has the moving song 'Hoist the Colours'.

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