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Shadows on the Moon
Shadows on the Moon
by ZoŽ Marriott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars many Shadows in this story, 8 April 2012
This review is from: Shadows on the Moon (Paperback)
whilst I am a huge fan of Japan, I was thrilled to find a book that was based on the country. the book itself is over 400 pages, which I was hoping was going to be really juicy and absorbing. however, I found that the beginning was very rushed to kick the story off which made it forgotten very easily.
the main character, Suzumme is a young girl who's father and cousin is killed, we know that the father is a poor poet who couldn't provide well for his wife, so the mother often spends time away with his friend, who he doesn't suspect is having an affair.
when the father is murdered along with her cousin, her mothers lover takes them away from their home telling them they need to change their identities in order to stay alive.

Suzumme changes her name twice through out the story, from Yue to Rin because she keeps on getting into trouble with her new step dad, and she soon finds out that he is planning to kill her.

she be friends an old mad called Youta who helps her live as a servant in her own home so that none of her family would recognized her. she is then told that she has the ability to shadow weave.

this I found hard to understand, because she doesn't actually elaborates how she weaves masks on to her face to keep her expression from giving her away.

Youta seems to be a good man helping her stay alive, he explains he had a bad history with his family, he lost his daughter Sakura, he doesn't know if she is dead or alive, and I thought further in to the story we'd hear a little more about her, but know, we hear nothing more of his story, or of him when Suzamme runs away from the house after accidentally poisoning her mother.
she makes an encounter with another lady, Akira, who they help each other escape, they meet in a prison.

Akira is told to be a former Shadow Bride, but is wanted for a secret I do not wish to spoil.
she tells Akira how she want to avenge her fathers murderer, Akira then starts training her to become the new Shadow Bride, she feels this is the best way to keep Suzamme safe and she'll have the power to do so.

this is when it becomes very much like Memoirs Of a Geisha, it goes into much detail about the Geisha history which may confuse people who don't know much about Japan. She meet a boy who she falls in love with and wants to be with him, but she can't because Akira is training her for the Shadow ball.

I was quite shocked that the author mentioned Oiran which are not Geisha, but are prostitutes, not to be confused.
and then she explains a Mizuage where a Maiko (apprentice Geisha/ in training) sleeps with a customer in order to become a full Geiko. this does not happen in the story thankfully.

please note: this has become illegal since the 50's.
so we assume this story takes place in the Edo period.

the ending was very bland and could have finished a little more exciting, I find that it dragged on in the last two hundred pages, which was a real shame since I'm quite enthusiastic about Japan.

the author uses a lot of Japanese terms such as 'Zori' 'Shamisan' and more elaborate terms, although she does teach you the uses of using 'San' at the end of each name i.e Akira- San in Japanese is the polite way of addressing another person. and Sama for royalty and higher class people.

a lot of terms aren't always translated or explained, luckily for me though I already knew what they meant. and I am worried that a lot of readers who doesn't know a lot about the country because of culture difference and confused with China will lose touch with the story or may become frustrated and lose interest.

three stars for accuracy, history and the idea, but no stars for the story and just not being that gripping.
I'm quite disappointed, but it was a good attempt.


Okami Official Complete Works
Okami Official Complete Works
by Capcom
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for all Okami fans, 14 Mar 2012
this is a 285 concept art book of the game Okami, it is in full color including ideas for characters and designs that never made it into the final game. it gives a brief background of each character and early design ideas. it's a paper back but quite firm and weighs quite a lot. the designers kept the book in a traditional Japanese style, starting from the back, very different from the western style books. it also has some notes from the creators and what inspired them to create a game about rejuvenation and Japanese myths. it has rough sketches of different characters and the final design which is quite interesting. also throughout the game, during interludes after a big battle, the narrator describes what happens after with lovely, colorful Japanese art also in the back of the book.
it has pages of enemies you encounter in good detail, and pages of God's you revive from hiding and has their speech they give to Amaterasu after you free them and they offer their spirit, giving you the ability to- rejuvenate, vine, cherry bomb, create a Gail storm and and even control fire and water!
it is a lovely book for art lovers and Japan lovers, and I'll keep mine for a long time since this is now a collectors item.


O-Kami
O-Kami
Offered by samurai_media_JPN4UK
Price: £33.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional, 14 Mar 2012
This review is from: O-Kami (Audio CD)
this album is a must have for Okami fans. it contains five CD's artfully packaged and a full color booklet and features of characters, sadly all the writing is in Japanese. Although five hundred tracks, the first twenty (the prologues) are mainly shout outs and seven seconds of sound affects. though the rest of the tracks are very artful and just like traditional music, you can hear shamesan (three stringed guitar, drums and flutes which are a joy to listen to. most iconic characters have their own themes as well, so you will remember which part of the game it is set in.

if you've played the game then you'll know it has a lot of sad scenes with tracks that are fit for. it which will capture your emotion and might make you cry, but there are also upbeat and joyous tracks such as the Kamiki festival and Mr Flowers and his shuffle! the game also has comedy and very funny scene's that will make you laugh. even laid back and calming that will whisk you away in to traditional Japanese tranquility.

I am very impressed with the album, and delivery was very quick, despite being imported from Japan herself. I received mine from Samurai Japan which was the cheapest at just a little over £50 plus shipping. the people were generous to add yen and a little description of what it's for. and also she added a little origami as a sweet little gesture. I would recommend this company since Amazon itself doesn't dispatch most merchant dices. ^_^

you have approximately 500 songs and about 10 hours of play, I cannot wait to relax and listen to the tracks whilst reading my book.


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