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Ms. M. Thornton "aka megpie71" (Cottesloe, Western Australia)
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Loveless: v. 5 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
Loveless: v. 5 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
by Yun Kouga
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless Volume 5 - The Sacrifice Chapters, 20 Jun. 2008
Having been through a bit of philosophical exploration in volume 4, Yun Kouga now picks up the pace, and pushes along the plot of "Loveless". Ritsuka, determined to find out why Seimei was killed, chooses to skip school, and try to sleep all day so he can meet up with the representative of Septimal Moon at night. But the meeting raises further questions, and it's beginning to look as though there was more to Seimei's death than first meets the eye.

This episode of the "Loveless" series winds up largely being about identity, trust and truth, and the intersection of all of these. Identity has always been a strong theme in the "Loveless" storyline, pointed most clearly by the question of whether the "Ritsuka" we see now is the real Ritsuka, or whether he's an imposter, as his mother insists. But now we wind up with questions of trust being thrown into the mix - can Ritsuka trust Soubi (despite the chorus of people saying he shouldn't)? Is Soubi able to trust Ritsuka, despite his own experiences telling him not to? Can we trust the truth of any of the information we're being given as readers, or are we at the mercy of an unreliable narrator?

The storyline continues getting more and more complex, and the questions and issues raised become more and more interesting.


Loveless: v. 4 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
Loveless: v. 4 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
by Yun Kouga
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless Volume 4 - The Volume of the Absolute Toy Master III, 20 Jun. 2008
In this volume, we finally learn more about what makes the fighter/sacrifice duology tick, and Ritsuka finally gets a hint of what Soubi is expecting of him. We also get the first hints that the fate of Seimei may not have been as clear-cut as everyone believes.

The amount of time covered in this volume of the "Loveless" story is short - barely twenty-four hours - but the amount of territory it explores is massive. It is probably one of the more crucial volumes in the "Loveless" storyline, since it manages to cover such a lot of philosophical and metaphysical ground. We get a good look at some of the formerly shadowy figures in the background of the world of "Loveless" - in particular Nagisa-sensei and Ritsu-sensei, the two spell battle trainers - and Yun Kouga contines to make us question the nature of friendship and emnity through the behaviour of Yoji and Natsuo.

I find this volume is one I keep returning to, since it has so much deep information tied up in a small space of story. Yun Kouga handles the job of getting a lot of exposition into a small space of time brilliantly, with very few patches where the reader is being told something they already know.


Loveless Volume 1 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
Loveless Volume 1 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
by Ray Yoshimoto
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless Volume 1 - Loveless, 20 Jun. 2008
The story opens as we're introduced to Ritsuka Aoyagi, transferring into his new school. But there's something strange about Ritsuka. He suffered a strange episode a couple of years ago, where his personality completely changed; and recently his elder brother was murdered. Both big changes for a young child of twelve - but he seems to be just fine; a bit antisocial, a bit precocious, but otherwise pretty normal.

At the end of his first day at school, however, Ritsuka runs into his brother's unexpected legacy - a man named Soubi Agatsuma, who says he belongs to Ritsuka, and describes himself as a weapon. Although he doesn't suspect it, Ritsuka has been pulled into a parallel life of paired spell battles and murderous intrigue, where knowledge is the key to survival. But how can Ritsuka survive, when he doesn't even know himself?

The world Yun Kouga creates in "Loveless" is a fascinating one. It's set in a sort of parallel Japan (where everyone looks surprisingly European, but let's not worry about that) where all children have cat or dog ears and tails. Gender roles have a rather intriguing fluidity in this world, as do relationships between various age groups, and the roles expected of elder and younger persons in an interaction. I'd strongly recommend reading the epilogues of each story, as they tend to go into a lot of detail about some of the concepts being dealt with in the manga itself.

I would recommend this series if you enjoy exploring or questioning concepts of gender, dominance, truth, and morals. It asks some fascinating questions, and sometimes answers them, although most of the time the reader is left to make their own decisions.


Loveless Volume 2 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
Loveless Volume 2 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
by Yun Kouga
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless Volume 2 - The Volume of the Absolute Toy Master, 20 Jun. 2008
In the second volume of the "Loveless" series, we open on Soubi painting a picture of a butterfly - a thing we discover Soubi hates. We then cut to Ritsuka's home, where it's clear his family is disintegrating as his mother cannot cope with the loss of Seimei, her older son, and is taking her anger out on Ritsuka, making Ritsuka miss some of his classes.

This is the catalyst even for the majority of the events in volume 2 of "Loveless", as Ritsuka's late arrival means he's just in time to catch the aftermath of the class bullies targeting Yuiko, and his new injury prompts his homeroom teacher, Shinomei-sensei, to make a home visit.

The story of "Loveless" becomes more complex in this second volume, and a persistent opponent, in the form of the Zero fighting team, is introduced. The existing relationships between the characters are explored even further, and we get the first indications of something lying deeper under the surface of Ritsuka's home life than just the loss of his elder brother.


Loveless: v. 3 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
Loveless: v. 3 (Loveless (Tokyopop))
by Yun Kouga
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveless Volume 3 - The Volume of the Absolute Toy Master II, 20 Jun. 2008
As the storyline of "Loveless" continues, Ritsuka and Soubi are still butting heads trying to figure one another out. Ritsuka is confused by Soubi's apparent inability to just say what he wants out loud, and by Soubi's insistence on receiving orders rather than requests. Meanwhile, the puzzle of his brother's murder hangs over him. A chance occurrence leads to a major breakthrough.

The world Yun Kouga creates in "Loveless" is fascinatingly complex, and multi-layered. The characters are all complex, even those who play bit parts, such as Ritsuka's friend Yukio Hawatari, and Soubi's friend Kio Kaido. Some people may find themselves put off by the shota-con implications of the relationship between Soubi and Ritsuka, although my own reading of it is that the relationship is much more along the lines of pure dominant/submissive (Soubi is so sub it's frightening at times) than of any particular gender orientation. The artwork is fascinating (to the point where I'm wanting to learn to read Japanese, just so I can find out whether the characters in the backgrounds of some of the images are relevant to the plot) and while the dialogue occasionally has clumsy moments, I'd be willing to put these down as artifacts of the translation process.


Women At The Well - Songs Of Paul Kelly [Australian Import]
Women At The Well - Songs Of Paul Kelly [Australian Import]

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Songs, Beautiful Singers, 20 Nov. 2002
This CD could be described as a sampler of Australian and New Zealand female singing talent, all working from the lyrics of just one man: Paul Kelly. Kelly himself has a long career in the Australian music scene, writing lyrics for many people, and also performing with his own backing group (The Messengers, formerly The Coloured Girls).
The CD starts beautifully, with the clear voice of Bic Runga singing "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" - a lovely piece based around biblical verses. Then there's the soulful voice of Renee Geyer, followed by a sassy piece by Deborah Conway. Chrissy Amphlett (of Divinyls fame) does a wonderful reinterpretation of "Before Too Long", which was one of Kelly's first singles on the Australian scene. This is followed by a new girl group, Lash", who give a hard-rocking version of "Dumb Things".
The wonderful voices of Vika and Linda Bull make their first appearance singing "Be Careful What You Pray For". Then there's Christine Anu, Kate Ceberano, Rebecca Barnard. Angie Hart of Frenté does a version of "Careless" which brings up the gooseflesh on my spine. Then Renee Geyer returns, with "Killer Lover" - another bit of absolutely gorgeous soulful music.
Magic Dirt do a great perspective on "Darling It Hurts" - the single I can remember as bringing Paul Kelly to my attention, when I was about fourteen or fifteen. Then there's some of Kelly's work for other artists: "99 Years", from Vika and Linda Bull's debut album ("Vika and Linda" - see if you can get hold of it, if only for the best voices around in years); and "Beggar On The Street Of Love", which brought Jenny Morris to the eyes of Australia as a solo performer.
Two lovely songs with a country feel end the album: Anne Kirkpatrick with "Cradle of Love" and Kasey Chambers putting a really authentic touch to "Everything's Turning To White".
I'd strongly recommend this album to anyone who likes Paul Kelly's songwriting, as well as to people who don't know the first thing about it. I'd also recommend it to anyone who's looking for a few more Australian or New Zealand artists to have a look for - there's a lot of talent down under, and it's not just the men at work here. These ladies are stunning.


Irish Evening
Irish Evening
Offered by encorerecords
Price: £10.77

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Honest to God Brilliant Night, 20 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Irish Evening (Audio CD)
I've seen the Chieftains live, once. I got straight back home, and listened to this album, because it really does seem to encapsulate the whole experience of a Chieftains live performance. It really is like this album plays it.
There's the medleys, the guest spots, the Irish dancing, the whole lot. It's well worth a listen to if you're ever planning to go to a Chieftains performance, and it's probably well worth getting if you want to recapture the atmosphere of a performance if you've been to one before. About the only thing that could be better, aside from the real thing, of course, would be a DVD of it, watched on a big screen, with surround sound.
I love this album, it's one of my favourites. I swear, I've nearly worn the shiny off the CD by listening to it.


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