May 03, 2018

What I'm reading

As Family Gekijyo slowly fills in its new schedule, let's talk about books.

I'm alternating between the Chihayafuru manga series and Edogawa Ranpo's young adult mystery novels. Inspired by Chihayafuru, I'm also working my way through the Manga Hyakunin Isshu Daijiten. It's an encyclopedic guide to the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu written at a 6th grade level, about my speed in this subject.

Chihayafuru wins that rare trifecta as a great manga series, a great anime series, and a great live action film series. A third season of the anime and a third live-action movie should be coming out this year (though they will take longer to make it eastward across the Pacific).

Norihiro Koizumi wrote and directed the live-action films, and did a fine job condensing two seasons of the anime down to four hours of film without compromising the characters or the plot. He also introduced some incidental changes that work well, such as making Harada a Shinto priest.

   Amazon (JP)
   Kindle (US)

Manga Hyakunin Isshu Daijiten

Edogawa Ranpo is the pen name (derived from Edgar Allan Poe) of Taro Hirai (1894-1965), a tireless promoter of the mystery genre in Japan. His efforts were well-rewarded. "Cozy" mystery fiction is a staple on Japanese television and the best-seller lists.

Ranpo wrote the "Boy Detectives Club" series for a young adult audience. It reminds me of the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown books I read as a kid. Early versions of the "light novel," the Japanese is fairly simple, with an emphasis on action and short but vivid descriptive passages.

As in old radio dramas, the narrator often breaks the fourth wall to address the reader.

Now out of copyright, HTML files of Ranpo's novels can be downloaded from the Aozora public domain library. The files display as plain Unicode text in most browsers. For a more aesthetically-pleasing reading experience, cut and paste the online link into the Air Zoshi reading app.

From the "Boy Detectives Club" series, here's The Witch Doctor using the Air Zoshi app.

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# posted by Blogger Matthew
5/04/2018 10:18 AM   
I've read Edogawa Rampos Tales of Mystery as well as his novels The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows.
# posted by Anonymous ソウル
7/01/2018 12:26 AM   
It would be great if there were a new season of Chihayafuru.
I haven't read the manga yet but I watched the anime and it's very cool