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About that new Ghost in the Shell movie

As you may have heard, actress Scarlett Johansson recently signed a deal to star in DreamWorks’ upcoming adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese transmedia franchise that began as a cyberpunk manga by Masamune Shirow (the author’s pen name) in 1989. There’s a Ghost in the Shell poster hanging above my desk, in my office. (It hangs next to…

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All Hallow’s Read recs

Last year, Neil Gaiman & Co decided that for the Halloween season, people should give out spooky books in addition to (or in lieu of) candy. They called it All Hallow’s Read. However, I was far too absorbed in my own problems last October to notice this development, much less contribute recommendations. I’d likely have chosen these titles, however. I…

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Otaku Academy, This is why we can\'t have nice things

Nick Simmons is lucky Kenpachi Zoraki's not real

Nick Simmons, son of Gene Simmons, apparently writes comics. And apparently, those comics flagrantly plagiarize panels, character designs and dialogue from Tite Kubo’s manga Bleach. The parallels are so close, Simmons’ publisher has halted production on his comic, pending an investigation. Pro-tip: if you plagiarize (jackass), make sure you go after small fry, and not, say, one of the top-selling…

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Summer reading list

This afternoon after picking up my students’ exams (and spending far too much time wandering gourmet food shops in search of the perfect bar of Earl Grey-infused dark chocolate, and then even more time trying on dresses in shops whose soundscapes were punctuated alternately by concrete drilling, poetry slams, and un-medicated raving), I decided to send them a summer reading list.…

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Books, given and received:

During the holidays, I promised myself that I would write about the books I gave at the end of 2008. They ranged from manga to cookbooks to hard sf to satire. I had no idea I’d get to brag so much about the books I got, too. (Spook Country needs its own post, because it’s just painfully good. It’s rare…

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What is the "Watchmen" of manga?

For American Thanksgiving, I visited Texas and read Watchmen. (It’s surprisingly pertinent Thanksgiving reading; there are a lot of very clever, very painful observations about family dynamics throughout.) I’ve been holding back on posting about it, mostly because I haven’t entirely digested it yet. This post at MangaBlog, however, made me wonder: …what’s the equivalent of Watchmen in manga? What…

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Review: Astral Project

I found out about Astral Project via this post at MangaBlog, and I’m glad I did. Because even if this story didn’t have call girls, cults, and free jazz beats that literally pull you outside your body, it has one very special thing going for it: it makes me feel like I’m back in Japan.