Lenni Reviews: “Mieruko-chan” Vol 1, by Tomoki Izumi

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High schooler Mieruko is cursed with seeing horrible, twisted spirits all around her; but no one else can. She just does her best to ignore them while also protecting her best friend from these things.

This manga is cute but oddly fanservicey with all the up skirt and cleavage shots. It’s really sweet how Mieruko just want to protect the people she cares about as best she can without revealing she can see ghosts. I won’t spoil it but there’s a story about a kitty that sold me on this series. All the stories are quick one shots so I’m wondering how this will progress and if there will be an overarching story line. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Lovesickness” a Junji Ito Story Collection

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

The collection of horror stories really shows Ito’s range as to what he can make horrible. I think my favorite is “The Mansion of Phantom Pain” but the entire saga of the cover character “Beautiful Boy and the Crossroads” is good, too. Super gory in this case, so be aware of that if gore is not your thing.

This is a solid offering with another funny story at the end featuring a fake poop. The volume leaves you with a laugh if you need to recover from the rest of the stories. 5 out of 5.

 

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Finally Watched It: Lovecraft Country (2020)

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I went back and forth about doing an episode by episode breakdown of this series. If you’d like that let me know (like I did WAAAAY back with Battle Royale) but this is my impression based on the first two episodes. That I’ve watched a few times just to catch as much as I could.

First of all I want to rub it ALL THE WAY in that this series is filled with Black and Brown people while Lovecraft himself was a racist. As a horror fan, enjoying Lovecraft became difficult when, ya know… He wouldn’t see me as an actual human. I get a little thrill out of things that piss off racists. It’s my fetish. Don’t judge me.

I have fuzzy memories of an uncle of mine either talking about or owning a copy of ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book.‘ I know Ma told me about it in a really roundabout way that was indicative of a lot of Black families that wanted to keep certain things unspoken for the young ones. (Boy do I have stories about the AIDS epidemic and Army recruiters at my high school…)

I can just feel the love in this. The writing is perfect. I can literally see stories told to me by my grandmother and her siblings come to life among a horror story that keeps me engaged. It’s really cool and I am so glad this is a thing that’s happening. It’s filling a horror hole in my heart that felt cheated by what’s been coming out of American Horror Story these days (it’s OKAY, just not blowing me away like the first season).

And yes… My literary geek ass has added as many of the books I saw in the series on my TBR list… Because clearly, it’s too short.

“Don’t let them make you question yourself. That’s how they win. They want to make us crazy, terrorize us, make us scared.” Man, if that isn’t the path of the oppressor/abuser. Fantastic.

And I shall leave my assessment of these first two episodes with this… 

Spoilers… 

Fuck that. Justice for Uncle George.

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Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 4 by Lynn Okamoto

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In the final volume, Lucy makes her final stand against the organization hunting her and putting her friends in danger.

Well, everything just goes completely sideways in this volume. It’s not the ending I expected but it seemed fittingly bombastic and touching. I feel it was well worth my time getting through four huge books. The plot got fleshed out with the Diclonii vs Humans and Lucy wanting a normal life. But of course, if you are familiar at all with this series’ reputation, you may want to avoid it due to the high body count, nudity, and gore. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Scarlet Gospels”(Hellraiser #2) by Clive Barker

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After reading Hellbound Heart, I made sure to get my hands on the sequel. This stars Detective Harry D’Amour, who has devoted himself to the supernatural after an encounter that killed his partner. As Pinhead makes some major moves leaving a trail of death, Harry and other mystically inclined friends move to stop him.

Okay… I kinda liked this book. It functions really well on it’s own. My problem with it is that it’s a sequel to a book that barely featured Pinhead. I’m left with a feeling that the movie’s popularity impacted this story; because the main Cenobite in the first was female and there’s hardly a mention of her here. 

In viewing this book as a better sequel to the movies (anything after Hellraiser 2 is not worth watching, in my opinion), it’s a worthy addition to the universe. It’s really dark, the stakes are high, and it’s just brutal – as to be expected of anything Hellraiser.  It was just strange reading these back to back and not feeling the connection from one to the next. I liked it but this is clearly riding on Pinhead’s popularity. 3.4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker

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Once I hear some media I enjoy is based on a book, I almost always add it to my To Be Read list. This book pretty much follows the movie, Frank is bored with life and seeking ultimate pleasure so he uses the puzzle box to summon the Cenobites. What’s different is Pinhead isn’t the “lead” cenobite. The book has a female as the leader.

But I’m glad I read it. It was cool to see the origins of such iconic characters. Despite already knowing the story beats because I’ve seen the movies a bajillion times, I found the book riveting and I can’t wait to read the next one.  4.7 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “Manga Yokai Stories: Ghostly Tales from Japan” by Sean Michael Wilson, Lafcadio Hearn, Inko Ai Takita

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*This is a collection of stories based on the work of Lafcadio Hearn who  moved to Japan in 1890 and married a Japanese woman, Setsu. He not only collected stories from her, but many folktales from villagers he met.

The art is really simple but gets the point across. It also reads really fast since some of the stories are so short; like a book of fairy tales you’d get for your kid. They don’t stick in your mind for very long but I can see this being very re-readable. 3.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Remina” by Junji Ito

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Set in future Japan, a new planet is discovered and the scientist names the planet after his daughter, Remina. While uncomfortable being in the spotlight, Remina slowly accepts her newfound fame. But the tide turns against her when it’s revealed planet Remina is moving closer to Earth.

I remember this story from one of Ito’s previous collections I’ve read. This edition is really nice, though.

Much like the planet bearing her name, Remina just sort of drifts along without much agency of her own. As everyone around her descends into homicidal chaos, one would think she would say or do… Something? Other than crying and apologizing for being a bother?

Anyway, this is a story highlighting the worst of humanity as it’s railing against it’s certain destruction. The art is classic Ito greatness but the story didn’t grab me. Remina is just so blah and everyone around her is either dead or terrible for most of the book. It’s more dull and hopeless than scary. 2.9 out of 5 for me.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Dollhouse Family” by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Vince Locke & Chris Peter

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Through generations of a family, a dollhouse with mysterious powers manipulates people right up to six year old Alice. She receives the house from an estranged aunt and voices inside help her deal with her rapidly degrading family life. But Alice resists the promises of the house as it is clear even as she grows to adulthood, the house has sinister intentions.

Basically this is a Lovecraftian story of how a curse follows a family for generations until Alice fights to end it. I love the creature designs and I was hooked watching Alice grow up. The backstory with the family is revealed in-between Alice growing up and the time jumps were a little jarring, I’ll admit. But you get used to them as you read.  I hope there’s a sequel to this because it is clearly set up for one. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Daphne Byrne” by Laura Marks & Kelley Jones

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Still mourning the loss of her father, fourteen year old Daphne Byrne doesn’t get along with her rich classmates and sees things others don’t. While her mother continues to see a charlatan medium in a desperate attempt to contact her deceased husband, Daphne’s visions get stronger and even talk back to her.

While the creature design is fantastically horrifying, some of the panels with the human characters are wonky. I get what the shadows are trying to convey in terms of emotion but the end result is blobby and unfinished. Thankfully, this isn’t a lot of the book. The rest of the art is perfect for a Victorian horror. And Daphne’s story is cool but I wanted more. I want to know where her abilities are coming from and the demon world clearly connected to her. I do hope a sequel is in the works for this one. 4 out of 5.

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