Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 3 by Lynn Okamoto

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In this volume, we learn about Director Kurama’s past; whose wife died and he was charged with killing his Diclonius infant daughter. We also have Chief Kakusawa, who runs the horrid facility and his plans to eliminate humanity.

This volume has a lot going on. Kurama, Kakusawa, the chief’s daughter Anna who’s a giant mutant thing, Nana still helping Bando for some reason because he’s a real jerk; and of course all the antics with Nyu living on while others think Lucy is dead. The random wacky hijinks aren’t quite enough to offset the dour and dark overall tone. This is a good story but it really follows through with the ultra-violence and general fact that overall, people are terrible. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 2 by Lynn Okamoto

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In the continuing adventures of “Everyone is Awful” Bando gets some upgrades and devotes himself to hunting down Lucy; who’s past is revealed more in this volume; specifically when she met Kouta.

In this volume we meet Nana and Nozomi, to add to the makeshift family Kouta is forming around him. And again, I reiterate my statement that “Everyone is Awful” should be the tagline of this series. I mean, YIKES.

At least at the end of this one, we get a much more lighthearted story about a violinist and a pianist coming together for their music. It was actually uplifting but compared to the rest of the omnibus, that’s not saying much. It’s a good series if a downer. 4 out of 5.

 

Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 1 by Lynn Okamoto

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The Diclonios, Lucy, who we come to call Nyu, escapes from a research facility that kept her prisoner; helpless against their viciously cruel experiments. She is injured in the process and loses her memory, happening upon a boy she once knew as a child, now grown. But the facility won’t stop hunting her.

I am not gonna lie, I actively avoided this manga for a long time. This is because the anime was mentally… I won’t say scarring but more jarring. All your anime tropes are turned on their head when someone’s head is graphically ripped off. In some admittedly fantastic sound effects (and this is coming from someone who was mentally scarred by the radio play on NPR; specifically the episode about the fog that turned people inside out);  my brain is marked by gruesome blood curdling crushing wet sounds that permeate this anime…

So, here we are at the manga!

What bothers me the most about this – and other media like it – is that people are objectively terrible. They see a weeping girl with bloody feet and look at her like garbage. They hit a random person and don’t care. They rationalize disgusting experiments that wouldn’t be ethical to perform on any species we know of under the guise of progress. I mean, what did any of these people expect but for their subjects to eventually rise up to destroy them? No wonder Lucy kills so readily… This manga comes from the thesis that everyone is awful.

The side stories are also dour but they are bittersweet; giving some much-needed light in the darkness of the rest of the book. 4.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Ajin” Vol. 10 by Gamon Sakurai

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The Health Ministry is willing to engage in negotiations with Sato while Kei finally makes contact with his no-nonsense mother while she is in the hospital with Kei’s sister. We also get some insights as to how Demi-Humans are treated in other countries; spotlighting the United States.

It may seem a contrary opinion but, I kinda understand Kei’s mom. Coming off the heels of the hysterical mom in Drifting Classroom, we have a mom character who is ruthlessly practical with a unique insight into how her son thinks. It may seem heartless but she’s letting him go to do what he needs to do; which is a mission she knows is dangerous. I found that refreshing.

As to the ending vow from Kei to take down Sato for good… Yeah, I have a feeling Kei’s gonna either get his ass handed to him a few more times or lose a bunch of people. Sato is a villain that really gives no fucks. I guess we’ll see how this goes.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition” by Stephen King

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In what appears to be a short term history of poor reading decisions, I started off this year deciding I should catch up on some Stephen King; spurred on by the fact this book is due for a remake. When I was a teenager, I tried to read the expanded edition. I even had a bet going with a camp friend at the time that I could finish the book in 1 week.

I lost that bet but she never cashed in so ah well…

Now, having finished the book and rewatched the tv mini-series that for all its camp, holds a special place in my heart (but Storm of the Century is my favorite); I have to say I can see why the original may have been cut down – likely not very much – since to get the gist of the story, not all those words are necessary. You may have noticed in some of my reviews where I have said that a book could have benefitted from a ruthless editor to cut it down. And although my eyes may have glazed over for some pages, I still enjoyed this book.

I finished this back in February (the 11th if you want to get specific and follow me on Goodreads) and I hesitated for a long time whether or not I should bother to post a review.

Then I started Sleeping Beauties right after that to continue my habit of poor reading decisions. A review of that will be coming.

I am a fan of King but like Gaiman, I’m not going to say every single work is perfect. It’s really, REALLY long; the kind of book an e-reader is made for since it’s cumbersome to read in print form and again, I will freely tell you a flipped through some points to get back to the main thread. I think seeing the show before reading the book was to my detriment because I already knew the major plot points and knew what to skim. However, I have to say some of the changes they made from book to ’90’s show are interesting but I do hope they stick closer to the book in the new one. There’s some great character conflict and development that’s VERY simplified in the show. There is more moral ambiguity in the book. But I gotta say, if I had to WATCH all this stuff, it’d be boring as fuck. It’s easier to read and good fucking luck to the stalwart souls adapting this again. 4 out of 5.

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Finally Watched It: “Hellbound: Hellraiser 2”

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The first Hellraiser was one of my favorite horror movies growing up but I had never really taken notice of the sequels. Either I just assumed they would be terrible or it just passed me by but I finally decided to take a look at the sequel.

To start off I love how this is a DIRECT sequel with a recap in the beginning. It gave just enough backstory to make you excited to see what’s coming next. While I did enjoy this movie overall, there’s something off; like they’re trying so hard to be the first movie but coming off a bit sloppy in the execution. But I gotta give it credit. It’s scary, unique, and Tiffany is a true MVP. We hear about Pinhead all the time but we don’t hear much about how badass Tiffany – as well as Kirsty – is in terms of horror movie female leads.

Eventually, I’ll check out the rest of the series but I hear they get pretty bad after 2. We’ll see.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Naked Kiss from a Broken Doll: A Giallo” by Peter Marra

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

In the style of Giallo (Italian crime thrillers), we follow Criselda, a sadistic killer as she rips and tears her way through victim after victim eventually encountering a likeminded woman, Cenci. This book follows them as they sink into a life of blood-soaked, lust-filled tales.

This book reminds me very much of Lucio Fulci movies. Visceral, gory, erotic, highly detailed, and graphic, this book will take you on a ride. The way it’s written, it’s almost as if you are in Criselda’s head, trippy, warped, and a bit confusing at times. And while it doesn’t hold back on the gore, there’s a poetry to it. It sure isn’t for the faint of heart but I enjoyed reading it. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Drifting Classroom: Perfect Edition” Vol. 2 by Kazuo Umezz

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

Sho and his remaining classmates and friends are still desperately trying to get people to stick together to survive. But while internal conflicts about, now disease threatens to wipe them all out.

Like I said in the first review, these characters are almost comically deranged. They seem eager to start killing each other for any reason they can find! It’s a wonder any characters are left for a book 2, in my opinion…

What sets this apart for me is the connection between Sho and his mother. She can somehow hear him from the future in random places and I wish this angle was explored more. But I guess that’s for the third volume. It’s hard to say I like this because it’s so violent and depressing but I do and I want to read more! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Drifting Classroom: Perfect Edition” Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezz

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Inexplicably, an entire school is thrown into the future along with everyone inside. Sho, his teachers, and his classmates must fight to survive in a deserted wasteland.

Yeah, this book gets Lord of the Flies real quick. It’s like nobody even tried to put up the pretense of acting sane and this book doesn’t hold back on the gore and tragedy. It’s pretty depressing. But it’s also very compelling. I will give a mild spoiler and say this is NOT the book for you if you don’t like reading about a lot of dead kids. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection” by Junji Ito

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and us suggested for mature readers.

In another Junji Ito collection, I am once again impressed, frightened, and confused as to why I keep inflicting these nightmarish stories on myself. But Ito is true to his usual macabre, gory self in this series of short stories that will send shivers down your spine. I never get tired of this guy and love his work. I don’t want to go too deep into all the stories but my favorite was “Earthbound.” 5 out of 5.

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