Archive for July, 2011

Mink, the "dragon half"

The ドラゴンハーフ (Dragon Half) manga was a 青年 (seinen) series by 見田 竜介 (Mita Ryuusuke) serialized from 1988 – 1994 in Dragon Magazine in Japan. It was highly RPG-based, with countless references to NES video games of the time including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and so on. As a seinen manga it contains many highly sexual situations, although it never ventures into the realm of all-out 変態 (hentai). The series was compiled into 7 単行本 (tankoubon), and also spawned a 2-episode anime OAV.

The manga employs a wide range of genres (Excel Saga is another series which follows the same format) and pokes fun primarily at Dungeons & Dragons-type settings. There is rampant use of super-deformed (SD’d) characters, as well as a wide range of zany events throughout.

Without ruining the story for anyone, this series follows the adventures (and misadventures) of a half-human, half-dragon daughter of a dragon and dragon slayer, named Mink. Mink is in love with her pop star and dragon slayer idol, Saucer Dick (Although introduced as “Dick Saucer,” his parents shared “Dick” as part of their name, as does his cousin Sonic, thus “Dick” is his surname). Because Saucer is a dragon slayer who hates all dragons, Mink is on a mission to obtain the magical Pido Potion which will turn her into a full human (so that Saucer will fall in love with her). She somehow manages to find herself hunted by King Siva, his magician Rosario, the half-slime/half-human Princess Vina, the captain of the guard Damaramu, and all manner of dragons and demons including the Demon Lord Azatodeth and his sons.

All in all, if you don’t mind the crazy “big hair” of the 80’s, scantily-clad girls and heavy sexual innuendo, and in particular if you are a fan of NES games and RPGs, this is certainly a series worth reading.  And hey — the translation of the manga (linked above) is free.

My copy of The Terminator came complete with someone else's memento: their movie ticket stub. Awesome bookmark.

One of the last books I read in recent history was the novelization for The Terminator. I am a big fan of the original movie, but I’d never ventured into the realm of its book format. In reading over the reviews on Amazon, however, readers LOVED this book in particular because of its in-depth treatment of the psychology behind main character Kyle Reese.

When I was little and watched this movie with my dad, I’d had a huge crush on Reese. I never thought he was physically attractive, but I loved his character’s wildness and determination. So, once I knew that the novelization delved into his psyche, I knew I had to read it. And, I was not disappointed.

I must admit that the beginning of the book is pretty tedious. The author, Randall Frakes, goes rather unnecessarily in-depth into the dump truck driver’s mind and spends a ludicrous amount of time on him, one of the punk kids whom the Terminator encounters during the onset of the movie, and the bum in the alley when Reese first appears. The actual parts that these characters play in the movie are minimal and they have somewhere between 1-3 minutes total screen time, yet the novel begins with pages and pages about them. But, rest assured that after you muster past these slow and plodding points the novel picks up and the action begins.

I must agree with the reviewers on Amazon as regards the treatment of Reese: he has considerably more “screen time” if you will, and the book does a very good job of demonstrating Reese’s conflicting emotions as a young man and a soldier, a person displaced from all that he knows and dropped into a relative paradise. Sarah Connor also enjoys similar treatment, yet Reese certainly has his share of the spotlight.

The book is just barely over 200 pages, so it is a rather quick read. Unfortunately, it’s not available in eBook format and is out of print, so if you want to have a peek at it you will have to nab yourself a used copy.