Like a lot of people, I first came to this book because of the film of the same title. That film – though different in some ways to the book – is a classic of weird UK cinema, featuring Richard Burton as a suitably bitchy novelist with a catastrophic chip on his shoulder. Suffice it to say, I was intrigued enough to find a copy of the book to see how much it differed.
So. The final volume of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira has rolled around on supercharged wheels. It’s carrying some kind of monster thing that I think was a kid once. There’s carpet bombing and from-orbit lasers. There’s annihilation and birth; grotesqueries of form and the simplicity of connection. There’s death, and there’s life.
There’s also a fair chance that for a reasonable part of the work, it’ll feel like you have no idea what the fuck is going on. But that’s ok, because the ending to this tale of conspiratorial struggles to contain universe-warping power really wants to remind you of one thing: everything comes down to the friends you make along the way.
So here we are, the penultimate Akira trade. Though there’s plenty of action, it can reasonably be said that this is the calm before the storm. Characters reappear and regroup, and the progression of both political jockeying and methods of government contingency ‘management’ is marked.
BUT. There’s still a lot of batshittery in here. I mean, did you ever gather in an arena with your raggedy-arse compatriots to watch the moon explode? Well?
I know, I know. Only four stars. But it’s a classic! But it’s important! But it’s stuck around a lot longer than you have!
All of these things are true. And it’s really difficult to think of many reasons to not give the thing five stars, because when it comes to widescreen stories, Homeric narration is pretty much in a league of its own.
The Iliad is, for all its importance, still something that would, if written in straight prose today, be interesting, but also strongly in need of an edit.
A quick review for a quick read: it’s useful, charming, and you won’t go wrong if you get it.
Slightly longer: I’ve been to Japan a couple of times now and so am probably not the intended audience for this book. I had picked up a lot of what’s described within by osmosis – I travelled there initially as a performer in a taiko group, after all – but gee, it would’ve been great to have this as a fast guide to Not Sucking. (more…)
So you should all know that Erick Purkhiser and Kirsty Wallace – or Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, to give them the names by which the world most readily identifies them – were The Cramps. You know: the band that invented the term psychobilly (even if they didn’t think they had much in common with the double-bass music that ploughs that furrow today), who were often written off as a novelty act (because monsters) and who were stalwart protectors and exponents of the history and primacy of rock and roll.
How do you review something like Don Quixote properly? I mean, something that was written four centuries ago, and is a cornerstone of Spanish literature. It’s one of the earliest novels, deals in knighthood and class, and is something I’ve lugged from country to country over the past 20 years because I never seemed to be able to donate enough time to it.
Well, I’ve now finished it, so I’ll give reviewing it a shot: Don Quixote is a pretty good, earthily rendered cautionary tale of how reading chivalric romances leads to elder abuse. It also features more people vomiting on each other than you’d expect from a classic of literature.
I guess a lot of what I wrote in my review of the first volume of Akira is applicable here: it’s something technological and dirty; something full of speed and movement, yet manages to not advance the story particularly far.
(Well, that’s not entirely true. The story told here hints at Bigger Consequences Yet To Come, even though the whole volume is essentially one lengthy chase sequence.)