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Juniper Berries, vol. III

I Need to Return Them

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by , 22 May 2012 at 1:33 am (1277 Views)
Today I finally took the time to finish reading "Mämmilä: Kiinalainen juttu. Sarjakuvia Suomesta" by Tarmo Koivisto (ISBN 978-951-1-22917-9). I am afraid the comic is not available in English except for some short exemplary passages, such as "Room for Youth" (included in "Finnish comics annual. 2012", ISBN 978-952-5724-41-7, a compilation I only know by reputation).

"Mämmilä" (original run from 1976 through 1996, plus one album in 2002 and the latest period in 2007--08) is what I would call a "village epic" or "rural epic", yet it has managed to tell about the essence and changes of the whole Finnish society over three decades. I have already referred to it in Berries II ("Des Bandes dessinées", 26th Jan 2008).

Translating just some notable parts of "Mämmilä" into other languages would be a huge undertaking. My own English is not sufficient even for translating the above title into English. The surface level would be, 'A Chinese Story' (informal style), and indeed, one of the main themes is the encounter of ordinary Finnish people with Chinese business interests. However, at least two other translations are possible, and one of them causes the title to be a pun very typical of the author.

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Next to "Kiinalainen juttu", I have another hardcover comics volume: "V niin kuin verikosto", written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd (ISBN 952-469-362-3; English-language original: "V for Vendetta"; the exact years of the eighties troubled original run are hard to confirm). I read the main story of the book in January or February this year, but seemingly cannot pull myself together to read all of the extras with thought and review the whole.

A couple of remarks, though. First, it is a funny coincidence that I happened to pick up "V" exactly this year, when the Finnish newspapers have finally begun to pay attention to the worldwide Anonymous phenomenon -- which has been familiar for years to most of you who follow World Wide Web memes, I suppose. Indeed, during this winter I have seen several photos and illustrations featuring V's Guy Fawkes mask in Helsingin Sanomat and Hufvudstadsbladet. ("This winter" I say; actually I saw the last very small traces of melting snow some two weeks ago.) Second, note that my close friend whom I occasionally refer to as V here was nicknamed after the eighties science fiction TV series, not Moore and Lloyd's work. Third, I did not like the comic quite as much as "Jaspers' Warp" (Captain Britain, cf. "Warps in Space and Time", Berries III, March 2011). Trying to look at it objectively, "V" is better done; but Moore's dark-shaded fears of fascism do not speak me that well in this semi-realistic and highly artistic form. The colorful craziness of Captain Britain just kept me hooked. It might have gone vice versa had I read "V" first, though.

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In late April, I watched the three first episodes of the "Princess Lover" animated series (original visual novel 2008, TV anime 2009, manga run since 2009, hentai original video animation 2010). I discussed PL with Hinarei briefly in the NBB's main picture thread last November, but that was mainly about one character and the OVA. The TV anime appears a lot better, not necessarily that creative, but a notably well-executed example of the harem genre. Whether you want fan service, drama, romance, action, or even just humor, I suggest you watch the two first episodes and then judge if it is your cup of tea or not.

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The future of my blog is uncertain at the moment, not so much because of the current inactivity crisis of the AnimeB community, but more because I have found some great opportunities to express myself in Finnish lately. However, I even have one entry practically ready on my hard disk, just waiting for a day when I can concentrate on publishing it here -- not to mention other entry ideas and sketches. No need to declare Berries dead just yet.

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