Book: Aesop’s Fables (Wordsworth’s Classics)

“Lions regularly team up with asses. There’s a fox somewhere too…”

aesopsfables

Author: Aesop

Genre: Fantasy, Classic, Animals, Age: All

Do you ever think that some stories are familiar, but you can’t pinpoint where you’ve read them before? Reading Aesop’s Fables is like stumbling into that experience over and over again.

the_crow_and_the_pitcher

(The Crow and the Pitcher)

Of course, as the book’s introduction is quick to point out, Aesop didn’t really *write* these stories, he merely collected them. This version from Wordsworth contains around 250 short tales, which feature anthropomorphic characters and situations that make them cross paths. Each story is a quick read, taking roughly three minutes to read at most, and I found myself finishing the book in a couple of days, since I was using it for light reading before bedtime.

There’s nothing amazingly complex about the experience,  since each story starts and finishes with few plot-points. For someone used to reading long, epic fantasy books, this was such a refreshing experience and almost a mental cleanse; I could stay with the characters for a few minutes, and then abandon them, and only take the central  message forward.

(more…)

Advertisements

TV: BBC Horrible Histories Series 1-5 DVD Box Set (UK Edition)

“The best thing since cave-men!”

horriblehistoriesdvdcover

Studio: BBC

Genre: Comedy, Historical, Age: 5+

Released: October 2013  (UK version)

Horrible Histories, for those that don’t know, are an insanely popular series of factual-comedic books made for children. They are pretty old, considering I read them in school, and are filled with facts that seem ridiculous, but are actually true. There have been many productions based off the books, from broadway shows, to animated series, but the 2009 series is easily the best one, being made for all age groups, not just children.

The whole box set is around 30 hours long, and includes all episodes from the five series. The first 12 episodes of each series has sketches, fake historical ads, historical parodies of modern-day reality and chat shows, songs, and quizes. Episode 13, the last of every series, has a compilation of the best songs from the series, and a few extended sketches.

The series groups ancient and modern history into categories titled like Rotten Romans, Awful Egyptians, and Terrible Tudors. Although the show starts off with mainly British related history, it does branch out into significant American and some European history.

Each member of the main cast plays a plethora of characters. As time grows on, you can immediately recognise them and their acting style, and the familiarity makes the comedy even more hilarious.

horriblehistories_1_4

(Featuring Ancient Beauty Tips from our experts)

I personally find it impossible to pick a favourite person from the cast, because even when they are not in the starring role, they bring a lot of charm and charisma to the sketch, and are great in their supporting roles.

Each cast member has plays many characters, but my favourite roles are Jim’s Shouty Man, Matt’s King Charles II of England, Simon’s Robert Dudley, Martha’s Queen Elizabeth I of England, Larry’s Bob Hale, and Ben’s King Henry VIII of England.

More information and videos below:

(more…)

Manga: My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) Volume 1 Summary + Review

“I’m not getting involved with this”

SAM_4698

Publisher: Kodansha Europe

Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Shojou, Drama  Age: 13+

Released: 20th March 2014 (UK Version)

Hardworking schoolgirl Shizuku Mizutani is a student with a life mission to get perfect grades. Her life is turned upside down when she is asked to deliver a homework assignment to the school delinquent, who then manages to convince himself he is love with her. Haru appears to have very little social skills, but the pair clearly have a chemistry, even if Haru is getting in the way of Shizuku’s goal of being number one at her school.

This is the manga that formed the basis for the anime series, and the first volume covers up to the first two and a half episodes.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

(more…)

TV: My Jihad – BBC Three Original Drama Short – Episode 2 Summary + Review

“Jihad: the spiritual struggle within oneself against sin.”

myjihad_1

(“You live with your parents…?”)

Airing on: BBC iPlayer Exclusive

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy Age: All ages

Released: March 2014

At first it was the title that caught my eye. I was thinking about how someone has managed to drag the media-buzzword “Jihad” into yet another production, but happily this is a drama about a young Muslim man called Nazir who is looking for a wife.

At a speed-dating event, Nazir (Hamza Jeetooa) is being wrung out by the various attendees about his lack of finances. Fahmida (Anjli Mohindra), who is chaperoning her friend at this event, gives Nazir a particularly hard time. The are immediately at odds, but a chance meeting on a bus opens up a conversation, and they are able to look at each other in a favourable light.

This is one of the standalone BBC Three Original Drama Shorts that are available to watch on BBC iPlayer. The premise is to celebrate the new talent joining the BBC, and each episode is less than 20 minutes.

Warning! May Contain Spoilers!

(more…)

Anime: Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“There’s a deity in my local shrine…”

inari_1-1

(“Please don’t poop on me… please…”)

Studio: Production IMS

Genre: Romantic, Comdey, Fantasy, Supernatural Age: 13+

Released: January 2014 – onwards

Inari is a middle school student, who is sweet and clumsy, and loved by her two best best friends Keiko and Chika. On the way to school Inari rescues a “puppy” from the river bank, but her friends believe that Inari fell into the river due to her clumsiness.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

(more…)

Purchased: Tiger & Bunny Limited Edition DVD + Blu-ray Volume 1 (UK Edition)

“That’s not a hero!”

SAM_4528

Studio: Sunrise

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Comedy, Superheroes, Science Fiction, Age: 12+

Released: February 2013  (UK version)

Tiger & Bunny has to be be one of the best series made in recent years. So much so, that I watched it multiple times in the Japanese subs, and was ecstatic when it was released in the UK. For once, I have no complaint that a “guy’s series” was being released, since I love superheroes. This series has so many lovable characters, and has original superheroes with their own unique costume design. The only thing that is evil is the cost of each of these volumes.

Since I purchased this when it came out in February last year, it was at full price. Since this is an ultra-lux “Limited Edition” (no, it isn’t, explanations at the end), so let’s see what the buyer gets for their money. Especially since there are four of these volumes to collect.

SAM_4532

First of all, there is a cardboard sleeve with the outer designs of the volume on it. Inside is another cardboard sleeve which holds the disks.  Each side features a superhero from the series. Everything is nice and glossy, and this is one of the major factors for buying this set.

More information and pictures below:

(more…)

Anime: Noragami – Episode 2 Summary + Review

“How to live with a tail…”

nora_2-1

(“Oh no! How am I going to get home without my body!”)

Studio: Bones

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Comedy Age: 13+

Released: January 2014 – onwards

From the previous episode, Hiyori is carrying on with her normal school life, but her body and spirit are still seperating at unpredictable moments. Her spirit senses have been getting stronger, and she can see the small phantoms that surround everyone’s daily lives.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

(more…)

Anime: Noragami – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“Who you gonna call? Yatogami!”

nora_1-1

(Bullies target the only blonde girl in school)

Studio: Bones

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Comedy Age: 13+

Released: January 2014 – onwards

Bad feelings cause phantoms to appear in the world, and there isn’t a worse time than during exams. Yato, an unknown and poor god, helps out a girl being bullied by her classmates. Tackling the phantom seems to be one step too far for his Divine Weapon (who is also a woman). She decides to quit, leaving Yato not only dirt poor (he doesn’t get much business) but also defenseless against the phantoms.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

(more…)

Purchased: Princess Jellyfish Collector’s Edition DVD Box Set (UK Edition)

“Super Anti-Nerd Makeover Time!!”

SAM_4389b

Studio: Brain’s Base

Genre: Josei, Romance, Drama, Age: Adult

Released: 3rd September 2012  (US version)

I mentioned the release of the Princess Jellyfish Collector’s Edition in a previous post, and I remember rushing out pre-order it. It arrived sometime last year, but I haven’t yet put up any pictures of how stunning this collection is.

This edition comes with the Clara toy, which is a massive keyring-type plush. I always seem to have grubby hands whenever I come near this box, and haven’t had the nerves to take the plush toy out. It sort of rolls about in the box. From my initial impressions, I was expecting it to be larger, but the toy is no larger than the palm of my hand. That’s pretty big for a keyring, but not really for a plush toy.

SAM_4394b

So far there is no BluRay release of this in the UK. The actual DVDs are contained in a cardboard slip inside the larger box. This slip features some truly stunning artwork. I’m not sure if this is from the manga, but it does look in a similar style. Unfortunately, there is no way of securing the cardboard slip when traveling, and my method is to place it inside a folder is it ever needs to be transported. (The larger box feels too awkward to carry around).

More information and pictures below:

(more…)

TV: A Young Doctor’s Notebook – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“A journey to the middle of nowhere”

yodoc1_1

(“My name isn’t Oliver”)

Airing on: Sky Arts

Genre: Drama, Medical, Dark Comedy Age: 15+

Aired: 6th December 2012 – onwards (UK Version)

These are the struggles of a young doctor, Dr Vladimir Bomgard, arriving in remote Russia, from a “long and arduous journey”. The small doctor’s practice, which is staffed by zany medical professionals, is a far cry from the bright lights, and washed people of Russia.

The young doctor is watched by his older self, who looks on at the turn of events from the past. This is a semi-autobiographic drama looking at the author Mikhail Bulgakov’s own experiences working at a country hospital.

When Dr Vladimir arrives at the doors of the country hospital, his youth is a surprise to the staff. His predecessor had been a great and respected doctor, and the young doctor cannot hope to live up to these high expectations.

Warning! Not suitable for younger viewers! May contain spoilers!

(more…)

%d bloggers like this: