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It's the Easter break, finally.

A good ten days to catch up on study and research, and I really shouldn't use it to watch all the anime that's been lining up over the last four weeks, but maybe I'll catch up on all the manga...3 chapters of Furuba, about 7 of Bleach, more of Naruto and Death Note and hopefully the rest of Black Cat...amongst other series. And I don't even want to think of all the drama cds I have to listen to so that I can delete them and clear the space on my HDD, not to mention all the seiyuu videos I have to watch. I really should delete that bowling video... Well, I'm just fishing for stupid things to muse on atm...

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Pretty Face, by Kano Yasuhiro, is a shounen manga series I read about seven weeks ago. It's yet another of those cross-gender ones, this time with the guy ending up with a girl's face, and not just any girl's, but the face of the girl he likes. And said girl mistakes him for her sister...so the insanities ensue. PF is okay, it's not really hentai and I think I really found it funny at some points (like Midori no Hibi I guess), but it is a series that was created to appeal to teenage males, with the stereotypical 'tough guy with a heart of gold' along with an unbelieveably cheesy ending, at least by my standards. 6/10

I suppose there could have been worse ways to waste my time and bandwidth, but my excuse is that I started it in England, when I did have unlimited bandwidth. I'm...a little better at choosing now, but it's still something I have to work on.

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And onto another artistic product from Japan - I borrowed and watched Ju-On: The Grudge during my DVD borrowing spree earlier this year. This horror film has a really simple premise - a vengeful force basically marks and pursues every person that steps into a particular house, where a horrifying act had been committed some years earlier.

The Japanese are widely regarded as the masters of horror (the Chinese are lauded for their comedies and the Koreans for their dramas - it's a stereotype, but it generally works) but this film, which I remember being promoted at the Melbourne International Film Festival a few years ago, shows that even they can produce pretty mindless B/C-grade flicks. No matter what I say, I can't really spoil anything, since this piece is concerned only with trying to scare its viewers - the murder opens the film, and then we are subjected to witnessing the fates of a series of characters who somehow find themselves at the same haunted place. And not only was it plotless, the situation was way too improbable. I was surprised that the family moved into the house in the first place - aren't people in Japan interested in what has happened at a particular site in the past? And surely all those deaths would have made people suspicious of the place. The creepiness is there, perhaps not as intense as in Ringu, but the absence of logic leaves a lot to be desired.

Perhaps the only thing that can be said about it is that the premise of the film has a lot more resonance in Asian cultures where opinions, practices and grudges indeed last for generations, as can be observed in the antagonism between China, Korea and Japan, particularly over the Japanese government's widely criticised censorship of the truths of WWII (history isn't only written by the victor after all, but you know, these points of view are also important), and the respect they still accord those who are regarded as war criminals by most of the rest of the world. I mean, I'm pretty certain we've all forgiven the Germans already, and most of the West has forgiven the Japanese, but not so a large number of Asians... But I'm digressing. Back to the film, I'd recommend rewatching Ringu instead, but imdb reviewers seem to suggest that the rest of the Ju-On saga, including it's American pieces, expand on the premise a bit more rewardingly, if one gets that far. Bar the unlikely situation of me being very bored and seeing the DVD on a library shelf at that time, I won't. 5/10