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JessicaRobyn

Reading Robyn

I am a lover of libraries, a reader of everything, a girl easily swayed by pretty pictures, and overall just your average, nerdy fairy princess.

 

2013 is the year I'm finally keeping up a regular reading blog Reading Robyn! There I post extended versions of my GR reviews so be sure to check that out!

 

I always seem to be on the move having lived in seven cities and counting in my nineteen years. I'm not on the run from the law as many have assumed (at least I don't think so), but moving around has given me an appreciation for how places make stories and people make memories. While change is inevitable, books are the friends that I take with me from place to place. They comforted me when I was sick, they push me to continue to learn and grow into myself, and most importantly they opened me up to the possibilities of living in thousands of places all at once.

 

I primarily read YA fiction, as well as a lot of graphic novels and manga. However, I tend to be this combination of odd reads, so expect the unexpected!

 

Cheesy Life Quote: "In this world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself." - Frantz Fanon

Monkey High!, Volume 1 - Shouko Akira I had very low expectations of Monkey High! So low that you probably couldn't even limbo under them, but I kept seeing volume one at my library and eventually my grabby hands got the best of me. Turns out this manga is actually good. I mean, imagine my shock when I started laughing out loud and cooing at the characters. What makes this work is the humour. I was totally caught off guard by some of the gags and it seemed purposely so. Monkey High makes a lot of visual jokes and uses the element of surprise to its advantage. The jokes are nothing new, but the delivery is great! The story concept behind Monkey High rings of wonderful simplicity. Haruna has just transferred from her posh high school to this much, much less posh school where the students are all rumbustious and overenthusiastic about everything like they're monkeys. (It works because you really do see the parallels.) It's chaos and she doesn't really know what to make of it, except there's this one boy, the littlest monkey of all, Macharu. Unlike most shojo, Monkey High knows how to give its readers exactly what we really want. Instead of having the series be all about a long drawn out courtship of will they-won't they? (which they will, eventually), the two main characters are boyfriend/girlfriend by mid-way through this first volume. Although it's all very sudden, the way the characters act in terms of their relationship is actually pretty realistic. It's awkward and full of stumbles, they don't know if they'll work as a couple, but the attraction is there and they're both so darn adorable about it!The fluffy factor is off the charts! Macharu is just so cute that you understand why Haruna is attracted to him in spite of herself. Also, some of his lines can just melt a girl's heart and there is plenty of adorableness to go around. However, I can't just go about praising the thing too much because there were some obvious flaws. The storytelling was jumpy and seemed mostly because of the translation. A good manga is one where translation doesn't even cross the readers mind. Here it was page one when I realized how awkward some of the sentences sounded when said aloud. The use of punctuation and vocabulary was off. Ellipsis were so overused that in two pages their would regularly be upwards of 10 uses, which would mean when this would take place every single sentence of dialogue was punctuated with (...). It's difficult to tell why this was done. With the English text the overuse of (...) didn't seem at all natural and at points completely defied sentence structure. Perhaps the translators were trying to be too faithful to the Japanese text or maybe they just don't know how to use other types of punctuation. Either way, it was a real problem in the book, especially in the first chapter. This makes the storytelling difficult for me to judge. Are the issues I'm having with the storytelling a result of the story or a result of the things being lost in translation? An example I'd give is on page two, some students are talking about Haruna transferring and one says, "That's the thing. Remember that diet member who was arrested recently? She's his daughter!" So I'm thinking, "diet member"? Like part of Jenny Craig or something? Turns out this is later amended when Haruna says her father is a former mid-level politician. According to the little translation page at the end of the book "the Deit" is what they call Japan's parliament. Interesting, but not great for clarity. This is important background information, which ends up getting lost because "diet member" has a different connotation in English. I love Japan, but I don't pretend to know anything about its political terms just because I'm reading a shojo manga. I wouldn't be surprised if someone picked this up only to put it right back down again because if it's not making sense on page two why read it? As the manga goes along the translation does improve, so I'm hopeful for the next volume, but dhjafhajhfaj. What really sold me on continuing with Monkey High (despite all the other series I'm in the middle of and the punches I want to throw) was really the author. At the end of the manga there is a couple of pages where the author explains how Monkey High came to be. Her retelling of the process is just so funny and adorable that I want to see more from this person! I'm charmed by her and her characters, so volume two is now on my list. Monkey High! show me what you've got!