Tag: Week of Geek

Week of Geek: Ani-May, My exploration continues…

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Hiya again Geeklings!  Hope your May is going great.  I mentioned before it’s MerMay, but did you know it’s also Ani-May?  A celebration of all things Anime and Manga?  It’s true!  And with Anime North coming up this weekend I thought I’d check back in with my Part-Time Otaku status and see what else is out there apart from my usual go-to series; Sailor Moon, Black Butler and Yuri on Ice.  Still love ’em all, but… what else we got?

A lot, it turns out.

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So, what’s new?  Well, as a teen librarian, I try to pay attention to new teen books coming down the pipelines (makes sense), and one I keep hearing about is a new (at least to North America) manga series called Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”.  The description immediately caught my attention.  It’s set in an Izakaya, which is basically the Japanese equivalent of a pub.  But it’s front door opens onto a parallel world, some sort of European-esque fantasy type realm (there are two moons in the sky, so it’s not here).  So the people who live there get to try these Japanese dishes they’d never get access to otherwise.  I haven’t read the manga yet, but there is an anime version of the series on Crunchyroll, Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World.  I watched the first two episodes; the actual animated part is pretty short and the episodes basically consist of a couple of guys losing their minds over the food and drinks at this pub.  But the way they describe the food is delightful, especially from the perspective of people who’ve never had these kinds of dishes before. I’ve talked about food before on this blog, but really is there ever a bad time to talk about food and fandom?  I think not!

And in honor of that I’ve updated my Geek Cooking list.  Plus, we’ve got a ton of books on Japanese food.

I’ve also started a series called Magical Girl Ore (or Mahou Shoujo Ore).  This is a weird one, but a totally tongue-in-cheek and hilarious play on the Magical Girl trope.  It centers around Saki, a 15 year old girl who discovers that her mother was a Magical Girl, and is passing the torch on to Saki (along with a gruff Yakuza-type ‘sidekick’).  But when Saki transforms for the first time she… well, she turns into a guy.  A very muscular guy still dressed in frills and bows.

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That’s just one of the many ways this series subverts it’s own genre.  I’m five episodes in and I’ve discovered it also plays with love triangles, cute demons, things with tentacles and even making anime itself.  I’ve laughed out loud quite a few times and I’m loving the characters.  (A couple words of warning though; I haven’t been able to find a rating on this series, but from what I’ve watched there’s swearing, some violence and it can get pretty suggestive, so head’s up.)

And for manga, I’ve started reading Blue Exorcist.  This one’s got more of a horror element to it, as it features a boy named Rin who discovers that he is literally the spawn of Satan.  But, deciding he wants none of that, he agrees to train to become an exorcist so he can defeat the demon within.  That alone would be enough to peak my curiosity, but as I’ve been reading I’ve discovered there’s also family secrets, a really elaborate and quirky school and interesting characters.  Colour me sold.  (Funny though, I’ve had to re-read a couple of parts because I’m still getting used to the right to left style; ‘Oops, wrong order, try again’).  It also has an anime series if you want to give that a try (Crunchyroll has both subtitled and dubbed versions).

So in the spirit of all of this I decided to look at some sources online and find some great anime series and manga titles that teens (you guys!) can start out with if you’re just dipping your toes into the format.  I’ve compiled two lists.

Any favorites of yours, Geeklings?  Post away in the comments or on WriteIt.

Here at VPL we’re hard at work on year 2 of Vaughan Fan Con, so keep an eye out for that.  Have a great week everybody, and until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek: For when you’re too young to see Deadpool 2…

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Hiya Geeklings!

So, let me guess what some of you may be thinking.  The big geek news this week is the release of Deadpool 2, which is obviously the sequel to the smash hit Deadpool, a film finally worthy of the Merc with the Mouth (the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better).  BUT, for anyone out there younger than 18, there be a problem; the movie, like it’s predecessor, is rated R.

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Yup, sorry guys, you gotta be 18 to see it unaccompanied by a guardian or parent.  And as a full-fledged adult who has seen the original, let me tell you, that R rating is well earned and the sequel is not going to be any more sanitized, so I have to agree.  And I also agree that to give the character anything less than an R rating would not do him any justice.

Quick history: Deadpool is actually a total ripoff of a DC character.  He was ‘inspired’ by Deathstroke (not to be confused with Deadshot, from the Suicide Squad), a villain from New Teen Titans, and at least in the beginning both of them were pretty interchangeable.  Same style of costume, same MO, same skills, same superpowers, just… same, same, same.  Even their alter-ego names are similar; Wade Wilson (Deadpool) and Slade Wilson (Deathstroke).  If you look at them side by side the comparisons become painfully clear.

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But as the character developed, we discover that Deadpool has one extra superpower over his predecessor; comedy.  Deathstroke is a pretty humorless guy, but Deadpool is not only hilarious but also completely off the wall, often speaking to the audience or having full on conversations with the voices in his head.  It’s these qualities that helped him become his own character, one that’s fairly divisive but to his fans he’s the bomb.

Though you may be too young for the films, fear not!  We have stuff for you to read that will tide you over until the day comes.  We have some YA graphic novels that, while still violent, don’t quite cross the line into ‘only for adults’ stuff.

Deadpool Deadpool Vol. 1: Dead Presidents – “Dead United States presidents, from George Washington to Gerald Ford, have been resurrected – and that’s bad. The Marvel heroes can’t be the ones to stop them… Someone is needed with the reputation, skills and plausible deniability to take out these com-monsters in chiefs. Be here as Deadpool de-un-deadifies ex-Presidents left and right…matching wits with Tricky Dick Nixon, fighting a grudge match against Honest Abe Lincoln, and battling Ronald Reagan – in space! COLLECTING: Deadpool 1-6.”  The first volume in the Marvel NOW! era of Deadpool is as wacky as that summary suggests.

Deadpool Deadpool Vol. 5: The Wedding of Deadpool – “The day of Deadpool’s wedding has arrived! It’s the biggest wedding since that one guy married that other guy as Deadpool and his mysterious bride tie the knot in a tale by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn & Mike Hawthorne. Featuring stories by every writer to ever pen Wade’s series to celebrate this magical occasion! Then, the Deadpool Annual answers the most asked question since Deadpool’s new series began. Whatever Happened to the White Caption Boxes?’ Collecting: Deadpool 26-27, Deadpool Annual.”  Who is the mystery bride?  Read to find out!

Deadpool Deadpool: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – From Goodreads; “It begins with a lost Deadpool adventure from the groovy seventies as DP hits the streets with Power Man and Iron Fist! But when the threat the Trio-For-Hire faced resurfaces in the modern day, Deadpool must track down his old pals for a rematch!
Then, when Deadpool’s past in the Weapon X Program returns to haunt him, he recruits fellow Weapon Plus alums — and reluctant allies — Wolverine and Captain America! In the heart of the enemy’s clutches, the three get sucked deeper into the mysteries they uncover — but when the heroes learn that Deadpool’s past has been weaponized, can they unite to take this new threat down in time?”  One of my favorite Deadpool storylines is when you throw his antics in with the other Marvel characters.  It makes for great dynamics.

Spider-Man/Deadpool - Kelly, Joe Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 1: Isn’t it Bromantic? – “The Webbed Wonder and the Merc with a Mouth are teaming up for their first series EVER! It’s action, adventure and just a smattering of (b)romance in this episodic epic featuring the WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER HERO and the star of the WORLD’S GREATEST COMICS MAGAZINE. Talk about a REAL dynamic duo! COLLECTING: SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL 1-6”.  The first volume in a series where the two most quippy superheroes ever team up?  Count me in!

Hawkeye Vs Deadpool Hawkeye vs Deadpool – “Meet Hawkeye: ladies man (‘ladies man’ because the ladies love to hate this man), mighty marksman and, most importantly, Avenger. He’s the only guy on the team without any powers, though. Then there’s Deadpool. He can be shot, stabbed and punched in the face, but nothing can keep him down. What do they have in common? Halloween in Brooklyn, and a S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage mystery that has both heroes racing the clock! But will Deadpool and Hawkeye kill each other before they figure it out? Collecting: Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool 0-4”.  Another great dynamic to be had here.

Any books I missed?  Are you bummed about the rating for the Deadpool films?  Sound off in the comments or on WriteIt!

Have a great week Geeklings, whip up some chimichangas, and until next time End of Line!

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Week of Geek: Happy MerMay!

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Hiya Geeklings?  How’s your May going so far?

In addtition to all the other fun stuff happening this month (like AniMay, more on that in a couple weeks), today let’s talk about a seldom seen side of the month… MerMay!

What the heck is that, you may ask?  Simply put, it is a month-long celebration of mermaids and it encourages artists to draw their best under sea dwellers and post them online.  As you can see, the results are super cool!  It tickles that tween me who fell in love with The Little Mermaid and wanted to swim with Ariel under the sea.

So in honor of the occasion, here are a few Mermaid-themed YA books to get you reading and dreaming… and not all happy pretty dreams, either.

The Seafarer's KissThe Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember – A heady mix of mermaids, Vikings and Norse mythology.  “Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s fortress. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.”

Deep BlueDeep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – Book one of the Waterfire Saga.  “When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations.”

FathomlessFathomless by Jackson Pearce – “Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant — until Celia meets Lo.
Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea — a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid — all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality.  When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.”

The Twice LostThe Twice Lost by Sarah Porter – “Mermaids have been sinking ships and drowning humans for centuries, and now the government is determined to put an end to the mermaid problem–by slaughtering all of them. Luce, a mermaid with exceptionally threatening abilities, becomes their number-one target, hunted as she flees down the coast toward San Francisco.  There she finds hundreds of mermaids living in exile under the docks of the bay. These are the Twice Lost: once-human girls lost first when a trauma turned them into mermaids, and lost a second time when they broke mermaid law and were rejected by their tribes. Luce is stunned when they elect her as their leader. But she won’t be their queen. She’ll be their general. And they will become the Twice Lost Army–because this is war.”

The Vicious DeepThe Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova – “He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.  His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotions like never before? How can he explain he’s the heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods?  Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.”

HannahHannah by Kathryn Lasky – “Hannah Albury is not like other girls in the turn of-the-century Boston orphanage where she grew up. Instead of seasickness, she gets land-sickness. Billowing waves exhilarate her, but flat plains away from the ocean leave her dried out, parched, and ill. She leaves a ring of salt in the tub when she bathes, and sometimes she sees a faint tracing of scales on her delicate feet. It’s freakish, horrifying and deeply thrilling.As Hannah becomes a young woman, she can sense that a powerful change is coming. A choice lies ahead, and Hannah must discover if she is a creature of the land–or of the sea.”

Tangled TidesTangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper – “Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters–until she becomes one. When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious. Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people–until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process–or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.”

Between the Sea and SkyBetween the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore – “Esmerine can’t wait to become a siren-the highest calling for a mermaid-just like her sister, Dosinia. But then Dosinia goes missing, and it’s up to Esmerine to find her. On the way, she runs into her childhood friend Alandare, a handsome, winged man. Will forbidden love conquer all in this dreamlike fairytale?”

So there’s a few to get you started.  A lot of romance, some danger and so much water.  Any really good books or movies or TV shows I left off?  Sound away in the comments section or post away on WriteIt.

Thanks guys!  Happy MerMay!  Until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek Bonus: A Little Music for Revenge of the Fifth

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Week of Geek: May the Fourth and Revenge of the Fifth 2018

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Hola Geekings!  Enjoying the beautiful weather?  About time, am I right?

As I write this I’m sitting at my desk in the back room of the Civic Centre Library.  As per my usual mode of being, my desk is pretty cluttered, and one thing it is cluttered with is various fandom-oriented posters and items.  That’s right, I don’t just write about this stuff, I practice what I preach, I live it!  Anyhoo, right now I have my Star Wars headphones on, which are decked out in X-Wing orange and feature the rebellion symbol on each ear.  On my monitor sits (among other characters) Poe Dameron in figurine form.  There are two, count ’em, TWO Star Wars pens in my pencil holder (one with Kylo Ren and one with Boba Fett).  And my poster of various awesome female fandom characters features Princess Leia and Ahsoka Tano.

In case it’s not obvious by now, Ali’s a Star Wars fan.  She’s a fan of a lot of things, but that too!

And at the start of May it’s always a great idea to sit back, reflect, and celebrate the galaxy far, far away thanks to two unofficial fan dates; namely “May the Fourth Be With You” and “Revenge of the Fifth”.  As someone who’s more partial to the Dark Side (or at least the characters associated with it) I’m more stoked about the 5th myself, but both days are super fun and give you the perfect excuse to indulge in the force, light or dark.

This year in the world of Star Wars we’ll get our movie fix with Solo: A Star Wars Story, which comes out May 25th (little more than 3 weeks away!)  Much like Rogue One, this will be a flashback movie and will tell the story of a younger Han Solo and how he came to be the scoundrel and scruffy looking nerf herder we all know and love.

Looking good, I think.

Lucasfilm and Disney have also announced a new animated series coming soon called Star Wars: Resistance, which is set in the current timeline and will feature characters like BB-8, Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma, plus all new characters.  Can’t wait!

So, of course, we have things for you to watch and read to honor the occasion.  Check ’em out here…

Enjoy the week Geeklings, get ready for Solo on May 25th, and until next time, End of Line.