29 May 2018

Futago no Teikoku v2 (complete)

Here it is, a project I meant to start last year but ended up getting delayed until now. This is Futago no Teikoku (The Twin Empires), by Kitou Mohiro. I haven't really done any Kitou-stuff since I finished up Bokurano over 8 fucking years ago, with the exception of that very short Ekrano oneshot. That's partly because I wasn't really interested in his other works since then, with the massive exception of Owari to Hajimari no Miles. But for some fucking reason, Kitou blueballed us all by not continuing that (I have no reason why).

Fortunately, all was not lost as Kitou seems to have been playing around with the idea of flying naval warships and seaplanes since then, resulting in this manga. Or more accurately speaking, he's apparently been thinking about the storyline to this new manga for a whole decade before he finally started in 2015. As a fan of both sci-fi and history, I can't help but like the plot and setting, considering it basically involves  Imperial Japan Kou Empire's imperial expansion into China "the continent" set in an age where battleships dominate and aircraft-carriers are in their infancy (think 1920s~1930s). There's even an equivalent of the Washington Naval Treaty in the story! It's quite nice to see the pseudo-IJN be portrayed as the villains, unlike certain anime/manga/video games that just jerk off to battleships like the Yamato all the way to the bank. I expect I'll later end up doing a few other more historical series based around this time period.

The guy at Breading Bad scans was the first to pick this up, but I later got into touch with him(?) and he said he was more than willing to scan the raws, edit, and typeset while letting me translate. So here we are at last. There's currently 3 volumes out in Japan, with the 4th volume coming out in the near future. Breading Bad and I will try out best to catch up to Japan soon enough.

Futago no Teikoku v2 [Breading Bad & Hox]:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v2 c07:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v2 c08:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v2 c09:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v2 c10:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v2 c11:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v2 c12:   Mega
Futago no Teikoku v1 [Breading Bad]:   Mega

22 May 2018

Shiji v03 (complete)

Volume 3 is complete at last. Although Sima Qian deliberately selected his stories in Shiji to provide a moral lesson for future generations and so we should be somewhat skeptical of how certain events really happened, I love the ironic element in volume 3's stories. Especially Shang Yang's end. His rise and fall is sort of a parallel to Qin's own rise and fall, which is quite apt. As an aside, readers of the Book of Lord Shang will recognize many of the conversations in vol.3 chapter 4 are lifted from that text.

In any case, the stories about the reformers in this volume is one of the reasons that make the Eastern Zhou period such a fascinating historical period to read about. There are few examples in world history where there was a multi-state system marked by increasingly intense interstate conflict that led to developments in almost every aspect of society (warfare, philosophy, government, economy, etc) that would provide a civilizational foundation that would endure for more than 2000 years. Actually, if you're interested in this topic, I highly recommend checking out Dingxin Zhao's The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History, which I just finished reading and will probably talk about in a later time.

Shiji v03 c04:   Mega
Shiji v03:   Mega

2 May 2018

Some Thoughts about Adults in the Room

The year is not even half-done, but I'm quite confident that Yanis Varoufakis political memoir, Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe's Deep Establishment, will be one of my top-3 reads for 2018. Now I've been aware of Varoufakis since 2015 when Greece's bailout referendum was all over the news. So I was already aware of common arguments Varoufakis and other economists cited on why austerity was bad economic policy, or why the EU was making a colossal mistake in its handling of the Greek debt crisis. But to vicariously experience that fateful 2015 through the eyes of an insider as Varoufakis is something else entirely. So whether or not you're familiar with the Greek debt-crisis, I highly, highly recommend reading this book. Sure, given that it's a political memoir written by a "loser," it's hard to tell just how objective and truthful of a writer Varoufakis is, but if even only half of the things he tells in this book are true, it still makes for a shocking read. Like my other Some Thoughts posts, I don't mean to do a proper review or a convenient summary. Instead, I'll ruminate on some tangential ideas I had while reading this book.