Manga

Manga Review of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords by Akira Himekawa (This covers all of the books/parts in the Four Swords part of the series.)

Type: Adventure, Shounen, Video Game

Basic Plot: A manga version of the video game. Link is a knight that has to rescue Hyrule from a bunch of dark creatures. To do this though he has to learn to work with others. After he takes the Four Sword to fight with, his personalities are in four different bodies and he has to adjust to working with people with different attitudes and personalities while trying to rescue the country.

Quality

Plot and Setup: 3½/5 Slightly Creative: Originally I thought this manga would not be very good because it was based off a video game. It ended up being a good action plot, though it seemed like things conveniently happened at times. It did have some unique plot twisters, but was an everyday action manga in a lot of ways. Monsters get loose, hero defeats them, and he learns a lesson about character. It was a very funny manga and I enjoyed Link’s four different personalities.

Graphics: 3/5 Average: The drawings were a more cartoon-like than manga should be, but it was manga-like enough to still be considered such. It was not given a lot of detail, but it was done well. I would almost prefer a manga lacking in the fancy drawings if the plain ones are done well to ones that are attempted fancy manga style and end up awful. I did notice that the author only put noses on the faces of the characters half the time in the first book and I personally found it weird.

Moral: 4/5 Good Application: In the manga, Link is a young knight that believes he needs help from no one. He ignores his authority and often goes off on his own to protect the people of the town. After he is in four pieces he has to learn to get along with others and that it is better to have others help you do your job. Also the other pieces of his personality come to terms with their own personality flaws: cowardliness, anger, and pride in one’s own smarts.

Overall: 3 ½/5 Slightly Above Average: I believe boys ten and older will probably enjoy it best. It has simple, yet pleasant graphics and a plot that most boys would find interesting.

Moral Content

Official Rating: A (For all ages, not adult!)

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Green Link is given a massage to help him forget about his mission. When Red Link is flying through the air he holds down his tunic and tells the readers not to look up it.

Violence: 3 ½/5 Moderately Violent: There are thirteen battle scenes in the two books. These battles are mainly sword fights with swords piercing monsters and breaking them apart, usually without blood. Blood shows up three times. Blood is on and around one person who appears to be dead, there is a little on one person’s hand, and there is some when a man stabs his own knee. After stabbing his knee he throws the knife into a monsters head, but there is no blood on the monster. There is a lot of violence because of the thirteen battles (sword going through a person’s middle, arrows shot in a monster’s eye, etc.), but there are almost no bloody scenes and it is usually not disturbing. For light violence, Blue Link smacks Red Link on the head a lot and pulls Green Links ear once. Red Link also burns Blue Link’s foot once. A princess smacks the hand of a monster away.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 A Little Misuse: “Geez” and “gee” are seen once each. When Violet Link gets his foot stepped on he spouts out a lot of symbols that are used to show his anger.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2 ½/5 A Few Disturbing Scenes: The manga is not emotional or intense, but several of the monsters deaths may be considered disturbing. I thought that the most disturbing violence was when a man stabbed his own knee and threw it into a monster’s head, causing the monster to rip itself out of its disguise. Some may find certain monsters creepy because of the way they are drawn at times, mainly key villains. Some may find the drawings of the children turned into toys in book one to be creepy. Book two has more blood and disturbing scenes than the first one does.

Religious Issues: 3/5 Suggestive Issues and Demons: The villains in the series are demons and one of the main ones says “Block out that cursed light from heaven!” There are mentions of a chapel and temples, all referring to pagan ones. One temple called the Temple of Darkness is referred to as “unholy.” Some plant things want to make a shrine to a villain called Ganon. There is a monster that eats people’s souls, and tries to eat Blue Link’s soul. The lower demons plan to sacrifice a princess to a higher one. It never happens.

Magic: 3/5 A Moderate Amount of Magic: A girl has visions. There are a lot of “magic” items such as “magical tower” and “magical plants” etc. Red Link gets a magic wand. There is a fairy that helps them and transports them to places. There is also a man who wants to be a fairy. Magic is used a lot by monsters as well. In the book the four Links must make their sword stronger by fighting and collecting “force gems.” This seems like a kind of magic. One of the main demons is also a “wind mage.” A lot of magic is done as a whole in the book, but for the most part it was just everyday video game magic.

Others: In the middle of one of their battles, Blue Link catches Red Link from falling on the ground. Red Link decides to call Blue Link “My blue hero!” while his eyes sparkle and Blue Link is clearly not appreciating it. Still happy in the next two panels, Red Link is trying to give Blue Link a hug and when they get captured by the monster’s arm/vine thing a tiny heart pops out after yelling the word “Nooo!” Near the end when Red Link is sad they have to be one Link, Blue Link tells him that there all going to be “joining together” and that he should be happy. Red Links response is to say “You mean……we can be together forever?!” while attempting to give Blue Link another hug, only to get the same reaction as earlier. I thought this might have been slightly hinted male… relationship if you understand where I am going, but Red Link may also be doing this because he represents the soft and emotional side of Link. In the series it is clear he is attracted at least one or two girls, as well.

Overall: 2½/5 Preteen Appropriate: The only things in the manga that are probably a big problem is the large amount of magic and some of the violence. It is not strongly recommended, especially if you have a low tolerance of magic. If a person were to read it, it is recommended for people twelve and older.

(This article has been slightly changed in an attempt of better wording and adding information.)

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Books

Book Review of Mary, Bloody Mary

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer

Type: Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Mary Tudor is given a partly fictional biography of her childhood, teenage, and young adult years. The emphasis is on her teenage years, when her father, King Henry VIII, puts them in disgrace by divorcing his wife and claiming Mary is illegitimate. The reason is to have a son with his lover, Anne Boleyn.

Quality

Plot and Writing: 3/5 Average: It was well written and was pretty historically accurate. It did have some untrue things, though such as Ms. Meyer claiming that Anne did not speak at her own execution. It also is told from the perspective of what Mary felt. We can not know to well what she felt, though I believe Ms. Meyer gave us some very good ideas. Mary and the other people in the book tended to feel when bad things were going to happen a little too often. Mary knows when something bad will happen. A person just knows they will never meet another person ever again. Also like many children’s books, I think she was trying to label characters as “bad guys” and “good guys.” In history there are not always clear villains and heroes. In other books by her she has shown some of the characters cast as the villains as the heroes instead, so I suppose this makes up for it a little.

Moral 1/5 No Clear Moral: There is no obvious or strong moral in the book. It was more a book, I believe, for telling what happened historically in an interesting way. The closest thing to an actual moral is the necessity to sometimes bend our will to higher authority. Mary was commanded to sign that King Henry VIII had the right to rule over the Church of England and that she was illegitimate. She refused to sign and steadfastly did so until the danger of death became too great. She submitted to the ruling over her until she was queen. Now sometimes we must do this, like at a job or in the government and wait until the Lord delivers us, but some things you should never, ever compromise, mainly in your religion. Now I do not believe Catholicism is the true church, I do believe that what the king wanted her to sign was wrong and that Mary could have been a little stronger. This is what happened in history, though, and Ms. Meyer should be truthful to what happened. I also believe one can get the moral that one will more likely remember your bad deeds than your good. If it were not for her killing non-Catholics, she would probably been considered a sad and lonely, but not violent queen. She did not like blood shed as a whole as her father did it throughout his reign. She did though, and now she must bear the term Bloody Mary.

Overall: 3/5 Average: It was well written for preteens and young teenagers in terms of understanding. It is a way to teach them what happened historically in a non-boring way. I like books like these that help teach what it truly means to be royalty. Not a dream world of riches and romance that Cinderella and Belle live in. It is the reality of arranged marriages, threat of death, and war. There was no practical moral though, and that does degrade the book a bit.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content 2 ½ /5 Quite Suggestive: Mary’s governess warns her to beware of the people who support Anne because they may try to rape her. Later she believes someone in the shadows will, but it was really a friend instead. It is hinted Anne was pregnant before she married Henry VIII. Anne is referred to as a whore and harlot and things of that sort several times in the book. There is a scene that talks about how a lady was sitting on Henry VIII knee. Women are called mistresses throughout the book. Medical terms are used some might consider inappropriate (as in menstrual cycle, etc.) King Henry VIII idea of asking if Mary wanted a husband was asking if she wanted her bed to have one in it.

Violence 3/5 Moderate Non-Descriptive Violence: At Mary’s third betrothal there is a slightly bloody fight between a bear and several dogs and the bear is killed. Her teacher is slightly violent; he likes to swing his walking stick around and hit things with it, and he threatens to use it on Mary. He never does hit her with it. Mary has a falcon that catches animals. Mary’s father gets angry and smacks everything off a table. Mary’s lady in waiting has a cruel, violent father that smacks and kicks his daughter, and she starts to bleed and has a bruise. Anne gets in a rage and throws stuff at Mary and later in the book at another woman. All the objects miss them, though. A lady slaps Mary to make it look like she is Mary’s enemy. A very violent execution is talked about for treason. Henry VIII is in a joust and hurts other men and eventually himself. It is talked about Anne violently pulling a necklace off a woman and causing her to bleed. It is talked about how the rack is used on men. Several people are beheaded and some even have their beheadings described. Accused traitors have their heads put on pikes.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain 2 ½ /5 A Little Swearing: The word “bastard” is used in its appropriate way more than twenty times. Damn is used once as a swear word and once properly. Anne is referred to as a whore, harlot, and concubine, once and “the Great Whore” three times. The Lord’s name is taken in vain three times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content 3/5 Quite Emotional: Though the book has plenty of emotional scenes, I will only mention the worst. It is quite disturbing in the way a duke treats his daughter. Her father beats her and it is also shown in two different places that he would not refrain from murdering her if he wished to. When Mary refuses to confess she is illegitimate on documents he says, “‘If you were my daughter,… I would knock your head against a wall until it was as soft as a baked apple!’” The beheadings that are described are a bit morbid and very dramatized. If you wish to read more you may read in “Violence.” Mary goes through a lot of emotional issues with divorce and rejection from her father.

Religious Issues 3/5 Contradictory: England is Catholic at the time, so there are saint feast, monks, priest, and there are times when they recite Latin prayers. Catholicism is treated like the true church and monks are placed in the light of pious martyrs. This would be no huge issue if it were not for the fact that Mary hears Jesus telling her to bring back the Catholic Church.

Magic ½ /5: Many people, including Mary, believe Anne is a witch and sorceress. They claim the mole on her throat and sixth finger proves this. They also claim that is why Henry VIII married her and he even claims she had used magic on him. No magic is done by her, though, and the book by the same author from Anne’s perspective shows she is not a witch.

Others: Medieval alcoholic drinks are drunk in the book.

Overall: 3/5 Teenage Appropriate: Though the understanding level is for preteens, the moral content shows that it has things many parents may want their children to read when they are in their young teenage years or even later. There are a lot of emotionally dramatic and traumatic things that Mary deals with that may be a little too intense for young children.

Books

Book Review of A Little Princess

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Type of Book: Classic

Basic Plot: A young child named Sara Crewe is taken to an academy in England. She is a polite, intelligent, and rich girl that lives a pleasant, sheltered life until her father dies. After finding her father had lost all his money, she is left to the responsibilities of the jealous and cruel Miss Minchin, the schools headmistress.

Quality

Plot and Writing: 4 ½/5 Very Well-Written: A Little Princess is has all the things a child’s book could need. Its descriptions are pretty and simple. The author’s plot is very basic, though it is presented sweetly and elegantly. It does not drag on and on like some classics do in description, but it is not short, choppy, and childish either. It has a good flow, going between subjects and paragraphs smoothly. Mrs. Burnett also develops the characters very well, and makes it clear what their characters and personalities are.

Moral: 4/5 Good Application: To endure the hard times. Sara earlier in the book wonders with Ermengarde, her “best friend”, if she would really be an awful child if bad things happened in her life and if she is kind only because she is so rich. She goes through her trials and concludes she is not as wonderful as people said she was, but her actions show differently as she chooses to treat others with respect and kindness despite the abuse she receives and eventually is rescued from her life at the academy.

Overall: 4/5: I could recommend this book best to girls between the ages 8-12 as the ones who would enjoy it most. Many teenagers and adults may also enjoy it as well; I admit it is one of my favorite books of my childhood. I believe it would best be enjoyed by young girls, because it sympathizes with their thoughts, imaginations, and spirit.

Moral Content

Sexual or Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None

Violence: 2/5 Slightly Violent: Lavinia, a thirteen year old girl, slaps Lottie, a four year old. Miss Minchin threatens to whip, Lottie for throwing a temper tantrum and her sister, Miss Amelia to shake and slap her. Neither of them carries out their threats. Lavinia claims she wishes to slap Lottie and Sara says she wants to slap Lavinia and nearly does, though they both refrain from doing so. Miss Minchin is boxes Sara’s ears once and Becky’s, the scullery maid, twice. Sara recalls when a poor woman did that to a king. Miss Minchin angrily shakes Sara not to much later in the book. Miss Minchin is also on the verge of boxing her own sister’s ears near the end of the book.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 One or Two Light Utterances: The Lords name is taken in vain twice.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Emotional: There are several emotional scenes when and after her father dies, but they were not made to be horribly emotional or intense scenes.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Suggestive: Sara’s ayah is said to “worship” her. The young children call her a “goddess” and the author says her doll resembles one when it is sitting in its chair. Sara tells Lottie stories about what she believes heaven is like and later Lavinia rebukes her. Sara’s only reply was that Revelation had plenty of stories (which makes them sound like that’s all they are or that what she says is just as legit) about heaven and that Lavinia might not find out what heavens like if her behavior doesn’t improve. When a man from India moves in he brings idols in his house and Sara admits her family had idols as decorations. Despite that he might have them for the same reason Sara and Becky are absorbed and fascinated at the idea of him being pagan. Buddha is called a god with a lowercase “g”. An Indian man is so surprised when Sara speaks his language that he believes it was a blessing from his gods.

Magic: 1/5 Slight References: Sara makes up a story about mermaids, and she pretends her doll can walk around and do things when she is not around. Her attic room is described as “fairyland” after it is decorated. She also wonders at first if she or the room is “bewitched” because it happened so strangely. She finds the happenings so strange that it is mentioned many times in similarity to a “fairy story.” She calls her imagination and all the things concerning it “The Magic.” Some children call Sara a un-fairy princess. No actual magic happens in the book. It is all figments of the children’s imagination.

Others: Pride is tended to be shown as a virtue in a lot of places, but often this pride is more so self respect and longsuffering.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: I was surprised to reread this and find so much more violence and religious issues than I remember when I read it years ago. I was especially shocked at the misuse of the Lord’s name. The book content overall is not shocking or obscene though.

(This review does not include commentary, forwards, or afterwords any version may have.)