Manga

Manga Review of Kitchen Princess (9-10)

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

Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi (This covers volumes 9-10 and the bonus stories at the end of each.)

Type: Cooking, School Life, Shoujo,

Basic Plot: Najika’s love life is now really confusing. Her rival is now in love with her and is as determined to win her over as much he once was to defeat her. She is almost 100% certain who her “flan prince” is. She also is now getting really close to a friend that was once just a friend, but now she may be in love with. Najika’s not sure who she does or should love, but the events that are happening will probably help her choose.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story had another dramatic change, and of course in the end reveals who the lover Najika has been searching for is. The second plot twist got me a lot more than the first, but probably because I was told that the first one was going to happen while the second was a complete surprise. The conclusion was nice and smooth, but I think it would have been more interesting if the “flan prince” had been someone else.

Graphics: 5/5 Excellent Quality: I loved the graphics until the end. Her drawing has become more detailed and well drawn since she started, though I think that she has been a wonderful artist since volume one. There was one art mistake in the volumes though. Najika and her friend are sitting on a subway or bus and get smashed really close together because of the crowded seating, but the next page shows that no one is on the bench except for them. Otherwise it was done properly. (If you see any art mistakes in the series I missed, you can mention them in the comments if you want!)

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral I saw the most in these volumes was one I can approve of. It is the moral of understanding other people and fixing your relationship with them. I didn’t really care for the way they made the father character look earlier in the manga, as he was at first this controlling, all the kids and teenagers hate type of parent. In the last volumes though, his reasoning for his anger and seemingly evil side are shown to come from the good phrase “Hurting people hurt people.” The reason for his “evil side” doesn’t come from this “I hate my kid and want to see them suffer” or “Parents just don’t understand kids” perspective that American entertainment sometimes has, but from a relatable fear and concern for his child and his welfare. The conclusion of the issues was when the father and son both apologize for hurting and mistreating the other person, and they decide to start over. I like this better than those stories where the parent just let’s the kid do whatever they wanted and accepts a rebellious or sinful choice, but both the parent and child realize what they did wrong and decide to work together to fix their problems. It wasn’t a one sided the parent is wrong the kid is right conclusion, and I liked that.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I think the series concluded well in story, art, and moral. I can recommend it to girls twelve or thirteen and older as I think they would like it best.

Moral Content

Official Rating: T

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive There is small amount of non-sexual physical content between a boy and a girl, like kissing on the mouth and hugging. A cocktail with no alcohol is described as a “virgin” cocktail.

Violence: 2½/5 A Little Bloody Violence: A boy hits his head. A woman is crushed by some giant wooden boards and dies. There is blood on her head and around her as well as on a little boy.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 A Little Misuse:” Gosh” is said once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3½/5 Quite Emotional and Some Blood: A boy goes through emotional guilt and trauma for being responsible for a person’s death and watching that person die. There is some blood around a woman that is crushed by construction site material, especially her head, and a little boy has blood on him probably from the woman. Some people think a woman killed herself.

Religious Issues: 0/5 None

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: Twice there are boys wearing necklaces. In the character intros a man is smoking. In the side story a girl mentions a rumor that a man used to accompany woman to bars before he got his job. In the side story a man shows up in very feminine clothes and it is suggested that he is gay from his mannerism. His overly friendly behavior made some teenagers suspect that a man was gay when he wasn’t. Najika wishes she could drink because she’s stressed and a boy makes her a cocktail with no alcohol. He says he learned how to make it from a bartender. There are also recipes for it and several in the back, but none of them have any alcohol, though one does say what type of alcohol would have been used.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The biggest problems in these volumes where the emotional issues and the appearance of a character that is strongly suggested to be a homosexual. Because it only showed him once in the entire series and did not get into his romantic life in any way whatsoever I personally let it slide. If it had gotten into his lifestyle though or if he had been a key character to the plot, the manga would have been unacceptable. You of course are free to make any choice that makes you comfortable, especially since the tensions between the homosexuals and conservative Christians in America are getting worse. The other problem is the emotional issues that a boy goes through, as he feels responsible for killing a very important person in his life, and goes into a short term depression. It is tear jerking and emotional, but I it isn’t this gory and ultra depressing thing that will traumatize a child. Overall the manga is clean. I think that children twelve and older will be mature enough to handle the content in the manga.

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Graphic Novels

Graphic Novel Review of Peanut

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

Graphic Novel

Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

Type: Contemporary, Peanuts, School,

Basic Plot: Sadie is moving and will be going to a new school and to make friends, she decides to tell everyone she is allergic to peanuts. She now must make sure no one finds out, even if that means making life more difficult for others and even for her.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot was very, very cliché from the beginning until the ending. It was very predictable and a lot like the average chick flick in a comic form. The most interesting part was Sadie learning about what a person with a peanut allergy must do to stay safe, but otherwise it wasn’t really unique. I do like how it was realistic in some ways, though, despite it being very cliché overall, such as the way the teenagers interact with each other was at times very much like how teenagers interact in real life.

Graphics: 3½/5 Above Average: The graphics were OK. They could have been improved, as they looked like the rough sketch drawings a little. The only color besides the blue ink to draw was a red-orange piece of clothing that Sadie always wore. That caused a few issues as I actually confused Sadie’s mom with her friend because they looked so similar. The graphics were realistic in how the body was shaped, though, and were natural looking. They could have been done fancier though.

Moral: 3½/5 Mostly Good Application: The moral was a good one, despite the fact that there were a lot of other things that were not so good or interesting. The moral was the idea that you shouldn’t lie, because if you do you will have a miserable time during the lie and a humiliating time after you are found out. In the end though she decides not to spend her whole life regretting it or really worry about what will happen, but just worry about right now. Now that was a 90% OK moral, but you should not just worry about now but at what will happen later, because if she had done that earlier she might not have lied. Otherwise it is a very good moral.

Overall: 3/5 Average: The graphic novel was not very unique in any way, though the moral was good. The best thing story wise was the realistic themes in it, but otherwise the plot as a whole was very cliché. The graphics were nice, but I think they had more potential and could have been better than they were done. Overall it was only average.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 4/5 Verbally Sexually Inappropriate: The clothes are a little tight, but are more so realistic and natural than revealing or tight. There is a scene when the girls are in a locker room and are in their underclothes. There is a picture of a guy with no shirt on. When a purse is emptied woman’s health products are seen coming out. When a girl is told to see a physician as a joke, the girl asks if she should go for birth control. “Hottie” is used once. Girls are called “hookers” twice by their friend. “Sexy” is used to describe someone once. A teacher thinks about how teenagers have a lot of hormones. A girl tells a friend about how she was alone with a boy and they did something together that was not specifically said, but was probably making out. Menstrual cycles and pms are mentioned. Sadie’s mom said that sed-ed and health class were equivalent when she was in high school. When talking about problems that should be reported, sexual abuse is mentioned, and later some girls talk joke about it. Sexually inappropriate functions that will not be named for decency are mentioned and suggested in speech, but are not being done. A boy and a girl kiss in a non-sexual way. Parts of the body that are slightly inappropriate are mentioned in conversation, though not in an inappropriate way. A girl says a boy saw a girl in a bikini, but it is not shown. Nothing sexual is shown.

Violence: 1/5 A Little Violence: Some girls talk about frogs that were dissected. One of the things the teacher says is reportable is violent behavior. Sadie imagines choking some gossipy girls. Sadie discusses what should be done if someone attacks them with guns or bombs. A nurse jokes that she will punch a teacher. A boy falls off his bicycle.

Swearing and Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain: 5/5 Extremely Bad Language: God’s name is taken in vain thirty-five times, and “gosh” and “jeez” are each used once. A form of “damn” and “hell” are each misused twice. A boy is called an “anus.” The phrase “a-hole” is used once. The term for a female dog is misused once. A form of the “p” word is used twice. The “s” word is used twice. The words “wench” and “sow” are used. A girl sticks out her middle finger at a phone.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 0/5 None

Religious Issues: 2/5 Some Small Issues: There is a light trace of Religious People = Bad People. There is a Christian girl briefly mentioned by some of the kids and the impression is mainly what the average person has of a Christian: a bit loony and overenthusiastic about their religion and doesn’t seem to realize everyone has a right to believe what they want, besides that though, an OK person. Also Sadie says that she is not really close God. A boy calls his little brother “Satan’s spawn.”

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: A girl asks Sadie if she is “high” because she thought her question was funny. A boy has a tattoo. A girl goes to an AIDS walk with male friends dressed in female Hawaiian clothes, and mentions how she had wanted them to go in women’s clothes like dresses. Sadie calls her friend’s friends “homophobic.” “Queer” is used in reference to homosexuals. Some girls talk about how some boys are probably homosexuals and joke about them dating. Sadie says at two different times that she thinks different people may be gay. Some girls gossip about a woman that divorced her husband for so that she could be with another woman. Some teenagers talk about using fake IDs to sneak into a nightclub and go drinking. Sadie’s mom says that some medicines are probably not open to public use as teenagers would use them as drugs. One of the things Sadie considers that she could have done besides lie was be with teenagers known to do drugs. One of the medical problems she considered having was being an “alcoholic.” Sadie has a disrespectful manner to her mom sometimes and often treats her mom like a peer.

Overall: This book is not recommended at all. The language is awful. There are sexually inappropriate things said. There are blunt references to drugs and homosexuality. Religious teenagers are looked down on. This book is not recommended moral wise to anyone of any age whatsoever whether you are a Christian or not.

Books · Plays and Musicals

A Play Review of Pygmalion

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

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Type: Classic, Comedy

Basic Plot: Henry Higgins, a phonetician, and his friend Colonel Pickering decide to teach a flower girl named Eliza how to be a proper lady in six months, mainly by changing her speech habits.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The plot was unique. Higgins ability to help change a person to such a great extent is very interesting to watch or even read, but if you notice Eliza is still the same person on the inside, no matter how much her speech and manners change. The plot also shows how social status in the late Victorian era effected people and the pros and cons that the different classes brought them.

Setup and Style: 4½/5 Very Well Done: The play showed Eliza at three different stages of her development, so it was a good pace. I think that the play would have even been better as a novel though. It would have been interesting to read about Eliza at all her different stages, but for a play it was a good pace and showed her development appropriately.

I found the dialogue very enjoyable. The style was natural and playful. It was not extremely poetic or completely imaginary like Shakespeare’s work, yet still not realistic in every way. I think it was a good balance, sounding believable and occasionally realistic, but it was more elegant and intelligent then the way people speak as well. There are a lot of humorous things put in the dialogue as well such as sarcasm, the outrageous and ridiculous way Higgins speaks, and the exasperated way his mother and housekeeper speak to him.

Moral: 4/5 Very Good Morals: There are a few morals in the play Pygmalion. The first one is the idea that if given the right environment a person is capable of changing for the better. Though this does not always happen because of the choices a person makes no matter the situation, when given a chance a person that is thought to be destined to become a criminal or always be on welfare can completely change if given help. The second moral has to do with how people treat each other. Eliza is angry at Higgins because of the way he treats her, but in conclusion Higgins says that the important thing is not about how people are treated as much as making sure we treat all people the same. Now I do not completely agree with this idea as we should not treat people badly ever, but it is a good idea to keep in mind that we should not be a “respecter of persons” as the Bible is greatly against “buttering up” people that have a lot of money or are in politics. The last is the idea of building false expectations and having self-respect. Eliza seeks Higgins friendship and affection in a non-romantic way, and to get it she does things that were unexpected of her so that he will like her more. Though Higgins thinks of her as a friend, because he does not meet the standard that Eliza expects or thank her for what she does for him, she gets angry at him for not keep up to her expectations. In the end Higgins says that he finds he admires her more she has self-respect and is friendly just because she chooses rather than trying to buy friendship with servitude. He clearly explains it when he says, “No use slaving for me and then saying you want to be cared for: who cares for a slave?”

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I really liked this play and think it is a very good piece of literature or theater. I like the style of the dialogue the different things it shows about social class, and the several morals that one can find in it. The play is also very funny and is good just for entertainment. I think teenagers and adults would appreciate it best, but an intelligent child younger than thirteen may also enjoy it as well.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Suggestive: When Higgins takes Eliza’s speech down, it is lightly suggested that she thinks he will report her for prostitution. The phrase is “molestation by young woman” is used when a man is saying Eliza was not trying to do anything immoral. Though it is not shown, it is mentioned that Eliza’s clothes were all burnt except for her hat. Her father suggests taking her home but says he can’t because of this. He also has lived with multiple women (not at the same time) without marrying them, though he wants to marry one. Eliza’s father also reveals that if they had wanted Eliza for immoral reasons he would have let them have her for some money.

Violence: 1/5 Non-Descriptive, Spoken Violence: Eliza thinks a Higgins will hit her, but he doesn’t. Higgins threatens Eliza when she considers selling his information to other people. Verbally violence and injury is mentioned and sometimes threatened, though mainly threatened for humorous reasons. No violence happens in the play.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 3½/5 Multiple forms of “damn” and “devil” are misused at least fifteen times each. “Bloody” is misused twice. The alternate term for donkey used to swear once. “Slut” is used once. Forms of God’s name are taken in vain thirteen times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 0/5

Religious Issues: 1/5 In the play phrases like “purgatory” and such are used as descriptions, though they are not used in there original meaning. There are references of church positions that are related to the Anglican Church such as the bishop and clergyman. A church is hinted to be Lutheran or Catholic by its name.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: It mentions several times that Eliza’s father drinks, and it is said how her aunt also drank, especially gin when she was ill. No drinking is shown in the play. Higgins asks Eliza if she wants champagne. Some men wear smoking jackets (jackets that men had to where when they smoked) but it never says they are smoking. Eliza is afraid that drugs have been put in her chocolate.

Overall: 3/5 Almost Teenage Appropriate: There is a lot more swearing than I would prefer in this play and the suggestiveness is not overflowing, but still enough to be a small problem. I think it is age appropriate for teenagers that are at least fifteen or sixteen and older.

Disclaimer: All plays and musicals are done differently, and the author is not responsible if the play was better than or not as good as the review claims it is as all versions will have different performers, costumes, choreography, etc. If the play or musical did not meet your expectations we apologize in advance.

Also this review does not include commentary, forwards, or afterwords any version may have. It does not include the a review the prologue or epilogue that a special version may have.