Tuesday, 25 October 2011


This is a book about Japanese street fashion, or for more cynical readers, a book that feeds vulnerable otaku minds the idea that everyone in Japan dresses up in crazy handmade clothes with fluorescent colours every weekend. Scratch that last point, this book is gorgeous.

Dispensing with lengthy explanations or essays on Japanese street culture, Fruits jumps straight into showing the more experimental styles of Japanese fashion as it’s encountered on the street. Each page is a full colour photo of a one or two people who list their name, notable items of clothing and areas of influence on their style, and with a the book comprising over 250 pages of that there’s a lot of content in here. (If you want to see the more everyday side to Japanese clothing then it’s probably better to look at the people in the background)

The photos are excellent and a simple glance inside soon turns into half an hour of exploration. It’s definitely worth checking out for those interested in design or simply because you want something bright and energetic on your shelf. A second book entitled ‘Fresh Fruits’ is also out for those who want more of the same and Phaidon also released a similar book that focuses specifically on Gothic and Lolita styles (which I can’t comment on as I don’t own it). A great novelty item that still retains its value after all the years I’ve had it.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning

After the disappearance of his older brother, Ayumu continues to lives with his sister-in-law as normal despite that lack of resolution to the mystery of it all. However when strange incidents start to occur at his school it’s not long before he finds himself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. Only his self-faith and powers of deduction can overcome the puzzles that await him.

Spiral is perhaps one of the most anti-shonen series out there. Confrontations appear regularly, but are always presented as tests of logic as opposed to an exchange of blows. Mindlessly shooting up your enemy presents no satisfaction to the intellectual cast, despite many of them being quite capable assassins, and so it is victories of the mind that are valued above all else where betting your life on your reasoning is the only real way to win a true victory. As such entire chapters of talking heads can go by, but the detailed scripting makes for engrossing reading.

‘Who are the Blade Children’

Anyone familiar with the Spiral anime will be familiar with this tagline. As the series debuted viewers were constantly teased with information about the Blade Children, who they were, and what the mystery about them was in relation to Ayumu’s life and the mystery surrounding his brother. Expectations were high for the final episode when all would be revealed… except nothing happened. True, the show ended with a Hollywood-style showdown, but the conspiracies weren’t explained and audiences were left feeling a little cheated.

It turns out the series only covered half of the manga which continues to plot to a full and proper resolution. With divulging any spoilers, I can say the ending is full and complete with pretty much everything explained thoroughly. So thorough in fact that the explanation if what/who the Blade Children are takes up an entire volume in itself!

It may base itself on reasoning, but the second half of Spiral sends itself into some pretty unreal scenarios as increasingly outlandish concepts come into play surrounding the final mysteries. Spiral might have its own logic, not necessarily one that relates to the real world. A very worthwhile dialogue-based manga then, just a bit far out there for some readers.