Schoolgirl Milky Crisis review
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis. Three words that shouldnít really be anywhere near each other, yet alone in the same title. They conjure up some pretty disturbing images involving schoolgirls and milk that - yep - they went and put that on the cover. A schoolgirl with udders.
Itís undeniably a striking image that stands out on the shelves thanks to some bright colours and quality artwork, yet Iím not sure if the first impression will be intrigue or revulsion. Maybe both.Still, author Jonathan Clements does explain the title early in the book, and his reasonings are sound. If youíre not familiar with Clements work, heís best known as the co-author of The Anime Encyclopaedia, although heís actually been in the anime and manga industry for a long time working as a scriptwriter, translator and sometimes voice actor. Itís his columns for various magazines and websites that form the bulk of this book, however, and also the origin of that title there.
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis was a term Clements dreamt up as a substitute for anime he wanted to discuss yet couldnít due to the constrictions of NDAs. Sometimes itís pretty obvious which anime heís talking about, sometimes itís not and the rest of the time it doesnít really matter. Schoolgirl Milky Crisis is also an apt term for the kind of generic anime and manga that weíre all so familiar with.
Image 1 of 1. Click to enlarge
There is a flip side to this, though; namely the brevity of some articles you really wish would spend more time and effort expanding on the details, at least a little. This is most likely due to the word count restrictions of print media and Clementís busy schedule at the time, yet itís still occasionally disappointing for an article to end just when you were really starting to enjoy it.
That said, thereís nobody more qualified in the English speaking world than Clements to handle these subjects. I might not agree with everything he says, but I trust him to ask exactly the right questions and, most of the time, come up with the right answers. He knows his stuff, thereís no denying that.
There are a few exceptions which happily delve a little deeper in to their subject matter, such as the transcript of his speech about erotic anime or discussions on translating anime for (mostly incompetent) UK companies. Here we see him let loose without the constraints of word counts or the watchful eye of his employer, and the results are a whole lot more revealing. From the transcript alone he seems like an entertaining public speaker, if only because of his obvious passion for the subject matter (particularly when it comes to translation). I would have liked to read more of these, so I hope some potential cons and conferences are paying attention.
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis works best when it reads like a (well written) tabloid expose on the anime industry. However there are a few sections - most notably the chapter covering his DVD sleeve notes - that while factually interesting, arenít nearly as entertaining or revealing. Here Clements is obviously under the thumb of his employers to sidestep any criticism of the subject matter, so it ends up feeling a tad stilted, particularly after reading articles in which heís clearly not scared to offer his opinion on even the most illustrious of anime. Thankfully thereís not enough of these to make a serious impact on the book, and there's nothing exactly stopping you from skipping to the next chapter.
Not all the articles in Schoolgirl Milky Crisis even deal with anime or manga, or at least something very loosely related to the industry. You might want to skip these and go straight to the supposedly juicy bits - fair play, the book is structured in such a way as to allow exactly that - but youíd be passing up some of the most entertaining segments Schoolgirl Milky Crisis has to offer. From Korean anime to Kaiju films, Clements is well read on a wide range of subjects and his writings are certainly worth the attention of even the most clued-up fan.
By its very nature it was never going to be as essential as The Anime Encyclopaedia, yet for the veteran anime fan Iíd argue that Schoolgirl Milky Crisis offers a lot more. Itís a fair bit cheaper than The Anime Encyclopaedia too, so nitpicking aside Iím really struggling to find reasons not to recommend this book. Iíd mention the udder girl again, but even sheís grown on me a little.
And make sure you check out Clements' Schoolgirl Milky Crisis blog, which is honestly full of interesting stuff.
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