To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Middleburgh Reads .. Widely

On those rare moments when I am not working, surfing or mastering the finer points of being a couch potato, I read thrillers, spy books, who dun'its and the like. I used to get my fix from the public library but then I realized that the "late" fines were racking up and it would be cheaper to buy second hand books...

So now I loiter, with intent, in seedy charity shops browsing through a mix of old English and Chinese text books, well thumbed English paperbacks,(mostly dross), and a variety of "lite" Chinese fiction...mostly tantalizing and frequently "rude" cartoon books!

Cartoon books (Manhua)have been a literary form in china since 1920's and whilst there is a limited market for politically correct cartoon books, most mainland Chinese I know read "real" books (without pictures). Economies of scale for print runs, improved education standards and a high level of literacy since the introduction of simplified characters have lead to a sizable reading public.

Contrast this with Hong Kong and Taiwan where print runs are much smaller and traditional Chinese characters are still used : "serious" books are more expensive and frankly less read. HK schools, despite a push to teach in the mother tongue, still teach in English and this carries into tertiary education and business so there is a competing market for English language books. On the other hand there is a niche market for comparatively cheap cartoon books, many of which are translations from original Japanese. These are popular with the masses and frequently on public transport I see adults (and not just spotty youths) reading their "Manga"

In Japan Manga is a mainstream and diverse media which because of its use of graphics lends itself to fantasy ie science fiction, myths, horror, romance, historical drama and pornography (hentai).There is a strong cross over with animated/cartoon films (anime), computer games and cosplay, and typically they are targeted at the youth market (spotty youths and their female equivalent- an unknown territory to me !!!).

The closest thing in western "literature" would be publications like the Marvel, DC and Spiderman comics and in the same way that these have spawned TV series, feature films (both cartoon and non cartoon)so have Manga. However unlike US publications which generally uphold simple wholesome American values and ideals whilst having raunchy graphics (that comply with domestic laws relating to obscene and indecent publications) , Japanese manga are frequently repackaged for different market segments with some "moral" ambiguity manifesting itself through the artwork and story lines. ie in addition to the kid’s TV there may be an adult soft porn version for spotty youths and teenage girls who are coming of age!!. (presumably these are shown after the watershed on such channels as Animax ??)

This in turn had lead to some of the graphics artists who are exponents of this art form acquiring cult status. In particular Tommy Tanaka whose images are uniquitous.it goes without saying that such images catch the eye but if like me you can't read the associated Chinese or Japanese characters they are incredibly frustrating and like a film without subtitles, the pictures whet the appetite but the dialog eludes comprehension.

There are however websites which provide

And for those who are would like some examples of magna (and hentai)....

Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic police thriller dealing with the exploits of Motoko Kusanagi, a member of a covert operations division of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission known as Section 9. The unit specializes in fighting technology-related crimes. Although supposedly equal to all other members, Kusanagi fills the leadership role in the team, and is usually referred to as "the Major" due to her past rank in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. She is capable of superhuman feats, and bionically specialized for her job — her body is almost completely mechanized; only her brain and a segment of her spinal cord remain organic.

Aparently Spielberg who is fan of this story has bought the rights to adapt the series into a live action 3D movie As it happens the feature length amines are currently being shown on a local cable channel - and damned good they are too !!!.

Full metal panic

The series follows Sousuke Sagara, a member of the covert anti-terrorist mercenary group Mithril, tasked with protecting Kaname Chidori, a spirited Japanese high school girl.

full of cultural clichés !!

Blood Plus

Apart from having to receive blood transfusions on a regular basis, Saya is living a normal life with her adoptive family, George, Kai and Riku Miyagusuku on Okinawa. However, after being attacked by a monster later revealed as a Chiropteran, she meets the mysterious Haji who seems to have connections to her obscure past, and shortly thereafter she finds out that she is not a human at all. As she fights the Chiropterans together with Haji and the organization known as "Red Shield", the memories of her tragic past is slowly coming back, and along with it, the truth about her real family and the mistake she once swore to correct.

Falls somewhere between Buffy/Blade Trinity and ???

Change 123

Change 123 follows Motoko Gettou, a female martial artist. Orphaned at an early age, she was taken in by the "Three Fathers", a triumvirate of experts in all sorts of fighting skills. As a result of their rigorous training, she developed three distinct personalities, each individually skilled in the combat skills she learned. Now a high school girl, she is trying her best to lead a normal life.

yeah right !!


The slice of life comedy focuses on the everyday life of three sisters: Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki Minami.

seems innocuous enough.... but watch out for the cross dresser !!


Junpei and the rest of the Photography Club are away on a club trip. Junpei and Toujou get lost on their way to the camp. To make it worse, a storm brews up, so the two of them take refuge in an abandoned building... Junpei has a chance now... In the middle of the trip, they play a game: 'the test of courage' and he has opportunities with Nishino... He is so lucky...

Uncomplicated soft porn for the boys as they transition to the real thing !!

Black Bible

The Bible Black series features frequent sex and horror scenes, and revolves around a high school rumored to have been the base of operations for a coven twelve years prior to the premier installment. Comprised of his school's students, the self-dubbed "Witchcraft Club" practiced black magic in a storage room deep within the basement of the institute. Both teachers and students practicing the dark occult religion involving incantation sex and human sacrifice is a common occurrence in Bible Black and its many adaptions.

The synopsis says it all... YouTube clips are either heavily edited, dubbed or subtitled in Spanish or Polish - I suspect the latter is due to a reaction against catholic values! In fact it became a challenge to find a site with an unedited english subtitled version - not that I would be interested in watching such perverted amines. No perish the thought!

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