Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Review: rEDCLOUDY Pencil Case

Case: rREDCLOUDY Envelope Pencil Case (5 stars! I adore it! Recommended without any hesitation!)
Where: JetPens
WTF: This is a pencil case styled to look like an envelope with a long strap to secure it closed. Comes in additional colors.
Compare to: I haven't seen anything else like it.

In the world of pencil cases there are the ones that hold everything you own, travel cases, and then the cases that put a smile on your face. This case is unique and wonderful, and has managed to blend all that with something completely functional and simple.

The premise is simple: Take an envelope, make it out of a wonderful material, and figure out a way to keep it closed that is a fluid system, slick, and doesn't ruin the aesthetic.

Their solution: high quality synthetic leather, lined with fun fabric, constructed to perfection, and a simple cloth strap to keep it closed. I was skeptical at first when I saw this closure, but I sprung for it when I had a giftcard to experiment with. The result: SO WORTH IT.

As you can see, it can hold quite a lot of pens. This is the comfortable amount, but you can easily double it (seen below) and still have it close. This feat can only be accomplished by the wonderful strap closure system.

About the strap: it is about two feet long and made of soft fabric. You simply wrap it around the case, and slip the end under the previous wraps. It holds, it works, and it is not cumbersome. This isn't a system that is meant to be used for changing pens every two seconds, or when you're in line at the store. Wrapping and unwrapping it is an experience to be savored, and I actually found it to be a calming part of my morning routine at work.

This is a case that I happily keep on my desk, and something that I use to keep my good pens in. Your Sliccis belong in this case! It is not only beautiful and functional, but it is built to take a beating. It has been thrashed around on the subway, stuffed in purses, dropped, and stepped on. Believe it or not, it doesn't show a thing. The size is also perfect. At the same time, this case can easily be used as a clutch for a night out. I would not change one thing on it.

The cost is a bit higher than other cases, but you will get nothing but quality in this case. This line is in a class of its own.

Buy if...

...you want an elegant pencil case that will beautifully frame your pens.
...you need a pencil case that is worthy of being seen in public.
...you want a simple solution for carrying pens in a bag or purse.
...you like flexibility in your pencil cases.
...you need a gift for someone who has it all.

Don't buy if...

...you plan to be opening/closing it a lot during a short period of time (e.g. for art), although you can just leave it open.
...you only want pure utility cases.
...you think rectangles are way too 80's.
...you can only process things with zippers.

Review: Yen Plus-V01I02

Title: Yen +(plus) August 2008
Publisher: Yen Press
WTF?: A new monthly manga anthology
Compare to: Shounen Jump, Shojo Beat

September's month's Yen+ came out a little early! Packed between the full color covers of Nightschool and Nabari no Ou are the same 10 titles from the last issue, a full preview of another series, and a fun interview of the artist behind Nightschool.

I was pleased to find some great progression by the slower moving titles, and fun preview of Moon Boy. So, let's look at the new standings!

Titles that continue strong:

Soul Eater: Still in the Prologue stage, but feels just like what we usually see in initial chapters. This month features the introduction of Black Star and Tsubaki and a little more of the canon in the Soul Eater world. Still funny, still catches my eye. A solid title.

Nabari no Ou: A little more plot shows up, with some more action. We're just getting into the minds of the characters here, and it's picking up speed.

The only redeemer:

Nightschool: This series has me into it now. The end of the first chapter found me neutral but hopeful, and the second chapter met those expectations. The last four pages have made me a fan, and I and truly looking forward to reading more. This month's issue also features the first few pages in full color, and a fun bio and interview of the author, Svetlana Chmakova.

None of the other titles had a second chapter that impressed me as much as Nightschool's. I'll rank them next in an obvious order.

And the rest:

1. Jack Frost: This chapter hinted at enough of the canon and plot that I'm starting to get really intrigued. I predict that this title may move up with Nightschool in the coming month.

2. Pig Bride: There's now at least one character that I want to follow. I'm interested enough to stick with it. Funny so far, and it still catches my eye. I think I'm hating the first character less. Give this title a second chance if you were put off by the first.

3. Sarasah: And we finally have a plot...which looks cool towards the end. I think I may be able to roll with this, although I think end up disliking the main character.

4. Maximum Ride: Still just not quite my thing, but beautifully put together and I think I may be able to get into it. The build up is slow, but I believe the next chapter will be the decider.

5. Bamboo Blade: I believe I said this had promise. Now I'm just bored. Seriously bored. I don't get who the main character is, I don't know who to be rooting for, and so far it hasn't gotten anywhere. Okay okay, I think there's the beginning of something towards the end. I'm open to moving this up, but still bored.

6. Sumomo Momomo: I'm still very negative about this series, but a plot nugget was dropped that may redeem it.


One Fine Day: Maybe it'll pick up...so far I'm just not seeing it. I'm still kind of neutral on it, which is why it's not in the other groups.

Higurashi: I hate mysteries. I hate harems. I flipped through this chapter and I'm not seeing anything I like so far. I'll flip through it again next month and reevaluate.

The preview title:

Moon Boy: Kind of a chaotic preview, but I'm seeing hints of something I could like. I hope we see more! Hopefully I can find a volume or two to flip through in the bookstore.

Overall comments:

...solid second issue, if you liked the first this will not dissapoint.
...the team at Yen Press put a lot of love into this project, and it shows.
...some titles are picking up, others are hinting at it, and all look promising. Obviously they have to be if they were put in.
...Yen Press took a gamble with a broad genre load, and I think they've found something in it.
...I had my first WTF moment (picture is a little NSFW for fanservice/panties) with One Fine Day and Jack Frost being back to back. Not a wise choice this month.

Lamy Fountain Pen

I put in an order for an extra-fine Lamy Safari and a new Coleto pen body at JetPens today. I hope they get here soon!

Do you guys have any review requests?