Posted by psgels on 1 August 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

This week I’m going to leave the series I usually check out for what they are for now, focusing on some first impressions from the stuff that everyone has been recommending for the past month.

The Lives of Eccentrics – ch.01-02: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is getting a new anime. Now, I am not going to check out that behemoth of a manga for this, but its author did write a bunch of short stories, compiled together in The Lives of Eccentrics. The first two chapters are this extreme look on the life of baseball player Ty Cobb, who is seen as one of the most legendary players of all time. Think of a recollection of the most hot blooded chapters of his life (and this guy was violent). It’s a good character-study, and it definitely has the kind of passion in it that makes me curious what Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure will be about. Again though: baseball scenes seem to miss something if they don’t move.

Skyhigh – ch.01: This one is by the same author of Hito Hitori Futari, and you can definitely see the similarities in both the art style and themes. This series too focuses on a depiction of the afterlife, only this time it’s straight up horror, and this first chapter immediately delved into the disturbing images and scenes. Overall, I think I prefer Hito Hitori over this: it had more charm and personality, while this was trying to go for the shock factor a bit too much too fast.

Coelacanth – ch.01: This one’s a mystery story. For the largest part of this chapter, I didn’t really know where it wanted to go: it had this story here about this dead teacher, but the main characters didn’t really seem to be related to it. After that though, it went into a completely different direction that made much more sense, but it at the same time used a lot of commonly used tropes, while the first half had that much less. Most of this first chapter was building up. It did that nicely for the female lead and did well in showing her state of mind. Plus, there is that sheep.

Olimpos – ch.01: As the title might suggest, this is about the Greek gods. In particular, it’s a shoujo-esque story that bishifies a few gods, like Apollo and puts a random Christian Japanese guy in the middle of it. His role in it is rather questionable, but this opening chapter did have a bit of a weird premise, in which this guy actually had to try and convince a God to cooperate. The second half of the chapter did quite well and put some emotions into it, although it still was a bit too angsty for my tastes. There may be a good explanation for this, though.

Sheet no Sukima (Oneshot): This week, I’m checking out lots of different chapters on a whim, based only on your recommendations over the past weeks. This one was among them. It’s about the sexual relationship between a worker and her boss. Imagine the worker as the female version of those horny male leads of fanservice shows, only she actually dives straight into sex. This… definitely was something different. But, to be honest, this was quite hilarious. The mind of the author was very clearly in the gutter, but the jokes were very well delivered and this actually played with its mood quite effectively, being hilarious one page, then completely neutral the next, to actually quite dark near the end.

Kare no Satsujin Keikaku (Oneshot): Okay, so I failed to get through Bokura no, but Mohiro Kitoh also wrote a bunch of short stories. This is one about a Light-esque high school boy who wants to kill someone. This isn’t like Death Note where it turns into a cat and mouse game, but he definitely is brilliant, and this short story details the steps he takes to achieve his goals in nice detail. Nice ending as well.

+Anima – Ch.01: This one is a bit longer than the others I’ve checked out this week (currently there are already 10 volumes out), and it’s a shounen-esque adventure story with main characters who can transform into half-animals. It’s got themes of oppression and cross-dressing in it. This one is pretty whimsical, with the usual spunky lead character and more serious side-character, but it has potential. They’ve got a nice chemistry together, but I do wonder how long it will take before this series will get anywhere.

The Music of Marie – Ch.01: My purpose of this week is to check out as many different first chapters as possible, to continue with the ones I like best next weeks. So far, The Music of Marie is the one I like best of this bunch, due to the detail it provides on its setting, in just its first chapter. It’s both creative and well fleshed out. The main character has an interesting ability and the characters so far are colorful, yet believable.

Shingeki no Kyojin – Ch.01: The one who recommended this put a note next to it, saying “giant killing”. Silly me thought that that meant that this was a sports series in the same vein as Giant Killing, instead of… killing actual giants. The art in this one is really weird: one panel it’s really good, and the other it’s really bad. What bothered me the most was the speed-lines it abused during random panels. The setting for this one has potential, although the main character is waaaay too naive for his own good.

I am a Hero – Ch.01: Here is one that kept returning on the lists people recommended to me, and I can see why: this one is really well drawn. It’s not the individual drawings that impressed me, but rather how every panel shows the main character from a different angle and with a different facial expression, and all of them are well-drawn. I have no idea what this is about because it’s just 40 pages of a guy sitting in his room, but I like that idea a lot.

A Lollipop or a Bullet – Ch.01: The title of this one contains two things that are completely different from each other, and that also characterizes the contents of this first chapter: it starts off in a perfectly normal setting, about an ordinary schoolgirl who wants to join the military. And then, wham: mermaids! It’s a bit of a weird mix, and eventually this showed its colors as a coming of age story, but the author did create a very good introduction chapter here that served its purpose in making me curious by using vague but meaningful foreshadowing.

Ludwig Revolution – Ch.01: With all these seinen manga, I wanted some change of pace and check out more shoujo-series, whose style I really enjoyed so far. Finding some good recommendations was difficult though, especially since I didn’t want to go with manga versions of anime I had already seen (Please Save My Earth and Amatsuki indeed are brilliant, but with this experiment I really want to check out new stuff). My eye then fell on 7 Seeds, but that one is way too damn long right now (22 volumes!). My eye then fell on Ludwig Revolution, a manga that aims to perverse famous fairy tales. This first chapter was about Snow White, and it changes around roles, while also being faithful to the original story by the Grimm Brothers on other points. Especially that Prince was hilarious, and I like a lot how detailed the art is; together with the dialogue it told a very good standalone story and the flow between panels may not have been as good as with Shimizu Reiko’s stories, it still felt engaging. It’s all quite dark for a shoujo-series, but that definitely gives it extra charm.

Iguana no Musume (Oneshot): This is a very weird one-shot, about a girl who is born as an Iguana. We actually get to see the first thirty years of her life and how she grows up. What really struck me was her relationship with her mother that deals with things as favoritism and parental abuse. It was quite emotional and well done, and also had a pretty great ending.

Haruyuki Bus – Ch.01: This manga is supposed to be a collection of the essence of shoujo manga, but I didn’t really like it. This first chapter suffered from a lack of dialogue: people hardly said anything meaningful besides three-word sentences, and it all felt disjointed because of this. On top of that, the story is just too average: there was nothing special about it, it’s just another shoujo romance, and not a good one at that.

45 Responses

  1. boo says:

    I should have had mentioned that the Skyhigh series (as there are also Skyhigh: Karma , Skyhigh: Hévәn, Skyhigh: Shinshou, Skyhigh 4) is an adult version of Jigoku Shoujo.

    It’s horror (while Hito Hitori is more on paranormal side so far) however I don’t think it relays on shock value, even though you could say that Tsutomu Takahashi tends to write grim stories (except perhaps for Tetsuwan Girl?). I’m curious what was so shocking in this particular story for you? If anything I’ve found the first story a bit predictable, but shocking? Not much. Reminded me of couple Japanese horror films.

    For me in the first volume chapters 3-5 were the most interesting. You can pretty much read them as oneshots, though, if i remember correctly, the first volume was a build up as later on you get to learn more about the Gate Keeper.

    All that said, yes his latest, Hito Hitori Futari, seems to take a much lighter turn, plus after all these years he is more mature as an author.

  2. elianthos says:

    Oooh, going by the summary the Sheet No Sukima oneshot you read is Sheherazade (is the boss’ name Shinogami *insert shinigami jokes here*? )XD. In a way it’s the embryonic version of her latter Butterfly, Flowers series. It’s also probably one of her best oneshots .
    Be warned: when she Yoshihara gets serious dark , her stories gets *very* dark (for instance: Izayoi. You’ll see.). I tend to prefer her comedic ones and the dramedy ones like Sheherazade, but maybe you’ll enjoy the dark ones more.
    And yes, she’s pretty in the gutter usually. Sheherazade is not even her most gutter-ific output (that would be Darling Wa and Itadakimasu probably).
    In a world where both IRL and on paper Japanes women are beating around the sexual bush – or are expected to do so … even in smut, unless they are put in pseudo-rape situations and/or are doormats to the alpha male du jour – I find Yoshihara’s approach pretty refreshing XD.

    Coelacanth is probably my fav out of Kayoko-sensei’s stories together with the Labyrinth one. I like the combination of her fluid lines and clear art with the seemingly contrasting tone of her stories, even if sometimes she leaves loose ends.

    I’ll have to check Olympos… I’ve had it in my rediung list for the longest time but never started to reading it for one reason or another XD.

    • boo says:

      In a world where both IRL and on paper Japanes women are beating around the sexual bush – or are expected to do so … even in smut, unless they are put in pseudo-rape situations and/or are doormats to the alpha male du jour – I find Yoshihara’s approach pretty refreshing XD.

      Yes, that’s exactly what i love about Yoshihara works! There are not that many authors who portrait women to have carnal desires without resorting to the trope of manipulative slut or dominatrix. Nodame in Nodame Cantabile also has this traits (but she is an eccentric) and Satoko in Ikenai Candy Love (although her character is a mixed bag of lustful damsel in distress until the very end). Sayako in Sakuranbo Syndrome often morphs into a male fantasy, but also has her moments….(Kitazaki Taku tends to make his females aware of their sexual desires, but he can’t help to write his stories from the male perspective)

      Sheet no Sukima is pretty well rounded anthology, you get to see her more earlier works in it too (circa 2002). I think “Kizuato” is the more darkish one.

      • elianthos says:

        @Boo: *high-fives* yep.
        I couldn’t remember the title, but yes, Kizuato is pretty dark as well (the ‘lady’ and scarred ‘servant’ one if I remember correctly. Unless my memory is tricking me again and you’re referring to the cousins one instead).

        Ah well, Nodame was possessive but not exactly prone to express/formulate her desire in canon ways beyond wishing for kisses and lovey-dovey fantasies. Otherwise whenever she acted on her love feelings – and getting physical/intimate – it was in… odd ways X,D. Pretty much like her attitude to music and food really.

  3. Red says:

    lol I remember Coelacanth and the sheep. It was a nice read! You should check out her other works. :3

    If you’re looking for other manga to read, I think you might enjoy Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan (its just one volume long) and maybe Shingeki no Kyojin. Shingeki is longer + ongoing, but I really think you’ll (and anybody else) will love it. Its different from other shounens.
    Both mangas have the tragedy genre though so its understandable if you choose not to read them. I rarely do.

  4. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    If you are looking for oneshots I would srongly recommend anything by Moto hagio.

  5. KaZuHiRo says:

    Psgels, please check out Afterschool (Houkago) Charisma!

  6. someloser says:

    oneshots eh? now that I think about it, how about some Ray Bradbury? Hox had recently translated “U wa Uchuusen no U” which is the commercialization of 8 short stories from the famed american author.

    also, some Kitoh (bokurano, narutaru) would be quite interesting, which is why I’m recommending the oneshot, Kare no Satsujin Keikaku, (his murder plan) which is only about 30 some pages.

    since you haven’t tried out any of Asano Ino’s works, I’m also going to recommend Subarashii Sekai (what a wonderful world). Though oyasumi punpun remains ino’s most famed work, Subarashii Sekai consists of short stories that represents ino’s style, so you don’t have to go through 10 volumes.

    Douman saiman/ Dowman sayman, usually when I first think of this dude’s name, I end up remembering the dude’s weird 4-page mindscrew h-manga. Luckily he has also written a collection of odd romance short stories called “Nickelodeon” consisting off all the mindscrew and none of the H, in about 9 pages each.

  7. Kirsten says:

    Oh wow, I’ve read everything in this post ^_^
    Keep on with the Lives of Eccentrics. The Ty Cob chapters weren’t drawn by the Jojo’s guy, and are (visually) much weaker than the ones that were imo.

  8. Firechick says:

    What a scary coincidence, Psgels! I JUST started reading Bokurano yesterday (got up to Mako’s arc)!

  9. Guigas says:

    Th Music of Marie is FANTASTIC. Completely unkwnown by the general public, this is one of the few great short mangas out there. Keep it up, it’ll end up by being the best manga you’re reading for now.

  10. hgfdsahjkl says:

    what about trying HxH Ant arc ?

  11. Samavarti says:

    Glad to see you liked Music of Marie first chapter, is a great manga.

  12. Cytl says:

    Seems like you haven’t read the synopsis of I’m hero, right Psgels? DON’T DO IT. You’ll enjoy things more this way.

  13. Firechick says:

    YES! Psgels, keep reading +Anima! I own all ten volumes, and I will tell you it is a fantasy done absolutely right! Please continue with it until the end! It’s soooooo worth it!

  14. Anca says:

    You checked out Ludwig Revolution! Yay! Kaori Yuki is really my favorite mangaka. Ludwig Revolution may not be her best work, but its definitely her funniest; all her works are very dark and bloody for shoujo.

    You should laos check out CLAMP’s new Gate 7 for some incredibly beautiful art

  15. Kirsten says:

    For shoujo oneshots, I enthusiastically second all the Moto Hagio praise. She was one of the female shoujo mangaka from the 70s that completely revolutionized the genre, and everything she’s written still holds up really well. Iguana Girl, Hanshin: Half God, and They Were Eleven are good starting points.

  16. K4nr4 says:

    that picture of the girl with the scarf which manga is that?

  17. Ebisu says:

    Another seinen you could try is Haruka 17.
    Idol business.

    • Ebisu says:

      Oh, and I could also add two slice of life though they are not also one-shots
      3-gatsu no lion (shogi) and Saturn Apartments (sci-fi)

  18. Cholisose says:

    I like these posts–it gives me some ideas for things to check out in the future as well.

    For a bunch of shoujo one-shots, I’ll recommend Haruyuki Bus. It’s basically the essence of what it means to be a shoujo manga, compressed into a series of single-chapter stories.

    For a really great shoujo manga that’s not too long and not adapted into an anime, I’ll suggest Hana to Akuma. At first it doesn’t look like much, but it turns out to be not only a lot of fun, but really sweet and heartfelt.

  19. wicked says:

    Oh man, A Lollipop or a Bullet is not what it seems on the surface

  20. Machi says:

    Shingeki is definitely awesome I admit the first few chapters didn’t pull me in until lets just say the first major incident and the aftermath. Definitely something that you need to stick with since the qualities become more apparent once you see the full range of the authors writing, can’t really tell you the qualities yet since it doesn’t exist as strongly or implicated at much with the first few chapters. Also you tend to adjust to the quality of the art since the rugged realistic style just fits the manga so well.

  21. Jaia says:

    Wow, I’ll have to check some of these out! They sound really interesting.
    +Anima was my first manga, so it’s really fun to see someone’s thoughts on what really got me started on anime/manga. It takes a bit to get all the characters together, but I think they get fleshed out well, and the world it’s set in is very well planned and detailed.
    As for any other manga, I’d recommend Aphorism. It’s a creative horror type story with an interesting fighting system: everything is based off of Kanji and their meanings.
    I look forward to reading the rest of your reviews and trying these manga out!

  22. Ebod says:

    Ludwig Revolution is one of my personal favourites. If you like Kaoru Yuki’s stuff, I highly recommend Count Cain/Godchild (same series just split up under 2 different names)!

    Also, totally recommending Team Medical Dragon as scanlations for it just started up again.

  23. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    Have you seen welcome to the NHK psgels? You might like a series called negative happy chainsaw edge, which shares the same author.

  24. Samavarti says:

    If you are searching for short Shoujos give Claudine a try is a oneshoot by rose of versailles mangaka, also Ashita no Ousama and Blue (Nananan Kiriko), are quite recommendable.
    Also you should check some Asano Inio he has many great short mangas.

  25. ohgod says:

    I am a hero is really good, i recommend you keep reading it. It’s probably not what you’re expecting in terms of genre but it’ll become clear pretty soon.

  26. wicked says:

    It’s a bit hard to recommend short shoujos, because they are usually either oneshots or if they’re good enough to be scantlated, they are often long running.

    I find it easier to recommend Josei. Haigakura, I love eastern fantasies, and this one is pretty good.

    Koguresou Monogatari, 1 volume multiple stories about people of an apartment.

    Kanojoiro no Kanojo 3 volumes, a girl spent her life being defined by men meets a girl that wants to be a fighter champ. It’s not yuri in case the title is misleading.

    I really like reading TAAMO’s stuff as well

    I’m really more into heartwarming shoujo and josei, so if it’s not you cup of tea, then my recommendations in those 2 field are pretty useless…

  27. Psigo says:

    Read JoJo bizarre adventure.

    My favorite shonen/seinen/bizarre/fabulous manga ever.

    Jojo is composed by “parts”.

    Try reading part 1 and 2.

    They are kinda 5 volumes each, is short.

  28. Gintoki says:

    Wow, I didn’t know you watched the Please Save My Earth anime :D. While I thought the anime was gorgeous (didn’t get to see all the episodes though), my main gripe with it was that it cut the manga in half. Problem there was that a lot of important development and revelations were revealed during the latter volumes of the manga. They SHOULD’VE made a remake, but that’s pretty unlikely.
    Not going to bother recommending anything else because by god, you’ve got enough of that stuff as is.

  29. boo says:

    You could pick up:
    “Don’t Cry, Girl” it’s a comedy by Yamashita Tomoko.
    “Koguresou Monogatari” is a series of interlinked oneshots. (i see wicked suggests it too, these kind of stories are really up my alley)
    “Koi Tsukiyo no Himegoto” I remember this one being pretty good althought it’s been a while since i read it.
    “Seishun Kouryakuhon” by Akizuki Sorata was rather cute for romance too.
    “Taiyou no Uta” is melodramatic and a bit sad, not as developed as i would like but still good.

    Some of the best Shoujo/Josei are still ongoing.

    “Sekine-kun no Koi” by Haruka Kawaichi (author of Natsuyuki Rendezvous) is really good. Up to this point it’s about a guy in his 30ies going through depression, stumbling on a potential love interest, suddenly acquiring a rival and realizing couple things he didn’t know.

    You could probably read “Oooku” by Yoshinada Fumi (the author of Antique Bakery) up to the it’s second arc (it’s either up to the end of volume 3 or middle of volume 4, don’t remember right now). Both arcs can be treated as stand alone stories. Oooku deals with what would happen in Feudal Japan if the male population would shrink and the gender social roles would change places because of it. It’s clever and I especially like how Yoshinada manage to balance it and doesn’t turns it into feminist propaganda.

    Also:

    “Tsuki no Shizumu made” by Miyagi Toko just started, the story is about revenge and seems to be promising (the translation is a little rough around the edges).

    “Six Half” by Rikako Iketani is about a girl who has lost her memory, there are some interesting twists in there.

    “14 Sai no Koi” by Mizutani Fuka is really adorable too. You might want to check “Lonely Wolf Lonely Sheep” which is finished. The latter is Shoujo Ai.

  30. Pax says:

    Wow so many 1st chapters, I hope you don’t plan on dropping certain manga after just one chapter, imo there’s not much sense in trying a manga if you plan to put a definitive verdict on it right after the 1st chapter.

    Since I am not that good with names, for a moment there I mixed Haruyuki Bus with Bus Hashiru, so I was a bit surprised that you had nothing good to say about it.

    As for Shingeki no Kyojin, I was not as impressed by it as was the majority, but it has its qualities, it manages to build up that sense of terror perfectly, nice twists. As for the art, it definitely improves, however, if I remember correctly this is the author’s first work, that should be mentioned when criticizing the art. btw Bateszi has written 2 nice posts about this manga.

    Also, I wanted to mentione this, Usamaru Furuya, the mangaka of The Music of Marie, is for me one of the most versatile mangaka out there, his works fall in categories from gag manga to horror, seinen and shounen, yaoi and so on.

    • psgels psgels says:

      I don’t plan to judge them, but I do want to sample a lot of different stories before continuing with the ones that interest me the most. I know that there are manga that take a while to get good and all, but there are just way too many manga out there for me to take that into account at this point.

  31. SixFlags says:

    Music of Marie is a very nice manga and sadly unknown by most, thus its good to see it being featured in your blog.

    Since you want to start with shorter mangas, have you checked out Jiro Taniguchi’s work?

  32. darkhappy1 says:

    Oh hey, you checked out Iguana Girl and liked it. You should try out Moto Hagio’s other short stories, especially “Hanshin: Half-God”. I appreciate the effort you’re putting into checking out all of these manga!

  33. Bosom says:

    You should try and read some Jiro Taniguchi works, Haruka na Machi e is a really good slice of life manga, i would recommend other of his works too, but many of them an unfortunately not scanlated in english.

  34. Mann says:

    Psgels, I highly recommend Tower of God. Its a Korean Manhwa that’s gained quite a following here in the English web. The story itself is hard to describe as it draws heavily from its fictional universe. I would say though that it contains a lot of mind games that are no less creative than those found in, say, HunterXHunter.

    At the very least, I’m certain you’ll find something to like in the character designs and general artwork. SIU, the suthor, creates a better realized alternate universe than any other author I’ve read.

  35. Denizen says:

    If you haven’t already read some Happy Go Lucky Days, I recommend it. Short stories by the author of Hourou Musuko.

  36. Mark says:

    Please please please please please check out 20th Century Boys.

    I’m sure you’ve had this request a huge number of times but it is amazing.

    It is my favourite manga by Naoki Urasawa (author of Monster) and one of the best manga (or story in general) I have ever read. It also takes no time to get good and keeps you engaged from start to finish.

  37. Cholisose says:

    You didn’t like Haruyuki Bus?? (CRIES BUCKETS OF TEARS) Oh well. I thought it was wonderfully sweet. Might just work better for different audiences. XP

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Welcome to the third installment of World Animation section, but this time we head back to Japan for my favorite anime movie out of last year. If anything, I have always wanted those reviews to be a recommendation if you want to look for something different. So if there is anyone who would check out […]

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Legend of Legacy Review – 80/100

Oh Square Enix, this is the kind of avant-garde work you need to do. Developed by Furyu with the people behind SaGa, and written by Masato Kato of Chrono Trigger, I knew I was in for a unique game right from the start. But its gameplay is certainly divisive and for good reason, as this […]

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My Life as a Courgette (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

It’s never easy to make a good family’s animation. For movies aim at adults, the filmmakers can easily get themselves loose, go crazy and the audience can still get it. But for kids, these movies might be one of the first movies they’ve ever seen and that’s a huge responsibility. They have to aware of […]

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The Red Turtle Review – 93.5/100

Welcome to my first movie review on World Animation section, the column where I wholly dedicated to indie/ art-house animated features around the world that hardly got coverage anywhere really (but rest assure our since sometimes I will review anime movies as well). And what’s a better way to start this section by reviewing one of […]

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Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]

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Bungou Stray Dogs Review – 62/100

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a […]

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Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

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Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

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Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]