Posted on 27 September 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

So, after years and years of people asking, I finally started to read some manga at the start of this summer season. I had the time for it, since it was quite a small season, and it seemed like a good moment to finally check up on the medium and explore my tastes. Thirteen weeks later, and I have to say that the experiment succeeded, and I’ve gotten warmed up to reading manga, and I’ve encountered quite a few gems that I’m really glad to have discovered.

So in this experiment, I found that I was most inclined to short manga that were easy to pick up and didn’t take ages to get somewhere. I most noticed this with the shoujo and josei genre, although there were also a number of gems in the seinen genre. It’s the type of stories that combine showing strong emotions with an intriguing and creative storyline that really did it for me.

Some pet peeves that I also found out is that I just cannot enjoy it when a character starts singing. It just feels awkward, and I can’t hear them at all. It may seem weird, but having watched anime for so long I’m just so used to things moving and there being music and audio to back it up that it just feels weird.

Another thing that rather annoyed me was something that a number of shoujo stories were rather guilty of: vague dialogues. It’s this attempt to be poetic by omitting entire sentences. this all makes the story very hard to follow and hard to reach in an attempt to be a bit poetic.Seinen stories on the other hand tended to suffer from being too dull: yeah they were nicely laid out and all, but the lack of emotions or poorly portrayed feelings didn’t catch my interest either.

Overall I am not completely sold on manga, and this blog won’t suddenly get renamed to Star Crossed Manga Blog, but I am going to keep up with the manga that caught my attention and read a bit here and there, because there are definitely awesome stories to be told there. I’m just a multimedia person who likes both visual animation, sound, music, storytelling and everything to come together. On the other hand though, the manga medium is so much easier to tell creative and unconventional storylines, and it’s also harder to screw up because there are fewer people involved in everything.

And finally, I’d like to rank the manga that caught my attention the most over the past season, based on how much I liked them. Perhaps there’s a good recommendation out there. Anyway, I’ve said this before, but next season will be huge, so I’m going to blog 12 series at once. Looking forward to it!

#9: Coelacanth

This is a very short mystery series with a lot of romance. It’s very shoujo, but at the same time it does have well written dialogue and it has quite a few interesting ideas, like a very cynical imaginary sheep that keeps bothering the lead female. The mystery unfolds slowly , but in the end it’s not really worth it in the end. The dialogue is very vague at times, making it hard to follow and because of that the build-up cannot really deliver what it wants to.

#8: With the Light – The Raising of an Autistic Child

With the Light tells the story of raising an autistic child, through a lot of different stages in the kid’s life. The perspective is really from the mother and the challenges she faces, and how to get her child accepted by the people around her. It takes so much work, and his manga’s strength is showing how she deals with them and conquers all this throughout the years (volume 1 already spans like five years). It’s a struggle, but it also shows that the payoff really is quite wonderful.

#7: The Music of Marie

What the Music of Marie did was quite interesting: from scratch, it created this really imaginative world and setting with its own customs, culture, habits, people, religion and folklore. The role of technology in this series is quite unique to watch, and its storyline is very deeply rooted in its own culture. The least interesting part is probably the romance, but the way in which it’s used allows for a lot of details to be able to fleshed out across the setting. The art is also a bit remarkable here: the characters themselves look quite plain and strangely drawn, but the different props, artifacts and backgrounds really are gorgeous and particularly imaginative.

#6: Wish

Wish is a short manga by Clamp, totalling four volumes and takes place in the same world as Kobato. The way it stands out, is how incredibly adorable it is, yet it’s also more than just that. The cast is very diverse and the slice of life is really well-balanced with the storytelling, leading to actually a very good cast emerging from this. The twist at the end is also really well-built up and really charming to watch, although there are a few too many gimmick characters around as well. It also has that singing bug that I mentioned above here.

#5: Shingeki no Kyojin

Shingeki no Kyojin. Oh boy. This one is a real shocker, and while it takes a few chapters to get going, it is just so consistently intense that it just had me in this intense state all throughout reading it. The way in which it portrays the despair of the characters during its fight scenes is much tenser than I could have imagined. The giant art is also something that you need to see for yourself. And then there are the plot twists. These things really make you think afterwards what the hell just happened.

#4: Hito Hitori Futari

Hito Hitori Futari was the first manga to catch my eye in this experiment, and it kept this all the way. It really drew me in where I found myself absorbed in continuing it for as long as possible, more than the other manga on this list in which I always found myself checking how many pages were still left. This is this really unique story about a guardian spirit being tasked to overlook the actual prime minister. Its mood is both really warm, and really cold at the same time, and I really like the way in which the author achieved this. On one hand the characters really sympathize with each other and the main couple fully accepts each other as they grow close together, and yet on the other hand there is so much darkness in this series and there are so many evil spirits present. The art is also just incredible. The facial expressions in particular are just gorgeously drawn.

#3: Hotel

For Hotel, this guy who names himself Boichi sat down with the intent to draw some standalone stories. At worst, these stories were gorgeous art experiments. At best however, holy crap what the hell did I just read. The tuna chapter was just delightful satire with an unbelievable amount of creativity put into it, on top of being very clever, while the pregnant girl story was just a complete mindfuck that was glorious in every single way. It’s all based on these really interesting thought experiments that do what you expect, only to go light-years further than that.

#2: A Lollipop or a Bullet

A Lollipop or a bullet was the kind of story that I hoped to find when starting this experiments. I managed to only find the first eight chapters of the story, but I was completely amazed at what it did there. In just eight chapters it created an amazing main character. Her inner monologues go deep, both into her own character as the character of the other main character. It’s also incredibly subtle: it nearly always just slightly hints at the really sad and pitiful things that happened, but never directly addresses them. The creators really made me sympathize with the cast and if you’re looking for something genuine, then by all means give this gem a chance. I also have a shout-out to the scanlators who brought this amazing series available for English audiences. Good luck with translating the final chapters, and I’ll definitely check them out as soon as possible.

#1: A Million-Pound Love

I am a huge fan of Himitsu ~ The Revelation and this is a collection of short stories from the same author. And really: they’ve got the same brilliance behind it. I mean, these were written by an incredibly talented writer. In Himitsu, what amazed me was how well it bit by bit revealed what was going on. That same style is present here. Bit by bit it develops its plot and it develops its characters like, majorly. It toys around with time and how characters can change in the span of a few years, and it just keeps building plot twist upon plot twist, yet making sure that everything fits once everything ends. On top of that, the art also rocks in how well it’s able to portray the emotions of the characters. I was really swept along with their emotions that just kept going from one scene to the other. There are times in which the twists themselves get a bit far-fetched (there is a lot of science fiction with creative liberties in this manga), but still: this is really is top-notch storytelling.

Posted on with categories: Manga Experiment

Coelacanth – Ch.06-08: This concludes the Coelacanth manga (yes, it’s quite a short mystery story). The culprit is revealed and everything comes to a climax quite nicely. I like how subtle the climax was and the way in which the author did the romance, but it also suffered from that vague dialogue that has been bothering me in a lot of other shoujo manga. Because of that this just jumps from one place to the other without much flow and becomes hard to read and follow.

Hito Hitori Futari – Ch.16-19: The prime minister is such an interesting character: he has this strange glow of ambition around him that the art manages to portray wonderfully. Chapter 19 also was a big surprise in how it brought Rihon back to her old life, leading to a very emotional scene. The art still is top-notch here by the way.

The Music of Marie Ch.07-08: This is where everything really starts going crazy after all of the build-up and world building of the previous chapters, and I must say that with the amount of meaning that was put into chapter 8, it definitely delivered a very intriguing cliff-hanger. It used all of the build-up quite well and took off using it as a jump-start, making great use of the two lead characters.

Shingeki no Kyojin – Ch.09-10: Oh my god, I nearly forgot how intense this series is to read, and this episode went even further. Perhaps the twists it delivered weren’t the most shocking, but the state of mind of the main character, and the despair and utter confusion he was in were incredibly well portrayed. I mean heck, waking up after all THAT. I’d be confused as heck too. Mikasa also rocked.

Posted on 23 September 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

So while I was flying and waiting in busses and stuff during my holidays, I had the Manga Wish to read and finish. It really ended up being the first multi-volumed manga that I ever finished, and with only four volumes it’s a very concise story. This week I’want to have a stab at reviewing a full fledged manga.

So as the people who watched Kobato might know, that series is a bit of a combination between Wish and Kobato. The story for Wish is completely different, though. It takes place in the same setting, and there are some concepts that are also important here, but the story of Wish happens much more around the core of the setting, while the characters in Kobato have no idea about the inner workings of how their world and ideas work. So yeah, if you’re a fan of Kobato this is a great read for the extra background information that the Wish manga gives.

And really, this was such an incredibly adorable manga. Clamp are masters of creating diverse, versatile and likable characters, and they did it again here. The thing that sets Wish apart from other manga that try to be as cute as possible is this diverse cast. We have the lovable angel Kohaku who spends half of her time in chibi-form and the elegant angel Hisui, who are always drawn with lots of frills and stuff, and yet on the other hand the series is also full of devils, the lead character is very stoic and plain (not to mention 28 years old), and his grandfather is also a very prominent character. The cast consists out of idiots and smart people, brash ones and calm ones. The personality of everyone here is completely different, very balanced out and the contrast worked really well.

As for the plot progression, four volumes turned out to be a great length for this series. It’s short and very easy to just pick up, especially for someone who is new to manga like myself, but it does have enough time to flesh out its cast. There is a lot of slice of life in this series, as it likes to toy with the “I’m going to live with you”-trope. Seriously, like half the cast of this series ends up living with the male lead at some point; male or female, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, this build-up is great for showing off the different characters. And then that ending comes. Let’s just say… that this is Clamp. Rather than ending with something conventional, the ending definitely surprised me and I quite liked that.

The short length and relatively large cast does have its disadvantage: there are a bunch of one-dimensional side-characters, and some side-characters depend on their gimmick a bit too much. There also is this side-story about this schizophrenic cat that doesn’t really go anywhere. Oh, and it also has singing. I’m not sure whether this is because I’m new to manga, perhaps I’m just too much of a fan of multimedia, but drawing someone who sings just does not work for me. It looks awkward, even though the singing panels are often drawn with a lot of detail in this manga.

Anyway, Wish. Great read, although I think that I do prefer the Kobato anime. It had more time to develop its cast and I do prefer Kobato over Kohaku: Kobato’s story has this tragic side to it. Wish is definitely more concise and doesn’t have a first half of random episodes to wade through. If I’d rate this as an anime, it’d probably get somewhere like 84/100. I still haven’t quite figured out how I should review and rate manga, but that’s something for later.

Posted on 14 September 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

Okay, this is a bit of a weird entry. The thing is, that this will be the last entry for a few days. Tomorrow I’ll be on a holiday and I won’t return until upcoming friday. I do have internet connection starting tuesday, which I’ll probably use to submit a few entries, but expect some huge delays here.

Because of that, this week’s manga experiment is a bit different, because I’ve been busy packing my stuff and having a real life for a proper entry. I did visit a local manga library, at which I read a bit more of With the Light. Plus, I got a friend to loan me some manga that I can read while in the plane (all four volumes of Clamp’s wish to be exact, of which I already managed to finish the first chapter). But yeah, I can’t make any screenshots out of those, so no images for this entry.

With the Light – Vol.1: I finally managed to finish the first volume (which is like, triple the size of a regular manga volume), and I continued some of the steps in the life of the family while the titular autistic child Hikaru was in elementary school. A huge focus was on getting him to interact with “normal” people, instead of sending him to a place that only has autistic people, and I really liked that despite how hard it could be on him, that he’s improving slightly and slightly. The character-development here is top notch. At the same time, the author also takes her time to show some other problems of society, like domestic abuse, which is quite neatly woven into the rest of the story and used to relate back to the main characters. Quite well done.

Wish – Ch.01: I’ll have enough time to read this one while in my plane, but my first impressions of this are very favorable. I was a very big fan of Kobato’s last half, but so far the characters introduced here are completely different. And I like them a lot, especially the lead guy is likable and down to earth (not to mention in his twenties). This has got charm, of the same kind that made me such a big fan of Kobato.

And now for something completely random: what series would you like to see me blog next season? This is no thing definitive or anything, but I might use these results as a guide line.

What series would you like to see me blog?
  
pollcode.com free polls 
Posted on 7 September 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

Regarding next season: I am not going to continue this experiment there, and instead I’m going to take a more laid-back approach and focus more on finishing longer manga. The poll I ran last season really showed three things that stood above the others of possible things that I can cover: manga, some extra series, and recommendation posts. Next season I’m going to focus on the second one, and blog 12 series at once again (so no Kaleidoscope either). As for the recommendation posts… I’ll start on them as soon as I finish my to-watch list of Ghost in the Shell, Planetes, Texholnyze and Twin Spica.

With the Light – The Raising of an Autistic Child – Ch.01-??: When this was recommended, I searched for it online a lot, however I couldn’t find it anywhere. But then, a few days ago I was at a local manga library, and thankfully I managed to run into it. I don’t recall exactly what chapter I reached (probably around chapter 03), but this was definitely an interesting and realistic look at what it means to raise a child with autism. These first chapters only delved into the time when the kid is 2.5 years old and the first signs of autism start to change, but I especially loved the depiction of the stress that this can cause to the mother.

Hito Hitori Futari – Ch.14-15: These two chapters really exemplified the strengths of this series: it’s a very dark, yet also very warm story, and the two are combining more and more seamlessly here, especially in chapter 15 in which we see a more human side of that mysterious antagonist. I can see that the author loves to draw this guy, because there are a ton of stunning panels featuring him.

Shingeki no Kyojin – Ch.08-09: Holy crap! I mean, there are twists, but this really came as a shocker. And don’t get me wrong, the next chapters have a lot of explaining to do, but still this is something that I did not see coming, and it was made even better by the intense style in which this manga is drawn. The author really likes to abuse speedlines, but the intense effect that this has is really working with these kinds of twists.

Posted on 1 September 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

Hotel – Ch.05: The fifth and for as far as I know last chapter of Hotel is only 16 pages long, and unlike the other chapters seems just like a place in which Boichi wanted to tell a short joke (comprising the first two pages) and draw some really pretty images (the other fourteen pages). The latter in particular are done in full-color and they are stuffed with eye candy. The storyline itself is nothing noteworthy, but it definitely looks nice.

Coelacanth – Ch.04-05: These two chapters form the middle part of Coelacanth (unless the manga is still on-going). The two main murder mysteries are now introduced, and these chapters mostly consisted out of character-development and hints that link the two together, albeit quite subtly. The author likes to weave contrasts together: the two seemingly unrelated murders, combining mystery with romance, involving both teenagers and adults. And then there is that sheep.

Shingeki no Kyojin – Ch.06-07: Holy crap this is intense. However, while reading these two chapters, there was something that bugged me: this series is about total despair, and then there is a character like Mikasa. Level-headed, the top of her class, and just about the only one who can consistently kill giants without putting in effort. She was too perfect and needed flaws, which thankfully sowed up at the end of chapter 7, followed by one heck of a plot twist that shows that things haven’t even begun yet.

A Lollipop or a Bullet – Ch.07-08: These two chapters continued this series’ streak of amazing chapters. Seriously, this is some haunting look on child abuse and neglect and I’m really quite shocked at the events here. And the great thing is that this wasn’t because of some plot twist, but rather because of the things we learned about the characters: realizing the terrible situations they’re in and how they’re trying to sustain themselves and trying to cope with it. Oh my god please tell me that the rest of this manga can be found translated somewhere.

Posted on 22 August 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

Memories of Emanon – February 24 – 1967 – Afternoon: This is a manga that is just one volume long, and it has a bit of a weird chapter layout. It consists out of three parts. The first parts has chapters named after times of the day and the others don’t. Plus, there are a number of pages in the first part that are a bit of a prologue. I especially like how the chapters titles are basically a way to show the time. From what I can gather from the chapter titles, this is a romance series. Part 1 is about the couple meeting, and part 2 and 3 are about memories. I’m not sure yet what that means, because the start is pretty vague on that. The first chapter shows the couple meeting each other on some sort of ship. It uses a lot of non-verbal communication, which I like and the art is good as well, plus there was some strange symbolism during the prologue. It definitely has potential to be a good short romance.

The Music of Marie – Ch.05-06: Whoa, talk about a cliff-hanger here at the end of two episodes of build-up. These two chapters were all about the culture of the world that this plays in, and it again has so many ideas in it, ranging from how people live to how the rituals of marriage are different in different countries. The designs still are really good, especially that plane that Pipi (the female lead) got for her birthday.

Shingeki no Kyojin – Ch.04-05: All this talk about chapter four piqued my curiosity, and yes. That was definitely unexpected and really bold from the authors to do, and I feel like I’m warming up more and more to this series. It’s still not the type that I can read for hours (which is also why I again just checked out two chapters this time), but what this show does really well is show the utter despair in which the characters are, combined with the art for the giants.

A Million-Pound Love – Ch.04: This is the final story of Reiko Shimizu’s collection of short stories, about an assassin that is sent on a job to kill some rich guy, but who falls in love with his daughter. After reading more manga for the past month, it still really surprises me how much stuff she can actually put into just one page. The panels are all very small and the lay-out between them just keeps changing. In terms of the story, it had the most questionable content compared to the other three stories of A Million-Pound Love, but the twists at the end were still very good.

Posted on 17 August 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

Hotel – Ch.04: Wow. I think I understand now why this manga by Boichi was recommended to me. Here this story starts out similarly to the second chapter with a sick girl who turns out to be pregnant, and from there on it changes… oh boy, it changes. This one took me completely by surprise and I spent about a minute with my mouth open. Good stuff. Hotel would make a fantastic anime with the right people working on it, by the way.

Shingeki no Kyojin – Ch.02-03: One thing that I did notice now that I’m checking out multiple chapters at a time is that with some series, I find it very difficult to remain interested. Before starting these chapters I told myself to read up till chapter 4, but during chapter 3 I already noticed that I was trying to force myself through it. The art for all of the giants in this manga is really impressive, and the creators made this interesting world where they’re basically running humanity into extinction, but I dunno: I don’t really get the same urge to check out what comes next. I know it’s all build-up, but at this point none of the characters really stands out as interesting.

Coelacanth – Ch.02-03: And this one did manage to keep my attention, and I wonder why. I mean, it’s not the best I’ve read during this experiment, and it suffered here and there from being too vague with its dialogue (something I’ve been noticing with a number of other shoujo manga as well), but still: its murder mystery half turned out to be a little darker than expected with hints of pedophilia for more things to come, and the romance half felt surprisingly dark.

That alone however probably isn’t enough to really get my attention, so what did this episode have as well? I guess that it kept me guessing: these two chapters were being really vague in where they actually wanted to go to, and the twists kept it fresh. Oh, and the dialogue that was clear was very straight to the point, and very un-shoujo like, for something with so many shoujo elements.

A Lollipop or a Bullet – Ch.04-06: This manga really has a knack for drama: it loves the saying “a picture says more than a thousand words”, and it loves to casually hint to the disturbing stories of its characters. Only very few panels actually show the darkness of this story. On top of that, the faces in this manga are also really expressive: they show exactly how the characters feel.

Dengeki Daisy – Ch.01: In the preparation of next season’s surprisingly huge batch of shoujo romances, I ended up checking a critically acclaimed shoujo manga: Dengeki Daisy. Unlike the other shoujo I’ve checked out for this experiment, this one was fairly typical in its set-up: it’s just a school life story and nothing beyond that, with a mysterious guy watching over the lead female. This however did feel rather refreshing for a shoujo romance, in that both the guy and the girl had a personality, the drawings were dynamic and energetic and it could be funny when it wanted to. Still, what worries me is that the build-up to the good parts is going to be too long again.

Takemitsu Zamurai – Ch.01: This one is a samurai story, with a very distinctive art style. Everything looks crude and messy, but there is actually movement between the panels. The story and set-up don’t say much yet after only the first chapter, and it mostly dealt with an eccentric ronin who moved into a new village with a lot of hints at murder, but it did give a good description of how these people lived, including small details like the focus on a kid’s hands or an octopus salesman.

Suiiki – Ch.01: From the author of Mushishi, here is a story about a girl who enters this strangely nostalgic dream-world, filled with slice of life. I really like the background art for this one: it is crude at points and looks a lot like rough pencil sketches, but in those sketches the artist stuffed a ton of details. Beyond that, this was just a really charming chapter. Great characterization and very down to earth and believable characters.

Posted on 9 August 2012 with categories: Manga Experiment

The Music of Marie – Ch.02-04: Whereas the first episode served as the introduction of the general world and concepts of the Music of Marie, these chapters go more in-depth with their introductions. Settings based on Christianity are nothing new, but this still has something that I haven’t seen before. For one there is the creativity with which everything has been created, but the author really managed to create his own culture and religious folklore.

I am a Hero – Ch.02: This chapter was a bit hard to get through (which is also why I didn’t feel like checking out more chapters). It lost that interesting appeal of the first chapter and instead of that we get philosophical debates about manga. It was definitely building up to something, but it wasn’t really being interesting in the process, though the facial expressions still were pretty good.

A Lollipop or a Bullet – Ch.02-03: Whoa! This one really hit me; this was really well written. On one hand, the characters feel so real and down to earth and the dialogue has this focus on detail that gives the characters a ton of characters. And on the other hand it just keeps letting a ton of very heavy issues slide past. These chapters really got dark in their themes, yet it keeps this same light slice of life tone. That combination… oh boy. Talk about conveying emotions.

Hito Hitori Futari Ch.06-13: This was the first time in this project in which I got the “Just… one… more chapter…”-syndrome, as evidenced by the large amount of chapters I just went through in one sitting. The thing with this series is that it has so much heart, and these eight chapters yet again moved the story into a different direction, and this has turned into a really interesting premise. Later on a villain was introduced, and even though his characterization is not as good as Riyon and the President (also, this guy is definitely inspired by L), he actually needs to fully understand his victims for his powers to work, making this perfect for a character-study such as this one. On the downside, this was also the first time I managed to spot recycled frames. The non-recycled frames were still very expressive, though. Also, with this, I have reached all of the chapters that have been scanlated so far. AND DAMN THAT CLIFF-HANGER!

Posted 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.

Shoutbox

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 07:44 AM)
    Here I take a second look at time of eve/eve no jiken: http://emma-hime.deviantart.com/art/Review-Time-of-eve-496663893
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 03:06 AM)
    I’m not sure whether to watch the sequel or not.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 03:04 AM)
    @Aidan: I try to avoid watching films where I can.
    Although you’ve got me to look back on my own review of guardians of the galaxy, the words I use in it don’t reflect the 4 out of 5 I gave it .
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 03:04 AM)
    Started to notice pretty big plot holes too. like Gamora went to open the door to baddys chamber. But after opening it she shoots a hole in the roof and jumps straight into the bad guys chamber. So if you can get in that way then why did you send the others in a roundabout route instead of just blowing up the roof and getting there that way?
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 02:49 AM)
    The comedy tends to only work once and it’s pretty weak. Like the “You are making me kick grass!” line. It’s not particularly funny, only random. The villain is just bland as hell. The characters are charming but not particularly deep.
    It’s a decent popcorn flick. But I am actually having second thoughts on getting it on DVD.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 02:46 AM)
    Hmm…Guardians of the galaxy wasn’t quite as good on a re-watch. First time it was pretty good. Now though it’s just…good. The film is just too damn long and like most marvel films…just mindless fun. That isn’t really bad, I mean there’s nothing wrong with fun. But when people are claiming this was one of the best superhero movies ever..yeah not so much.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 12:52 AM)
    And on law in general, the age of responsibility thing feels far too simple when people mature at different rates, others are more mature at different ages/know what they are doing, while others are just born bad people.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 12:49 AM)
    @K-off: That will not stop me supporting armed police force though and feeling the Irish mainstream police force should be also armed with guns.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Nov 26. 2014 12:46 AM)
    @K-off: There was a case where a 12 year old with a toy gun got shot I hear and another where a samurai champloo cosplayer got shot. Unfortunately difficult to prosecute the police for this kind of thing. Too many trigger finger cops, too many with a racist agenda.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Nov 25. 2014 05:52 PM)

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