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Manga Wrap-Up!

November 20, 2008

When last I left me, I certainly wasn’t sitting in a nice warm car in the snow while my daughter goes to sewing class, which I am now!  Snow is like God’s way of saying “I know the cold sucks; here’s a consolation.”

I’m going to say something really cheesy now, and you’ll have to forgive me for it: I gave up on Never Give Up.  In the second volume, it’s a lot of more of the same.  The main character drove me batty with her nonsensical passivity and I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Part of my brain began to accept that although the two character are completely stupid for each other, the fact that they are also just plain stupid was too difficult a wall for me to scale.  I returned the third book without reading it.

I then read two volumes of Scary Book by Umezo Kazuo.  These old-fashioned ghost stories were actually a lot of fun!  The publication date was 2003 but they seem much older than that, stylistically.  One story was about a girl whose mirror image comes alive, another is about the creepy-ass revenge of a warlord’s servant, and the entire second voluem is just the one story about a girl who’s terrified of butterflies (my favorite).  I thought the first story was a little slow, the second faster-paced but a little difficult to follow at times, but the second volume story?  Awesome.  Part mystery, part horror, truly creepy.

Next, I read four volumes of Her Majesty’s Dog, a series about a girl who has the power of words–if she knows your name, she can command you–and her demon dog-thing/hot companion. She’s completely clueless about the world, but is adament that she won’t spend her life trapped in a village that wants to shelter, protect, and possibly control her.  He’s in love with her.  It’s part comedy, part love story, and part horror/ghost story.  I like it a lot, actually.  The characters are all distinctive and likable and the plot’s constantly moving forward, as is the characterization.  Psyched for the next volume.  …I should probably order it.  Oops.  Oh, right, in my totally ridiculous capacity as Manga Mom, this one seems to be given a rating a little higher than I would have.  Is it 16+?  I can’t find out online quickly.  I felt like it should’ve been 13+, but ultimately that’s up to the parent.  I let my daughter read it.  Considering what I was reading (and totally not picking up on) at her age, a couple of sexual innuendos flying over her head isn’t going to corrupt her.

Then I read Dramacon.  I had put this one off because I’m a jerk: it looked ~*American*~ and generally I go batty when Americans try to copy Japanese styles without really making their own mark on it.  But I admit my jerkiness and reject it, because I absolutely fell in love with Dramacon.  It’s the story of a junior in high school who, along with her artist boyfriend, has created a manga that’s done well enough to warrant them getting a table at a major convention.  It’s her first time and she’s completely overwhelmed by the sights and sounds–specifically those of her partner/boyfriend’s flirtation with any cute girl who stops at the table.  This causes her to run into a cute guy in shades, and the drama begins.

Dramacon runs for three volumes, with each one taking place at that year’s con.  So the entirety of the action takes place over a couple days per year for three years.  Awesome!  These books pack such a punch into such a short time.  The second book is definitely the weakest, overexplaining at times, but that’s like saying #whatever is the weakest of the Harry Potter books–they’re all good.  On the other hand, if someone’s more clueless about cons than me, it might not seem like overexplaining, just explaining.  I’ll leave that for you guys to decide.

I then read Monkey High! Volume 1, which is a cute love story about a girl whose father’s political exploits have caused her to change schools.  She sees everyone as monkeys (not silly-monkeys, but actual monkeys how they act in the wild) and one boy especially looks and acts like a baby monkey to her.  She falls for him anyway.  I liked this book, but they need to step up the characterization of the main character for me to love it.  She’s just so…bleh.  She’s just THERE.  And yeah, I know, she’s damaged, etc, but she can’t have interests?  Come on.

Finally, I read the first volume of The Wallflower today.  I’d been putting this one off too, and now I realize that was probably for the best.  The main character is irritating, I don’t care enough to tell the guys apart, and oh, the main character is REALLY irritating, constantly moaning about how the beauty of the guys is too bright and how she’s going to melt just by being near them.  Oh, okay.  Returning the second volume without reading it.

I’m running low on manga at the library without delving into the genres I generally avoid.  What to dooo?

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