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Manga Wrap-Up #8

March 19, 2009

There are only four books here because I finally found something I want to go on with ASAP and I’d like to post on it a little later, so if I post this now I can do a “deeper in” sort of thing in a bit.

Make sense?

After School Nightmare by Setona Mizushiro – Uh…students battle each other and their personal demons in order to graduate.  But only some; it’s not like “Nightmare High” or anything like that.  Ichijo Mashiro is our way into this creepy and confusing world.

Pros: It’s very complex, story-wise.  Despite being somewhat action/horror-oriented, the art isn’t very confusing.  (I’m kind of an idiot about art; my brain gets overloaded easily when it comes to artwork.)  The characters are well-rounded quickly, and despite that first “chapter” rush, the story moves at a good pace.

Cons: My inner feminist is a little twitchy.  It’s not really a spoiler, because it’s on the back, but just in case SPOILER SPACE: Ichijo Mashiro is a boy on the, uh, top half, and a girl on the bottom half.  Oh.  Okay?  But once you get past that, there’s so much going on about gender and fear and discovery, the oddness of it sort of goes away.  Sort of.

Kid-friendly?  No.  Sex and violence are all over the place.  Although it’s not gratuitous, I’d still want my daughter to wait till high school before reading it.  The male lead sleeps with a bunch of girls in hopes that one will get him over his feelings for Mashiro, and he’s horribly dismissive to them afterwards, slut-shaming all over the place.  The violence is on the same level as most horror comics, maybe a little less bloody.

Final thoughts: I’m actually pretty intrigued, despite my initial reservations.  Need to give the second volume a glance before deciding one way or another.

Dance Till Tomorrow by Naoki Yamamoto – College kid who’d rather be part a full-time part of a local theater troupe will inherit his great-grandfather’s stamp collection (worth millions) if he stays in school, gets married, etc.  Some girl finds this out and starts stalking him.  There’s a lot of stuff about acting.

Pros: It’s a great idea and the theater stuff is fun.

Cons: The art.  UGH.  Everyone’s face looks wobbly and wide.  Also, it seems like one of those stories that could possibly get drawn out way too long because when in doubt just throw in more theater stuff.

Kid-friendly?  NUDITY.  CASUAL SEX.  NO.

Final thoughts: If it only runs a couple of volumes, yes.  If it goes on for more than, say, five?  No.  (Wikipedia says seven.  I can live with that.)

Beauty is the Beast by Tomo Matsumoto – A somewhat aimless comic about dorm life.

Pros: It’s fun.  The characters are easy to follow.  The art is pretty good.

Cons: Why is “functionally retarded” a good personality for female characters in manga?  I like Eimi but she’s, what?  Sixteen acting like 5?  I find this sort of distressing, in that characters fall for her.  What are they falling for?  She skews SO immaturely it would be like crushing on a child. Which is creepy.  (I also have this problem with Honey & Clover.)

Kid-friendly? Um…yeah, tween-friendly anyway.  I guess.

Final thoughts: I really do like it.  I don’t mean to sound super negative.  The lack of plot might get to me after a while.  It’s like if someone put the lead girl from Beauty Pop into Hana-Kimi.  THAT’s my final thought.

Snow Drop Volume 1 by Choi Kyung-ah – So-Na loves flowers.  Her mom wrote a book about flowers once.  There’s a hot guy in her class who was named after a character in the book, just like her.  Gosh, I wonder what might occur between them?

Pros: They fit a lot of story into four short chapters.  I definitely felt like I was reading a longer work.  And there’s some good dramatic and even comedic stuff going on here.

Cons: Buuuuuut, one of my problems with manhwa is a cultural thing–I feel like the girls are way superficial and fashion-conscious, and that’s so not me that I have a harder time relating to them.  They can also be pretty bratty, and So-Na is definitely that.  Also, there’s no one character through which to see the situation, which means everyone is a mystery, and I don’t really want to figure EVERYONE out from the beginning.  I want to figure them out through a character.  We’re not given that here.

Kid-friendly?  Again, tween-friendly.  There’s nothing terrible going on here.  There’s some drinking, and “fuk” subs out for the more vulgar word, and So-Na gives some guys the finger…eh.

Final thoughts: I hope it’s kidding when it says “A Romeo and Juliet-style romance.”  Are they going to die at the end??  I don’t know; I’m going to give it another volume (as it’s up on the shelf), but really, I think this’ll be one of those books I pick up in two years and wonder “Did I read this?…I think I did…maybe…”

Can you guess which one I’m really into right now?

Next Wrap-Up: a (slightly) deeper look at at least three titles, then another set of first-glance reviews on Monster, Roadsong, Flower of the Deep Sleep, and–by my daughter’s request–Zodiac P.I.

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