First up, another one from Jeff Smith
! After I enjoyed Bone
so much, I decided to try out his (currently) only other series, RASL
. Rumor has it this should end around issue 15 or 16 (11 are out now), I got to read the first 3 chapters in a glorious oversized book. It involves dimensional travel, but since I only got to read 3 chapters, I haven't gotten to the main meat of the story cus I can't find book 2, gah! But I am going to hunt it down and vol 3 (which will have up through 11) comes out December. But man, the book is huge! I mean, the black and white artwork is glorious enough to warrant it, it's just a damn big book is all. But yeah, I do plan to get the rest of this series since I can already see the same quality story telling he brought to Bone here.
Ok, so I read most of the first volume of Sailor Moon
via the library, but quite frankly got bored. Read 5 chapters. Ok, so I get that volume 1 is mostly the "gather the team" sort of thing, most every series with a team will do this, or if the team is established, they're getting their powers or something etc. But really, I thought this was honestly the most boring iteration of the gathering the team thing I've yet experienced. I'm really not sure if I should give Sailor Moon another shot or what and I know there are a lot of SM fans around here, but honestly, I jsut don't see what the big deal about this series is.
Ok, so the bookstore put these guys in their $1 bin, meaning that they will soon be pulped if not bought and it interested me enough to be worthy of a blind buy of the first three volumes at $1 a piece. But I do honestly want the last 4 volumes, and Go Comi! did manage to publish the whole series (seems it was one of their earlier ones). Basically, it's an "odd family situation" shojo, kinda like Marmalade Boy buy even weirder. Basically that main's mother, who tends to go off man chasing all the time, isn't really there and she lived with her grandma until she dies in chapter 1 (hardly spoilers). So she has to find a new place to live and is joined by her two step-brothers (one her age, one 5 years older) who have no blood relation to each other, the main girl, or the mother (like I said, confusing) and shojo ensues! The girl had been writing to the younger boy, but one time wrote a really nasty letter and they stopped corresponding, she's really hoping that he'll accept her apology and forgive her. But like I said, shojo, and like all shojo with a step brother, it's like they can help but go for each other, resulting in a chapter called "no incest allowed!" (which also became a family rule).
So it's shojotastic, charming at that, and I'd like to get the remaining volumes soon!
More shojo! The ever popular Fruits Basket
this time! I've never seen the anime to be honset, but what with Tokyopop out, I swear it seems like everyone is selling their Furuba manga sets online and I'm not entirely sure why unless they've had the series since it came out and are now sick of it. Anyway, it was awesome! The characters are all charming and great and it drops the romcom thing pretty quickly to be more or less pure romdram.
I must admit that my least favorite part was the student council stuff, kinda annoying and average, and there was a lot of "typing up the loose romantic ends" thing, lol. At least the main romance was never messed up though. My friend said she didn't like the ending because it "doesn't end like you'd expect it to" and I have no idea what she's talking about, it ends exactly like I expected it to. For one thing, the series starts off presenting that the hugging into animals thing is the curse, but it's really not, that becomes obvious by the halfway point easily. By the time it becomes clear that the animal thing isn't really the curse but a side effect, hardly anyone ever turns into an animal again once we know what their animal is. That's cool, that was played more for comedic effects anyway.
Must say that Furuba has the plainest covers of any shojo I've seen, I usually see more sparkly and girly. Anyway,it's a great series and an instant shojo classic, even if the student council stuff annoyed me cus it took away from more interesting characters. 4.5/5
Yay! More Osamu Tezuka! Vertical's latest offering is The Book of Human Insects
, which most reminds me of MW. This follows a woman who is uber manipulative and seeing how she screwed over other people's lives. I think I definitely liked MW more, but Human Insects is a fine addition to the Tezuka line from Vertical.
More Tezuka! Swallowing the Earth
was a bitch to get, but I got lucky at a comic book shop. Sometimes MSRP is the cheapest price! Anyway, Swallowing the Earth was one of Tezuka's earliest attempts at the darker, more adult oriented stuff and it shows as it often has some of the characteristics of his earlier works. Mostly, it has a lot more slapstick then his later darker series and an overly heroic drunk. But this one also follows a crafty woman, or more her daughters, who aim to screw over men for revenge for their mother (who somehow still had 7 daughters) and ruin the entire economy. But much like earlier Tezuka works, there's that "spontaneous love" thing, whereas in Human Insects, the girl only ever feigned love and made that very clear. Apollo's Song is still my least favorite Tezuka title Vertical has put out, but I would still say this is worth the hunt for Tezuka fans.
Got Mugen Spiral
for two reasons, mostly a fondness for NG Life, by the same author, and it was half off at B&N. So yeah, nowhere near as good as NG Life and that's because the damn thing stops as soon as it starts to get good! Not to mention all the left over plot! So it's a tough rec since there's no ending, but once it starts to get good, you instantly want more. Maybe if you can get it for cheap, but expect no ending whatsoever. Not sure why this series got the royal treatment, it got omnibused and NG Life, every cover said "from the creator of Mugen Spiral" on it. Never trust Tokyopop to pretend something is the most awesome thing ever, just look at Princess Ai's 'tarded stream of advertising. Though all of the stuff by the Furuba author said "from the creator of Fruits Basket!" all over it, but ok, they did it right once.
Oh man, leave it to Fumi Yoshinaga to make the best stuff ever! Gerard & Jacques
proved to me conclusively that yes, it is possible for me to like yaoi. But I still think it needs to be done exclusively by Yoshinaga. Anyway, her sense of timing and drama in here is just as incredible as it always is, she is so brilliant at subverting expectations, not only of the genre, but of similar, non-yaoi dramas too that it's just a delight to read to see where she'll go next. Something tells me there's not enough sex in here for the hardcore yaoi fan, but umm, I guess it's good too? I dunno, I kinda gloss over that because she somehow still develops some character during the sex scenes, it's kinda weird.
Still, there's a reason the only yaoi I have is by her (sure, I've a few shonen-ai, but no full on yaoi that's not by her). 4.5/5
Speaking of which, this is almost certainly a shonen-ai, there's not a drop of BL in Shout Out Loud
, but it was still published under Tokyopop's Blu label. The fact that it's not BL probably explains how it got to 5 volumes in the first place. Anyway, this series follows a jailbait-looking father Hisae Shino when his teenage son has to move back in due to his mother's death. In order to make ends meet, Shino, a voice actor, has to take more work and ends up recording an awful lot of yaoi with people who kinda like to take their work home with them. Thus, love triangle ensues between Shino and two co-workers! Meanwhile, Shino's son plays hockey and gets in a gay relationship there. Both Shino and his son were straight before, so it's kinda about seeing them go gay. Oh, but there's a clear Legend of the Galactic Heroes ref! Hooray!
So yeah, don't go reading it for the sex, there ain't any, but I think the series has grown on me in my head, it's a decent read.
Gah, this never ending list of shojo! Name of the Flower
is an OOP title from CMX, but I'm glad I was able to get it at Otakon. It's a straightforward and sweet shojo about two people coming out of their shells. They're also related, which in shojo world means falling in love, lol. Still, it's a writer, Kei, who wrote some really depressing books, and....some relative girl of his, Chouko, who has to live with him due to (you guessed it) dead relatives and is in high school. They slowly seem to unlock each other's heart, her unlocking his more so, so it's a sweet series to read that doesn't seem rushed, but takes it time too.
Man, I've skipped so much stuff I should've updated before I think! Anyway, Lament on the Lamb
takes loneliness in manga to a whole new level, man is it a lonely manga. Anyway, Lament follows two siblings, long lost and finally meeting again, just as Kazuna, the boy, seems to have some late and odd side effects of puberty, namely craving for blood. Chizuna, the sister, reveals their family curse of vampirism, or more craving blood, which she has been afflicted with all her life and which drove their mother insane to death. With their father recently deceased, they are the only family they have. So they start to live together, but luckily, no incest! Cus it's not shojo! Oh they certainly form an unhealthy relationship, Kazuna needs Chizuna as his caretaker, like a mother, and Chizuna uses Kazuna as a replacement for their father. Really, the blood sucking is the least creepy part here, but it's not scary or anything, just their ever evolving unhealthy relationship is creepy as anything. I'd rate it 4 out of 5
, it's worth tracking down even if the ending left something lacking.
Hmm, is that everything for now? Well probably not, but it's everything for this post anyway!