Time for another mass post! I am going to save a few things for my next mass post (because I haven't read the last two volumes of Seiho Boys' High School
for example, waiting on volume 7 to come in) but I've still got plenty of manga to talk about!
First up, I did indeed finish Crossroad
, as I said I would! Got the rest online for pretty cheap, well worth the money if you ask me (then again, I got the whole series for maybe $15, but I would've been willing to pay more). It's one of those series that is shojotastic in a good way! Though from volume 4 on, some more romantic shojo elments were introduced that I don't think were entirely necessary, but I guess it didn't detract in the overall scheme of things either. Still, this is a series that I am very glad is on my shelf and would recommend to most anyone! I rate it 4 out of 5
Glad I was able to get Karakuri Odette
before it really got hard to find. I think TRSI still has some copies left, so yeah, go grab them! This is a series that follows Odette, a robot trying to learn about what makes her and humans different (other than the obvious drinking of oil). But she doesn't really want to become human either. She meets some other robots, not as complex as she is. And yeah, the story pretty much follows Odette. There were some parts I was annoyed with, like not really getting an explanation for a few things and under utilizing some characters, but overall, it's definitely a series you need to jump on getting before it's too late. I also rated this one 4 out of 5
Ok, manhwa time with Model
. This Korean girl living in...I forget, was it America or Europe? Either way, she helps a passed out drunk but gorgeous man, and being an artist, can't help but want to draw a picture. Seems he wasn't too pleased with this as he is a vampire, but he decides to more or less commission her to paint him. The vampire is also an artist who paints people's pictures and basically she ends up living at his mansion with a serious looking maid and another bishonen who likes bats or something. Now, it starts off pretty promising, but it drops the painting thing in order to learn more about the three people living at the mansion. Sadly, they are not overly interesting and it feels like half of the reveals were totally made up on the spot or something. So as it went on, it became progressively worse and then the ending didn't really make it all worth it either. Now, the girl was trying to learn about the characters to help her with her painting, but she more or less seems to have given up on it when it could have been very interesting. The art is pretty much entirely bishonen+hot topic, I didn't mind it too much, but if you like that style of art, it does a great job, I had no trouble following it even when the story got boring. I'd rate it 2.5 out of 5
Oho but there was more manhwa! Hotel Africa
volume 2, which I finally got around to reading. I didn't want to read volume 2, not because volume 1 wasn't spectacular, but because I know nothing beyond volume 2 was published. Luckily, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger, as it was mostly episodic anyway, ut most episode took two chapters. Here we got to learn more about Elvis' friend Ed with more of the episodic goodness about the hotel in the middle of nowhere Utah itself that made the first volume so good. Really, it was mostly more of the same, but when it's this good to begin with, you don't really mind. Sad to know no one has rescued this *cough*Yen Press*cough* Also, I was only able to get a used copy for this and it ended up being an ex-library book with library binding (aka hardcover), most of the non-ex library books are kinda expensive, so settle for the library book here, it's worth it to get even a tiny bit more of this "shame it'll never be continued in English" series. Still a 4.5 out of 5
Finally got around to reading/buying some of the Sig stuff. Read volumes 3 and 4 of Saturn Apartments
. It's weird, I felt like volumes 1 and 2 were quite different, 1 was more episodic window washing and 2 suddenly introduced an entire cast that lived around our main character Mitsu. It was a bit jarring of a transition, but I think i finally warmed up to the idea of that with these two volumes. Mostly in 4. But yeah, I was considering dropping it in 3, but then it really found its legs in 4, so I'm likely to keep buying them (it's only 7 volumes anyway, so we're nearing the end I suppose). I think if you get into the whole "people around Mitsu" thing faster, you'll enjoy it much quicker than I did, maybe it was just a case of expecting more of what volume 1 was only to not get it, but what they've replaced it with has become pretty awesome so yeah, good!
Ah, yes, Ikigami
, the sort of premise you know only Japan could come up with for some reason. Maybe it's because I haven't really seen any shows from America where characters know they're going to die. It rather reminds me of Bokurano actually. Anyway, Japan, deciding that its sick of its apathetic citizens, decides that the best way to make them realize how precious life is is to kill a random citizen between the ages of 18 and 24 every day and only give them 24 hours notice before they die. This is done by way of a nanocapsule that 1 in 1000 people will receive hidden in a vaccine they are injected with in elementary school (and it really does have vaccine in it, not just a vitamin shot) which will pretty much stop their heart at a given time. No one knows who has these until it is almost time for the capsules to expire (due to an annoying and lengthy process described in volume 2). We kinda have a main, a guy working for the department who gives out the Ikigami (or death notices). We then see how they spend their final 24 hours. Most of the time, you as the audience goes "yikes, well this person really doesn't deserve to die at all" and the main is slowly starting to wonder that himself (but he won't say anything because big brother is watching). I understand that, at least through volume 7, it's more of the episodic 3-chapter long stories, but here's hoping that they will do more with the whole system thing. I'm not quite sure why it only works on people 18-24, seems kinda unfair in terms of timing after all (being in that age range myself) but yeah, it's a pretty depressing series, just know that before going in. I've read two volumes, but would like to eventually get more methinks.
It's weird, I've tried other Natsume Ono stuff, but I feel like House of Fives Leaves
is the only one I really like. Maybe it's the whole Italian thing all over half her works which I find kinda pretentious or that she's really showing that she knows how to tell a story for once here. I've read five volumes, but rest assured, I'm dying to buy the last three. Some will find the pacing rather slow, but I find it to be just about right. We mostly follow Akitsu Masanosuke, the least likely looking samurai ever, seeing how he is extremely timid. He is, however, skilled, and gets picked up by the mysterious Yaichi to pose as a samurai for a simple money exchange and Masa somehow learns about the Five Leaves, a group that kidnaps for ransom, and somehow ends up joining them. Most of the members keep to themselves, but Masa is dying to know about their pasts and we slowly start to learn more about them, as well as see some of the jobs they pull off. I really do wish all of Ono's series could grab me like this, and I especially find it difficult to get into feudal era stuff due to not really knowing the history. But yeah, this is probably my favorite IKKI series thus far!
Also read the first 4 volumes of Shugo Chara
. It's definitely a pretty kiddy series, I won't lie. It only really started to get interesting to me towards the end of volume 4, the stuff before it feeling more like an after school special or something. I'm not sure if I really want to continue or not, it's not bad, but I also get the feeling that it's just not for me. I expect Princess Tutu (the anime, not the manga *shudder*) out of my magical girl stuff these days.
And last, I finished the Darren Shan
manga (aka, Cirque du Freak
in America, the name that Yen Press chose to use as well). I've been a bit iffy on the manga-ish adaptation of Little,Brown books that Yen Press is pushing out. I don't know if it's because I don't necessarily think James Patterson is the best thing since sliced bread and half of their adaptations seem to be of James Patterson books, but this one is different. Part of it is that it's actual manga, this was made without Yen commissioning it. Obviously the got dibs to jump all over the rights to it and they certainly did, they even pushed out the first three volumes (or first arc) for volume 3 to be out in time for the god-awful movie. I've actually read the book series, but I didn't know about it until the manga came out (which I was iffy about and rented from the library). The mangaka constantly says in the back of the book about how much of a challenge it was to fit one book into one manga, clearly some things were going to get abridged, but they had a great sense of where to do this and where not to, they really did a great job (unlike the movie). But you can tell at the start that the mangaka wasn't exactly the best at artwork as it gets progressively better as the series goes on. Having read the books, this is pretty much exactly what it should look like in comic book form (except with better artwork in the earlier volumes on par with the middle to later volumes). Do I think it could have been improved had the mangaka not had to tell each entire volume in 8 weekly chapters? Yes, of course, but seeing how I read manga one before novel one, I could barely tell. I feel like it only really suffered a bit on volume 2 where most of RV's introduction got severely truncated. But I also very much appreciate how true it was to the novels, something which the movie absolutely murdered. I also already knew that some of the later volumes would get quite gruesome, you know the movies wouldn't dare touch that, glad the manga didn't shy away from it. I also remember thinking that the ending of the novel series came off a bit cheesy, somehow the manga fixed that, so I was quite pleased at it not coming off as cheesy and adding a bit more in the end to help tie things all together.
So yeah, this is pretty much how to correctly make an adaptation from Western (in this case, Irish) novel to manga, though it also helps that I really liked the book series too (I've started reading the prequel following Larten, which I'm sure will never be made into a movie because in the very first volume Larten tries to learn and expand his alcohol limit since it's made very clear that vampires can handle way more liquor than humans), I'd also like to see that get a manga by the same guy.
In the meantime, his series ARAGO
finished in Japan, hopefully if the Cirque manga sold enough, Yen Press will consider picking up ARAGO, because you know it'll have the superior art from the end of Cirque with an all new story that is the mangaka's original (ARAGO is only the guy's second series, Cirque was the first, impressively enough) Being a fan of the original novels, I rate the series 4.5 out of 5
, not sure how people who never read the original novels would think of it, but this was what made me check out the original series, so yeah, if that was what Little,Brown wanted, then mission freakin' accomplished.