Thursday, August 13, 2009

Manga MIni Reviews

With the craziness of the summer season, my reading habits have been really erratic. Honestly, I haven't been able to finish many novels--I just keep losing my focus. However, my appetite and attention for manga is as high as ever, and I have read some good stuff lately. So, here are a few small reviews for the manga lovers out there.

Night of the Beasts by Chika Shiomi

Aria is a strong girl with a no-nonsense attitude. When strange killings begin to take place in her town, apparently by wild dogs, she soon discovers that they have something to do with her family and with the handsome guy she just met, Sakura. Can her ability to calm the beasts prevent the murder of 4,000 people? And save the man she is falling in love with?

This one is by the same manga-ka as Canon and the artwork is very much her style, kind of retro 80s with sharp chins and impossibly wide shoulders. Night of the Beasts is a lot darker, though. Aria and Sakura are much more likeable, too. After just one volume, you are so rooting for them to succeed and get together. I can't wait to see what happens!

Absolute Boyfriend by Yuu Watase

The author of Fushigi Yuugi and Ceres: Celestial Legend once again brings us an intriguing and hilarious love triangle. Riiko has been repeatedly rejected by the boys she likes when she meets a strange salesman who gives her a card for "Kronos Heaven," an online specialty shop for lovers. Curious, Riiko designs her perfect boyfriend; shockingly he arrives that very night boxed in a crate and waiting for he kiss to awaken him! .

This one is just plain fun. Night and Riiko are a cute couple, especially when Riiko is trying to teach Night about the real world. However, Soshi is such a good guy, you can't help but root for him, too. And Riiko's debt and her constant attempts to pay it off are so funny! In the end, Riiko learns a lot about romantic relationships and Night learns a lot about the world; Soshi learns to share his emotions. The ending is bittersweet, but perfect.

Monkey High by Shouko Akira

Haruna Aizawa transfers to a new school after a highly publicized scandel involving her politician dad. She is determined to lay low and just observe the "monkey mountain" that is high school. But, her crazy classmates have other ideas, dragging her into their silly antics. Not only that, but she finds herself drawn to the most unexpected boy--Masaru (or Macharu, as his friends call him), a short, funny monkey of a boy who is a strange mismatch to Haruna's good looks and serious nature.

The things I love about this manga are the supporting cast, the great match-up of two unexpected leads, and the tension, oh the tension. Haruna and Macharu's friends are varied, loyal, and hilarious; anytime the group is together you know they are going to have a good time! And Atsu--it is so easy to both love and hate this boy at the same time! He is perfect--beautiful, fun, friendly but at the same time kind of narcissitic and manipulative. You really want to just hate him, but every time you think you can, you learn more about his past, his life, and his motivations that just make you still love him.

I really do love that Haruna and Macharu don't match. And, that for once in shojo, it is not the girl who is strange, silly, and funny. While Macharu may seem kind of one-dimensional at the beginning of the story, slowly you begin to realize that he is human and complex, even if he smiles all the time. He gets angry, despressed, and confused like all teens do. And he wants Haruna to see him as a man....

And thus, the tension. While Haruna obviously loves Macharu, she has a lot of trouble seeing him as a man. She loves his childish nature, but he isn't going to stay a child; he is already becoming a man. The biggest angst moments come when Haruan and Macharu get into misunderstandings or when Macharu wants to move their relationship on to the next logical level. Will they ever move beyond kissing? Do we want them to?

Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara
Hmm, more love triangles. I'm beginning to see a theme in my current reading...

Ann and her mother move to the small village of Shimane from Tokyo after her parents divorce. At first, Ann hates it, but slowly she makes friends with Daigo, Fuji, and Shika. When her mother commits suicide, Daigo and her friends are the only thing that keep Ann together. But when Ann decides to move back to Tokyo to live with her Dad, will Daigo's and her relationship survive? Oh, and Fuji will be in Tokyo too, and he obviously has a thing for Ann...

This one is sweet and sappy with moments of darkness and comedy. I love the whole cast and want them all to be happy. But the interlacing relationships can make things very difficult, especially when you add in the emotional family baggage that everyone (except Daigo) seems to carry as well.

Sand Chronicles has won the Shogakukan Manga Award for shojo manga in Japan and ALA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2009 list.

Tail of the Moon by Rinko Ueda

Usagi is a training to be a kunoichi (female ninja) in her family's ninja clan, but she is hopelessly inept. Finally, her great-grandfather, head of the clan, gives her one final chance--to become a full ninja she must travel to Segachi and become the wife of the great ninja Hattori Hanzo, and bear him a child. But Hanzo has sworn never to marry, so Usagi has her work cut out for her!

This manga is so much fun! It is populated with famous Japanese figures from the Tensho era, but is pure ninja romantic situational comedy! The boys are beautiful; the girls are gorgeous and strong; and Usagi is a complete mess. I laugh on nearly every page...

Well, I guess that's all for today. I'll keep you posted on the newest manga and graphic novels I get my hands on!

Book(s) source: Public library

1 comment:

Carol said...

Summer is a very lazy season we will become lazy... so try to focus to read take care...
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