My News and Reviews
This week is The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Manga Moveable Feast! Eeeper's Choice Podcast is hosting the Feast for the first time. I've already submitted one contribution--a review of the first volume in the series. I've read The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service before but had forgotten how darkly funny the series is. I'll be posting another contribution to the Feast latter this week, most likely on Friday.
I did have one other post this past week that seems to be going over pretty well. It's a part of my infrequent Finding Manga feature in which I give some tips on finding and buying manga. This time around I took a look at one of the largest anime and manga specific retailers in North America--Finding Manga: Right Stuf. Right Stuf happens to be one of my favorite places to buy manga and anime.
Drifters, Volume 2 by Kohta Hirano. Other than their names, Hirano doesn't provide much background on any of the characters in Drifters. The series really works best if you already have an good handle on the their historical inspirations outside of the manga itself. Otherwise, they just come across as very unbalanced and slightly insane. However, considering some of their histories and the fact that they've inexplicably been thrown into a completely unfamiliar world, I can't really blame them. The worldbuilding is progressing slowly and there is still plenty about Drifters that hasn't been explained yet. I might not understand everything that's going on, but I am thoroughly enjoying Drifters' chaos.
R.O.D: Read or Dream, Volumes 1-4 written by Hideyuki Kurata and illustrated by Ran Ayanaga. The contrast between the Read or Die manga and the Read or Dream manga is astounding. Both are written by Kurata and both technically take place in the same universe (there's even a cameo made by Yomiko Readman in Read or Dream), but they are vastly different in tone. Read or Dream is often silly and heartwarming with delightful yuri overtones. Michelle, Maggie, and Anita make up the Paper Sisters Detective Agency. They specialize in finding solutions to problems that have something to with books, their owners, or authors. As a fellow bibliophile I particularly enjoyed the emphasis given to the love of books in the series. (I was also very fond of Maggie's "bifauxnen" character design.)
Shirahime-Syo: Snow Goddess Tales by CLAMP. Shirahime-Syo collects three short manga that are framed by the legend of the Snow Princess. Each of the stories is a tragic tale of love and loss. None of them are directly related to one another, but they all make references to the Snow Princess. One of the things I enjoyed the most about Shirahime-Syo was the artwork. (I actually find this to be true for most of CLAMP's manga.) I'm not sure who the lead artist was on this particular CLAMP work, but she has taken obvious inspiration from traditional Japanese ink paintings. The style works especially well in Shirahime-Syo because it helps to emphasize the folktale-like atmosphere of the stories.
Ze, Volumes 5-6 by Yuki Shimizu. Following the pattern set by the previous volumes of Ze--every two volumes Shimizu explores the relationship of a newly introduced pair--these two volumes turn their attention to the story of Moriya and Ryuusei. Moriya is a kami desperately in search of a master while Ryuusei desperately wants to deny his power as a kotodama user. I liked both of Moriya and Ryuusei's backstories, but I wasn't entirely convinced by the chemistry that was supposed to exist the two of them. Some of the most climatic and dramatic moments in their story were reminiscent of those from previous volumes which unfortunately lessened their impact. I'm still enjoying Ze, though. I like the modern setting and supernatural elements.
Hetalia, Season 3: World Series directed by Bob Shirohata. I like Hetalia best when it's dealing directly with history rather than just playing around with national stereotypes. Admittedly, I still laugh. Yes, I know that Hetalia is incredibly offensive to some people. But (fortunately?) I'm very hard to offend and don't take the series too seriously. I often find that I learn something while watching it, too. Hetalia: World Series follows Hetalia: Axis Powers. Other than not emphasizing World War II to the same extent that the original series does, there's really not much of a difference between the two. Granted, World Series introduces a few more characters/countries.