My News and Reviews
Last week was one of the slower weeks here at Experiments in Manga. The winner of the Shojo Beat manga giveaway was announced. The post also includes a list of fan favorite Shojo Beat titles. Shojo Beat is a fairly large imprint, and so it's nice to have a place to start looking for manga to read. The Bookshelf Overload for September was also posted last week. And for my first in-depth manga review in October, I took a look at Osamu Tezuka's Message to Adolf, Part 1 published by Vertical. As I've mentioned here before, Adolf was the first manga I ever read. It's still great, and I'm thrilled that the series is available in English again. Finally, Chic Pixel has posted the call for participation for October's Manga Moveable Feast. Later this month we'll be taking a look a vampire-themed manga.
The Drops of God, Volume 4 written by Tadashi Agi and illustrated by Shu Okimoto. The Drops of God is marvelously dramatic even if it isn't always particularly believable. The characters are so incredibly intense in their love for wine and in their efforts to show each other up. I find the series very entertaining and I learn a lot while reading it, too. While I quite happily drink wine, I actually don't know much about it; I find The Drops of God to be educational in addition to being a tremendous amount of fun. The artwork is also great--the visual interpretations of the characters' experiences drinking wine are particularly beautiful. It's an effective technique that nicely conveys the emotional responses.
House of Five Leaves, Volumes 7-8 by Natsume Ono. I love the House of Five Leaves manga, but ultimately I think I prefer the anime adaptation slightly more. (But that may just be because I encountered it first.) Still, there's quite a bit in the manga that doesn't make it into the anime, including additional characters and more explicit backstories. I particularly enjoyed the incorporation of Masa's brother Bunnosuke, who is only mentioned in passing in the anime. But probably what I like most about House of Five Leaves is the development of Masa and Yaichi's characterizations and their relationship to each other. Although there is a plot and occasionally even some action, House of Five Leaves is primarily character-driven, and I love these characters.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Volumes 9-12 by Hirohiko Araki. For an action and adventure title, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure frequently comes across a lot like a travelogue. Except instead of charming encounters in foreign lands, the intrepid travelers are constantly facing painful and horrifying death. Even Iggy, the dog, can't escape attempts on his life. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is often deliberately absurd and outrageous; Araki's storytelling is both clever and funny without really being a comedy. I'm still loving JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's mix of humor, horror, action, and supernatural powers. The series revels in its own unique style. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is highly entertaining and I am thoroughly enjoying the ride.
Scandalous Seiryo University, Volumes 2-4 by Kazuto Tatsukawa. Despite having "university" in the title, I'm pretty sure this series takes place in a high school. Sometimes I enjoy Scandalous Seiryo University, sometimes I hate it. I'm not fond of rape jokes, but I like the main couple well enough and the supporting cast is great. The fourth volume of the English release actually isn't a part of the series proper; it's a side story taking place eight years after Scandalous Seiryo University. It has an entirely different tone than the original series and, surprisingly enough, absolutely no sex. (Sex is a fairly frequent occurrence in the main story.) A few of the characters' personalities have been completely changed, but I did get a kick out of seeing everyone all grown up.