My News and Reviews
Last week was another three post week here at Experiments in Manga! (In addition to the usual My Week in Manga, that is.) First up was the announcement of the Music Manga Giveaway Winner. The post also includes a list of manga that has been licensed in English that incorporate music. The other two posts were reviews. The honor of the first in-depth manga review of December goes to Dororo, Volume 2 by Osamu Tezuka. Dororo remains one of my favorite Tezuka manga. The second review posted was for Keigo Higashino's mystery novel Salvation of a Saint. The novel is a part of his Detective Galileo series. Only one other novel in the series, The Devotion of Suspect X, is currently available in English, but there are plans to release A Midsummer's Equation, as well. I'm a fan of Higashino's work (so far, Naoko is my personal favorite); I'm looking forward to reading more.
It's been a while since I've pointed out interesting things that I've found online, but I'm hoping to get back into the habit. Last week there were two things that particularly caught my attention. First of all, there's another My Week in Manga in town! Melinda Beasi kicked off a new video feature at Manga Bookshelf--My Week in Manga, Episode 1. Over at Yuri no Boke, Katherine Hanson is reviewing Paros no Ken (Sword of Paros)--a three volume manga series which I'm fairly certain takes place in the Guin Saga universe. It will probably never, ever be licensed in English, but the reviews really make me want to read it. Also, Linda of Animemiz's Scribblings has posted the call for contributions for December's Manga Moveable Feast! This month's Feast will feature Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata's wonderful series Hikaru no Go as well as other game-oriented manga. The Feast will take place between December 26 and December 31.
Here Is Greenwood, Volumes 3-5 by Yukie Nasu. Although I loved the first two volumes of Here Is Greenwood, I wasn't quite as taken with these three volumes. I like the series best when it is being utterly absurd, and there wasn't quite as much of that going on here. I still enjoyed these volumes, though; the series manages to make me laugh on a fairly regular basis. The various story arcs are fairly episodic and there doesn't seem to be an over-arching plot to be concerned about, although the continued development of the characters' personalities is important. All of the scenarios usually found in a series centering around a school are present here--ghost stories, school festivals, summer vacations, and so on.
Limit, Volumes 1-2 by Keiko Suenobu. For some reason I wasn't initially going to pick up Limit (it might've been the schoolgirl angle), but I'm really glad that I did--the series is right up my alley. A terrible bus accident claims the lives of nearly an entire class of high school students on their way to a secluded campground. Five of the surviving girls team together while waiting to be rescued. Well, "team together" might be stretching it. The girls carry a lot of hostility and can barely get along. They'll not only have to survive the situation in which they find themselves but survive each other as well. The power and relationship dynamics in Limit are intense and exceptionally well done. Limit can be brutally realistic at times. I'll definitely be following the rest of the series.
Sensitive Pornograph by Ashika Sakura. Sensitive Pornograph is a collection of six short, unrelated boys' love manga. The title story and "Trophies Belong In the Bedroom" (which were probably my favorite two), were later made into an OVA. "Please, Kiss Me" is one of Sakura's older works. The artwork isn't as accomplished as it is in the other stories, but it's light fun. "Non-Adult Situations" seemed like something I'd read before. "Indirect Youth" is unfortunately rape-y, but still manages to have its cute moments. "Come Home" has a nice family-oriented twist to it. Published under Digital Manga's 801 imprint there's plenty of explicit, uncensored sex in Sensitive Pornograph, but there's a bit of plot, too.
Thermae Romae, Omnibus 1 (equivalent to volumes 1-2) by Mari Yamazaki. Yen Press' deluxe hardcover release of Thermae Romae is fantastic and the content more than lives up to its presentation. Yamazaki's personal notes included after each chapter are also a delightful addition. Thermae Romae manages to be both extremely entertaining as well as somewhat educational. Lucius is a Roman bath engineer from the Hadrian era who has a tendency to slip, fall, and almost drown in the baths on a regular basis. This somehow causes him to time-travel to various baths and hot springs in modern Japan. Lucius transforms the bizarre experiences he has in Japan into architectural and bathing innovations upon his eventual return to ancient Rome.
Berserk: The Golden Age, Arc I: The Egg of the King directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka. Kentaro Miura's Berserk is one of my favorite manga series, particularly the "Golden Age" arc. I was very excited about the new series of anime films. The first film is a decent adaptation. It moves very, very quickly, taking the story up through the assassination of Count Julius. Unfortunately, the pace does mean that the characters have lost some of their depth. However, most of the important plot points make it into the film. I wasn't overly fond of the sequences that relied heavily upon 3D CG animation, although occasionally it is used to great effect. The fight choreography in particular is exciting and very nicely done.