My Week in Manga: November 15-November 21, 2010

My News and Reviews

It was another pretty slow manga week for me news-wise, unless you want to count the fact that I spent almost my whole weekend reading the entirety of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. (I really hadn’t intended to do that, but I couldn’t help myself.) Otherwise, I wrote a review of Yukio Mishima’s popular novel The Sound of Waves and I finally got around to writing the post on podcasts that I’ve been promising. I wasn’t as happy or as thorough with it as I could have been, but I do plan on writing another podcast post, so I’ll try to do better next time. Also, for those of you interested in boys’ love/yaoi, be on the lookout for my next giveaway coming up soon.

Quick Takes

Monster, Volumes 1-18 by Naoki Urasawa. Urasawa is one of my favorite mangaka, and while Monster isn’t my favorite of his works it is still fantastically absorbing and has won its fair share of awards. Monster‘s plot and the relationships between characters are complicated but aren’t too difficult to follow if you’re paying attention. Granted, there are some things that are left a bit vague, even by the end of the series. Although I really liked Tenma, the main protagonist, I think my favorite character was probably Grimmer, an important side character. In fact, all of the characters are great, even the ones that only play small roles.

Satsuma Gishiden: The Legend of the Satsuma Samurai, Volumes 1-3 by Hiroshi Hirata. This manga series is incredibly violent and very graphic in its depiction, but it is also extremely passionate. It’s intense, to say the least. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Yukio Mishima was an admirer of Hirata’s work. Unfortunately, Dark Horse has only published the first three volumes of this six volume series, but it is definitely worth checking out even considering this. The chapters are somewhat episodic although closely linked so you still get a full story experience as the characters show the often brutal lengths they are willing to go to in order to preserve their honor and spirit as samurai.

Totally Captivated, Volumes 1-6 by Hajin Yoo. This manhwa boys’ love series starts out with a fair amount of comedy mixed in, and it never completely loses it, but it gets pretty serious by the end. I guess that’s bound to happen when you’re dealing with the mafia. Some of the plot developments are a bit of a stretch—I find it hard to believe that Mookyul and Ewon knew each other as kids—but it works. Admittedly, their relationship is not a particularly healthy one, but Ewon is able to hold his own against the controlling and violent gang leader pretty well. I do love how the rest of the underlings in the family adopt Ewon almost as if he were the office mascot. I enjoyed this series quite a bit.