My Week in Manga: January 24-January 30, 2011

My News and Reviews

Last week was rather chaotic for me and so between crises at home and hanging out with my folks in Toledo over the weekend, I didn’t get much manga read. But, speaking of Toledo! Currently the Toledo Museum of Art has a temporary exhibit featuring their netsuke collection: Life in Miniature. February will be the last month the exhibit will be on display. If you happen to be near northwest Ohio, you should go see it in addition to their permanent Japanese art collection. And while you’re there, also check out the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion which is an amazing building designed by the 2010 Pritzker Prize winners Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

As for posts last week: I have a review of Keigo Higashino Naoki Prize winning novel The Devotion of Suspect X. The book will be released on February 1 (i.e. tomorrow) by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press that specializes in mystery, suspense, and thrillers. And as a reminder, my monthly manga giveaway will be ending on Wednesday. You still have a couple of days to enter to win a copy of the first volume of Gantz at Gantz Giveaway.

Quick Takes

The Dreaming Collection (equivalent to Volumes 1-3) by Queenie Chan. I’m glad I picked up this omnibus edition. If I had read the volumes individually, I probably would have never made it to the final volume which was by far my favorite. Plus, there is some nice bonus material in the omnibus collection—an interview and an additional side-story. The Dreaming is one of Tokyopop’s most successful original English-language manga. The Dreaming deals with the disappearances of girls from a boarding school in the Australian bush, reminiscent of the story Picnic at Hanging Rock. It has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere to it.

Thunderbolt Boys Excite, Volumes 1-2 by Asami Tojo. Apparently, Thunderbolt Boys Excite is actually a sequel to a series that hasn’t yet been licensed in English. That’s probably part of the reason the plot makes almost no sense whatsoever. But even if I had read the first series, I’m not sure I would be able to make much sense out of the second one. I did like Tojo’s art, though. Her style is pretty with very bishōnen character designs but still fairly graphic. She creates some really interesting panel layouts, using almost the entire page. The lack of white-space can be a little overwhelming at times, but overall it is quite effective. Occasionally, the the sexy posing defies anatomical reality, which is problematic.

One Piece, Season One: Third Voyage directed by Kōnosuke Uda. One Piece is currently in its thirteenth season, which is a bit daunting since I’ve only recently passed the half-way point of the first season. I am still enjoying the anime, although I’m finding the extended fight scenes that last for multiple episodes to be a bit tedious. While I will admit that the fights can be fun, I much prefer the episodes that focus on plot or character development. Of course, sometimes this does include the fighting. After Sanji finally joins Luffy’s crew, most of these episode focus on Nami’s backstory. And like most everyone else’s in the series, hers is pretty tragic. Maybe even more so.