Library Love, Part 7

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Akira, Volumes 1-2 by Katsuhiro Otomo. Several years ago I watched the anime of Akira and enjoyed it. I think I like the manga it’s based on even better. I find it to be a marvelous, page-turning, science fiction romp. And because it’s an entire series, Otomo is able to explore aspects of the story that he wasn’t able to include in the two hour film; I feel like I can connect with the characters more and understand them and their actions better. There’s plenty of action and violence with all of the delinquent youths, bike gangs, military forces, and resistance organizations, but the manga also has a fair amount of humor to it too that prevents things from getting too dark.

Banana Fish, Volumes 18-19 by Akimi Yoshida. I had a feeling that things weren’t going to turn out well, but damn this is still heartbreaking. The ending is appropriate and the two side stories included in the final volume were a very nice touch. Yoshida ties up everything by the end, sometimes in surprising ways, but the result is very satisfying. The relationships, good and bad, are what this manga is all about and they are intense. Ash is an extremely charismatic character who profoundly affects those around him. Although the plot developments felt a bit repetitive at times, overall Banana Fish is a great series and I’m really glad that I read it.

Godchild, Volume 6-8 by Kaori Yuki. I think that these last three volumes of this manga are also the best in the series. The plot has gotten very dark, and very cruel, but things are starting to make some sense and are pulled together nicely by the end. Cain’s father and his family history are more thoroughly explained although I still don’t understand everything that’s going on. There are some characters that seem to be introduced out of nowhere to force the plot along, and there are still some developments that I’m not entirely convinced by, but for the most part I liked how things ended and how references to earlier volumes were incorporated.

Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom, Volumes 20-23 by Hisaya Nakajo. While I am satisfied for the most part with the ending of Hana-Kimi, the series is definitely a fantasy and not at all how things would have really turned out. The manga seemed to go on a bit too long with a bit too much filler, and the climax was a bit anti-climatic, but it did make me happy to some extent in the long run. However, I will be the first to admit that how Ashiya is finally discovered and outed to be posing as a guy at an all boys school is really, really stupid. I don’t need to read the series again, and a lot of things frustrated me about the manga, but it was kinda fun while it lasted.

Library Love, Part 4

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Eden: It’s an Endless World, Volumes 6-8 by Hiroki Endo. This seems to have become a completely different story from where the series began. It is still interesting, with great writing, but I do find I miss the heavier and more integral science fiction and post-apocalyptic elements. I also hope some of the earlier characters, like Kenji, make a reappearance. Elijah is becoming a very complex character—he makes mistakes and pays for them; Endo does not take it easy on his characters. The art is still great, especially in action sequences, although the body proportions seem a bit off on occasion.

Godchild, Volumes 3-5 by Kaori Yuki. I’m starting to like Cain much better than I did previously, but he can still be a whiny brat at times. The story is getting kinda dark and heavy and is much less episodic than when the series first began. I still don’t understand Cain’s father’s motivations or the purpose of his secret organization Delilah—maybe because I didn’t read the previous series. Despite this, the plot is starting to be more coherent. I’m particularly interested in learning more about Cain’s brother Jizabel who gets center stage for a bit in these volumes. Yuki’s artwork is rather gothic and her costume designs in particular are great.

Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom, Volumes 18-19 by Hisaya Nakajo. The Sano family drama has been mostly resolved and the networking track meet has finished up. We get some more dorm vs. dorm craziness (I love when RAs get mad at each other and drag the rest of the school into it), and Nakajo seems to have remembered there’s supposed to be some romantic comedy going on, too. Dr. Umeda makes a couple of appearances which makes me happy since he’s my favorite character and hasn’t been seen much lately. There aren’t many more volumes left in the series, but it doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere in particular anymore.

Kitchen Princess, Volumes 8-10 written by Miyuki Kobayashi and illustrated by Natsumi Ando. Mizuno turned out to be a much better character than I expected and I’m glad. There is a lot of over-the-top melodrama going on in Kitchen Princess, but I enjoyed the series anyway, especially the delicious, delicious food. It’s a cute series, and I’m happy with how things turned out. I particularly liked the ending side-story/epilogue between Mizuno and Akane. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Fujita’s story, who I adored, but oh well. Apparently Kitchen Princess won the Kodansha Manga Award for a children’s series in 2006, which I wasn’t aware of while I was reading it but I think the series deserves it.

Library Love, Part 1

Support manga, support your library!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Godchild, Volume 2 by Kaori Yuki. I’m pretty sure that Cain is supposed to be this angsty romantic figure, but so far I think he comes across as an ass most of the time. He does truly care about his half-sister and Riff, though. I also like the fact that he collects poisons—something that fascinate me. This volume loads on more Hargreaves family mystery but doesn’t really go anywhere yet. The introduction of Japanese characters in the first story of this volume seemed out of place to me. But, I do enjoy Yuki’s costume designs quite a bit.

Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom, Volumes 16-17 by Hisaya Nakajo. I enjoyed this series much more than I was expecting to, but I must admit that it’s now starting to feel like it’s dragging on and on. These volumes return to one of the series roots: high-jumping. There’s less silly antics and more Sano family drama going on. I think I’m supposed to be worried about the developing love triangle between Sano, Ashiya, and Nakatsu but the intensity just isn’t there.

Hikaru No Go, Volume 1, written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. I hardly know anything at all about Go (I should really fix that), but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the first volume of Hikaru No Go. I know Obata’s work from Death Note and while the designs are definintely different here, the art is still excellent. Sai is very pretty and Hikaru is fairly adorable. Their interactions are fun to watch although the humor can be rather juvenile at times. Even from reading only the first volume I can understand how this series sparked a Go craze. Now, if only we could get some of those mahjong titles licensed…

Skip Beat, Volume 2 by Yoshiki Nakamura. I don’t really care about show business, but the revenge plot is great and isn’t something I’ve seen much of in shōjo manga. This volume sees the creation of the somewhat bizarre “Love Me Section” which, as far as I can tell, Kyoko is the only member. The story gets a bit silly at times, but I love Kyoko’s over-the-top reactions, even when she manages to keep them in her head. She’s spunky and can be very enthusiastic to say the least.