Saturday, January 29, 2011

This Month's Afterschool Charisma

Is chapter 19. and it is an awesome chapter full of violence and revelations. Clones fight clones, the nature of destiny is debated, and Shiro's face appears everywhere. Rockswell continues to be a psychopath, and the story is told in no-nonsense grids, reminiscent of American comics. I think volume 3 is the strongest part of Afterschool Charisma so far as the various hints being thrown around finally are paying off.

ETA: I'm sort of weirded out by those who expect this to be a comedy. Yes, Clone High was a comedy, and it was hilarious. But it's not like all stories on this theme are supposed to be comedies.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Defense of Afterschool Charisma

I have to admit that I disagree with this review of Afterschool Charisma. The entire point of the manga is that in a different environment, just having the same genetics as someone great won't make you great. Without a kingdom to rule or armies to command, a clone of Elizabeth or Napoleon is just a regular teenager with the equivalent of a big brother whose shoes they can never fill. Volume 2 is mostly a set up for the developments of volume 3( see here under 'volume 3') The expo and the pressure it exerts on the clones is introduced,and most of this volume's scenes are stolen by the quirkily insane Rockswell, who doesn't think much of clones, and his little tag along Pandora. The belief of the elite that clones are just tools for publicity or power are shown well in the party scenes of the expo.

To avoid spoiling volume 3, let's just say that you'll be glad to know the backstory about almighty dolly and about the mental fragility of many of the clones when the bullets start flying.

About the actual book, it's still well made, and the fanservice is appealing without being too distracting, but I wish there were more extra mini comics. Maybe in volume 3's print version.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lady Kanako

I've been reading the Secret Notes of Lady Kanako, as I'm probably one of the only people to buy a manga after seeing it get positive reviews online. It's an amusing little collection of one shots in which our cynical heroine starts off by noting that she's just transferred to a new school, and how she doesn't want to get involved with people. Inevitably, she gets involved to amusing results. By the fifth story, I started to wonder why her parents let her transfer to a different school every few months and the fact that Tsubaki keeps showing up becomes increasingly hard to believe. It's fun, but I'd rather have a continuing plot in the second volume. Maybe stay at the same school for two chapters, and see how Kanako's schemes play out in more depth?

ETA: I thought about how the world of Lady Kanako is a set piece like the typical 'cheerleaders and jocks teen movie high school', and also, about how Tokyopop needs to fricking edit, since I counted at least 5 typos, and these books are MORE expensive than the higher quality Viz books. Stop wasting money on crap no one likes and up your quality Tokyopop.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

For Fuck's Sake, Buy a Book

Create a job- buy a book. I'll often support web comics and other stuff by buying since I know that the economy is so rough. One more book sold is more opportunity for someone to make a living, and also for auxiliary jobs- editor, publisher, print dude, dude who puts books on shelves. So don't be a cheap fucking wad. Buy a book today. I did. (OK, it was Alice in the Country of Hearts Vol 4, all of which were near the front of the bookstore instead of in their designated place. But I bought a book like object, which is what counts.)

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

People think about Fruits Basket

Personally, I like Shigure/Akito/Kureno due to the squickiness involved. Now that's an unhealthy relationship. I tend to imagine a thought bubble over Akito's head in the whole Shigure confessing his eternal love scene saying "I don't know what's going on, but I'm getting a whole lot of attention!"


Monday, January 03, 2011

The Last of the New Year's Haul- Alice in the Country of Hearts

Today I read the last of my big holiday haul- Alice in the Country of Hearts 2 and 3. While I wish there were slightly fewer bishies, and more female characters, but then again, harems are popular, so we'll end up with that sort of imbalance, although too much focus on romance gets dull. Luckily, the book doesn't get too bogged down in BISHIES and FUNNAY and actually moves the plot along a bit. Personally, I hope that Alice never ends up with any of the stalker sociopaths that are presented as possible matches in this book. Blood Dupre and Peter White are the ones I'm least keen on, but there are no good options for Alice here. Alice is my favorite character- smart and a little wry.


The Wizard of Oz and Sand Chronicles

I finally treated myself by buying the Wizard of Oz graphic novel. I don't have much to say about it. The beautiful art, the lovely storyline(yes, the dialogue is a bit stilted at points) all make me say you should go out and buy this and recommend it to all the libraries in your area. It's the sort of thing American comics needs- fantastic family stories.

I was not as impressed with Sand Chronicles vol 10. The time capsule story has some moments, and the school play was cute, but I wanted to see more of characters like Shika, Fuji, even Fuji and Shika's mom. The little story at the end with Chi's birth was good. I'm a Sand Chronicles completist, though, and it's nice to have them all, even if this volume of side stories isn't as good as Volume 9, which gave us more insight into what had come before the main story. The end of this volume was a bit sentimental for me. One of the things I liked about the series are the bits and pieces where maybe everything didn't turn out happily, but everyone was alright- such as the year 26 stories for Ann. Going back to an old fashioned moral seems a bit off after that.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Seiho 3 and Ceres

I recently read all of Ceres: Celestrial Legend, and really, think that Viz should give it the VizBig treatment. It's one of those dark plotty manga that I adore so much. Plot summary: On her 16th birthday, Aya learns that she has a dark side- a 'celestial maiden' named Ceres who is pissed about the theft of her 'celestial robes'. It takes all of Aya's cunning to keep Ceres from killing everyone she loves and keep one step ahead of her own family, which is desperate to kill or capture her. There's the requisite mooning over boring mysterious guy, but even that is pulled into the plot in a way that seems seamless and not forced at all.

Aya is my favorite character- gutsy and devoted to the ones she loves. I also like Yuhi, who despite playing second fiddle to boring mysterious Touya, manages to be gutsy and bold. This series, I should warn you, has much violence and some near rape scenes. There are some romantic sex scenes in which you can't really see anything, but some may be annoyed with the OMG, WE'RE DOING IT BECAUSE WE'RE SO IN LUUUURVE stuff. Series like this are why I'm always confused when people talk about shoujo being sweet. We don't generally think of shonen as sweet, even with a million Cute Girls: No Plot series around. In fact, when I read shoujo, I am not ever surprised if I end up reading about child abuse, rapist and rapee in love, or supernatrual forces tearing someone's body apart. I guess some people are socialized to think 'girl=sweet' and so they think shoujo is sweet, despite tons of evidence to the contrary.

I've been reading Seiho vol 3, which is a send up of some shoujo tropes. In this volume, there is "girl dresses up as guy" and "yaoi fan girl". The girl dresses up as guy story is fairly funny, and Miyagi is pretty genre savvy. The yaoi fan girl story is typical, but elicited some chuckles. I personally don't think having two girls named Erika in the same country is too big of a coincidence, but then again "Erica' is a common name here, so it's not shocking to me. The Nogami and Fuku story apparently was changed(author's side note). I bet the original ending was very cynical, and more funny than the sappy ending here, but I'm more of a fan of Nogami's assholeness than of romance.