Bookmarked: A Suicide House @ Annarasumanara?

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SuicideIsland-06Suicide Island

Mangaka: Kouji Mori

Genre: Horror/Seinen/Psychological

Review Status: Incomplete (5 Volumes/? Volumes)

Licensed: No, this is not licensed in the US.

Art: This takes a slightly more cartoonish look to the art (incredible bug-eyes, more limber limbs than most). In some cases it helps tone down how the violence often comes across, but still remains nicely expressive. However, in the fifth volume it’s looking off and more strange than usual – I’m not sure what happened but it seems just strange here.

Summary: Treating non-successful suicidal patients requires a lot of money and resources. With low budget and a personal respect argumentation, a doctor will ask a non-successful suicidal patient if he/she still wants to live on or not. If not the government will respect his/her wish. However, the government doesn’t just simply kill them. (MyAnimeList.com)

Review: I’ve reviewed the first four volumes a while ago. The fifth was finally scanlated! I am kicking up my heels joy, because this continues the story of the abandoned survivors with the tension picking up.

This is a lull in the story. The major fighting has died down and the survivors have created a peaceable life of sorts – even though there are still suicides by those who have just given up – but are looking at some of their food sources being at risk because of the encroaching winter. They start toying with ideas on how to feed themselves, which include hunting the wild boar that have started invading and eating their crops.

That’s minor, though, compared to how a new girl throws the entire dynamic of the group out of whack. There’s a bit of a Checkov’s Gun at play, because in the first volume the survivors split into two groups. A girl from the group that stayed at the docks comes and starts making her way by being a prostitute. The other women are far from thrilled, and from some of their reactions and conversations you can tell there’s something deeply, deeply disturbing about a woman giving up sex, something that makes the other women fear for their lives in some cases.

Gender and sex are huge things here, with the group from the docks trying to reclaim the girl and a revelation that the men are being trapped by their own lusts, even though their leader is a madman. A cannibal, a monster, he has decided to throw off all rules and live on his own terms…not caring about any of society’s morals. And to top it off, there’s an interesting revelation and discussion about the gender of another character.

It’s great, because sex and sexual dynamics would and do come into play in these types of situations. In Japan’s society, where there are clearly defined gender roles, it’s great to see how this would be brought up and played with. And, of course, the knowledge that these two groups will be clashing before long makes me eager for new chapters to come out!

Recommended: 18+. Some brutal depictions of death, some sex, and a whole lot of misery.

Overall Rating: 8/10. It’s a solid survival story with interesting internal politics.

OrangeLittle House With An Orange Roof

Mangaka: Noriyuki Namahana

Genre: Romance/Slice of Life/Comedy/Seinen

Review Status: Incomplete (5 Volumes/8 Volumes)

Licensed: No, this manga is unlicensed in the US.

Art: It is fairly typical manga designs, but takes on a slightly more cartoon-y look. It’s very different from the more typical super-realistic style I see in most of the demographic. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, however! Instead, the faces are very expressive and the characters are very unique.

Summary: A man comes home one day to have his wife give him divorce papers. A woman comes home to her apartment one day to find a woman she doesn’t know wrapped in a towel coming out of the shower. They both get conned by the same real estate conman on the same house. So now the man, his two sons, the woman, and her two daughters live in the same house. (MangaUpdates)

Review:  Continuing from my reviews up to volume 3, Natsumi and Nimomiya have FINALLY confessed their feelings, but STUFF. Super-melodramatic stuff. I keep forgetting that in the average sitcom, things have to happen that just talking would clear up, and no one wants to do that because then what would cause drama?

Nimomiya is being targeted for seduction by the daughter of the head of the company. They want him to marry into the family and make it all far more successful than it has been. Of course, that means that they have to drive a wedge between the two, a task that seems to be monumental…or is it? Natsumi hasn’t had any lack of suitors, and yet another one comes out of the wings.

Who else could it be but her ex’s bestest best friend? And he’s been in love with Natsumi for years. It’s a situation that’s ripe for misunderstandings and misunderstood situations. On one hand, I sincerely feel for Natsumi. She’s been trod on for years by her in-laws. They force her to do miserable tasks and threaten to take her children away from her. They even have the right and power to refuse her divorce, something that they do with glee!

On the other hand, when The Other Man steps into her life pressuring her to pay back an incredible, completely unreasonable amount of money that her husband has racked up, she can’t bring herself to tell anyone and insists on meeting him alone. Without telling anyone where and why. Not only does Nimomiya have to deal with seeing these things, but their neightbors witness them and it’s spread everywhere.

I have to give a lot of credit to Nimomiya. He’s a wonderful man. He stands with her even when she’s running around secretively and photos are being spread around. It’s amazing. And they finally get to consummate it all, which is a thrilling thing to happen. Yet all I can think is that Natsumi has no right to not listen to his explanation when a Checkov’s Gun from an earlier volume (the pic with two of his young, cute coworkers) comes to light. Sad bananas.

Recommended: 17+. This is where the rating jumps, because you see a few bare breasts and there is the strong implication of sex.

Overall Rating: 6/10. These two volumes are most definitely not as charming or funny as the last three, simply because of the tired romcom shennanigans. Crossing my fingers the last three volumes will be better.

Annarasumanara_full_483429Annarasumanara

Mangaka: Il-Kwon Ha

Genre:  Mystery/Drama/School/Psychological/Seinen

Review Status: Complete (3 Volumes/3 Volumes)

Licensed: No, this manhwa is not licensed in the US.

Art: This is a little more stylized than most. Certain personalities have certain facial features/body features. It was a webcomic, so there is very judicious use of color in the pictures. It uses a lot of great, interesting picture tricks, like doing white characters on a black background. I really, really do like the art.

Summary:  A rumor goes around school about an abandoned amusement park and a magician who lives there that can make someone disappear for good. Yoon Ah-ee, a girl struggling to feed her sister and herself everyday will experience her life change as she meets a mysterious magician. (MangaUpdates)

Review: Do you believe in magic? Well, after reading this wonderful story, I think I might. This starts out with a girl who’s at risk of losing everything. Her parents are gone, she has no money for food or rent, she’s looked down on by her classmates, and she has to support her little sister who’s getting as disillusioned by being poor as Ah-ee is.

But when stopping by an old circus brings around a magician that lives there, she begins to remember what she used to be like. She used to believe in magic – she wanted to be a magician. Through his sheer tenacity, he manages to catch her interest and rekindle her dreams. It takes quite a long time, though, one miracle and trick after another. His childlike demeanor at first infuriates her because every day she’s acing hunger, cold, and debtors, and she digs in reality as hard as she can.

This isn’t a cut-and-dried story of these two, though. Ah-ee has an interested suitor in a fellow classmate who becomes overtaken by jealousy at how Ah-ee is close to the magician. He’s not happy with his life, he feels trapped, and is let onto that by the magician… and starts dreaming of better things as well.

Yet… it all seems to be real. The things he does are amazing. He never flinches from the hardest scrutiny.

Both of these characters grow to respect the magician an incredible amount. However, Ah-ee’s inquiries into the magician and his life mean that reality clashes with his dreamlike world, and it all starts slowly crumbling around them. Seeing how far these characters came, though, that was the most astounding thing. The magicians magic may not be real, but the magic he worked on their harts definitely was. And maybe that’s what real magic is.

Overall,  this was deeply satisfying and brilliantly told. Very tight and well-executed, not a wasted panel.

Recommended: 13+. There’s not a whole lot of objectionable anything here unless you include a creep that offers extra money to Ah-ee and it’s implied that he gives it in exchange for sex. A few rumors fly that Ah-ee is the magician’s mistress. There are a few hits thrown.

Overall Rating: 10/10. This is just beautiful. Definitely a great series!

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