In Vol 11 of Kiyohiko Azuma’s Yotsuba, we follow the daily lives of our young protagonist, Yotsuba Kawai. In this volume alone, she ends up learning what pizza is, the best way to take pictures is to ask the person if they would like to have their picture taken, and what happens when you don’t take care of what’s yours. Poor Juralumin.
Title: Thermae Romae
Genre: Comedy, Historical, Seinen
Publisher: Enterbrain (JP), Yen Press (U.S)
Artist: Mari Yamazaki
Serialized In: Comic Beam
Translation: Stephen Paul
An innovative yet quirky combination, Mari Yamazaki’s Thermae Romae tells the story of Lucius Modestus, a Roman bathing architect who’s in a bit of a trouble. He has been criticized for his outdated ideas when it comes to creating a thermae, and he can’t come up with anything better. He goes to drown in his sorrows at a public bath when, as he submerges himself underwater, he sees an unusual drainage. When he goes to check it out, he is sucked right in. Desperate for air, he gets back up to surface, only to discover he’s surrounded by Japanese men he calls “flat-faces” and is stuck in a Japanese bath. And that begins the absurdity that is Thermae Romae.
It’s finally time to expose myself to the second half of one of the better manga series to come out in the U.S in Bunny Drop. So far, I’ve managed to avoid the dreaded second half like a plague ever since I heard about the infamous ending, and the anime only covered Vols 1-4 so I wasn’t going to know how Rin, Daikichi, and the gang grew up unless I started reading the manga. My curiosity got the better of me unfortunately, so once I finished the show, and once I picked up the manga, I pretty much knew there was no turning back. And at this point, why would I? This manga is pretty damn good.
I think I have to make a mention of this before continuing to talk about Bunny Drop: I have heard of the “infamous” ending the manga has, and heard from many about how they feel about the series because of it, and how they ultimately viewed the anime. However, now that I’m finally starting the manga, I’m on the path of judging what Unita tried to get across by understanding the context and elements of the series in comic form. But I have to start with the first four volumes of the manga, which, almost like the show, is an enjoyable tale about the life of 30-year old salaryman Daikichi and 6-year old Rin Kaga.
Genre: Action, Supernatural, Shounen
Writer & Artist: Ryohgo Narita & Akiyo Satorigi
Publisher: Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (U.S)
Serialized in: Monthly GFantasy
Translation: Stephen Paul
Durarara!! has been one of those series that I’ve always planned to watch, but never could find the time to do so. I’ve watched a few episodes of it at my anime club in school, but even though I might have been interested in watching it in my own time, focusing on higher education and having a bit of a social life put that on the backburner, and with other animes on my backlog, the show just kept getting pushed back. So considering that I’m reviewing any volumes of the manga before I continuing the show, there seems to be something wrong with this picture. However, I happened to get the two copies thanks to a contest a few months ago held by Katherine Dacey at The Manga Critic. It’s a good thing that I won it because I would never have been interested in picking up the manga truth be told; now I’m looking forward to buying Vol 3 because the varied plotlines running through these first two volumes got me hooked.
The main gist of Vol 1 starts with Mikado Ryuugamine, who has moved to Ikebukuro to attend a private high school. On his first day Mikado meets up with a friend from elementary school in Masaomi Kida. He subsequently bumps into one of the many characters in the story, Seiji Yagiri. After Seiji’s gone, he then is warned by Kida that there are dangers in the area, and dangerous people he should never try to mess with. Finally, he runs into an all-black figure on a black motorcycle as he was trying to cross the street.
Welcome to Ikebukuro, Mikado.
Mangaka: Gaku Tsugano (Illustrator), Nagaru Tanigawa (Contributor), Noizi Ito (Contributor)
Review Status: Incomplete (10 Volumes/? Volumes)
Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed in the US
Art: If you’ve seen anything Haruhi (and I’m sure you have!) than this looks just like it. Everyone is their familiar, recognizeable selves.
Summary: Kyon is your ordinary high school freshman who has long given up on his childhood dreams of encountering the fantastic and supernatural…or so he thought. From the very first day of school, his classmate-the beautiful but eccentric Haruhi Suzumiya-makes it very clear that her only desire is to meet aliens, time travelers, and psychics! A chance conversation between the two inspires Haruhi to form the SOS Brigade, a school club created for the sole purpose of gathering together such supernatural beings. The initial members consist of the mute bookworm Yuki Nagato, the timid but voluptuous Miharu Asahina, and the polite and ever-smiling Itsuki Koizumi. By the end of this first volume, Kyon quickly finds out that these seemingly “helpless victims” of Haruhi’s are actually members of secret organizations-both futuristic and alien-with the single aim of keeping watch over Haruhi Suzumiya as she is the pinnacle of some major calamity on the horizon… (Amazon.com)
There are a lot of stories that can be made into manga, but generally it can be a difficult sell to people to buy a historical series that is an visually appealing masterpiece, with detailed and amazing artwork and rather likable characters that essentially is a slice of life comic. However, I would say one should consider checking out A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori (the creator of the highly praised Emma series) before dismissing it due to its sensitive manner…and it’s high price tag since it’s in hardcover format.
This week I reviewed Yotsuba Vol.1 by Kiyohiko Azuma creator of Azumanga Daioh, one of the funniest mangas I have read. The series is ongoing in Japan, up to it’s 10th volume. In the states Vol. 10 is set to release in October 2011, by YenPress.