My week 10 anime rankings post is currently waiting on last week’s episode of Bakuman, but as I’ve gotten into the habit of posting here every weekend, I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to talk about manga instead.
It’s been a while since my last ‘recent purchases’ post, and it’s not as though I haven’t bought anything new in that time. 😛 I don’t believe I’ve mentioned the new bookshelf I got for Christmas here either, that’s helped me out a great deal with the shelf space issues I complained about in earlier posts! I’ll probably need another one next year, though…
So, here’s just a few examples of the many series that I’ve received for Christmas, or spent the last of my paycheques on!
Status: 3 of 3 volumes read (collected in one omnibus).
Why I picked it up: The first time I heard of it, as with so many of the series I’ve picked up on a whim in the last year, was via an Amazon recommendation. Since it was fairly cheap for such a large omnibus, and hardback too, and since I liked all the Osamu Tezuka works I’d read before it, I thought I’d give it a go.
Presentation: It is easily the widest book in my manga collection, about the same width as four average Tokyopop volumes, and an inch taller. It’s currently doubling as a book end, as none of my other manga are wide enough to bridge the gap between the end of my table and the wall. 😛 I’ve also already mentioned that it is hardback (<3). And it’s another example of a simple but eye-catching cover from Vertical.
Content: The story is set in post-WWII Japan, and focuses on the titular Ayako, who is forced to live for over twenty years in a storeroom as a result of the many crimes and secrets of her traditional family, despite being completely innocent herself. It’s a dark story, with everything from murder and assassination to rape and incest, and the lack of sci-fi/fantasy elements that are usually present in Tezuka manga make it all the more realistic.
Overall Thoughts: Based on its size, I thought it would take a long time to read Ayako, but this is one of those books that is impossible to put down once you’ve picked it up. It was different to anything else I’ve read before, and I’d highly recommend it!
Status: 1 of 1 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: Because CLAMP.
Presentation: Better quality than your average Tokyopop-release, with a shiny cover and a few colour pages. Small, as you’d expect from a compilation of just seven short chapters.
Content: More or less entirely fanservice. Pretty CLAMP fanservice, but fanservice nonetheless. The lead, Miyuki-chan, keeps being sucked into these weird magical worlds for no explained reason – as well as a world based on Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, there’s a TV land, a Part-time Job land, a Video Game land and more, each featuring large, all-female anthropomorphic casts who basically want to get in Miyuki’s pants.
Overall Thoughts: It was fun, and completely different to any of CLAMP’s other works, but by no means a must-read.
Status: 1 of 1 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: I’d had my eye on this for the best part of a year since Yen Press announced they’d licensed it, simply because I love Kaoru Mori’s art! While waiting for it to be published, I bought Shirley (thoughts in my previous manga post), and the short stories in that only made me want Anything and Something even more.
Presentation: As with their release of A Bride’s Story (thoughts in my first manga post), Yen Press went for a lovely hard back release with a pretty dust cover… pretty risque, that is! I got it as a Christmas present from my grandmother, too…
Content: Anything and Something lived up to its name; a strange mix of short stories, sketches and illustrations, six pages about Corsets of the late 19th Century, five about fireplaces, countless pages thanking me for going to Kaoru Mori’s signings, even though I didn’t (if only…), and a guide to an Agatha Christie novel. Also maids, and glasses, but that goes without saying.
Overall Thoughts: Probably the strangest manga(?) I’ve ever seen translated into English, but made for very good reading. Definitely aimed at existing fans of Kaoru Mori’s work, though.
Status: 2 of 2 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: It’s the prequel to the events covered in the Record of Lodoss war OVA, as well as The Grey Witch manga (which I talked about last time).
Presentation: It reads like a western comic book, left to right; apparently this wasn’t due to CPM flipping the art, it was originally published that way in Japan, presumably to better suit the more Western fantasy setting with its elves, dwarves, swords and sorcery. The obvious difference between The Lady of Pharis and The Grey Witch is the change in artists, with The Lady of Pharis looking the more realistic and serious of the two.
Content: One man’s desire for power leads to the awakening of an ancient evil, which proceeds to spread throughout the land, and it’s up to a rag-tag party of heroes to put a stop to it. Just the type of generic fantasy setting I like. 😛 While I knew the basics of the story (including how it ends) from reading The Grey Witch, it was nice to see it told in more detail from the point of view of a main character who was there, as well as learn the back story of characters like Wort and Beld who were present in both.
Overall Thoughts: Another great series from a franchise I love. Expect to see more Lodoss manga in future manga posts…
Status: 3 of 15 (ongoing) volumes read.
Why I picked it up: I watched both anime series, and while I wasn’t hugely impressed with the ending of Reverse, I loved the setting and characters. Since the manga is still ongoing I thought I’d give it another chance, so hopefully when it does end I won’t be as disappointed this time.
Presentation: The cover artwork is very nice. And very purple, but I like that colour. The nice colour scheme may be one of the main reasons the anime and manga appealed to me to begin with. Aside from that, it’s a regular-sized paperback with all the usual Viz/Shonen Jump logos.
Content: The series is set in a world of perpetual twilight, lit by an artificial sun suspended directly above the capital city. The protagonist, Lag, is a postman… but as giant bug-like creatures called gaichuu live in the areas between towns, delivering letters is no easy task! The content of the first three volumes is already familiar to me from the anime series, with no real changes (if memory serves), but it is just as enjoyable second time around.
Overall Thoughts: Original setting, likable characters and pretty artwork. What more needs to be said?
Now that I’m unemployed, I’m obviously not able to spend as much money on manga. 😦 However, I do still have several unread volumes, including a number first volumes, so I’ll be sure to post about those whenever I finally get around to them. 🙂