It’s Christmas Eve! What better time to post about some of the manga series I’ve been reading recently. 😛 I’ve put off doing so for so long that I’ve nearly finished all the titles I wanted to focus on, but I guess that makes them easier to write about. 😀 As usual, these are just my thoughts on the series in question, but there are links in the titles if you want synopses. 🙂
So, without further ado:
Status: 2 of 2 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: Having finished After School Nightmare (a series I wrote about in my previous manga post), I really wanted to read more of Mizushiro Setona’s works. Fortunately, the week before I finished ASN, Viz licensed Black Rose Alice! Unfortunately, the first volume isn’t due to be published until August. Apart from that, her only series to be licensed in English is X-Day… and after reading the synopsis online, I knew I had to have it.
Presentation: It’s a Tokyopop license. There were typos. I’ve come to expect that, and it doesn’t usually bother me, but to get the main character’s nickname wrong in two speech bubbles in a row was quite an achievement. 😛
Story and Art: Similar to ASN in a lot of ways (especially in terms of character design!), featuring a cast of four main characters, each with some sort of issue(s) in their lives – problems so serious that together, they form a group with the intention of blowing up their school! And though the series was only two volumes long, it didn’t feel overly rushed, and managed to fit in a surprising amount of character development. Also included in the second volume was a completely unrelated oneshot, ‘The Last Supper’, a short that combined themes such as cow people and the black death for a bizarre, somewhat hilarious but mostly tragic story.
Overall Thoughts: I’d say I preferred X-Day to ASN, and based on both these series I would actually put Mizushiro Setona at the top of my list of favourite manga-ka! But I have a background in science, and can’t help but think that two series is quite a small sample… think I’ll have to read a lot more of her stuff to make sure. Yeah, that’ll be my excuse. 😛
Status: 6 of 8 volumes read (all 8 owned).
Why I picked it up: I asked for manga recommendations on Facebook, and this was one of many great suggestions! I chose to go with Chrono Crusade over other titles as I watched the anime WAY back (2006, maybe?), and I loved it enough that I bought it on DVD. Twice. Because the seven individual DVDs were taking up too much shelf space, so I gave them up as a raffle prize in my university’s Anime Society and replaced them with the box set. 😀 Anyway, the point is I have plenty of nostalgia for Chrono Crusade. 😛
Presentation: Great cover art, first few pages are in colour, good quality paper, translation notes included. Nothing to dislike!
Story and Art: The same as its anime adaptation so far, if my memory serves me well, though that’s not a bad thing – it’s been a while since I watched it, so it feels great to be able to enjoy such a good story once again in a new form. 😀 Volume 5 in particular stands out as one of the best volumes of anything I’ve read in a long time – fortunately I was reading it on a weekend, as if I was on my lunch break at work, I think I’d have struggled to put it down! The art is fantastic. I’ve heard the manga ends in a completely different way to the anime, however, so I’m greatly looking forward to these last two volumes!
Overall Thoughts: I’m left wondering why I didn’t buy this earlier, but better late than never~
Status: 3 of 4 volumes read (all 4 owned).
Why I picked it up: Another Facebook recommendation from another friend who has great taste in manga! The same person who had me read Antique Bakery (also by Yoshinaga Fumi), and watch its Korean live-action adaptation, though I had already watched the anime before. Also Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy, same manga-ka. Figured Flower of Life was a safe bet since I enjoyed all the above, and thought it’d be nice to actually own one of her series as well. 😛
Presentation: The volumes have dust jackets! Not sure why I like that so much, as I always end up having to remove them while I read, as I don’t want to damage them – plus it puts me off buying used copies in case the jackets are missing – but like it I do. Aside from that, my only comment is that I can’t get used to the translator’s spelling of ‘moeh’, no matter how many times I see it. 😛
Story and Art: No real plot to this one, just a high school slice of life with a collection of really fun and quite unique characters. It reminds me a little of Here is Greenwood (again, see my previous manga post – and yes, it’s the same friend!), possibly to the similar premise of the main character starting school late due to illness, though Flower of Life has less of a focus on gags – it can be absolutely hilarious when it wants to be, but there’s been a fair bit of drama and romance as well.
Overall Thoughts: Really enjoying it so far, I just hope it ends well (if only because the 4th and final volume was so expensive!) Will no doubt look into the manga-ka’s other works when looking for future series, as a lot of them seem to be licensed!
Status: 8 of 12 volumes read (10 owned).
Why I picked it up: I’m not used to seeing manga for sale in charity shops, but the first seven volumes of Twin Spica in perfect condition for £2 a volume was a pretty good find! 😮 Might have reconsidered if I’d known how expensive volumes 10 and 11 were… but then I’d have missed out on a good series, so I regret nothing!
Presentation: Decent paper quality and translations, as with most of Vertical’s releases. The volumes suddenly get a lot bigger after the 6th, though I notice the Japanese release has 16 volumes as opposed to Vertical’s 12, so presumably that’s where the extra chapters came from.
Story and Art: Difficult not to compare the plot to that of Space Brothers, and despite the fact that the characters in Twin Spica are just high school pupils (and look even younger than that IMO due to the character designs), their astronaut training regime seems no easier than the one Mutta’s been put through, and they’re faced with the same reality that even after all their hard work, not everyone will make it to space. There’s been plenty of drama as well, lots of tear-jerking moments… certainly didn’t expect that after the cute cover art!
Overall Thoughts: Of all the series in this post’s lineup, this one probably took the longest to grow on me, but that’s understandable – it’s a longer, slower-paced series. Now that I’m past the midway point, and the characters have been developed so well, I love it to bits.
Status: 1 of 1 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: Because I’d just received my new Kindle Paperwhite in the post, and wanted to see if I could get the hang of reading manga on it. I knew of this single volume manga as it had showed up in my Amazon recommendations list a few months before, and, well… cat ears. I shouldn’t have to provide any further justification than that!
Presentation: I made the n00b mistake of thinking that Amazon’s Kindle store would be the best place to buy manga for a Kindle. Apparently not, based on this one purchase, which was very low-res, and came in a format that didn’t allow for the legendary ‘panel view’ I’d heard so much about. Heck, it wouldn’t even let me zoom in. Thankfully, Amazon refunded me without hassle (just for the book, hadn’t given up hope on the device itself!), and I was able to find it on emanga.com for a fraction of the price, and in much higher quality.
Story and Art: Who needs a story when you have characters with nekomimi? I kept telling myself that all the way through Shining Bread, and emerged somewhat sane… thankfully, Nyan Cafe was a lot more fun than that! It’s just a 4-koma comedy centred around a cat cafe, where the cats are actually cat people, and are capable of speech, but are still treated as pets… best not to think too hard about it. At least they aren’t being cooked and eaten as remedies for the bubonic plague. 😛 Loved the character designs, and Curl may well be the first tsundere character I’ve not found at all irritating, so it has that in its favour!
Overall Thoughts: It was a cute, fun read, but nothing that memorable. And I was pretty much used to the kindle by the end of the volume, so it served its purpose well!
As 2013 nears its end, so do most of the series I’ve been reading – here’s hoping my reading list for 2014 will be as good as this one!