After all the weather/internet-related issues at the start of the year were finally out of the way, I got into the habit of posting here every Sunday… but it’s a bit early for a Spring season post just yet, whereas an update on my manga reading is long overdue. 😀
So far, my goal of giving up physical manga and switching to Kindle has gone according to plan – The device is very easy to use, and has allowed me to access a wide range of new series, both in the form of scanlations and licensed emanga. Here’s a small sample of what I’ve been reading:
Format: eBooks downloaded free/purchased from emanga.com.
Status: 13 of 13 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: Well, the fact that the first three volumes are available absolutely free, and the other ten are just $1 each certainly helped! Though in addition to that, I’d not read a manga series set in a hospital before, and I’m always interested in checking out new settings and premises. 😀
Story and Art: Give my Regards to Black Jack looked at multiple areas of Japan’s medical practice, starting with internal surgery, and progressing to more controversial areas such as neonatal, cancer and psychiatric wards. And it didn’t glamorise any of it, instead offering a realistic look at the good and the bad sides, and the reasons (financial, political, moral and more) why certain treatments are carried out the way they are. Of course it’s a work of fiction, set in Japan, but I’d assume from my limited knowledge of the NHS over here that a lot of the same issues apply. It’s certainly put me off the idea of falling ill! The art style was fairly realistic, which helped make the characters more expressive and the surgery more believable.
Overall Thoughts: I cannot recommend this series enough. Did I mention the first three volumes are free? No harm in checking it out if it’s free, right? 😛 5/5
Format: eBooks purchased from emanga.com.
Status: 6 of 18 volumes read (11 owned).
Why I picked it up: Elemental Gelade was one of my favourite ongoing series circa 2008/09, and when original English publishers Tokyopop went down, it was the title that I raged hardest about having to abandon part-way through. I mean, I’d already had to give up collecting the anime on DVD following ADV’s demise! 😮 A brief glimmer of hope at the news that DMP had rescued the license was soon dashed after they announced their releases would be digital only… but now, three years later, I have a Kindle, and can finally resume it! After repurchasing and re-reading the early volumes, that is.
Story and Art: The story… really isn’t as good as I remembered it being. In fact, it’s fairly generic, shallow, even a bit boring, for the first five volumes or so at least. I remember the characters being more interesting and better developed, and the battles being more dramatic and brutal. However, I’m still only half-way to the point I reached with Tokyopop. The 6th volume was a huge improvement on the earlier ones, though, so hopefully the best has yet to come, and this will end with more than just ruined nostalgia. 😛 No complaints about the art, and I love the character designs.
Overall Thoughts: If nothing else, it’ll be good to see how the story ends after all this time. 🙂 3/5
Status: 8 of 8 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: I asked for recommendations on The Student Room’s forums, and was recommended the series along with a number of others by Caraniel (Happy Birthday, by the way!) Magico’s premise immediately made it stand out from the rest.
Story and Art: Female lead Emma houses a dark power known as the ‘Echidna’ within her body, which makes her a target for various evildoers who want to destroy the world. Fortunately, male protagonist Shion knows of a magical ritual that could seal the Echidna once and for all… a ritual whose stages and tasks all seem to have something to do with love and marriage. 😀 These tasks are invariably hilarious, and the two characters are both so awkward around each other that it’s just adorable. And the rest of the cast is great too. And the art is superb.
Overall Thoughts: Nothing but praise for this series, aside from the fact that it ended very abruptly… guess there’s only so many marriage-themed trials you can come up with? 😕 4.5/5
Status: 6 of 6 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: Another recommendation from Cara, though it had already been on my radar for a while before that. Relevant to my interests for obvious reasons. 😛
Story and Art: Not so much a story as a basic premise: guy meets girl, but girl turns out not to be a girl, and spends the remainder of six volumes teasing guy. Apart from that twist, it’s a fairly standard high school romantic comedy series. Cute, but not the funniest I’ve ever read, and it was starting to feel a bit repetitive towards the end. The character designs were nice, though a couple of them looked very similar to each other, which caused me some confusion on at least two occasions. The art also went very sketchy in a couple of chapters, and seemed unfinished – for all I know this could be a common thing in manga serialized in magazines, but as someone more used to reading polished tankobon volumes, this was new and unexpected to me.
Overall Thoughts: Very much a guilty pleasure. 3.5/5
Status: 1 of 1 volumes read.
Why I picked it up: I’ve kept one slot on my reading list open for oneshots and single volume manga series, and read about one every week. Mostly smut and/or comedies, since it’s difficult to find good single volume plotlines that don’t feel rushed. Sukimasuki quickly caught my attention though – from the creator of Usagi Drop, a manga about a guy who likes looking into the spaces between things? Sure, why not?
Story and Art: As already mentioned, our protagonist likes gaps. Spaces in-between buildings, through fences, or between the curtains of his neighbour’s window… and before he knows it, he’s become obsessed with peeping on her. Unknown to him, however, she’s been spying just as actively on him, even taking photos and decorating her walls with them! Needless to say, things get a bit awkward when they eventually meet face to face. 😛 The series also introduced a number of other characters, each with their own quirks and interests – which would have been a good thing, if it had more than one volume to play with. Unfortunately, this focus on side characters left little time for the development of the main couple’s ‘relationship’, and resulted in another abrupt ending. The art was great, of course, Unita can certainly draw. 🙂
Overall Thoughts: Certainly worth a look if you want to read something ‘different’. 3/5
To end this post, I ask anybody reading to suggest me a manga title – preferably something that’s available in its entirety in English, either as eBooks for Kindle or as unlicensed scanlations. I like to vary my sources of recommendations, and haven’t asked on my blog before, so I look forward to the responses (if any)!