Besides the obvious Shuueisha/Shougakukan/Hakusensha shoujo manga connection, there really is little to unite the titles being released under Viz Media's new "Shojo Beat" imprint. I mean, we have serials from Ribon
, Hana to Yume
, and Cookie
just to name three, and all three publications have different target age groups! (I suspect they will eventually phase out the "Shôjo" imprint entirely.) For example, despite the "Teen" rating Viz Media gives some of the new titles, they would be most appropriate for six year olds! Covering their asses, maybe? Lest our innocent little girls get corrupted by evil Japanese comic books? *sighs*
In any case, I'm chipping away at my English language edition pile, though it is downright frightening how quickly I've fallen behind the releases, and I've gotten two more of the initial six SB releases read:Full Moon O Sagashite
Vol.1 by Tanemura Arina
I read this volume back a few years ago in Japanese but never got any further with the series, so this is a nice refresher. Disappointingly, Viz Media's translation leaves much to be desired, and at times the phrasings are awkward. The rest of the time, it's just totally unmemorable. Which is a shame, because this is a delightful little manga for little girls, much in the tradition of vintage shoujo that involves a transforming heroine who goes from blah to popstar. What makes this title just a half-cut above the average is, firstly, gorgeous, lacy art that is bound to appeal to girls who dream of becoming princess, and, secondly, the fact that heroine Mitsuki is dying. Of a throat cancer. And she dreams of singing. So, the deal is, two Shinigami will help her accomplish her career goal, provided that she agrees to go quietly with them at the end of one year. Anyway, this title has plenty to recommend itself for childen but far less for adults. Give this one a pass unless you think the child in you or the child you love needs the escape.Tokyo Boys & Girls
Vol.1 by Aihara Miki
From the creator of Hot Gimmick
, but you'd never know it from the storyline or artstyle, which at this stage resembles something drawn by Kamio Yoko or maybe older Fuyumi Souryou. In any case, one volume down, and it already is more appealing in several ways than Aihara's latter work. The heroine Mimori is far less of a dishrag than Hasumi, and there's absolutely no hint whatsoever of her in any way apologizing for the dickwad of a childhood friend that tried to have her gangraped (!) or the "boyfriend" who thinks he can rule her life. Funny how spunky heroines have fallen out of fashion, these days. *sighs* Anyway, this is typical high school drama and romance, with the heroine negotiating her relationships with classmates and boys--one decided playboy who wants her, and one wimp turned tough guy who wants revenge on her. The usual. Reasonably entertaining, but certainly not revolutionary.
In other news:MANHWA!!!!!!!
Spent a sleepless night browsing through the haul, and there are some beautiful things, oh boy! I have over 400 volumes of Korean manhwa (about 3/4 Korean and 1/4 English) in my horde now. *does a happy book collector's dance*