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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Manga, for both work and entertainment. ^_^; 
21st-Aug-2005 07:48 am
After this? Novels and some other real-life things I've been putting off... >_<

CMX Preview 2005 by various
Sporting dimensions and print quality identical to their graphic novels, this slim preview volume from CMX boast short excerpts from nine properties, EIGHT of which are shoujo manga. (Trying to put the Tenjho Tenge fiasco behind them, anyone?) Fans will undoubtedly note that Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne is back in the schedule after a long delay, but what interests myself the most are Cipher by Narita Minako and Pieces of Spiral by Tachibana Kaimu. Alas, CMX has yet to establish its own identity as a brand; thus far they've been licensing a few popular and many high-quality titles in the hopes that quality will out in the end. While this might be an effective long-term strategy, for the short-term, people tend to forget that their books even exist. Which is a shame, because they've taken a few directions nearly untrod in the past. I wish them the very best and will continue to support the titles that I enjoy. Positive reinforcement, people, not negative reinforcement. ^_~

Swan Vol.4 by Ariyoshi Kyoko
This vintage shoujo title continues going strong in the tradition of tournament shounen manga. Masumi is off to London to train with her British peers, and she reunites with Sidney. Naturally, though Sidney wins the day at the competition, Masumi wows England's prima ballerina with her "ability to command peoples' attention. I admit at times it gets tiring to hear about how amazing this gawky Japanese girl is, especially when the mangaka assures us that she's not very good at what she does (and when's the last time you've heard of a great, internationally-recognized Japanese ballet dancer, anyway? ^^; ), but no one would say that Masumi doesn't work hard for what she has earned thus far. At any rate, there's a subplot involving Sidney giving up the love of her life for dance, which jolts Masumi, who has never had to sacrifice anything so dear. When she returns to Moscow, she Kusakabe agree that, for them, it will be ballet *and* true love. They'll have it all. I can't help thinking that this sentiment is one of the the superwoman type; you really don't hear feminists telling women that they can have it all anymore. All that nets women is more stress, especially in light of the fact that men have not changed enough in tandem with women's own expectations.

xxxHOLiC Vol.1-5 by CLAMP
*sighs* What can I say? It's CLAMP and it's seinen manga, which means a lot of low-grade naughtiness and big boobs, but little in the way of actual sexual content. Heck, this title doesn't even rate much violence, which is a bit of a surprise. Anyway, the story is about a witch who grants wishes...at a price...and the boy Watanuki who ends up as her virtual slave in order to work off the price of his wish, which she will grant after he's earned it. Lots of morality plays about spirituality and addiction; in some ways, this series reminds me of a latter day Tokyo Babylon, but I think CLAMP'll be hard-pressed to create such an emotionally-memorable, climatic ending for this series. The art style is new in some ways, with lots of Orientalist touches and a more stable panel layout, yet it is not as artistic as Clover. The most interesting part for me, I admit, is the love-hate relationship between Watanuki and Doumeki, and the way that Watanuki at least is dependent upon the guy. Between the two boys and Himawari, you've got the classic threesome/love triangle--which has tremendous bisexual erotic potental. :P No one chapter is really memorable thus far, though, and I feel like the pacing is really too slow. #1 fear? That it will continue as long as Tsubasa. *winces*
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