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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
More manga, but this time it's girls' stuff! 
12th-Oct-2005 07:30 pm
And only, oh, 40+ more volumes to go before I'm caught up with my English backlog. (At this point, just call the Japanese backlog a lost cause.)

Tamura, Yumi. Basara. Vol. 14. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2005. (First Japanese Edition: 1991)
Summary: Renko and Hozumi die in the chaos, but it's the last straw, and the military stages a coup against Momonoi, reinstating The Red King. However, Tatara has also been busy in Suo City, and she takes Shuri's weakness as an opportunity, formenting further rebellion against him amongst the people. Unfortunately, things go awry when an attack upon the wells means that ALL of the city's water has been cut off...
Comments: *sighs* This is SUCH a good series, and this one has a lot of emotional weight and the sort of drama and conflict between duty, loyalty, and personal ambition that is usually found in shounen manga. We see Shuri becoming more vulnerable and needful of friends, and we once again see Sarasa struggling with her femininity and her duty to her people as the "boy of destiny." We also see how much the same Tatara and The Red King really are, and how their ambitions mirror each others'. Given their simultaneous downfall at the end of the series, it wouldn't surprise me if they soon discover each others' true identities. After that, things should get REALLY interesting.
Notes: paperback, 1st American edition
Rating: 8/10 - A must-read for the height of the Japanese manga-publishing age.

Arakawa, Hiromu. Fullmetal Alchemist. Vol. 2. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2005. (First Japanese Edition: 2002)
Summary: The Elric brothers meet an alchemist who has experimented on his own family in order to create talking chimera. The alchemist in question doesn't live long to repent his crimes, though; he and his transmuted daughter are offed by "Scar"--who proceeds to wipe the floor with Ed and Al. On the way to getting repaired after that fight, they meet a guy who has created an imperfect Philosopher's Stone. By the end, they're off to find his recipe, hidden in the library, Lust close behind.
Comments: I guess in a way it's refreshing to see our heroes humbled so quickly and so thoroughly; now we know for a fact that they have very real limitations. I was having trouble getting emotionally in touch with the drama of this volume, however. The best part, again, was the humor; I loved the part where Al gets thrown in with the sheep and the way Roy has certain limitations under rainy conditions, for example. Given the extreme popularity of this series, I will definitely continue it, but it really isn't doing much for me so far.
Notes: paperback, 1st American edition
Rating: 5/10 - Name power but little else thus far.

Kawakami, Junko. Galaxy Girl, Panda Boy. Los Angeles: TOKYOPOP, 2005. (First Japanese Edition: 2002)
Summary: Three short stories. The first about a town populated by aliens(?), the second about a communication barrier between a surfer and his girlfriend. The last and longest story is about a brother and sister whose parents have left them at a boarding school and disappeared, seemingly without a trace. Turns out that the girl has been keeping the boy from communicating with his father because she's in love with him.
Comments: This is the second of TOKYOPOP's Passion Fruit series, and...*bleh* Stories that were trying to be literary but fell far short of the mark and ended up merely confusing. I'm not a big fan of Shodensha titles in general given the way they publish the manga version of chick lit, but these were near-insufferable. You may think that there's a deeper meaning, but if you do, you're just fooling yourself; I really got the feeling that the author wasn't 100% of what she was doing. About the most exciting thing about this book is the eight color pages. Too bad the art weren't better.
Notes: paperback, 1st American edition
Rating: 3/10 - Vaguely irritating, and if it weren't such a fast read, I wouldn't have finished it at all.

Hino, Matsuri. Merupuri. Vol. 2. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2005. (First Japanese Edition: 2002)
Summary: Airi ends up transporting herself to Astale and nearly ends up a prisoner for life, given that she is the descendant of a traitor to the throne there. Fortunately, Aram rushing in to save the day; unfortunately, they are now betrothed! After that, it's back to the real world, and suddenly citizens are Astale are transferring to Airi's school. Unfortunately, Nakaoji hasn't given up on her (or she him), and he has begun a serious rivalry with Aram.
Comments: About the best thing this series has going for it is the lovely, lacy artwork, which is very much in the spirit of Hakusensha manga...at the same time that it boasts what is otherwise an overdone, cliched shoujo plot. The little boy in love with the older girl reminds me of Please Save My Earth, though, thankfully, Aram is not evil or raping by any means. The series is vaguely humorous at times, though it seems that Hino ran out of her small stockpile of jokes in Vol. 1, so things are much less amusing the second time around. I figure it'll get more serious as the series continue, and that might not be a good thing. Oh, and quite frankly, Airi's whole "I wanna be the perfect housewife" attitude is infuriatingly anti-feminist. She is NOT a very admirable heroine, in my honest opinion.
Notes: paperback, 1st American edition
Rating: 5.5/10 - The series is holding my interest only by the skin of its teeth.
12th-Oct-2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
Sell it to me.

Basara, I mean... it's nearly all finished in French (apparently it's a 27 volume series) as vol. 23 is out... and it's cheaper (by $2) from the US version...

So... what's so good about it? (I'm nearly finished with what's out of Fruits Basket so I'm looking at other series and Furuba was my intro to shoujo and I liked, so... sell the series to me ^_^).
12th-Oct-2005 11:49 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Well, Furuba isn't a manga series good enough to sit in Basara's shadow. By comparison, the setup is contrived, the emotion lacking in authenticity, etc. etc. (Not a fan of Fruits Basket, if you can tell. :P )

Basara was written at the height of the Japanese manga publishing boom, and because of sheer volume, stories that would not see the light of day now got air time back then and became blockbusters. The series features one of the most admirable heroines to walk the face of shoujo manga--she's single-handedly starting a revolution--and an equally fun cast of characters. Bishounen lovers of course adore Ageha, but there's so much more than Ageha. Tamura has remade Japan entirely, and it's a very creative yet believable post-apocalyptic world.

Since so much of the pleasure is in the plot itself (this is an adventure drama), I won't give too much away. I stand by my recommendations, though. ^_~
12th-Oct-2005 11:51 pm (UTC)

One question... Graphic sexual violence?
12th-Oct-2005 11:53 pm (UTC)
Nothing that I can recall offhand. There is some sex and violence, but this is a shoujo manga, and given Tamura's squiggly artwork, nothing that I think isn't tasteful. She thankfully doesn't get off on her own heroine raped left and right.
12th-Oct-2005 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you (I HATE raping a-galore stories).

I just called the library close to my place and they'll order it from one of their other branches... So I'll get vols. 1-2 by next week...

Squiggly? What does that mean, btw?
13th-Oct-2005 12:06 am (UTC)
There're some "awkward" situations between the heroine and the guy she's destined for in the beginning, but of course no rape there. Oh, and Ageha gives himself up circa Vol. 10 so that these sexually-frustrated guys in prison don't go after Sarasa. But, really, as far as physical punishment/torment goes, Ageha gets the worst of it. Sarasa suffers physically as well, but her pain is more often psychological.

Squiggly? What does that mean, btw?

Err...not a straight line...going in all different directions...

You'll see when you read the manga. ^_~
12th-Oct-2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
Y aknow the FMA manga and anime follow different paths right?
13th-Oct-2005 12:03 am (UTC)
Given that I've not watched the anime (and I hear the anime's worse than the manga), it doesn't matter. :P

13th-Oct-2005 12:28 am (UTC)
Hmm, well the anime did jump ahead of the manga storyline so they added stuff which encompessed later parts of the manga and filler.
13th-Oct-2005 12:31 am (UTC)
By the end, the anime went off in an entirely different direction as well. *says the writer of the What's the Difference sidebar*

So when are you going to send me that email? ^_^
13th-Oct-2005 12:32 am (UTC)
Soon as I get around to making my Onna post (watching FMA and starting to get pics off my camera) and I find yours again. lol
13th-Oct-2005 12:33 am (UTC)
The email's on the userinfo page, dude!
13th-Oct-2005 12:34 am (UTC)
I meant your Onna post, silly. lol
13th-Oct-2005 02:11 am (UTC)
I thought the anime was pretty good...it was slow to start and really didn't get going until the middle of season 1, but after that, it was great.
29th-Oct-2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
Reviews archived.
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