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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Genju no Seiza Vol. 1 by Akino Matsuri 
21st-Jun-2007 02:05 am
Akino, Matsuri. Genju no Seiza. Vol. 1. Trans. Mike Kiefl. Los Angeles: TOKYOPOP, 2006.
          Summary: Kamishima Fuuto has tried to convince himself that he's normal...and then a birdman named Garuda shows up and tells him that he's the spiritual ruler of the little-known desert country Dhalashar. Fuuto wants nothing to do with it, but soon he meets the enigmatic Mayu, and more guardian beasts show up to dispatch this faker--only to discover that he may be the real deal after all.
          Comments: You know, I'm convinced Akino Matsuri's is cursed never to live up to her potential as a storyteller. She gives derivative story premises (Petshop of Horrors was riding on a high of shoujo manga about organized crime; Genju no Seiza is all about a magical boy) an exotic twist and then conveniently forgets that there's an overarching plot that needs to be dealt with. Also, she is again obsessing over the darker side of (pseudo)Chinese culture and prefers foreign characters to Japanese ones. However, this time around, I'm inclined to take the foreign elements a bit more seriously...perhaps because the manga takes place in modern Japan and not some fever dream version of an American city. Fuuto's mother is not Japanese, and his father is AWOL. That's a prescription for serious discrimination and disadvantage which Akino does not go into; I suppose it could be argued that she expects her readers to already know it. Too bad it's not addressed more in-depth. What IS addressed isn't necessarily more interesting.
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition (first published in Japan in 2000)
          Rating: 5/10 - Don't love it. Don't hate it. Didn't make much of an impression at all, except as eyecandy.
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