Thursday, March 24, 2005

Rapid Reviews - Recommended Manga

Here's another set of reviews based on the recommendations I got from this post. These are in no particular order... just the order that they arrived from the library and I started to read them.

Blade of the Immortal: Blood of a Thousand by Hiroaki Samura. I figured this one was a certain hit for me, as I love the samurai epics I've read. However, the book threw me off right on the very first page with a picture of what appears to be a Christian church... in fuedal Japan. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on, much longer than I like. In fact, I'm still unclear on a couple of the details, like exactly how Manji got immortal in the first place. As I finished the book, though, I liked it more and more. The style is not the same as other samurai books, which is really a good thing. If I had to describe it, this would be street tough/punk style samurai epic instead of the way of Bushido. Not my favorite of the books I've read so far, but certainly worth a look. I was a bit disturbed by the bright green label the library had put on the book that says "Shelve with YA Graphic Novels". I would not consider this a young adult book, if only for the graphic violence. I wouldn't let any child I was responsible for read this one, personally, until I was certain they could handle it. But then, I'm not in charge of the library shelving, and I believe in parents actually parenting their children, so I won't make a fuss. 3 1/2 starfish
Recommended by TangognaT. Will I read more? Yes.

Alice 19th by Yu Watase. Ah, the Manga "formula" (if there is one) shows up here. Young girl with crush on handsome guy, only there's another girl in the way... but secretly the handsome guy really loves the first girl. Love triangles seem to be very common in Manga, from what little I've read. Still, the characters and the writing tend to make up for it. In this case, there's a white rabbit and a girl named Alice who accidently visits another world. Beyond that rough description, there isn't much in common with Alice in Wonderland, but the author acknowledges in notes on the sides of some pages that there was a bit of inspiration drawn there. This one is certainly intriguing, and I think I'll give it some more volumes. 3 1/2 starfish
Recommended by TangognaT. Will I read more? Yes.

Hikaru No Go by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata. Wow. This is great! A few weeks ago, a woman came into the shop I work at looking for a Go board. We didn't have any inexpensive ones in stock, unfortunately, but she chatted with the boss a bit. She explained that her son was reading this great Japanese comic book and wanted to learn how to play Go now. The book? Hikaru No Go, about a young man who is possessed by the spirit of an ancient Go Master, and starts to learn the game despite himself. My boss didn't seem to think much of it, even when told that children in Japan are learning Go in record numbers in part thanks to this book, but I immediately wanted to find a copy and read it. So when Dave Lartigue recommended it, there wasn't any question that I would be checking it out. And, to my surprise, it's even better than I thought it would be. I don't want to give anything away, but I want to collect this whole series now. This is a great book. Highly recommended. 4 1/2 starfish
Recommended by Dave Lartigue. Will I read more? OH Yes.

So, do you have any more suggestions for me? Do you think I should start buying Shonen Jump?