Friday, April 23, 2004

Welcome to my blog, as the description says I expect to use this to post occasional reviews like these:

Quick Manga Capsules

I've had a lot of free time over the past couple of months, and have been reading a number of manga titles that I wanted to share some quick thoughts on.

Kare Kano Volumes. 1-6 - A high energy teen romance series, involving two popular, but nice, kids who find in each other the things they didn't know they were looking for. The book's characters are sweet and have a real innocence to them, which made the turn of events in Vol. 6 surprising. Yet not unpleasantly so.

The artist could still use a little work on faces though, because at times --especially given the fact that many of the characters are related-- it can be hard to determine who the characters are if there are more than three on panel.

Snow Drop #1-2 - This series about rich kids, at a high school trying to be cool and find love at the same time is interesting in places. Unlike in Kare Kano, the characters in this series are far from innocent. Some have even seen far more than they should have at the age they are represented as being. Which adds a level of sophistication to the stories.

The bad part is that I learned more about what might be wrong with some of them, by reading the character bios and back cover blurbs, rather than the stories themselves. The story's slow progression strained my patience at times, since I'm unsure of the reason for it given that any surprise is spoiled by the other material.

The art is gorgeous and fully detailed, with diverse figures and outfits that give each character an identified personality before they speak a word.

Though there seems to be a certain coldness about it as well. Which I put down to there not enough attention is given to expressing emotion in the faces. Which left me with a sense of detachment at times.

Kindachi Case Files: The Opera House Murders Imagine Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys if written by a Japanese Ellery Queen with the sensibilities of today. That's how I would describe this wonderful mystery series following the grandson of a famous detective trying to solve mysterious murders while on a school trip.

The characters all have a certain charm to them, that makes you instantly like and care for them. Which makes the eventual deaths of some of them horrifying and meaningful to the reader, as well as the sense of danger and wondering "Who done it?" as the murders continue.

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