Friday, January 21, 2005

Quick Comic Takes

Sabrina the Teenage Witch #63

Tania Del Rio continues to breath fresh life into the Sabrina world. This time with Sabrina and her friends, including her male pursuers Harvey and Shinji, on a skiing vacation.

Harvey and Shinji wind up trapped together in a heavy snow storm. The two learn more about each other during their ordeal, and I as a reader got to see sides of them that I hadn't known about before.

For the first time I could see why Sabrina likes the two guys. Harvey's selfless caring behavior towards others, and Shinji showing some unexpected self consciousness as he sees more to Harvey than he had before.

I'm really surprised by how much I've enjoyed this series, as it really has brought these characters to life in fun entertaining stories that work for all ages.

X-Day Book 1

I wasn't sure what to expect from a manga about people at a school planning to blow it up. Yes this first volume was pretty interesting, as it explores these peoples lives that would lead them to want to do this.

One of the really interesting aspects is that they first meet online in a chat room. So when they finally meet in person later, the differences between what they expect the others to be like and the reality is surprising, but often what I've gone through as well in life.

This is especially evident when one of the participants turns out to be of an unexpected age, that adds a new dimension to the story. I'm surprised to know that this series is only 2 volumes long, and wonder how they'll wrap this up in the second volume.

Peach Fuzz Book 1

This book about a precocious 9 year old girl who gets a ferret with a princess complex, could have been horribly saccharine filled cheese.

Yet it is a surprisingly fun little comedy story that manages to balance both the lives of the humans as the girl struggles to keep her pet's faults (biting and repeated escape attempts) secret from her mom. Along with her pet's strange fantasy filled interpretation of the (as she perceives them) horrors the young girl innocently does to her pet.

It certainly made me see the ways pets might see the world they live in from a different light. The young girl isn't really mature enough to understand that what she sees as playful fun, like having her stuffed toys wrestle with her ferret, is a torture to the pet. Yet it is done in such a way that while you feel sorry for the pet, you understand that the child doesn't mean anything evil about it.

This is just a fun comedy series with a lot of heart, that has one of the most fun cover gimmicks in a while. A Scratch & Sniff sticker that smells like peaches!


Alex Scott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alex Scott said...

Actually, Amanda (the girl in Peach Fuzz) is nine years old. Lindsay Cibos even has entire fourth grade class planned out.

Blah. Forgot you use HTML instead of BB Code on this thing.

James Schee said...

Ack thanks for the correction! Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...


I skimmed throught a Peach Fuzz "manga" book at Borders. Omg, this can hardly, no, can NOT be classified as manga. First of all, it was written by American people. Second of all, the artwork is crap. I cant believe Borders would even put this in the manga section. If it was real manga, it would have been created by a Japanese comic artist, like Mia Ikumi (if u people want real manga, read Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi) If it was real manga, it would have been translated from Japanese, & would be in left-to-right format. So people, stop wasting your time reading that Peach Fuzz crap, & go read some real manga!

Anonymous said...

1) Dear Lord are there some misinformed folks out there. The word "manga" means COMICS! Any American comics can certainly be classified as manga. Furthermore, there are Japanese artists that draw manga in English, AND Japanese artists that draw in "American style" and enjoy it.

2) Having actually READ "Peach Fuzz" (not merely paged through it)- I can say that the story is funny and captivating, especially for any person who owns a pet. The characters are adorable.

3) Bravo to TokyoPop for introducing talented young manga artists from all over the world!

Anonymous said...

While Peach Fuzz technically isn't manga because it was created by Americans, it still belongs in the manga section because of the style of art and the intended audience.
The authors won the second Rising Stars of Manga Contest which is a great honor and created of the most original stories I have ever read.

Anonymous said...

Um, let's look at this, shall we?

"I skimmed throught a Peach Fuzz "manga" book at Borders. Omg,"

"Omg"? You expect to be taken seriously when you can't even type out "oh my god"? Next time you "review", please take the time to use more than chatspeak; it gives a much better impression, and you will be taken much more seriously.

" this can hardly, no, can NOT be classified as manga."

OK, before you say "this isn't ____!", how about looking at how the COMPANY releasing it uses the term, hm? Or how the language that spawned/uses the word in fact uses it?

1.) Tokyopop, Peach Fuzz's publisher, uses the term "manga" to mean any kind of comic *influenced* by, or in the *spirit of* Japanese manga (comics), not just Japanese manga itself (which you would know, were you to bother to check out Tokyopop's website, or to read the intro to the "Rising Stars of Manga" books). Peach Fuzz is very much written in the spirit and style of a number of Japanese children's comics, and the artwork used was very much influenced by the general art style followed by most comics and animation artists in Japan.

2.) The Japanese call any comic a "manga". It's simply their word for it. Children's comics such as - dare I mention it? - HAMTARO, another series about children and their pets that's partly from the pets' point of view, are still "manga" by Japanese definition. The Japanese would not care if it came from America or their own country, it would still be labeled "manga", just as any animation, to the Japanese, is called "anime".

" First of all, it was written by American people."

See above.

" Second of all, the artwork is crap."

Actually, I find many titles that would be called "manga" even by your standards to have far crappier artwork than Peach Fuzz. I find the artwork of Akira Toriyama (of the Dragonball series), for instance, to be cartoonishly ugly and oversimplistic - same goes for "Cyborg 009", and I even find the artwork of the critically acclaimed (God knows why) "Akira" to be, as they say, "butt-ugly".

While the art of Peach Fuzz is far from perfect, I've seen much, much worse, and it does the simple, cutesy story justice. What's more, all artists improve over time - the artwork is fine, but it will get better as the series goes on, simply because the artist will.

"I cant believe Borders would even put this in the manga section."

Take it up with Borders, then, instead of griping about where it was placed in the Comments section of a review for it. Or, take it up with Tokyopop for supposed "false advertising". It isn't the fault of the makers of Peach Fuzz that YOUR (incorrect) definition of a FOREIGN word (read: a word not even found native to your own native language) is different from their publisher's.

" If it was real manga, it would have been created by a Japanese comic artist, like Mia Ikumi (if u people want real manga, read Tokyo Mew Mew by Mia Ikumi)"

Once again, you are winning few intelligent, reasonable people over by using chatspeak. It's really not any harder to type "you" than "u".

Also, while Ikumi's art is cute and all (and while it's in the technical respect somewhat better than Peach Fuzz's), the story is a rippoff of every other magical girl story out there. Don't get me wrong - it's cute, and I enjoy it when I need something nice and fluffy to distract me from reality for a while, but it is NOT the shining example of either what the Japanese are capable of, or what comic artists in general are capable of. If you want to recommend a good example of what Japanese-produced manga can do, Tokyo Mew Mew isn't it. Check out Neon Genesis Evangelion (which has killer art, to boot), Kare Kano, or GALS!, instead.

"If it was real manga, it would have been translated from Japanese, & would be in left-to-right format."

First, see above. Second, you've got it backwards, hon - left-to-right format is AMERICAN/English language format, which Peach Fuzz is already in. Right-to-left format is "Japanese" format... which not all manga is released in. Evangelion had releases in both formats, Ranma 1/2 was originally released in left-right format, Sailor Moon was released in left-right format, and Dark Horse's release of Blade of the Immortal was also left-right format.

" So people, stop wasting your time reading that Peach Fuzz crap, & go read some real manga!"

I imagine that your favorite manga artist, Mia Ikumi, would be disappointed in your narrow-minded interpretation of "real manga". Actually, since she likes animals so much, I'm pretty sure she'd enjoy Peach Fuzz!

Now, as for Peach Fuzz itself? Well, the art isn't exactly perfect, but it services the story just fine.

The story, for anyone who has owned a ferret, is adorable - both cute and funny, with an added dash of reason and fact in the way that it handles the ferret stuff (for instance, the "R.I.P. Van Ferret" chapter). It's not for everyone, but anyone who loves animals, especially ferrets, should give it a chance - you might actually like it. And if your kid is wanting a ferret, you might actually want to buy this for them first, since the information in the book is dead-on.

Since this is sort of aimed at kids, again, it won't be for everyone - but if you enjoyed Hamtaro or other pet stories or animal stories, or you love your ferrets, it's a fun little read.


sher said...

I have a 9 yr old girl and she just loved it. She read this in an hour. I appluad the authors. Anything that catch the attention of girls this age is a good thing. All her friends have read this and also just love it. They have read and reread this comic. They are all awaiting patiently for the next one. It can't come out soon enough. Now as for the adults that that think they are critics. Grow up. This is a comic based on a 9yr old girl. I think you need to get a life. It is a cute story line and again the kids love it....My hats off and we will be in line buying the next book as soon as it hits the shelfs.....

y should i? said...

i think peach fuzz is stupid!!! and who cares about spelling????!!!

y should i? said...


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