Monday, April 30, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
by Kaoru Mori
Yen Press, 2011
3.5 (out of 5) STARS
Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her. (www.goodreads.com)
The Bride’s Story takes place during the nineteenth-century Silk Road time period. This book is listed on goodreads best Josei Manga list but it is quite different from the other nine manga books that I have read for this assignment. The main character, Amir, has depth and strength that many of the other Josei manga main characters lack. There is a nice little love story that all Josei mangas seem to have.
Wildsmith, S. (2011). A Bride's Story, v.1. Booklist, 107(19/20), 51.
Another good review can be found here.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
by Yuyuko Takemiya
Seven Seas, 2011
3.5 (out of 5) STARS
Ryuji Takasu has learned the hard way that appearances can be deceiving. Despite his inwardly sweet personality, his unintentionally sharp gaze and aggressive features give him the air of a delinquent thug, putting his chances at making friends, let alone a girlfriend, next to zero.
It’s Ryuji’s first day in junior high school and it seems as if things are looking up. He gets to sit in between his only friend, Yusaku, and, more importantly, the girl he’s secretly crushing on, Minori Kushieda. But just when he thinks the stars are aligned in his favor, he unwittingly crosses the most feared girl in school, Taiga Aisaku, making her onto his arch enemy. To top it off, Taiga has moved in right next door to Ryuji and happens to be Minori’s best friend! Can this school year possibly get any worse?! (www.goodreads.com)
The artwork is also normal manga style black and white drawings. Although I have read 10 Josei mangas for this assignment I am still unable to tell a big different from one author to another. I recognize Manga artwork when I see it but cannot distinguish between different author’s artwork. I think more exposure to this type of artwork will better hone my ability to divergent between artists. There was one significant different in this book that could only be portrayed from the artwork. The main character, Takasu’s mother works nights at a bar/lounge. This information by itself is significant, but what I found to be significant is the manner in which Takasu’s mother is artistically portrayed. She is drawn very sexy even in her home with her son. It seems very odd to me. I have included one such picture though I chose the least suggestive picture of Takasu’s mother in the novel.
I found an excellent site with quite a bit of basic, concise information about Toradora. It can be found here. There are a few reviews at the bottom of the article. Toradora is also anime so the majority of the reviews I found are actually for the anime not the manga.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
by Kyousuke Motomi
Viz Media, 2007
4 (out of 5) STARS
One day at school, Teru accidentally breaks a window and agrees to pay for it by helping Kurosaki with chores around school. Kurosaki is an impossible taskmaster though, and he also seems to be hiding something important from Teru… (www.amazon.com)
A quote I found frequently is “If my stories can touch you, make you laugh, forget unhappy things, or even give you that 'good job' feeling, then I'll be super, super happy!" - Kyousuke Motomi. Motomi is a quite private about herself. I was not able to find much information about her. I did find her personal website located at http://www.betsucomi.shogakukan.co.jp/talk/motomi/, but I got a good laugh out of it because it is all in Japanese which does not help me at all. Although I did not find any information about artistic influences what little I did find indicates that she writes for entertainment purpose and to help people feel happy, if only for a brief period of time.
Dengeki Daisy, Vol. 1. (2010). Publishers Weekly, 257(29), 59.
Another review found at Graphic Novel Reporter.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
by Chika Shiomi
Viz Media, 2009
3 (out of 5) STARS
Rasetsu Hyuga works for an exorcist agency where she uses her special powers to banish evil spirits. There's a story behind the red flower mark on her chest though — it's a momento left by a powerful spirit who vowed to claim her on her 20th birthday. Unless Rasetsu can find true love by then, she is fated to become his.
Yako Hoshino, a young man with spiritual powers of his own, comes to the agency seeking help with a possessed book. He's seen a lot of strange phenomena in his day, but the last thing he expects to see is Rasetsu bearing a striking resemblance to his old love Yurura! (www.goodreads.com)
AnimeNewsNetwork and Graphic Novel Reporter both have reviews of Rasetsu, vol 1.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
by Mitsuba Takanashi
Viz Media, 2005
3 (out of 5) STARS
All that matters to 15-year-Old Nobara Sumiyoshi is volleyball, but it turns out that her mother will stoop to dirty tricks to keep her off the court and in the family's restaurant business. With assistance from her feisty Aunt Momoko, Nobara decides to start playing offense. (www.goodreads.com)
Although this plot is not terribly original it is still acceptable. However, I am not motivated to continue reading this series; although, I am interested in knowing a general series plot summary. I do like how the main character, Nobara, is willing to risk her safe and secure life to play volleyball. Even though Nobara does not have a great relationship with her mother it is still difficult to defy one’s parents. Nobara also does not have any marketable skills to be able to live on her own but she wants to play volleyball so badly that she agrees to cook and clean for a group of rather mean male volleyball players.
As I am reading more manga books I frequently recall what Scott McCloud explains in Understanding Comics. McCloud explains that often in Manga it is the journey that is important
which differs from western comics where it is the destination that is the focus. The plot of this volume moves rather slowly but again as Japanese manga believes what is the hurry. My basic sum-up of this book is that it is okay but certainly not amazing.
I enjoy manga artwork but Takanashi is not my favorite artist. Many of the pages have quite a bit of white space. The artwork in this book is less compact and detailed than some of the other Manga books I have read. This manga book gives the feeling of less panels and less dialogue per page. I do enjoy the less cluttered feel of this book.
Customer/reader reviews can be found at www.amazon.com and www.goodreads.com. A librarian also reviewed this book. Another review can be found at Graphic Novel Reporter.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
3.5 (out of 5) STARS
Shy high school student Riko Izawa aches for a boyfriend but guys just won't look her way. Then one day she signs up for a three-day trial of a mysterious "lover figurine," and the next thing she knows, a cute naked guy is delivered to her doorstep--and he wants to be her boyfriend!Has Riko died and gone to heaven? The cute naked guy turns out to be smart, super nice, stylish and a gourmet chef. Plus, he looks like a million bucks.... Trouble is, that's about what he's going to cost Riko because she didn't return him in time! (www.goodreads.com)
Despite my annoyance with Riiko, I did actually enjoy this book. Absolute Boyfriend was the fifth manga book I have read for this assignment and it was definitely my favorite thus far. I enjoyed dreaming of my own absolute boyfriend. I also enjoyed the love triangle between Riiko, Night and Riiko’s neighbor Soshi. I found Night to be a very funny character. Most clients order these absolute boyfriends to be sex toys. So Night arrives naked and keeps taking his clothes off at inopportune times. This behavior makes Riiko very flustered and it is quite humorous.
I thought the art was fantastic. I have included a picture below of Riiko, Night and Soshi. Although this manga was drawn in black and white, seeing the picture in color makes me interested to read this in color. Usually I am mostly indifferent but I think I would enjoy this book in color.
Cornog, M. (2006). Absolute Boyfriend. Library Journal, 131(15), 45.
A less positive review can be found at http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/absolute-boyfriend-gn-1.
Monday, March 26, 2012
by Chica Umino
Viz Media, 2008
3.5 (out of 5) STARS
Takemoto, a sophomore art student in Tokyo, thinks his greatest worries in life are finding ways to eat more meat and getting to class on time. But with friends like his, life is never going to be that uninteresting.
Of the four Josei Manga books I have read thus far for my annotated bibliography Honey and Clover is my favorite. It is light-hearted and funny. Although the plot summary names Takamoto as the main character, I would say all the characters receive about the same amount of attention. There are three main male roommates that are always hungry. One of the roommate’s cousin’s daughter is also attending the same university. She could be considered a “moe” character. A “moe” character tends to be female. They are usually cute, submissive and inspire platonic feelings in the reader. Many readers actually find them to be annoying. In Honey and Clover, Hagumi is eighteen but in the illustrations she never looks eighteen at all. She usually looks between eight and twelve. Below are some pictures of Hagumi.
The artwork in Honey and Clover is quite nice. The book has a very interesting feature in that when the characters get angry their facial expressions change so much it is difficult to recognize them. They do not even look like the same character at all. At first it was bit confusing to have the emotional characters change their appearance so much but after I became accustomed to this feature I really quite enjoyed it and found that it added additional humor to the story.
The front and back cover have color illustrations. The actual artwork inside the book is done in black and white. Because this is a light story most of the artwork is done using fine lines and very little dark coloring within the panels.
I used Academic Search Premier to find two book reviews. I have cited the book reviews below.
Krygier, S. (2008). Honey and Clover. School Library Journal, 54(9), 219.
Honey and Clover, Vol. 1. (2007). Publishers Weekly, 254(51), 35.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Written by Takuji Ichikawa Art by Sai Kawashima Viz Media, 2008 ISBN 1421513862 216 pages
3 (out of 5) STARS
When Takumi's wife suddenly returns from the grave, he can't believe his eyes. As he starts digging deeper and deeper into the mystery of her sudden reappearance, he discovers a secret that is somehow linked to the past...and the future. Is it possible to experience first love for a second time? Without question, the answer is yes! (www.goodreads.com).
This manga was first a book, then a movie, then a TV series and finally adapted for manga. It is a bit of a ghost story because when the rainy season begins the wife of Takumi returns from the
dead. She can only stay through the six weeks of the rainy season and then she must return to the land of the dead. I enjoyed this book. It was sweet and tender although, of course very unrealistic. As an avid reader, I am very skilled at suspended reality when I read. However, on some level it still must be believable. Although I did not have any trouble with Mio returning for a visit from the dead, I did have trouble believing her husband and son were not emotionally traumatized. Moi had only been dead for one year which really is not a very long time to recover from losing a wife or mother and yet they seemed so at ease with Moi’s return. So I had some trouble with reality suspense with this book.
Like most mangas the front and back covers are printed in cover but the book inside is drawn in black and white. This manga actually contains a lot of illustrations on the gray scale. It is a ghost story that occurs during a cloudy, rainy season and the numerous gray panels add to the mystery of Moi’s return and the emotional ache of when she will leave again.
I found a good review at http://www.bitsandpieces.org/blog/2011/03/31/book-review-be-with-you-by-takuji-ichikawa/. It is not a "professional" review but I liked what the reviewer had to say.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Vol 1: To Till
By Chiho Saito
Created by Be-Papas
Viz Media, 2003
3 (out of 5) STARS
Utena Tenjou had a tragic childhood - her parents died when she was young, and she almost drowned, had it not been for her prince who came and rescued her. Because of the impact this prince had on her life, Utena strives to be just like him - to grow up to be a prince, not a princess, and to spread nobility, ultimately finding her prince and bringing revolution. (http://www.animenews.com)
This was an enjoyable manga read. The main character Utena has decided to grow up to be a prince, not a princess. She is still beautiful and feminine but most of her interests and activities are more active and masculine. She doesn’t want to be protected; she wants to do the protecting. I think this provides a great message to the typical female audience that reads josie manga. Utena does want to find the man that rescued her when she was a little girl and this desire does direct much of her behavior. But I like that she is not bemoaning her fate and a helpless female.
The artwork is black and white, though the cover is done in color. Utena is drawn and portrayed as delicate and this appearance often deceives others to believe she is timid. The illustrations are inked considerably more during pivotal darker sequences of the story. This helps bring out the more villainous characters. I really enjoy having illustrations within a story to add to the depth of the storyline.
Read some reviews of the book here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14078.Revolutionary_Girl_Utena_Vol_1