Monday, October 06, 2008

Reviewing the Mail, Week of 10/4: Yen

I get books in the mail -- and, because I feel that I should be doing something in return (and since I won't be able to read and review all of them), I post on Monday mornings about what came in the week before, with whatever I already know about those books or can figure out from cover letters.

Some weeks, the pile is large enough that it needs to be divided in half. Sometimes it's split between comics and prose, sometimes other ways. This week is another big one, and it divided very evenly -- between books from Yen Press, and books that were not from Yen Press. First, the Yen books.

These are all manga of one kind or another, all published in paperback by Yen Press in October. And they are:

B. Ichi, by Atsushi Ohkubo is another vaguely psychic story, in which the few "dokeshi" can use special, individual powers (far beyond those of mortal men,I expect) with their own particular triggers. Our hero is Shotaro has to do one good deed a day, and gets the powers of any animal by biting its bones. (So does that mean he carries around a big bag of categorized bones?)

I know I've heard of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but I can't remember where or why. From the credits -- art by Gaku Tsugano, story by Nagaru Tanigawa, characters by Noizi Ito -- I suspect that this story appeared in some other medium before being turned into comics. It looks like yet another school story, about yet another "average schoolboy," Kyon, starting high school. And then the title character shows up, and other stuff happens (as far as I can tell).

There's also the second volume of Kieli, by Yukako Kabei and Sgiori Teshirogi -- I reviewed the first one for ComicMix in April. This is a ghost-hunting manga -- about a cute girl and a hard-bitten soldier who's older than he looks -- set on an alien planet far in the future.

Zombie-Loan has hit its fourth volume, and is created by the manga collective Peach-Pit as always. The characters are still atypical undead "zombies" -- not notably focused on eating brains, decaying, or mentally challenged, and generally seeming completely normal aside from the fact that they're officially dead -- working off the cost of their resurrections by tracking down more zombies. This world is yet another one utterly ripe for an injection of some revolutionary fervor, since the zombies do seem to be perpetuating their own oppression. There aren't nearly enough Marxist-Leninist comics about the undead, that's what I think.

Speaking of comics that sometimes confuse me, here's volume five of Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, written by Kyo Shirodaira and drawn by Eita Mizuno. (I've reviewed some of the earlier books for ComicMix: two, three, four.) The mysterious Blade Children are still running around, and this volume seems to focus more on them -- as they create yet more instant-death games of chance and skill for each other and prepare for the arrival of a "hunter" who wants to kill them all -- than on the guy who I thought was the main character and who is mostly called "Little Brother." If you like convoluted death-traps and weird logical puzzles, Spiral is for you.

And then there's the second volume of the Korean series Croquis Pop -- check out my review of the first one for some context -- about an aspiring manwha creator who learns that he has potentially immense powers related to his drawing skills. (How come there's never a story about, say, an aspiring volleyball player who has secret magical powers that can only be strengthened through competitive crocheting? How come it's always something to do with what the hero wants to do already?)

Wild Animals looks a bit different from the usual run of manga and manwha -- it's from Korea, but tells the story of a teenager during China's Cultural Revolution. And there will only be two volumes to tell the story, so it's not going to run on forever. It's by Song Yang, and it looks promising.

Moving into the higher numbers, I also have the seventh volume of Angel Diary by Kara and Lee YunHee, which is about...well, let me quote the back cover in its entirety: "Dong-Yong confronts Bi-Wal and lets slip a confession of love! But with her engagement to the King of Hell, does this budding relationship stand a chance? As the Guardians argue about what to do, Queen Hong appears with an even more earth-shattering revelation!" So there!

And last from Yen this month is Yun JiUn's Cynical Orange, Vol. 5, another high school drama set in Korea. (Not that the kind of drama that highschoolers engage in is going to be terribly different, no matter where in the world it is.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya started out as a series of light novels, became an incredibly popular anime series and of course a manga. It's great fun, or at least the anime series is and somewhat of a cult succes in the US and UK...

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