Friday, April 02, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 58 (4/2) -- Panic X Panic, Vol. 1 by Mika Kawamura

A great lassitude lies heavily on me tonight, preventing me from writing anything substantial about the three novels I've read recently, or even the half-a-nostalgic-superhero-story I read today. No, I have the kind of mood that means my Book-A-Day post will be a quick, desultory look at something I can feel entirely superior to -- a book that's purely a genre exercise. Don't say I didn't warn you....

If you judge entirely from manga, Japan is a nation entirely made up of secret gateways to hideous realms of demons, closed away and locked centuries ago and only kept so by the unstinting work of legions of devoted demon-fighters. And, for all I know, it could be true -- the closest I've ever been to Japan is Anaheim.

In Panic X Panic, the young rapscallions tasked with keeping the demons at bay are young Mitsuki and Kakeru. Her family runs a small shrine, and his a small church -- thus brilliantly trivializing two great religious traditions at once for the sake of a minor shojo comic. They've been friends -- in the fighting-with-each-other-all-the-time-because-that-shows-that-they're-destined-to-be-in-luuuuurve style -- since early childhood, and now appear to be in middle school. (Though the aggressively cutesy style, with occasional chibi influences, may be throwing off my Manga Character Age Detector somewhat.)

But then they learn about the inevitable demons, and that they need to work together to save the world, and...honestly, the demons aren't all that important -- this is a series for girls, not boys -- they're really just an excuse for these two to be stuck with each other and fight until they eventually fall helplessly in love. (In the same way that someone would fall helplessly into the Grand Canyon.)

Oh, and this book also has a short story about a young teen girl who dresses up like her sick brother to go karaoke-ing with his friends to find out "The Secrets of Boys." (Which aren't all that impressive, as anyone who ever was a boy could have told her. Still, at her age I would have cut off a finger to learn the equivalent secrets of girls, and those are equally unimpressive.)

All in all, for a girls' manga with an inexplicable title and deeply generic elements, Panic X Panic is cute and harmless, and far more pleasurable to read than I'm making it sound. It will not tax even one of your little gray cells, true. But how many comics will?

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Okkervil River - Another Radio Song
via FoxyTunes

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