Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 230 (9/21) -- Mikansei No. 1, Vol. 1 by Majiko!

I know that it's petty and probably Eurocentrist (or some other trendy word for a thing leftists are ashamed of) of me, but I just can't take seriously anyone with a bang at the end of her name. So, my apologies to Majiko! -- whose parents, I suspect, did not gift her with that name -- but I'm probably going to be dismissive and sarcastic about her manga Mikansei No. 1.

"Mikansei" is a Japanese word meaning, more or less, "unfinished" -- which is not an auspicious word to name a series, I would think. Perhaps the title is meant to evoke something like "Unfinished Symphony #1," which makes half-sense, since this is a story about musicians. The half that doesn't make sense is that they're teens who want to become famous junky pop-music singers, so it's difficult to see what's "unfinished" about them [1] or their music.

Anyway, Neo Takigawa is a perky, spunky, singing-obsessed free spirit in the tightassed 23rd century, a ball of light and energy amid hordes of dour fun-haters. After an accident that I won't bother to try to explain, she finds herself in the present day, which she has been obsessed with -- due entirely to the music of J-pop singers, which she adores. She immediately meets a boy of the same age (named Saya), and -- through another complicated plot contrivance that only needs to be noted -- finds herself in a "band" with him, and with a deadline by which the two of them have to have a successful concert or else their musical careers will be DOOOOOOOMED FOREEEEEEEVER!!!!!!!!

(No, I'm not exaggerating; this is a light shojo manga. If anything, I'm downplaying the importance of this gig.)

Majiko! shows the two singing, but doesn't try to give us a sense of their lyrics, which is an odd choice -- the two just stand back-to-back for a few panels, while other people react to them. (I will admit to not being a fan of that sort of music to begin with -- I like my bands to have and play instruments, and my pop to at least have a little power in it.) At the end of this volume, things have gotten more complicated, as they always do in the first volume of a manga, but that crucial first gig has not yet happened. (The two haven't yet broken up for the first time, either -- expect that in Vol. 2.)

This is a very, very lightweight manga series, with some mild humor and what will eventually grow into an equally mild romance. It's almost entirely for those who are obsessed with J-pop, and should be firmly left to them.

[1] Except in the poetic sense in which teenagers are unfinished adults, but that's about three orders of magnitude more subtle than anything in this book.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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