**spoiler alert** Originally posted here at Anime Radius.
Okay, Seiho Boys' High School, sit down for a minute. You are based around an all-boys school**spoiler alert** Originally posted here at Anime Radius.
Okay, Seiho Boys' High School, sit down for a minute. You are based around an all-boys school located on a remote island, dubbed the Alcatraz of the Japanese educational system, right? Having said that, there's been a surprising number of girls on your pages so far, as if every male character needs a female counterpart to be complete. A little skeevy, yes, but you are a shoujo manga at heart and you can't help it. Still, maybe the focus on the characterization should be shifted a little onto the boys? They are, after all, the stars of the series; they should be fleshed out to the greatest degree before you start expanding the cast radius to include full-time girlfriends.
Back to the review. Seiho Boys' High School has always been a rough around the edges kind of shoujo manga, a two-pronged story of romance and humor told through the mouths of young men. Lately, it's gotten very dramatic, especially with Maki and Takano's thorny relationship and the re-introduction of Erika, the lingering ghost of Maki's past that hangs over their courtship. Their respective chapters seem to be going at a very fast pace, especially odd considering theirs seems like a relationship you would want a slow build-up of before one or the other falls in love with their GF/BF. As a thorn in their side, Erika's presence got enough page play to be deemed important (and hopefully will be brought up later in the series) but is soon glossed over the rest of the volume for the other boys' issues. Seiho Boys still has a problem with running storylines concurrently in each chapter, a technique mastered by few shoujo (including the always popular Ouran) so not every romantic situation gets developed evenly. I'm still waiting for more romance between Nogami and Fukuhara or even a boyfriend for our poor token gay boy, Hanai (and the first person to try and tell me Hanai isn't gay will be chucked off the Internet, I swear).
Having complained a bit earlier about the boys' characterization, I do love the fact that girls like Takano and Fuyuka are beginning to take center stage in the story. As Seiho Boys is not a typical shoujo, these girls are not typical shoujo heroines. They are both blunt with their feelings when the cards are down and especially for Takano can come off as unnecessarily churlish in certain situations. Typically, they are mostly defined by their relationships - Takano and Maki, Fuyuka and Kamiki - but they end up becoming characters in their own respective rights. And then there is Kamiki's sister, Mana, which means there is a touch of their brother/sister complex from the first volume, but not so much to make anyone feel uncomfortable (and it actually gets resolved in this volume, thank goodness). Fuyuka's confrontation with the boys over cleaning Kamiki's room is wonderful to read, and anyone who doesn't like Fuyuka after that scene probably doesn't like the series, as it pretty much exemplifies the heart of Seiho Boys: screw the typical roles, we're doing things ourselves our own way and letting it be known to everyone, like it or not. It's still funny and nice to look at, and as the romantic tensions begin to creep more and more into the overall narrative, we're seeing some surprising sides of our favorite Seiho boys as they try to manage their love lives with living in the boys' only dorm from hell. So far, Seiho Boys' High School is a promising new series that will hopefully only rise in quality over the next couple of volumes; fans of the atypical shoujo manga should be reading this one for sure....more
I make a habit of not reading memoirs, especially of 'famous' people - I find them rather personal, too personal, and takes such a deep look into someI make a habit of not reading memoirs, especially of 'famous' people - I find them rather personal, too personal, and takes such a deep look into someone who I've never met that it makes me uncomfortable as a reader - but since Joyce Carol Oates is my writing heroine, I felt compelled to pick up her memoir of life after the death of her husband, Raymond Smith. I am glad I did, or as glad as anyone can to read such a story of grief and life after death. In her usual vivid prose, Oates pulls us into the world of the widow, a world marked by absence and the burden of living on after one's significant other has passed away. Oates does not try to romanticize her experiences or comfort the reader with pulled punches; this is a work marked with emotion from start to finish without any pretense about what it is about - death, dying, loss, grief, and a culture that would rather sweep it all under the rug than look these undeniable truths in the eye. There are memoirs are then there is A Widow's Story. For anyone who has ever lost a loved one and known what it is like to live a second life after death, this is for you....more
Gorgeous art! Plotty stuff! Cameo by Count D! So pretty much another typically awesome volume of GnS; now to wait for Tokyopop to put out the next booGorgeous art! Plotty stuff! Cameo by Count D! So pretty much another typically awesome volume of GnS; now to wait for Tokyopop to put out the next book (although judging by the release schedule so far, we'll only get one volume of it for 2011, sigh)....more
Another gorgeous volume of Aria. Plus, new characters! And more insight into undine training and how Neo-Venezia works. Now, if only Tokyopop's releasAnother gorgeous volume of Aria. Plus, new characters! And more insight into undine training and how Neo-Venezia works. Now, if only Tokyopop's release schedule of this series wasn't criminally slow....more
An excellent collection of essays analyzing the Astro Boy canon and examining Tezuka's life as both a scientist and a manga-ka. A lot of great insightAn excellent collection of essays analyzing the Astro Boy canon and examining Tezuka's life as both a scientist and a manga-ka. A lot of great insight in one book.
One issue: I wish Schodt did not try to brush off Tezuka's overtly racist artwork (the images of black people as grass skirt-wearing savages with big lips and so forth) as just a sign of his being influenced by Disney or that he didn't intend the art to be racist. Authorial intent means jack squat when the actual finished product depicts people in color in a racist light. It's okay to say Tezuka had problematic issues in his work! He isn't a man to be worshipped as someone without faults or problems.
Still, overall, a great volume of meta about everyone's favorite boy robot from the future....more
I've always been a moderate fan of Arina Tanemura's works - Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne was a pleasant romp while FuOriginally posted here at Anime Radius.
I've always been a moderate fan of Arina Tanemura's works - Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne was a pleasant romp while Full Moon o Sagoshite had me in tears with every volume. However, I approached the glossily covered Mistress Fortune with no small amount of trepidation; I've never known shoujo manga-ka like Tanemura to do well in the arena of one-shot manga. They either end up too short or without any focus and become a big mess by volume's end. Luckily, this particular manga does not fall into that trap. Which is not to say that Mistress Fortune has single-handedly overturned the genre of magical girls with superpowers in any big way, but it does make a lot of tired tropes enjoyable to read, which is a feat in itself in an era of Nanoha and Card Captor Sakura clones.
Amid Tanemura's typically gorgeous art, all decked out in shoujoesque tones and gradients without becoming overbearing, is a love story. A love story, of course, that happens to involve teenage psychics protecting the world from aliens (who actually seem pretty cute for the most part). Kisaki is a spirited enough protagonist, one who works hard and cares deeply about her partner while juggling her work and her school and her personal life. She also makes Mistress Fortune a blast to read; any other protagonist, anyone less cheerful and genki, would have absolutely killed the mood of the story. It also helps that the story itself has a lot of fun elements, like the odd little aliens and the inner workings of PSI, not to mention the entire California subplot which involves - well, I won't spoil you, but if you know who the editor of this particular manga is, you'll be doing a double take after the American PSI member is introduced. Go, Tanemura, go!
In general, Mistress Fortune is a lighthearted fun single volume of mahou shoujo manga; absolutely no risk in picking this one up. There's tons of romance and action and humor and magic between the covers; no reader will go disappointed. It's typical Tanemura - and that's no insult. ...more
Tamaki: ABOUT BLOODY TIME, DUDE. Geez. And nice to see the Kanoya storyline resolved itself so nicely and without any icky things (most shoujo would hTamaki: ABOUT BLOODY TIME, DUDE. Geez. And nice to see the Kanoya storyline resolved itself so nicely and without any icky things (most shoujo would have made Kanoya into a villain to make Haruhi look better but thank God Ouran is a little classier than that). The cliffhanger of this volume has me really wanting book 16! Poor Mori . . ....more