Park Sang-Sun's art is breathtaking, as I expected from reading The Tarot Cafe. I do think that the art in Tarot is more refined, which makes sense si...morePark Sang-Sun's art is breathtaking, as I expected from reading The Tarot Cafe. I do think that the art in Tarot is more refined, which makes sense since I think Les Bijoux was published first.
And about volume 1 of Les Bijoux - it's epic in scale, but not in execution. It even includes footnotes that apologize for tossing so much stuff in the first volume! Um, don't apologize, use exposition and pacing to make the apology unnecessary. Jeez.
And why in the world are the oppressive nobles called "the Habit?" Weird, possibly even cheesy.
I already have the third volume (but sadly not the second), so I'll give it a whirl. Maybe it gets better ... (less)
I like the characters Rahzel and Alzeid. (Sassy girl + stoic boy is one of my favorite character combinations ...) I also enjoyed Rahzel's outfits, an...moreI like the characters Rahzel and Alzeid. (Sassy girl + stoic boy is one of my favorite character combinations ...) I also enjoyed Rahzel's outfits, and I'm intrigued by Alzeid's gun.
Some of the panels are visually incomprehensible. Unfortunately those are usually the panels in which an action is occurring, so the subsequent panels (and the plot!) make no sense.
Also, R & A's relationship dynamic seems pretty improbable in an illogical rather than intriguing way.(less)
Now I've read the second volume. What can I say - I'm sucked in by the art and Cain's aloof personality. And there's so much bizarre dark stuff going...moreNow I've read the second volume. What can I say - I'm sucked in by the art and Cain's aloof personality. And there's so much bizarre dark stuff going on ... it's like the proverbial "train wreck." A very beautiful train wreck. I'm just trying not to think too deeply about it, and enjoy the art and stories at face value.(less)
I didn't realize that this series is the sequel to the Cain series - I thought it was the other way around...moreWell, it's definitely gothic. And gory. Wow.
I didn't realize that this series is the sequel to the Cain series - I thought it was the other way around. Oops.
I really like the art, and I like that Cain is a bit of an anti-hero. It adds interest points to the story when the protagonist isn't a paragon of the Always Do the Right Thing mentality. And of course there's just something dangerously appealing about bad boys, right? ;)
My jury's still out on this one. It definitely gets points for the art and characterization - and the way literature/nursery rhymes are worked into the stories. The first volume is a bit too episodic for my taste. Where is the story going? What's Cain trying to do?
I'm a fan of Kazuko Higashiyama's art after reading Tactics, but this first volume of Shinshoku Kiss left me scratching my head a bit.
Mysterious supe...moreI'm a fan of Kazuko Higashiyama's art after reading Tactics, but this first volume of Shinshoku Kiss left me scratching my head a bit.
Mysterious supernatural stuff is fine - preferred even - but ... what? It's like the supernatural stuff was just glommed onto the story. I think there's some narrative missing - what does Kotoko think about her transformation? Or is she even transformed? (maybe "infected" is a better word?) The effect is less intriguing mystery, more "WTF is going on"?
Kotoko at this point seems to be more of a vehicle for spouting indignation at the decadence around her than a character with depth. Hmm ... in this regard she reminds me of Yuki in Vampire Knight. (Which I wouldn't be reading except it's serialized in Shojo Beat, and I mean, gosh, it's manga and it's right in my hands...)
Volume 2 ... eh, we'll see. The story is definitely weird enough to have potential, the art is great, I just wonder if it can remedy its narrative and characterization flaws.
(The art alone bumps it from 2 to 3 stars on my rating.)(less)
The magic in Hibiki's Magic is that it not only has outstanding art, but also manages to strike the perfect balance between dark, tragic circumstances...moreThe magic in Hibiki's Magic is that it not only has outstanding art, but also manages to strike the perfect balance between dark, tragic circumstances and absolutely adorable kawaii squeeness. It's just so cute! And dark! All at the same time!
I can't help but wonder - since magic has a price, what's the price that Hibiki is paying? At this point, it's not clear.
The "price of magic" convention reminds me a bit of Fullmetal Alchemist. Actually, I think there are several similarities between FMA and Hibiki - Hibiki's world is a post-war world in which magic was used as a weapon, homunculi can be created, gruesome unethical magical experiments occurred, and there is also a technological presence - steam-powered trains, etc.
Both of the first two volumes are focused on character stories rather than an overall epic plot. And gosh are those characters wonderfully wacky! (The homunculus warrior/weapon is very, very fond of melon cakes!) Hibiki excels at rounding out characters and having them really yank on some heart strings.
Cynics might not like Hibiki, as it does tend to be a bit sentimental and hopeful. Yet still bittersweet. Hmm. At any rate, this series certainly has me wrapped around its little finger.
I checked the TokyoPop site and the ANN site, neither seem to list a release date for volume three - or how many volumes there are in the series. I intend to snap up a copy of volume three as soon as it's released. (less)
I'm a sucker for cute lil' animals, and I have to sheepishly admit that the pictures of the squirrel-like little guys on the cover probably had a good...moreI'm a sucker for cute lil' animals, and I have to sheepishly admit that the pictures of the squirrel-like little guys on the cover probably had a good bit to do with why I bought this volume!
I got lucky - the story so far is as engaging as the art.
Maeda's characterization of Hibiki and the other main characters is well-executed, and the characters easily live in the reader's imagination as unique personalities. (Cardboard cut-out characterization is a common problem in manga, I've noticed ...)
The plot in the first volume is just the right blend of cute/quirky and dark/dramatic. There is a price for magic in Hibiki's world, but she seems to be bringing unexpected levity to a profession that usually calls for great sacrifices.
I'm looking forward to reading the second volume and finding out the answers to mysteries that Maeda deftly implied about the nature of magic, Hibiki's "master," and the capabilities of Hibiki herself. (Not to mention that the headmaster is a hoot, and surely there will be more adorable squirrel antics!) (less)