Peter's Reviews > Steamboy: Ani-Manga, Vol. 1

Steamboy by Katsuhiro Otomo
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's review
Nov 17, 08

bookshelves: comic-graphic-novel, fantasy, library, science-fiction
Recommended for: manga fans
Read in November, 2008, read count: 1

I've been complaining that a lot of graphic novels are confusing. Usually, that's because they're badly written and poorly illustrated; that is, the drawing themselves are pretty eye candy, but they don't always make a lot of sense.

But what made Steamboy confusing was that it's backwards. It starts with page 181-something, and ends with page 1. The cover is on the back. And you read it back-to-front, right-to-left from panel to panel. The words themselves are read left-to-right, but even within conjoined word ballons phrases are read right-to-left.

That's freaky. It took a while to get used to. And there were times throughout the book that I found myself getting a little confused about which panel came first on a page.

I'll admit that the thought also crossed my mind that this back-to-front reading might mess up my mind somehow. :D

There's a weird system of sound effects ("FX") too, but I am not going to spend all my time flipping from the last (i.e. first) page and back to translate the weird symbols that represent sound effects. Life's too short for that sort of crap.

That said, it's not at all a bad book. The illustrations are nicely done with a sort of old-fashioned steampunk feel (which you'd expect in a book titled Steamboy, of course). The writing is rather sparse but reasonably well-done. Given the size of the book (over 180 extremely thick pages), I was surprised at how relatively little plot there was in it. This is the first installment of a series, but even so it seemed very...well, in 180+ pages I'd expect more to be accomplished.

Will I read the other books in the series? Maybe. They're available free in the library, after all. But I'm not particularly looking forward to it. All in all this was a clever-ish idea, and it has been decently executed, but so far my socks have definitely not been knocked off.

The upcoming movie may work better than the graphic novel(s), I suspect. Unless they filmed that backwards, too.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve The book is not "backwards," per se; it's printed in its original Japanese format, as is much of the manga these days, and as a former reader of such it works much better that way because the art doesn't have to be "flopped" of physically reconstructed to match the Western style of reading.


message 2: by Johnnybravo (new)

Johnnybravo Well of course its like that, thats how books are writen in Japan and across asia


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