Manga Mondays with Kethylia 11/12

The nifty manga blogger, Kethylia, allows me to post her weely reviews every Monday here on the blog, to share with you good folks. Here is a link to her site, which she describes as "an informal brain-dumping ground for off-the-cuff book and manga reviews, news commentary, leftist political rants, half-baked pretensions of intellectualism, and lots, lots more!"


Here is a description of her rating scale.

Takaguchi, Satosumi. Shout Out Loud!. Vol. 2. Los Angeles: BLU, 2006.

Summary: Shino's career is on the up and up, but Mizusawa and Tenryu's rivalry for his romantic affections may yet bring him down. Nakaya, for his part, has fallen head over heels in love with a disabled hockey player Fuse and decides to shack up with him when his dad is unable to provide the right sort of emotional support. As we move toward volume three, Shino's starting to feel something for Tenryu, and Fuse wants permission from Shino to start a relationship with Nakaya.

Comments: Circa 2002, I was desperate to read this series. Unfortunately, at the time, the original NPB edition was out of print, and it had not yet been reissued in bunko format. I was able to acquire the third and fifth volumes only, which was decidedly less than satisfying. In the intervening years, my desperation subsided, and my attention waned. So, it's only now, over five years later, that I've taken the time to read this manga from the beginning--albeit in English since it has now been released by TOKYOPOP BLU...and I wonder why I waited so long. Though by the second volume the story begins to devolve into homoerotic melodrama (even though it is not technically a BL manga), this lovely tale of a young, single father and his teenaged son with its complex characterizations and elegantly-drawn art continues to be one of Takaguchi's best works. Nearly at the Ima Ichiko level, to be perfectly honest. (Fujoshi amongst us may be interested to know that the assistant named "Lulu" featured in the Afterword has since gone on to have a distinguished manga career of her own--as Yamada Yugi.)

Notes: paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten in 1997

Rating: 6.5/10 - One of BLU's most important licenses. Even if you don't like romance, there's enough about the seiyuu industry to keep the average otaku reading. Check it out!

Aoki, Yuya and Akinari Nao. Psycho Busters. Vol. 1. Trans. Stephen Paul. New York: Del Rey, 2007.

Summary: Four young psychics are on the run, and they need to find Kakeru. Kakeru, a seemingly ordinary teenaged boy, lusts for adventure...and soon finds that he's getting plenty of it helping the psychics defend their newfound freedom.

Comments: How many more volumes, do you suppose, before we find out that Kakeru is the most powerful Wild Type psychic evar with the power to control serendipity (or some such)? After all, he's narrowly escaped death twice in one volume through fortunate circumstance, and for that to be mere coincidence would be waaaay too unpredictable for a manga of this *ahem* caliber. (Or, I would guess, the light novel series that this manga is based on.)

About the best thing going, to be perfectly honest, is the artwork. Newcomer Nao Akinari draws lovely, soft-edged characters with graceful hands. (Drawing pretty hands is really hard; my hat off to the artist for that.) And they have a freshness about them that makes the run of the mill bawdy humor more palatable. Unfortunately, art alone isn't enough to keep me reading, and I can't say the first volume boasted a story that was all that captivating. Actually, I suspect that this manga will have trouble finding a captive audience, period.

Notes: paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Kodansha in 2006

Rating: 4.5/10 - I'm trying to care, but it's just not working. Guess I'll wait for the anime. Oh, wait. I don't watch anime. Ah well.

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