More Shoujo Manga!
Despite my vanity, and fear for my sanity, I've been reading even more of this stuff.
I wrote about the first few books I stumbled upon here - noting that they weren't all that different from 'normal' manga after all, so I guess I'll do the same with these new ones. Just know that this post will be delving even further into the 'shoujo' of shoujo... that makes no sense, but, you know: even girlier stuff than last time.
That I've read these at all is thanks to my sister getting hold of a pile of them. I wouldn't buy these myself, voluntarily, but since they were all so easily accessible already I might as well give them a glance... right?
Kare - First Love
This is the story of Karin, and Aoi, who meet in school, and get together, and break up, and argue, and yet they both love each other so they nourish their relationship and slowly it grows stronger and stronger - despite the many obstacles that get in their way, like school, and work, and evil parents.
It's a very typical love story, cheesy and prone to emotion, with the boyfriend always supportive and the girl always in need of supporting, often drawing the wrong conclusions, being too quick too judge and further complicating what could've been just a happy and simple relationship! All of this makes for the occasional groan, but also dare I admit pretty exciting reading, and it's always nice when things go well. When they finally overcome each crisis.
There's some comedy, and some awkward moments, and overall just a lot of relationship drama. I guess it was good though, because I read all the books... ten of them, minus three somewhere in the middle that weren't included in the aforementioned set of books. It's not a series I'll be adding to my collection, but yeah... it was alright. The drawing style's clean and refined too. Good read.
I only have one of these... fortunately. It's a sort-of love story involving one girl, and two guys, at a school, and a bunch of rivals and such, and a rich little girl with her own servant (who is five years old - the girl I mean - not sure about the servant).
It's all drawn in chibi style, super-cute and happy, and details the ups and downs of school and girl and boy stuff and honestly... I still haven't read all the way through this one. I'm having a hard time with the style. The art. The mood. The fact that there's a girl there that's just five years old but has breasts as big as any one of the other girls... of which ages aren't yet detailed. Middle school age? It seems kinda weird.
So far it's sort of fun. There are comical moments, but a lot of groans too.
I really don't think this'll go into my favorite. It's really not my style, love story or no (not that love stories are my style). Too dynamic? Too young? Too happy? Too much of some of that stuff.
Edit: I have read through it now, and it was alright, but I don't think I'll be reading more of this one...
Doors Of Chaos
Now here's one that's none of the above! Not too young, and definitely not too happy either. Similar to the vampire manga in the previous post this one quickly takes a twist for a darker; more somber story. It features more sensual female characters in the main roles, male protagonist/antagonists more in control, and tells the story of two sisters who were born to guard the keys to four other worlds. They have special powers too. I just read the first book of this series, but so far: tense. Hope to find more.
The artist has a very distinct style too. Very sharp eyes. Detailed features. Elaborate and grotesque monsters, clothes and sceneries. It's a fascinating art style, and a theme that almost borders on horror. Not the kind of Shoujo I expected! Actually I wonder if this is Shoujo at all...
I've read this one before. I've read bits, at least, of the first chapters in a manga magazine (Manga Mania) that a good buddy was subscribed too. I loved it back then, and I still do! It's more Shounen than Shoujo though - telling the story from a clumsy guy perspective instead of that of an overattentive girl, and you know what? It does work better! Even if the main character slaves away for those girls day after day, things never go his way, and he's constantly misunderstood and bullied... I relate? It's actually kind of sad. But at the same time everything that happens is just hilarious.
The story? Keitaro, kicked out by his parents as a hopeless Ronin (one who's trying and failing to get into university), goes to his aunt's hotel (she owns a hotel) to live there while he continues his studies, only to discover that it's been turned into an all girl's dorm! He discovers this whilst taking a bath in the hot spring... when a near-sighted girl walks in on him.
Hilarity ensues. As well as immense awkwardness and shame.
It turns out the girl is a girl from his childhood! A special one. The one and only. It takes the reader barely a chapter to figure this out, but it takes them the whole duration of the series, which is... I don't know how many books, but the anime was either 12 or 24 episodes. I think. The comedy's crazy, and it's emotional in a good way. Definitely recommended.
Hope to get my hands on the remaining manga some day too. It might be better than the anime.
Yaoi manga? This one was in that pile I was given but you know what? I think I'll pass. Feels like there's a certain line here I don't want to cross.
It did have a cool cover though. If I didn't know it was Yaoi...
So that's what I've been reading lately, though I do have a pile of Dragon Ball and Detective Conan I still haven't started with. Maybe
after summer next year. Until then... who knows, Christmas is coming up and this kind of manga seems to be the kind my sister occasionally stashes up on. Maybe there'll be more to come.
I've been reading a bit of Shoujo manga lately. Lately as in: about a month ago. Thought I'd post about it then but here we go again... delays! Maybe I hesitated because - for those of you who don't know - Shoujo is a form of manga directed primarily towards a a young female audience.
So it's not the type of stuff a growing-old man like me would boast about reading! But a little romance now and then... it's not bad. These particular ones happened to have a bit of action and intrigue, too. They weren't excessively girly - really! If you haven't tried Shoujo before (but have read other manga) then these might not so different after all.
First off there's Basara, which I only have three books of yet (and there's at least twenty) but hope to be getting more of! The style feels rushed sometimes, but looks good, and is drawn in an airy and emotional way.
The story's that of a girl named Sasara taking on her dead brother Tatara's role as revolutionary, to as prophecy foretells ignite a rebellion in a wicked land and overthrow the King and his four sons.
She soon realizes that the one in the prophecy was actually her - as they were twins, and the further things go the more dangerous her role. She leads a double life as both girl and boy, and happens to fall in love with one of the King's sons but doesn't know who he is. And of course he doesn't know she's Tatara - the spark of hope he's determined to kill.
It's a pretty exciting story! The characters are great and the emotion flares mightily. I want to read more.
Then, there's Planet Ladder. I've only read a couple books of this one too, but it seems promising. It's about a girl who's cast into a parallel world, and discovers there are actually seven parallel Earth's fighting for control.
The balance is becoming unstable, and only one can survive. A certain princess from a forgotten time has the power to say who will survive over all others... and it turns out that princess is her!
Compared to the previous the drawing style here feels a bit amateur-like, and the characters both naive and... stupid. But I do like the premises. Hope to get to the end of this one too...
Finally there's Vampire Knight: The story of a girl and boy who act like guards and mediators between the night and day class of a particular school. What the students don't know in the day class is that the night class consists of vampires, and what the main character (the girl of course) doesn't know is that the other guard is a vampire too, in the process of becoming, and though he loathes their race he eventually can't withstand the urge of blood any longer.
They form a special bond, yet one of the vampires in the night class saved her life from a rogue vampire back in the day and... well, it gets messy. I read a couple of books on this one too; hope to get more. Why is manga still so hard to come by over here...
It also gets unexpectedly savage, and so in the end... I'm surprised.
I'm surprised because Shoujo Manga really isn't only all about flowers and roses, and simple love. It can have a compelling storyline too, and the main character being a girl doesn't take away from the relatability after all.
I also feel like there's often a greater sense of mystery with Shoujo - which possibly ties in with the romance. There's definitely more emotion too, and the one thing I don't really like about the genre: often a sense of helplessness, a lack of confidence, or similar emotional flaws the main character strives to overcome.
It's also often used by the male characters, as the damsel in distress is saved, or helped, or somehow salvaged through the darkness by the knight in shining armor. It's not that stereotypical, or predictable, but it's there.
In comparison the main character in a Shonen manga will often be the one saving others. The one in control. The knight in white armor himself - and so it's often a similar story, just told from a different side.
It just so happens I was introduced to one more of these series earlier, when my sister gave me a pile of D.N.Angel books. I gave those a try and... they were alright! Guess my stereotypes started melting away at that point.
There's also Ranma 1/2, which is a bit like a hybrid between the two (between Shoujo and Shonen).
If you've been avoiding this particular genre: give it a try - you might like it!
I've also read though SandLand, but that's not Shoujo so there you go yo. But it was great too. I'll keep reading and make room (for more books cause they're way huge).
One Piece 827
Ten episodes later and it looks like something serious is about to get started! The fuel ran into filler again for a while but... maybe it's getting back on track again? I'm excited to see how this'll get started.
Woes. The inconsistencies of long-running shows.
Me And Manga
Since then I've read out the rest of the Ranma 1(2 books I had, and the books of Death Note I was missing (I actually bought the whole series again just to get my hands on the two I was missing - 1 and 6). I managed to get the final two earlier, and an English variant of Death Note titled #13... that I was hoping would delve into what happened AFTER all that... happened. It didn't. It contained a shitton of character summaries and Q and A though, so that was interesting too. Early promo and four panel comics as well.
I've picked up a few more Detective Conan books, the last segments of Ranma 1/2 (hoping to get the ones in between before I pick it up again), and maybe I didn't mention I managed to get a batch of Naruto, Dragon Ball Z and Bleach in English, and before that the whole Dragon Ball series (in Swedish)? And before that the final numbers of One Piece (which I've now read) along with a bunch of duplicates, and the last number of DNAngel, also with a bunch of duplicates, and some Keroro, .Hack, Rebirth and Ragnarok?
The first of the latter three was easy to read through. With the other two I'm still missing a few. Right now I'm making my way through Naruto, which considering how downhill the anime went I've been positively surprised with so far! Hope the manga doesn't go the wrong way too.
And then, guess what.
Also here's an alternative picture since I didn't realize I'd made one. It's not as good. Thus the alternative.
So that should probably last me a while huh. Manga Mania (coincidentally the name of a now discontinued but at a time very popular manga magazine over here). Hopefully this'll last me all summer, and winter... and then some. And leave me with plenty of duplicates to trade for the ones I'm currently missing.
...and over half a year since I first started writing up this draft, yupp, it really has lasted. There's still plenty to read, and trade, and a few ones missing too... I caught up as far as I could with Naruto, but priorities shifted and me and manga took a break, for a while. I read out the first book of Keroro at an airport recently, but that's about it.
To be continued, whenever surprise amounts of spare time might appear and my maniac manga obsession returns anew...
One Piece 817
Oh holy shit. One Piece. It's back!
This is the One Piece I love. The feels. The twists. The build-up... it's all boiling down to a point now, and yet I wasn't expecting this one. It's like I'd been spoiled on filler, but suddenly I realize I've been going without real food for so long, and get a taste of the real thing. If I can persevere a few weeks without it feels like this would be the right time to take a break from the series, and then catch up in one big batch. It's about to go down down down down down. Like never before.