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Even Even More Shoujo Manga!

Been reading even more of this stuff! More quick impressions...

Nana

I apparently missed this one in the earlier post, though I'd read it then.

Similar to Skip Beat and Princess Ai it's the story of a girl in the music biz, though here without any supernatural or vengeful twist. It's a girl in the music biz. Plain and simple. No frills but her character. Music, love and friendship... those are the main themes.

You could say it's a bit like a Shoujo version of Beck, with milder characters/setting overall, but a much more punk-rock MAIN character. And it's not bad! Charming, fun...

I wouldn't mind reading more of this one too. So far I've only gone through book four.

Emma

Here's the story of a maid in old England.

She works for an old lady, who's strict but considerate, and though she lives sparsely, with little possessions or freedoms of her own, she lives well. One day the heir of a rich family comes to visit, it's love at first sight, and her whole world changes. Sort of.

It's an impossible romance though, both of them know, and when the old lady dies Emma is forced to go... she inherits enough for a train ticket, packs her bags and heads home... and that's as far as I've read so far. Books one and two here.

Looking forward to reading the rest of them though.

Not only does the story take place in an unusual time and setting for a manga, but the backgrounds are intricate, the authenticity of the world just as much so, and the character interactions are refreshingly mild in their emotional ranges.

They convey feelings via their actions rather than with their reactions, and sometimes via their lack of actions too. It's just a fascinating style, as well an ode to a bygone era where this was how they did things. It's artful, charismatic, and almost magic how easy it is to read and understand. Intuition through drawing. Almost.

After reading a couple books the title itself makes so much more sense. Intricate in its simplicity too. But I really didn't think this would be a story I'd get hooked to. Want to read the rest before I lose the trail.

Black Butler

Here's a similarly unconventional series, starring a boy and his butler, working under the Queen in that same country as above, living seemingly in a dream but... the boy and the butler have a pact. He sold his soul to the devil for the butler's services, and it takes a while before you get to the point where this is revealed. What a turn it takes when it is!

The surrounding cast seems a bit more superficial, but it's a fascinating tale otherwise, with more violence than you'd assume from the clean-cut covers. And that's part of what makes it fascinating. The contrasts. The clash between fine-dine aristocrat society and the underbelly of London, grim reapers and all that entails.

I like that civilized veil of it all too. Class, with all the more dark undertones. It's fascinating at its most fundamental. Read books one to three here. Wouldn't mind more.

Time Stranger Kyoko

Just got one book of this one. The second.

It's about a girl, who can steer the way of time, who's on a quest to find guardians with similar powers to ultimately wake up her sister that's supposed to take the throne.

Of course there's also a darker side to the story. A threat a lurking.

But mostly it's an airy, romantic/comedy-type tale that's both pleasant and entertaining to read through, starring a bright yet melancholy main character, with charming sidekicks.

Not bad, but not one of the ones that stand out the most.

Fushigi Yuugi however, of which I just have the first book so far, is a more traditional but all the more magical/charming tale of a high school girl who, through a book, is warped into a world where her apparition is one of destiny.

She runs into a totally non-interested dude, and an emperor so beautiful she thinks she's a girl at first, and they get into all sorts of adventures and dramatic twists and... I could keep going with this.

It reminds me a bit of Ranmna 1/2, but with a more serious undertone. Also reminds me of Planet Ladder, what with the shift between worlds, and how the main character seems destined for something greater. Come to think of it though there sure are a lot of tales with similar premise...

Yurara

Just got one book of this one too, the second again.

It's the seemingly standard tale of a high school girl and two high school guys (potential romances there), but with a twist: She has an alternative personality which can vanquish demons.

It's refreshingly dark sometimes, and emotional, and well-drawn. It had some moments that'll stick in mind - in particular the self-sacrificing teacher that dove off a rooftop together with a lonely kid.

Needless to say I wouldn't mind reading more of this one too.

I also read through the fourth book of Angel Sanctuary, and daaaaamn here's one that stands out!

It's the story of an angel cast down from heaven, who's lived through reincarnation after reincarnation, and is currently in love with his sister.

Their incestuous relationship doesn't go unpunished though, and when she's killed - or rather sacrifices herself to save him - his powers awaken and he blows up Tokyo.

Then Adam appears, while God lies dormant, and stops time so that our unconventional main character can journey into Hades to rescue her...

It's such an unconventional and legacy-like journey that I couldn't put down the book once I'd picked it up. Nothing seems off limits. The angels torture each other in heaven, forming their own allegiances to lead, while fate seems to have it that our main character journeys to the netherworld to find allegiance there instead, possibly turning the whole divine order upside down.

Are demons really bad? Is God really flawless? What about incest? What about all that we hold true and conventional? I love how even in the first book I pick up this story just flips it all around.

The characters are likable too, and the drawing's grim and detailed. Hope to read more of this.

In other news I've been getting into The Wallflower and Naruto again. The Wallflower's new. Bought the entire series so it'll take some time to read through (26 books I think), and Naruto's not the shortest franchise either. Stay tuned for future reviews...

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