Sunday, December 21, 2003

Johanna goes manga... 

So, Comics Worth Reading now has reviews up for three manga titles! I haven't read Shaolin Sisters yet, so I can't comment on that, but I do think that I've enjoyed Kodocha and One Piece more than she does.

Part of my feeling for Kodocha may be colored by having watched the anime, where the hyper quality of the the show really stands out, but I also found the manga to be quite fun, while managing to tackle some serious issues (considering it is obviously targetted at pretty young girls). Sana IS kind of annoying in a hyper way, but IMO that's also part of the charm, especially since pretty much everyone is put off by her zooming around at mach speed. ;) But I feel like the story the main arc that happens with Hayama has some heart to it without getting into an extended angst-fest.

She also seems a bit worried about the chauffer Rei, but really that is an non-issue. Sana likes to act adult, even if she doesn't really know what she's talking about. Sana calls him her gigilo, and drinks some "dope" but is only marginally aware of what the stuff really means. I think Rei is just a combination of embarrassed and flattered by her, but he soon (slight spoiler) gets involved with the actress Kurumi anyway (they may have already had a past relationship.. can't remember), so that line of thinking is moot.

I put out the opinion that Kodocha is worth a shot at least. I like the combination of craziness and heart.

As far as One Piece goes, I also like that series, but I can certainly see it not being for everyone. The "damn the plot, full speed ahead" that she mentions really does describe several instances of the plot (even though IMO not entirely negative in this case). She does seem to be put off by Luffy's "inappropriate goal" and lack of maturity and I guess I can't really argue with that. I do know it is a pretty long series. I'm not sure exactly how much growth the characters go through in that time. Anyone care to comment that has read/seen more of it? Personally, despite the faults I guess I've just been won over by Luffy's good-natured enthusiasm and the off-beat collection of characters and settings presented. If you look at it straight on, I suppose Luffy's one-track mind could actually be kind of disturbing, but the series doesn't take itself too seriously and I don't think it is trying to be deep. For me, it is just some fun escapism, and I think that is the big source of its popularity. With so much realism and grittiness and cyncism out there these days, it is nice to have a story that is more than a little wacky, with a main character whose hopes just can't be dashed...

Still, I might recommend Naruto as a different title with a character who wants to be "the greatest" but who isn't so crazy and acts more like a real kid would. I'm not as much into it as a lot of people are, but it is pretty fun and has a focus on self-improvement through practice and maturing and working as a team...

Anyway, I hope I don't sound like I'm coming off too negative. I love love Comics Worth Reading and am so happy to see some manga being reviewed. Not all manga is good and at the very least different things appeal to different people. The sooner that people consider a manga story just another comic to judge on its own terms, the better we'll all be. With various bloggers and review sites and news sites and message boards starting to look at this stuff, I think it lets there be more productive dialogue and guiding of the right titles to the right people.

Thanks for the reviews Johanna. =)

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