Manga of the Month Readership Circle

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Postby ich1990 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:10 pm

Finished the first volume today.

It was many times more enjoyable than I expected. I don't exactly have a good track record with supernatural shounen these days, so it was a favorable surprise to encounter one such as this.

I especially loved the art and the character and monster design. It is quite amazing how flexible the artist is; on one panel Muhyo looks like a harmless onion, and on another he looks like as diabolical as the ghosts that he punishes. Speaking of which, I will reiterate that the ghosts look awesome. I would give an example, but I don't want to spoil anything.

Characters seem interesting enough, and the main villain is introduced within volume one, so that is a good sign. I don't mind episodic plots nearly as much when they add to the main storyline bit by bit. I hope the story develops the side kick real soon, though. He could get annoying really quickly. I mean, I could see being scared by a ghost the first couple of times you see one, but after being a flipping Ghost Hunter for a while you would think he would get over it.

While I have other series I would rather read at the moment, I do plan to continue this one for a few more volumes to check out more of the ghosts and to see where it is going with the overarching story. So far, it has been a pretty fine series.


EDIT: Nevermind. I went ahead and read volume 2 and it is even better than the first. Everything I had hoped for: and overarching storyline, more character development (including some for Roji), more spectacular creatures, and explanations of world mechanics. I am very pleased.
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Postby Atria35 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:30 pm

The first volume shipped yesterday.

It won't arrive until after Halloween.

*sad face*

Edit: Well, thanks to an AMAZING postal service, my copy arrived a few days early! :) Thoughts on it will be posted by tomorrow!

Double Edit: Okay, so. I went into this thinking that the art was wierd. I still think that, but MAN the monster designs totally make up for it!

This was a great take on the traditional exorcist/mystery/supernatural stories out there. It has a solid foundation- the supernatural investigation part seems to be fairly well-accepted into this world. The punishments are also creative, and it's nice to see that not all of the spirits are bad- he does send at least one to heaven.

As or the actual stories, they're pretty well-done. In some cases, I found them outright creepy! I'm going to have to do some research into traditional Japanese monsters to see if these are based off of those, because I didn't find any of them familiar. And I really appreciated that, since I'm sick of the handsome vampire phemonena.

The characters were, um, characters. I think Muhyo is a bit obnoxious, but my opinion might change if I keep reading the series. And I feel for his intern.

All in all, I give the first volume 9/10! It was a good start to the series. I'm really glad this was the first pick. I enjoyed it a lot, and it definitely was fitting for the holiday season! :)
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Postby blkmage » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:34 pm

Man, I keep on forgetting to post in here.

So! The whole setup is fairly straightforward. I like that he's kind of a lawyer (or at least, that's how I see him), so I hope that we get lawyer battles. I don't really know if one volume is quite enough to get me into it. I do like the goofy art and character designs, mostly because I think it really fits.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:39 am

Manga of the Month - November 2010
[SIZE="4"]Ohikkoshi[/SIZE]
Story and art by Hiroaki Samura

Image

Genre: romantic comedy, slice of life
Age: 17+
Content: Some harsh language and mild innuendo peppered throughout, along with two minor characters depicted in bed for a panel.

Pushing the envelope just a little on this one. Hiroaki Samura is a name more commonly associated with unflinching samurai Manga, which is probably why Ohikkoshi lends some attention to itself, being a far cry from its author's prominent body of work. Ohikkoshi isn't really revolutionary as much as it is simply competently told, wrapped up in Samura's dynamic artstyle. It also features Barone Assassino, possibly the best Italian ever to grace Japanese comics.

Ohikkoshi is completed at one volume.

Note: I'd advise renting/borrowing this first over a blind purchase, in part because Ohikkoshi contains a couple additional short stories unrelated with the main plot of the piece, one of which I can't recommend with the same openness as the rest of the volume for various reasons.
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Postby blkmage » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:41 pm

This looks pretty neat and I am looking forward to it.
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Postby Atria35 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:24 pm

>.>
<.<
\o/

I have had this on my to-read list for a while. It's been upped in priority!
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:03 pm

Requested loan as of...now.

Looks like something that I wouldn't immediately gravitate toward, so, for that reason, I am looking forward to the read and the discussion. Horizons: expand!
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Postby steenajack » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:50 am

Darn it! I wasn't able to do it last month. IDK, I'll see what I can do this month.
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Postby MasterDias » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:22 pm

Alright, I'm game. I like Samura anyway, but haven't actually read anything of his aside from BotI.
Now, to see if ILL actually gets it in a month.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:56 am

TheSubtleDoctor (post: 1434987) wrote:Looks like something that I wouldn't immediately gravitate toward, so, for that reason, I am looking forward to the read and the discussion. Horizons: expand!
Samura's interesting in that outside his chief meal ticket Blade of the Immortal, he's actually quite versatile. The man's done romance, comedy, surrealism, historical fiction, even a one chapter Western; none of it's comparable in length or popularity to Blade of the Immortal, but well handled nonetheless. Samura has his flaws, but a one trick pony he isn't.

It really is unfortunate Ohikkoshi is just about the only thing he's done I can actually recommend here.

That said, I do have to reiterate the content description on this one. The recommendation is for the core five chapters of Ohikkoshi, not the additional included stories. Personally I enjoy the whole thing, but there's some material in the first of the two side stories that probably doesn't swim on CAA.
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:34 pm

It's official: when it comes to the slice of life genre, I prefer manga over anime (the pacing just kills me w/ the anime).

So, I enjoyed this a lot. When I began reading it, I wasn't so sure I'd be saying that. Not because of the initial setting, artwork or characters, but because you are just dropped into a world that is moving at the pace of life (read: fast). There is no intro; you learn about people and places like you learn your first language...you get gradually get acquainted a bit at a time until you are familiar. On the other side, I can appreciate this kind of approach to a story, but I can understand if it seems a bit off-putting to some.

Ohikkoshi does a good job of changing moods without seeming absurdly erratic (though some of the humor is quite silly, which is not a mark against it). Even though I didn't get all the jokes, I got enough of them to be left smiling fairly consistently. There is an underlying sense of tension between languishing in do-nothingness, in which the characters want something important to happen and trepidation about the future that they are all hurtling towards. Yet, the atmosphere never gets too dramatic for too long; just when you think the story has shifted, you will slam smack-dab into a panel of layered jokes.

In my opinion, though, Ohikkoshi is at its best not when it is inducing laughter but in these brief, startlingly open moments that the characters will have a couple of times per chapter. Such moments are so disarmingly affective just because of all the surrounding funny. Samura is quite adept at communicating vulnerability. For just a few panels, these characters are real.

Speaking of the characters, there's not really a bad one in the bunch...well maybe there are a couple that you don't care about as much. Still, the mains are very likable, and I was certain that Akagi was going to bother me; however, just when I was deciding not to like her, she has one of the above-mentioned archetype-transcending moments.

And, despite the memorable melancholic moments, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ending was uplifting and optimistic. Akagi was genuinely excited about going to a place where nobody knew her; she relished the openness of the future and its possibilities. But, she also knows that she cannot completely break with her past. Nor does she want to. Akagi will keep the things that follow her as close to her heart as she can.

Bravo, Fish! Bravo, Samura!
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Postby ich1990 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:45 pm

Well, I read Ohikkoshi, but it didn't really click with me. I think most of the problem was that I have had very few experiences like the ones the characters go through: getting drunk, trying to get a girlfriend, getting into love triangles, and such. I couldn't relate, so even if it was believable (which I couldn't verify) it didn't resonate with me. The Italian guy's story was totally awesome though, resonating or not. Also, the humor was generally amusing, which is more than I can say of most anime humor.

I dunno, maybe someone who enjoyed it more could talk me into liking it, but on its own I don't see how it is all that great. Even the characters in Blade of the Immortal seemed more believable and better fleshed out (har har). 7/10
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Postby blkmage » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:34 pm

I'm having trouble not comparing it to various Asano Inio one-shots, largely because the type of story this is is really similar to his stuff and I think he does it much better. I found it really hard to follow and as entertaining as the Italian guy was, I'm not really sure why he's around. And I think it was a bit too short for me to like these particular characters. Maybe if I was able to spend some more time with them, I'd get to like them, but five chapters isn't enough to get me to empathize with them.
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:51 pm

blkmage (post: 1440419) wrote:I'm having trouble not comparing it to various Asano Inio one-shots, largely because the type of story this is is really similar to his stuff and I think he does it much better.
After reading Solanin, I totally see what you mean and agree.
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Postby SailorDove » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:08 pm

Fiddlesticks!!! I can't believe I missed this thread for nearly 2 months. Ah vell, better late than never. F&C, don't worry I did read the first post. As well as the following 2 pages. Looking forward to being a part of the "Manga of the Month Readership Circle".
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Postby Atria35 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:39 am

Crikey! I forgot to post in here for that manga!

I read it, and enjoyed it. The story was rushed, but I really enjoyed it. Mostly because it seems so similar to the melodramatic love lives of my friends- I find it amusing that no matter how out-there or dramatic it seems, my friend's lives mirror the manga.

Or is it the other way around? :)

Though I would have liked it more if there had been more to the stories, I think.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:18 pm

Manga of the Month - Deccember 2010
[SIZE="4"]Pluto[/SIZE]
Story by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka, art by Naoki Ursawa

Image

Genre: mystery, politics, science fiction, nostalgia goggles
Age: 15+
Content: Murder, occasional harsh language, and robot racism because the parallels the parallels.

Naoki Urasawa isn't a name I should have to explain to you; neither is Osamu Tezuka, for that matter. And yet, sandwiched between 20th Century Boys and Monster, Pluto generally draws the short straw. Unfortunate, but fixable. Astro Boy, possibly Tezuka's most beloved creation, reimagined as something new but not entirely different, clothed in Urasawa's signature suspense and style while remaining Tezuka's story at heart. Who is the world's strongest robot?

Pluto is completed at eight volumes.
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Postby goldenspines » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:20 pm

Fantastic. This is a series I need to jump start again and finally finish this time around.

I'll go see if I can pick up the first volume this week.
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Postby blkmage » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:23 pm

Oh, I guess I have some motivation to actually start on it now.
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:24 pm

This thread just leveled up.
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Postby Mr. Hat'n'Clogs » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:24 pm

Hey, this is an available manga that I've read!

I suppose I'll go read the first volume again so I know what I'm talking about.
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Postby Atria35 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:28 pm

I... yes. I love this manga. Heck, I wrote the review on here for it!

I'll post my thoughts in a week or so, but I am SO happy to have this one up for reading!
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Postby Shao Feng-Li » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:19 am

Cool. I'll try getting a volume after payday.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:02 am

Couple things I'd like to clarify here.

Feel free to discuss something beyond its designated month (not that I seriously suspect any of you are holding back a tidal wave of opinions concerning either Ohikkoshi or Muhyo and Roji but have been denied the opportunity to speak out). There isn't a deadline for you to talk about something, though obviously don't wait too long or nobody will be really be thinking about it anymore. The "Monthly" part of the setup is mainly to allow you breathing room between titles, as well as a substantial block of time to track anything down you should need to.

Secondly, you are not contractually obligated to like everything or even anything that gets mentioned in here. This thread is for getting people to try new things, a certain level of bare minimum quality control notwithstanding. If you really didn't care for something, don't feel the need to let it get off lightly, really tear into it. Tell me why you though Tragically Under-Appreciated Masterwork deserves more readers, or why Obscure Hipster Tripe already shouldn't be getting the exposure you're giving it by merely saying its name.

The name of the game is expanding horizons; I never said they'd all be beautiful ones.
ich1990 (post: 1439619) wrote:Well, I read Ohikkoshi, but it didn't really click with me. I think most of the problem was that I have had very few experiences like the ones the characters go through: getting drunk, trying to get a girlfriend, getting into love triangles, and such. I couldn't relate, so even if it was believable (which I couldn't verify) it didn't resonate with me. The Italian guy's story was totally awesome though, resonating or not. Also, the humor was generally amusing, which is more than I can say of most anime humor.

I dunno, maybe someone who enjoyed it more could talk me into liking it, but on its own I don't see how it is all that great. Even the characters in Blade of the Immortal seemed more believable and better fleshed out (har har). 7/10
Ohikkoshi's sense of humor was actually a major selling point to me around the time I discovered it. I'd flipped through a few forgettable romance comedies, resigning myself to "Just not getting" Japanese comedy, when Ohikkoshi came along and made me smile. Admittedly I haven't gone through much of what the cast has either, but I still found some small connection.
blkmage (post: 1440419) wrote:I'm having trouble not comparing it to various Asano Inio one-shots, largely because the type of story this is is really similar to his stuff and I think he does it much better. I found it really hard to follow and as entertaining as the Italian guy was, I'm not really sure why he's around. And I think it was a bit too short for me to like these particular characters. Maybe if I was able to spend some more time with them, I'd get to like them, but five chapters isn't enough to get me to empathize with them.
I have a feeling I may have oversold the Italian guy. If I'm ever stuck in a time loop on November 2nd, I'll make a note not to draw as much attention to him in future repetitions.

Also, Blkmage, your being more of a veteran to the genre than I, I was actually looking forward to your impressions, good or bad. Obviously, I don't imagine Samura could lay even a finger on authors much more comfortable with their subject matter (though that is half the reason I selected him), but how would you rank him as a genre amateur? Does he show some promise, or should he not think about ending Blade of the Immortal's serialization any time soon?
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Postby steenajack » Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:58 pm

Oh goodness, I actually have Pluto on my to-read list. Dang! If only I'd finish some other series first!
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Postby Atria35 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:18 pm

Okay, it's been long enough that I can post my thoughts.

First off I love this series.

The first volume brings in a lot of elements that come into play later- like the humanity of the robots.You would never guess when you first meet the Inspector and his wife that they were anything but human. The minor characters are also fairly memorable- it's interesting to see how Robby's wife reacts to news of his destruction.

Then you also have a variety of reactions to the robots, such as the grief and honor felt by the construction workers and the probing interest/kind of friendship of the scientist.

This is where it really makes me think of I, Robot and several other of Asimov's works.

But this also has a war-and-destruction theme going at the same time. It was revealed that Montblanc was part of a peacekeeping force eight years ago. Brau went on a rampage and killed humans around that same time. And there are more robots that are both potential weapons of mass detruction, but also are the targets of total destruction.

Life, death, humanity, and war. It is serious right from the beginning.
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Postby TheSubtleDoctor » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:22 am

Image

Dr. Roosevelt is way creepy.
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Postby Mr. Hat'n'Clogs » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:37 pm

TheSubtleDoctor (post: 1445502) wrote:Image

Dr. Roosevelt is way creepy.
I bet he wouldn't screw with the traffic cops.
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Postby blkmage » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:07 pm

Fish and Chips (post: 1441005) wrote:Also, Blkmage, your being more of a veteran to the genre than I, I was actually looking forward to your impressions, good or bad. Obviously, I don't imagine Samura could lay even a finger on authors much more comfortable with their subject matter (though that is half the reason I selected him), but how would you rank him as a genre amateur? Does he show some promise, or should he not think about ending Blade of the Immortal's serialization any time soon?

It was fine, but like I said, the characters didn't really do it for me in such a short time. I'd be interested in what he'd do with a longer story and more time with the characters.

As for Pluto, I like the cut of its jib. Urasawa's got this mystery thing down. I also really like the different robot designs and how they range from humans to hilariously old robots while all still operating at about the same level of intelligence.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:28 am

Sorry for the delay people. Work and all that.

January's entry will be up as soon as I can get over reading my own typos in December's entry.
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