Welcome to a new series on r//w[g] called "The Good, The Bad, The I just Don't Know". This series pits 3 manga that I own physical copies of (and sometimes ones I don't) against each other vying for the spot of The Good (a manga that is too good to miss), The Bad (if it's something you like, read it) and The I Just Don't Know (you'd really have to like this type of thing to read it... I think). Let's get started...
[The I Just Don't know goes to...]
Lychee Light Club
Genre(s): Horror, Guro, Shonen-ai
Released by: Vertical
This manga is an adaptation of a play, but has some major differences. And then the manga got a play adaptation of itself as well.
(from the back of Vertical's English release)
"I am Human. It is in my programming." For the sooty industrial town's lads there's only one point of light: the light club, a secret brotherhood they've organized in an abandoned factory. They're on the verge of booting up their crowning achievement, a "think
ing machine" fueled by lychee fruits. At the same time, the middle s
choolers' cooties-fearing solidarity is devolving into a downright national socialist muck of murderous paranoia, perverse aestheticism, and (not always) suppressed homosexuality. Cult favorite Usamaru Furuya's most flawlessly realized work to date, here is Lord of the flies for our new century- a text, however, that will never be assigned in schools.
I am, matter of fact, a fan of some guro (I don't know a better word to describe these since they aren't just violent. but I am not a fan of what's known as ero-guro which is erotic violent hentai). I liked the Genocyber enough to claim myself as a fan of it, but I should probably go back and re-watch it before continuing to say that as many people have in fact told me it's bad anime. I also enjoyed Elfen Lied as many people fans of gur
o and not have as well. But I think what really defines me as a slight fan of guro is the short I read a few months ago about these girls who are obsessed with cutting open their stomachs like samurai's did, but the girls would just end up in the hospital (it's called Kinjin Gahou). I like both Battle Royale movies, but I think more so 'cause of the characteristics the teenagers had in a severe life or death situation. I've also finished an interesting title called Akazukin Red Hood. Then there was that underapreciated anime adaptation for chaos;HEAD... I am remotely a guro fan. One thing I'm not is a yaoi let alone shonen-ai fan and this manga
has a focus on that without being straight up playing to any fan girl of boys love (aka what Japanese like to call a "fujoshi"). Now it's bad on my part for not reading all of the summary on the back and trusting that reviewers on the internet have mainly had positive reviews of this title...
One thing this manga does do very well is make use of limited scenes to give it that feel of a play. I bet the artist did this because it is based on a play. Herp derp. There's plenty of symbolism in this lengthy one shot that I just don't have the space to talk about without boring you (which I think at this point I probably already have * shrugs*). Just some examples would be the club members speaking German and their military like uniforms. There is also a reference to The Last Supper from The Bible. Lychee Light Club cuts eminently
to the chase introducing the characters, and killing off a few in the just a small amount of time. I can't really go too much into the story without ruining the book, but the club members have a thing against women because of their shapely bodies. They find women gross, and kill any off they find snooping in their club. That is until their creation (hey this isn't a spoiler, the summary gives this away!) brings back a flat chested girl.
Art wise, this manga has it's merits. With crisp dark yet eerily lively backgrounds and girly character designs even for the guys this is definantly a manga with that guro art style fans have come to love from the genre. I'm not really a fan o
f this kind of art though, and I can't really say much on it other than that. I particularly like how the artist showed us how the creation could see. mad points for that!
The cover is appropriate and is what sold me on wanting to get this manga. Especially the back. It made me wonder "why is that girl sitting on a throne in front of what looks like underground pipes?" Another big selling point for me was this manga has a character that was created artificially by the people in the club. I have a thing for liking stories that deal with AI and creating life.
Overall, Lychee Light Club ended up being a commentary on what makes someone human. Even though I put in as I just don't know, it's still a good read. I, as only a kind of fan of this type of manga enjoyed it. "If you want to be truly human, you mustn't kill people."
[The Bad goes to...]
Stepping on Roses v.2
Genre(s): Drama, Historical, Romance, Shojo
Released by: Viz- Shojo Beat line
Sumi Kitamura is the second eldest in a parentless family of six. One day after her older brother leaves town, her younger brothers and sisters are taken away. The only way for her to get them back is to make a lot of money fast. On her quest to find money, a man offers to give her the money if she marries him...
You're right if that synopsis sounds familiar, because it sounds a whole lot like Desire Climax which is one of my alllllllll time favorite smut manga. Ya, I admit it. I'm a smut fan. Get @ Me! Other than that... I'm a sucker for romance.
I read the first volume a while back and just got swamped (all my fault) with tons of other manga that caught my attention more, but when having to choose 3 manga for this I thought I should finally read the second volume of Stepping on Roses.
My uh relationship with smut has gone like this: first series I read was Love Monster, followed by Midnight Secretary, then Desire Climax, Hot Gimmick, Butterflies Flowers, some others and now Stepping on Roses. Out of those series, 4 involved some form of money problems and being indebted to a guy who just happens to like being "ecchi". I don't think there's a trend here or anything with my tastes, that just seems to be what a lot of this type of manga is *shrugs*
There's not much to say about this volume. If you've rea
d any sort of shojo before, you've pretty much expierenced what this has to offer. It's about marrying someone you don't like, falling for someone else but feeling like you have an obligation to the forced marriage you're in. I'm a girl, so these kind of comics tend to peak my interest. I know from a critical stand point it's nothing special, and is just a rehash of an age old concept. The art is, like most shojo, crisp and constant. This is one's for shojo fans. It's not as much smut as the other series I listed.
[The Good goes to...]
March Story v.2
Genre(s): Action, Drama, Gender Bender, Horror, Seinen
Released by: Viz- Signature line
I've always been a fan of D.N.Angel and used to read D.Gray-man; March Story is like the perfect hybrid of these two. D-Gray-man used to be really good, until the artist changed their style and then made the story stupid. DNAngel just has a weird release schedule and now with Tokyopop closing in May, I don't know if another company will pick up the series and release volumes 14+. I really hope someone does.
Back when I picked up the first volume, it had been on a whim. The cover looked interesting, the and synopsis sounded average but good. And Viz Signature has never disappointed me with their superb release cateloug. A few favorites of mine from the signature line are Saikano, Dogs, Bokurano and Solanin.
March Story has proven to have an ok story, but the characters and art have kept me wanting more. The art, being it's drawn by a Korean, is breathtakingly beautiful! The story on the other hand is average at most (each chapter has a stand alone story) and while this story is rated M and is in the seinen category, there isn't much in the first two volumes that warrant this rating other than non-sexual nudity and some blood. The violence is not that violent. I highly recommended this series for anyone who is a fan of good art and manga in general.
One last note... March Story is the first manga ever able to actually not only make me cry inside but form tears in my eyes. I don't really know why considering it's just an average story...