Monday, July 31, 2006

Manga Monday 2

This week for Manga Monday I'll be taking a look at two really good books put out by Digital Manga Publishing...

Maki Kazumi & Yukine Honami
My first yaoi manga! I wasn't really sure what to expect from this. Yaoi manga is basically manga written by women, about gay men, for women. I'm not sure if such a market really exists yet in America, but in light of Brokeback Mountain...maybe? Either way, as a gay man, I found this to be a really exceptional book. It's kind of sexy, with a lot of interesting relationships in the book, including the one between the third member (Takashi) of a three-man group of close friends and his interactions with the other two men, whom this book focuses on. He's the one character that both Toru and Ryoji can talk to about their feelings. We see the entire story through the eyes of Toru, beginning with his reaction to Ryoji's blunt confession on the very first page of the book: "I wonder why...when I look at you, I get...turned on." Toru can be a bit thick-skulled, well, most of the time, but that was the only thing that bothered me through the book and it's a minor gripe. Altogether, it was fun to wonder with the characters at how everyone else would react to certain things, and second-guessing right along with them. This is a really nice story with some great art by Yukine Honami. A

Bambi and her Pink Gun (Volume 1)
Atsushi Kaneko
This doesn't look much like traditional manga. I actually didn't think it was when I first laid eyes upon it, but it's authentic, straight from Japan. This book follows the odd character of Bambi as she avoids assassins who are offered a large sum of money for her death and the return of the child that she has in her possession at all times. Bambi and her Pink Gun is full of beautiful art, despite the creator's use of disgusting imagery through much of the first half. The title character, who always introduces herself with a guttural "Me Bambi," establishes herself as a much more likeable protagonist as the story evolves as well. Atsushi Kaneko weaves a really fun, action-packed tale with this book, and a shows a real creative flair in making the dozens of assassins unique and interesting. I found the book a bit off-putting immediately after the first chapter, but I honestly can't wait to read the next volume upon its completion. This book is admittedly extremely violent and bloody, but man, it's a really, really great read. Don't pass up the chance to experience this story. A

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