Monday, October 16, 2006

Manga Monday 13

Welcome to another edition of Manga Monday! And it was quite a week for manga, as many of the titles I follow were released all at once.

The Drifting Classroom (Volume 2)
Kazuo Umezu

What can I say about this manga? It's over-the-top in everything it does. There's a lot of crying and screaming, people do ridiculous things in their quest to horde food, and the deaths are rather hilariously carried out. My favorite part of this volume was when a poor little crippled girl on crutches is picked up leaving the school, and she goes through a long sob story about how she just gets in the way and slows people down, how it's hard for her to make friends, and she left the school to go to the next town for help so she wouldn't be in the way, and the protagonist screams "You idiot! What are you talking about? Besides, you're walking in the wrong direction!" That's The Drifting Classroom in a nutshell. A-

Dragon Head (Volume 4)
Minetaro Mochizuki

Another survivalist horror tale, albeit much darker and smarter than the silly Drifting Classroom, this manga continues its previous patterns and goes to a few unexpected places, particularly when it comes to the main character Teru. This is one of the best manga out there right now, action-packed and full of thrills, and beautifully illustrated. B+

Monster (Volume 5)
Naoki Urasawa

Is it just me or does this manga get better and better with each volume? Like the previous chapter, volume five of Monster focuses on the secondary characters we've met along Dr. Tenma's journey to confront his monster. A few chapters are dedicated to the good doctor, but it's really mostly a follow-up to previous events and are little stories in their own right. More chilling revelations are revealed concerning the serial killer that has put Tenma on the run, and the conspiracies grow a little more complicated. A

And from out of Shojo Beat: November 2006...
Rie Takada

The preview of the new shoujo title Punch! follows Elle, a young woman who works in her grandfather's gym and whose path has been chosen for her to marry the son of her grandfather's greatest rival. Unfortunately for Elle, that's one of the reasons she can't keep a boyfriend long enough to get serious. Her grandfather and the boys that hang out at the gym harrass them and scare them off, much to our protagonist's distress. That is, up until street fighter Kazuki appears in her life. He may just be the one to bring her bad luck with men to an end. Punch! is full of nice simple art, with some cute character designs. It doesn't exactly strive to do anything very unique, but it is a competently written little ditty with a lot of heart. B

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