Monday, January 22, 2007

Manga Monday 23

Mail (Volume 1)
Housui Yamazaki

Mail is a new manga series from Dark Horse, one that sports the original Japanese cover in all its Nintendo-ish glory. It's strange how the Japanese sometimes put English on their covers to make them seem hip, when we, in turn, try to emulate the Japanese designs much of the time. But anyways, this book is packaged in an eye-catching recycled paper cover, which is why I picked this baby up in the first place. A brief flip-through and I was sold. The art by Yamazaki is really very nice, something the cover doesn't really give any indication of, though it is a great design. This title is basically a series of short stories, all that eventually involve mysterious private detective Reiji Akiba, who has a unique device to aid him in putting troubled spirits to rest, a sanctified gun named Kagutsuchi. This is a horror manga title and as such, it really does succeed in containing chilling little moments, though the overall concept is really silly and superhero-ish. It's not very gory or excessively violent, but it harbors much more of that creeping dread where you just know that something's wrong, or the kind of monster that can find you alone in your apartment in broad daylight, unexpectedly scary outside of its usual element. This book surprised me in its ability to keep my interest with each chapter, and once a pattern seemed to emerge, it turned things on its head and surprised me with a new angle. A real find. A

Death Note (Volume 9)
Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

If you're not already reading this book, this mini review of the latest chapter probably isn't going to convince you to start reading the best mainstream book out there right now, but this volume really reestablished the title as one of those books that has me on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next one's release. I wasn't sure how I felt about things in volume eight, with Mello and Near becoming the primary antagonists, but I have to say, that I may actually enjoy them more than L...maybe. It's hard to say. It's cool to have these two characters who can play off of each other and who present multiple threats to Light's visions of a new world order, but I do miss L despite the tension that still permeates the title in his absence. There was just a certain relationship between Light and L that isn't present with the new characters. But things really pick up here with some major changes to the status quo, as Kira gets one step closer to realizing his twisted dream, and the opposition takes a real blow. Just plain awesome. A

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