Monday, May 14, 2007

Manga Monday 33

Eden: It's An Endless World! (Volume 5)
Hiroki Endo

The fifth installment of Hiroki Endo's post-apocolyptic sci-fi series delves into the past of one of the most intriguing characters of the cast of characters - that of Sophia, the "pretty hate machine" the first two chapters of the book are named after. Sophia shares her disturbing past, void of feeling, physically and emotionally, with a program that's manifested in her mind as she's being repaired. Afterward, the cast of characters involved in previous epic battles use their skills in an attempt to rescue the main character of the series' - Elijah's - mother and sister from enemy hands. Unfortunately, this volume of the series is very disappointing compared to previous installments. Sophia's past isn't very interesting and only serves to strip away much of the mystery that makes her character cool in the first place. The big battle that ensues is a pale shadow of former battles in the series with little emotional payoff even as major consequences are a result of the events. The battle sequences are less than spectacular, and are very forgettable. Especially in wake of Endo's Tanpenshu, reading this was quite the disappointment, particularly since this was by far the weakest volume of the series. I can only hope Endo hasn't lost his creative edge demonstrated early in the series, so soon into this work. But ultimately, I have faith in the creator and give him the benefit of a doubt that this was an off volume, and the disturbing scenes and great action sequences he's executed before, will again return to the title with the sixth book. C-

Love*Com
Aya Nakahara

The first chapter of Love*Com was previewed in the most recent issue of Shojo Beat. And it made the latest issue of Eden: It's An Endless World! look like a masterpiece. This was one of the most droll manga reads I've ever experienced. It follows a tall girl (Risa Koizumi) and a short boy (Atsushi Otani) who everyone associates with one another and who loathe each other. But in an amazing twist, we realize that these two actually like each other! .... Come on! The cliches pile up quickly in this book as uninteresting character after another is introduced. In one scene, during a double date where Risa nervously converses with a boy, she thinks to herself "Hey, this is going pretty good" after a completely awkward exchange of dialogue, a sort of scene that's repeated throughout the chapter, as if Nakahara had ideas for scenes, but wasn't interested enough to develop them into...you know, scenes. Fortunately for Nakahara, she is a talented cartoonist and beautifully illustrates the pages. But she should really be illustrating someone else's story since she seems incapable of producing anything of substance on her own here. F+ (the plus is for the art alone)

Shojo Beat also held some really exciting news about the next issue, because there will be an excerpt from Osama Tezuka's Princess Knight, a groundbreaking shojo series from 1953! Which of course means we will be seeing volumes of the book released in the coming months!

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