Monday, August 27, 2007

Manga Monday 43: Honey & Clover

Honey & Clover
Chica Umino

I've only read the first two chapters of the newest serial joining Shojo Beat this month, filling the big shoes left by Ai Yazawa's Nana, and so far, so good. I like series creator Chica Umino's art style - very different than anything else we've seen in the magazine so far. The story centers around a group of students attending an art school in Tokyo, particularly Yuta Takemoto and his wacky friends. Very quickly, the group meets one of their professor's cousins, a shy girl with anxiety issues named Hagumi Hanamoto. She's a prodigy of sorts whom Yuta, among others, falls for upon first sight. This is an instantly likeable cast of characters in a fun, whimsical type of narrative. It's unfair to compare it to Nana, but I was expecting a bit more from what I've heard is the next best thing to Ai Yazawa's masterpiece. However, it is early on in the series and the complexity of relationships and story in general have yet to unfold. I'm certianly willing to give it a chance to live up to its reputation, and it's certainly the best thing to grace the pages of Shojo Beat with Ai Yazawa's departure. A-
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The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Volume 3)
Eiji Otsuka & Housui Yamazaki
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The group of strange individuals with psychic abilities and/or various specialties continue to take on dead clients to help them be at peace in the afterlife. In this particular volume, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service receive a first: a request for help from part of a dead person. Ears, eyes, and lungs call out for help from inside the bodies of the living who have received transplants, wishing for closure in death. This book is constantly creative and innovative, with fine characters to match the strength of art and story alike. A
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The Drifting Classroom (Volumes 6 - 7)
Kazuo Umezu
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What aren't these poor elementary kids going to run into? Amid more screaming, gasping and general overly-dramatic moments, aliens, plagues and starvation threaten the group of survivors as they struggle to keep their sanity and lives in the far future where Earth is a wasteland. Somehow, Sho Takamatsu is able to communicate with his mother from the past, and we are treated to scenes where she does wild and crazy things to protect a son that she hasn't given up hope in reclaiming. It borderlines on the ridiculous, actually goes well over the edge, but I can't stop reading this title! B+

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