This month we say goodbye to three prominent manga series, with the hopes of reading more from these creators in the near future. Here are their reviews...
The Drifting Classroom (Volume 11)
The over-the-top screaming and maiming of the elementary school students in The Drifting Classroom draws to a close, but with two volumes of Umezu's The Cat Eyed Boy to look forward to in June, I'm not really too upset by this fact. I'm just glad that The Drifting Classroom sold well enough to warrant Viz's publication of other works from the creator. And to be quite honest, I don't know where Umezu would have gone next, as he was quickly running out of natural disasters for the students to avoid. I am happy with how the series ended, not all tied up nicely like a science fiction series such as this certainly could have. But with all that had gone wrong for the kids of the book, it was nice to end on a good note.
Dragon Head (Volume 10)
Like The Drifting Classroom, I really liked the ending of this manga series. After all that had happened to Teru and Ako's world, it would have been difficult to give them a happy ending, but I'm glad that it was left pretty open. The message that Mochizuki ended the book on, though blatant, was interesting, and was a great note to end the book on, particularly since the entire book revolves around the subject. Some people may be a little frustrated to find the events behind the disaster revealed at the end, but I was okay with it. This is an incredible, top-notch survivalist horror series and I will be paying special attention to anything from Mochizuki in the future.
Hana-Kimi (Volume 23)
Of the final volumes I read this past week, this one should have been able to do it right. There weren't too many dominoes set up to fall in this series, but Nakajo manages to knock them down awkwardly. Hana-Kimi concludes as the creator indulges in a sentimental finale that has the cast of characters looking back through photographs of their time together, with the students of Osaka High School selecting pictures for the seniors' graduation ceremony. A lame attempt to tug at the readers' heartstrings overshadows the events surrounding Mizuki's secret, culminating in a cheesy farewell to the cross-dressing student, with little in terms of memorable final moments with key characters. Immediately after the sappy send-off, time has passed and Mizuki gets a shock that is all but shocking, and completely unearned. I really don't think Nakajo could have done a worse job at putting the finishing touches on a series as she did here. Good thing the twenty-two volumes preceding it are enough to give the overall series a stamp of approval.