This past week, I read several manga from series I've been following, including the final chapter of Keiko Takemiya's Andromeda Stories. Here's what I thought...
Sand Chronicles (Volume 2)
When Nana left Shojo Beat magazine, I left with it, but not before I caught a glimpse of the beautiful Sand Chronicles, an emotional book following a young woman who left Tokyo for a small town right before her mother's tragic suicide. In the latest volume of the series, Ann's relationship with her boyfriend grows and changes as the seasons pass. When her father comes to visit, she has to make a heart-breaking decision that leads to some really great dramatic scenes. I love where the book is heading in terms of the supporting characters - I just wish it would slow down a little bit. Time goes by really fast and I just want to be able to breathe with the characters at certain times in their lives a bit more. But it's a small complaint, because I'm genuinely attached to the characters with the moments I get.
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Volume 6)
Eiji Otsuka & Housui Yamazaki
Before I read this volume, I debated dropping the title because I never really looked forward to reading it, despite enjoying the book when I did. It sort of fell into a formula that was getting a little too familiar to excite me, I guess. Things really pick up toward the end of this volume however, as some interesting "villains" are introduced. The story ends on kind of a cliffhanger before a little two-part "intermission" story, which drove me crazy (even though it was fine) just because I wanted to know what happened next.
Hikaru No Go (Volume 12)
Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata
Hikaru No Go never fails to enthrall me. It's a consistently good title that, like with Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, I take the gorgeous art for granted a bit just because I'm so into the story. In the latest chapter of the manga featuring the board game Go, Hikaru ventures head-first into the next stage of his game with new opponents and obstacles. Hikaru's spirit guide Fujiwara-no-Sai is feeling a little lost at this point, since Hikaru is getting along so well on his own. I feel like Fujiwara-no-Sai has been in the background a bit too much lately, so I'm glad that some focus is being shifted back onto the reason for Hikaru's interest in the game in the first place.
Andromeda Stories (Volume 3)
Andromeda Stories concludes with the latest installment as man goes head-to-head with the alien machines. Secrets are revealed and histories flushed out as events draw toward an epic conclusion. The ending felt a little rushed to me and wasn't quite as satisfying as I'd hoped. There were some nice final moments for many of the characters however and overall, the series was very compelling. I hope Vertical takes on more work from this master storyteller in the future.