Monday, October 05, 2009

Manga Monday: Meanwhile...

I don't review every manga I read. In fact, I usually only review the first manga of a series and if I have something that I really want to say about later volumes, I'll voice it. Here are just some thoughts on various manga series that I'm currently following...
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20th Century Boys - This is a series that you really have to keep up on, as it's pretty complicated and there's a large cast of characters, some of whom you don't see in every volume. Thank goodness for the recap page in front of each book. This book's complexity reminds me quite a bit of Naoki Urasawa's Monster, another one you couldn't really stop reading for six months and pick up where you left off without losing the thread.
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Astral Project - I still have the fourth and final volume to go, but what began as an intriguing mystery kind of meandered and lost some of its steam as it went along.
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Happy Happy Clover - This is just a charming kids' title. After the first volume, Clover and her friends establish a mail-delivery service that gives the book some focus. But the adventures that the forest creatures go on are always just great fun to follow.
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High School Debut - I'm always a little wishy-washy with this title. Some volumes, I'm really into it, but other times, I just can't stand how dim the main character is.
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Hikaru No Go - With Hikaru now a professional go player, he's much closer to realizing his dream of defeating Akira Toya. This book never really slows down. It's always a pleasure to read, as I can hardly put down a new volume once it's in my hands.
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Honey Hunt - This is one of the manga I'm enjoying most of all currently. A great cast of screwed-up characters that maneuver through the world of celebrities, featuring an underdog that's impossible not to root for.
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Leave It To Pet! - The joke-a-chapter formula can get a little monotonous, but this juvie title is really high quality humor. This is one of the few titles I laugh out loud while reading. I'll be sad when the fourth and final volume comes and goes.
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Monkey High! - Haruna and Macharu have quite a rocky relationship, and sometimes it seems like they don't even know what they want, which is a more accurate depiction of a high school romance than any I've encountered in manga. Either way, I love spending time with the couple and their wacky friends.
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Nana - As always, Nana rocks. The intense, emotionally-charged world of love, paparazzi, drugs and rock n' roll that Ai Yazawa depicts is addicting as hell. Add on top of that, the drama, the beautiful art, the fashion and the panels of characters just reacting to the craziness...I never want it to end.
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Pluto - Amazing. Uran has fast become my favorite character in the book, but really, this series is chalk-full of great personalities. Urasawa's reimagining of Tezuka's world is pure genius and executed to perfection. Read this review of Pluto at the new comic blog Articulate Nerd for more on what makes Pluto awesome.
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Ral Grad - I feel like this series ended rather abruptly. Only four volumes long, thisbook seemed to be building to something pretty epic that just sort of happened midway through the fourth volume. A real disappointing climax, but with a smart twist at the end that really caught me off-guard.
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Rosario + Vampire - While the cast of characters keeps building with each volume, I feel like it's kind of in a rut. I think the monster-of-the-week formula is getting pretty tired four volumes in, while the rosario being yanked off of Moka at the end of every chapter kind of takes the suspense out of the title. I can only hope it gets better later on, because I feel like it has a lot of potential.
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Sand Chronicles - The manga that never fails to make me cry. Ashihara's book is full of tragic characters battling with various emotional issues. The complicated relationships between the close-knit group of childhood friends makes for some pretty riveting, and harsh, reading that often strikes a little too close to home for comfort.
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Yotsuba&! - Ah, the little lovable green-haired girl is back. How I missed her. In this sixth volume of the comedy series, things pick up with Yotsuba getting into mischief as usual, and misunderstanding things. But she tries, and she's so gosh-darn cute doing it. As always, a real treat to read.

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