Sat, 8 December 2007
Podcast Episode 59: Gon Volume 2 Manga Review. Written and drawn by Masashi Tanaka. Originally published by Kodansha in 1992. Published in the US by CMX, $5.99, Rated T.
Gon, the last dinosaur left on Earth, is up to his usual adventures in this second volume of one of my favorite series. First up, he is swallowed by a Great White Shark that gets more than he bargained for. Then, Gon is laid low by one of the smallest creatures....a tick that crawls up his nose! Then he gets involved in a battle with an entire forest when a squirrel steals some of his fruit. Then Gon gets cast as an extra in the March of the Penguins. Beautifully drawn, Brilliantly executed, and hilarious. One of the best manga being published.
My Grade: A+
Sat, 8 December 2007
Manga Review for The Outcast Volume 1. Story by Vaun Wilmott. Art by Edward Gan. Published by Seven Seas, $9.99, Rated Teen.
Riley Smythe's parents died mysteriously a couple of months back and she's been hiding out in her grandmother's New York apartment ever since. Now her grandma thinks it's time for Riley to get back into the groove of things. Plus, her grandmother, Maggie, is busy in her job as a Theological Archaeologist, excavating the inner sanctum of the Brotherhood of the Balance that lies beneath her apartment. The Brotherhood was a secret society of warrior scholars that were dedicated to exterminating "The Outcast". The Outcast are fallen angels, incarnate evil, that take human forms. Maggie doesn't really believe the Outcast exist. She's just interested in it for academic reasons. One of their fellow boarders, a weird horndog man-child named Michael, says that the whole of New York is filled with spirits, ghosts, demons, and other weird phenomena. And he should know. He fancies himself a "Hunsupu", or ghost hunter. Riley's new school is pretty weird as well, looking at times like the delapidated innards of a castle or Gothic cathedral. Then she incurs the wrath of one of the most popular girls by casting her eyes at the guy she likes named Carter. Riley does make one friend, a rougish girl named Kit who says there is only one rule at the school: Never be there after dark!
Most OEL manga I read give me the creeps, because even though it tries to be manga, there's always an x-factor it seems to be missing, mainly the alienness of a foreign culture. Only Hollow Fields, another OEL manga published by Seven Seas has ever bridged that gap for me. It's kinda like watching the Matrix when Keanu is in a big action scene and all of the sudden a digital actor is substituted for the real, or the many CG scenes of Spider-Man. Ok, they look like humans, but there is something vaguely disturbing about the whole thing. The Outcast is another figment of fake manga in my eyes. It looks like manga, it's flipped like manga, but the art and storytelling techniques are not quite up to par. It just doesn't seem like manga imitators have mastered how to tell a slow-moving story without making it boring. Yes, there is art in The Outcast, yes, there is a story, but it never seems to go anywhere. You never get the sense that it is building a world. The inclusion of 1990's slang also drags it down, like "don't bogart my stuff", "young jedi learns fast", and the instantly outdated "He's my boo", all hint that whoever is writing this is in their 30's and trying desperately to write about young people. I could be wrong about that. We even get an endorsement from Samuel L. Jackson on the back of the book, for what reason I cannot fathom. There is zero chance of me picking up the second volume of this series.
My Grade: C-
Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 11:22am CDT