Sat, 9 August 2008
Manga Review of Rose Hip Zero Volume 2 by Tohru Fujisawa. Translated by Emi Onishi. Adapted by Michael French. Originally published by Kodansha in Japan. Published in US by Tokyopop, $10.99. Rated Mature 18+ for mild sexuality, intense violence, excessive gore, and moderate fanservice.
Shohei and Asakura, alias Rose Hip, were almost killed by the crazed psycho who called himself "The Sheep" (uh, is that a reference to Silence of the Lambs or what?). But Asakura was able to defeat him and hand him over to police custody. But we found out at the end of the last volume that the Sheep was just a lackey of "The Shepherd". His intent is to kill Asakura because he feels she is standing in the way of his "cleansing" of Tokyo. What he means by cleansing is to get rid of all the scum. And the Shepherd's definition of scum is politician (don't know if I completely disagree with that). He's bored, sick, and tired of the current corrupt government that is running the show. He probably intends to extend his program to the whole country after he takes care of Tokyo. He has planted what amount to sleeper cells all across the city by using post-hypnotic suggestion. All it takes is a spoken word, whether it be in person or over a phone, to turn a normal person into his mind controlled slave. He even makes one of Shohei and Asakura's teachers blow her brains out! The dude is not messing around. Help arrives in the form of Natsuki Kuonji, who, just like Asakura, was trained to be a killer from an early age. But she isn't called the "Angel of Mercy" like Asakura, who never takes lives. Natsuki's nickname is "Bloody Angel" and also "Kiss Maniac Natsuki", and she is much more prone to take people out with her weapons. Just from their names, you can tell these two girl's methods of dealing with criminals is going to be like fire and ice. But Asakura, Natsuki, and the Shepherd share a connection. They were all raised by a league of assassins called ALICE.
John Keats once said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. I'm tempted to use that in reference to Tohru Fujisawa's art. He's just great. Fujisawa achieves the perfect balance between highly detailed characters, liberal use of elaborate backgrounds, excellent action scene layouts, sympathetic characterization, and sexy women. Don't worry ladies, he draws pretty guys for you as well. We get more of a feel of Asakura's disconnect in this volume when we learn that she lives alone and doesn't ever remember having a family. All she remembers faintly is that she was raised by the assassin organization called ALICE. Fujisawa does a good job of showing that from time to time, if not frequently, Asakura longs for a normal life, longs for a family, regular friends. Maybe at this point, Shohei is the closest thing to that dream. There's even a bit of romantic tension between the two as we get to see that most lovey dovey quintessential scene in manga, the "oops, I fell, making you fall on top of me, isn't this awkward, why are you blushing" scene. Great read, action packed. Not for kids though.
Here is the link to Podcast Episode 119 where I did a review of the first volume: http://sesho.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=364248
(Is it just me or has Tokyopop been quietly raising prices on some of their titles to $10.99 even though you're not getting any more pages than the $9.99 books? Is this a page from ADV Manga? We all know where they are today, don't we?)
My Grade: A
Sat, 9 August 2008
Ok, so I'm really horrible at making headlines. Please forgive me. I haven't posted any reviews in a couple of days. I've been too busy completing an online Defensive Driving course for a speeding ticket I got a couple of months ago. Yep, I got caught burning nitrous on the city streets. Drifting on the roof of the Astrodome. Most of the course is actually text you read in small segments but as soon as I'm done I want to get off the computer. And then there's the rapid impending death of summer coming up on Monday when I return to work after a long vacation. But I have been watching anime and reading manga all the while. I plan to do text reviews of Rose Hip Rose Volume 2, Tetragrammaton Labyrinth Volume 2, and and a podcast for Code Geass Volume 1 (the manga) by weekend's end. Also, an anime text review of Bleach Volume 7. I guess it could be worse. I coulda not had a vacation at all.
Me and my best friend went to a comic store today, and then Borders where I picked up a manga or two. A manga bum that was there actually moved when I wanted to look at the manga! It was incredible! There were also two girls there talking about Yaoi, something about the guy that was on top and the guy that was on bottom (the exact Japanese terms for these positions escapes my mind at the moment....thankfully). My friend wanted to go into Best Buy so I of course went straight to the anime section. I was standing there looking for about 3 seconds when this girl who looked about 13 or 14 asked "Are you a fan of anime?" I usually don't talk to strangers but we got into a pretty animated discussion about Naruto. She had been watching fansubs of the Naruto Shippuden anime while I had been reading fansubs of the Naruto manga.
Yes, I admit that. I have bought all 30 volumes of the manga so far and I will continue to buy them as they come out. But I love that series so much that I don't want to wait another two years to read what the Japanese already have. I also have to admit that this is the only series that I've ever sought out online. We talked about some things that would be spoilers for people that haven't read farther than the current releases....way farther, so I won't go into that. I asked her whether she thought Naruto and Sakura would end up together in the end. She said she thought they would. I think he will end up with Hinata. We also talked about whether in the end, Naruto and Sasuke will become friends again. She emphatically said they would. I think they will too, but I think there will be a lot of tragedy before it happens.
I soon found out that she was trying to figure out a way to butter up her mom to buy her a volume of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya! About that time her mom showed up and I heard her say "Mooooom" in a way that kids do when they ask their parents for something that they know there is a chance they could get......"Moooooom, can I get......" I'll never know if she got that dvd or not.....hopefully she did.
Speaking of Haruhi, that's a series I need to go back and finish. I own the first volume and that is the only one I have watched. I liked it but for some reason never carried on with it. Now you can get it in a boxed set so maybe I'll wait and save for that.