A review of Miyori’s Forest (Miyori no Mori) by Oda Hideji
Miyori’s Forest is truly an anomaly among shoujo manga. The edgy, Daisuke Igarashi-esque style of drawing combined with a brutally honest depiction of simple human nature make it a great, shoujo manga rarity.
Miyori is an 11 year old girl with what many would probably call a bad disposition and a dark personality. However, verbal abuse and neglect from her parents are the causes of this personality-facade. In reality, Miyori is just lonely and scared, but her lack of faith in her own good heart and potential have her convinced that she’s a bad seed.
Miyori is sent off to live with her grandparents in the back of the woods when her parents have a falling out. As Miyori begins to adjust to the life of the countryside, she learns that she is the true leader of the spirits who inhabit the forest around her. Faced with a crisis, she takes on the job of protecting the forest and the spirits within it, while finding friends and learning to accept her own self worth.
A review of Bus Hashiru by Sahara Mizu (real name: Yumeka Sumomo)
Bus Hashiru is a collection of short stories that stem from profound encounters on bus stops. Most of the stories are unusual, everyday occurrences, but the last story, which is in full color, is a very lyrical, bus stop fantasy. I think that the edition of the last story to the collection really completes it; it puts the rest of the simple yet beautiful, everyday stories on a greater scale of thought. What do we take for granted and what does that amount to in the space of time? A very beautiful and profound collection of short stories, and a wonderful read.
an update from Koi to Gunkan by Nishi Keiko (chapter 4 and 5 are out now)
a review of Kono Ore ga Omae Nanka Suki na Wakenai by Chise Ogawa
Bl can be a very weird genre, especially now that it’s entered an era of great commercial success. This manga is both charming and eccentric; it’s great fun, but not a life changing story. What happens when a boy becomes so obsessed with a former friend that he falls in love with him? This is a story about selective memories produced by social traumas, in a very light and mildly frivolous way. One of my favorite aspects of this manga is the physical depiction of two of the secondary characters, Angie and Touko, twins with very weird hair. And yes, one is a boy and his name is Angie.
From what it seems, this is Ogawa’s debut manga, and it honestly has that feeling. The style of the drawings isn’t completely worked through, the character’s aren’t completely developed, but it’s an exciting first work and I think it’s very promising. I look forward to reading more from her.
A review of Toume Kei’s Fugurumakan Raihouki
Fugurumakan Raihouki is a surreal, nostalgic story—in full color—about a doll who can take photographs of the memories of people and objects. In a town of discarded objects sometime during the Meiji or Taisho era, the mysterious doll Ian and her owner, a young human novelist, run a dream-like photo shop.
These stories are profound, melancholic, and truly moving. Toume Kei’s drawings are the perfect depictions of briefly remembered moments, lost in time.
Sonoda Konami — Choco Mimi
A review of Choco Mimi by Sonoda Konami
Just as a heads up, Choco Mimi is published in English by Viz Kids, which I did not even know existed until recently. I am currently waiting for volume three of this unbearably funny, drop-dead cute manga in the mail and counting every minute until it arrives. (please excuse the amount of adjectives in that last sentence). Despite the fact that Choco Mimi is technically aimed at a younger audience, the humor kills no matter how old you are and nothing in it ever feels ‘childish.’ Meet Choco and Mimi, two nutty fashionista friends in middle school. Choco is level-headed and boyish and Mimi is a nutty space-cadet. Throughout the story, you’ll meet their pets—including a puppy who wants to be a samurai—and their guy friends—including the cute and geeky Andrew and the spoiled and adorable Mumu, who is an Eddie Izzard-esque “Executive Transvestite.” (If you don’t get that reference, you can watch the comedian Eddie Izzard’s ‘Live in Wembley’ tour, or I’ll just explain it in a second paragraph. Ok, let’s go with that.)
I try to keep these short, as my reviews are aimed at ADD people like me, so I’m only going to say a little bit more:
Mumu is a nutty straight boy who usually dresses like a girl, but essentially, all styles work for him. He doesn’t act as if wearing women’s clothing somehow takes away from his masculinity, but rather he feels that it adds to his appeal as a man. One of the interesting things about this manga is actually how much of it is about fuzzy gender boundaries. Choco and Mimi themselves have moments beyond just friends, and times when admiration turns into romantic love. Nothing is set in stone, however, and in that respect, it is a very accurate depiction of the identity of kids figuring themselves out and growing up.
A review of the anime of Higa Aloha’s Polar Bear’s Cafe
First of all, I am about to cry just thinking that this show is over. It was such a wonderful of a show that my heart can’t take not being able to watch it every week. Polar Bear’s cafe was heartwarming and funny in a truly unique way. It’s the story of a lazy, teenage, narcissistic Panda; a dead pan, compulsive lying Polar Bear who runs a cafe; a Woody Allen-esque Penguin, and all of their bizarre human and animal friends. This is something that everybody must watch. Watch it with your grandparents, your parents, your kids, and your grandkids, your friends, your cousins, your teachers, everybody. I have never met anyone who did not like this show. Being able to watch this every week was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. Apparently, a lot of the anime was made without the consent of the mangaka, which is why it must come to an end. It is really quite a tragedy.
It’s about time I did a review of Igarashi Daisuke’s Children of the Sea!
Igarashi Daisuke is one of the great literary, fine-arts mangaka of this era. His work is always beautifully written and drawn and about as creative and fascinating as you can get. We have the privilege of being able to buy English translations of one of his more narrative oriented works, Children of the Sea. I wouldn’t say that this manga is scary or really upsetting, but you should only read it when you’re prepared to have your mind blown. The story combines philosophical thought and science to take you on a journey through the ocean in search of the meaning of existence. Sora and Umi are two boys who were raised by dugongs, and thus they are more like sea creatures than humans. The two are surrounded by competing scientists who see them as keys to the truth about the sea and the universe itself. If the word ‘primordial’ excites you as if it were free chocolate, this is a must read. In general, it is a must read. It will not let you down.
(Also, as a note for anyone who is interested, this is chock full of bishounen. Just saying.)
Ameiro Paradox by Natsume Isaku
If you like Yamamoto Kotetsuko’s manga (Honto Yajuu, Lucky number 13, Konya mo Nemurenai) then this manga is for you! This story about the romance between two rival reporters who are forced to become a team is written in a whimsical, charming style, similar to the way Yamamoto Kotetusko creates her yaoi manga. I always hate bad yaoi, and you can smell it from a mile away because you can cut the cheezyness with a knife, like cheese. you can quote me on that. The nice thing about this manga is that, because the storytelling is so nonchalant and funny, there’s nothing cheezy about this story. It’s a really fun read with charming characters.
(I looked this mangaka up, and it turns out she’s done about 7 Zoro x Sanji manga, and I sort of burst out laughing when I saw that : B I’m actually a huge One Piece fan, but I’m sort of (by which I mean very) a One Piece originalist, so I’m not into fandom. I sort of wonder if these doujin were good or not, even so…if she had them living together in Tokyo it could get pretty funny, actually, but I doubt that’s why anyone would read a Zoro x Sanji doujin. I think Zoro would cut you if he heard you talking about this…we all assume Sanji’s at least bisexual because he’s so homophobic that it would only seem natural that he’s suppressing something, whereas Luffy, who has no interest in romance, could life on Kamabakka island and just hang out for two years, becoming friends with everyone. Sorry for all the extra chat. you don’t have to read this part, but if you’re seing this now, I guess you already have…oops…sorry)
It’s ironic that my speculation on the Zoro x Sanji doujin is actually longer than the review itself. oh well.