Got the books 18-20 of Blade of the Immortal in a recent Dark Horse sale, which makes them mildly affordable. We are at the end of the prison arc and I couldn’t be happier. I found it to be mostly boring, but it did do one very important thing. Rin has come into her own more, she is brave and decently strong. She also is thinking on her feet. Rin has just plain matured and it is very nice. Though at moments she is still a bit deer-in-the-headlights. If we didn’t know how Rin felt about Manji before (which you would be stupid not to), we certainly do now with her daring rescue attempt. Also Manji fights dudes while being chained to a wall. You have no idea how happy I am to see that man back in action. There was not enough bad-assery with him in jail. Though Doa is proving herself to be one crazy, deadly woman. Looking forward to the conclusion of this arc in 21 and then we are on the alleged home stretch.
I immediately read Hitohira book three as soon as I got my hands on it. We see the results of Mugi’s first stage performance. It uses the old manga trope of the play that is a metaphor for the main plot. It is a well done trope and quite enjoyable. We then see the the result of a bet made in book two and the fall out for all the characters. Bittersweet triumph and heartbreaking disappointment are the watchwords for this volume but that is not all there is. All in all I like this series more and more because I really see myself in Mugi. Her low self-esteem might easily turn away some readers but it is a very realistic portrayal of it. I am eagerly awaiting the next story. I am curious to see what happens now that a good deal of the relationships between the characters have changed. The art remains average but cute without veering into saccharine. I should really sit down and see if the anime adaption is any good. You can read a preview for volume three, too.
Got the second Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro at Yen Press’s booth at NYCC 2009. Thanks! This book continues the melancholy, traveling adventures. But as an added bonus we learn a lot about Kuro’s past and her travels when she was much younger. We also learn a little more about Sen (the bat), who I am very curious about. One traveler Kuro meets looks like he has stepped out of Sherlock Hound. As I was pondering if this was a reference or a coincidence, I see the manga-ka’s little comment in the back. He makes another Sherlock Hound reference so I knew it was on purpose. This is so rare so he gets extra bonus points for doing so. As with the first book, there are many beautiful color pages to enjoy throughout. Looking forward to the next one!
Tengu-Jin by Sumomo Yumeka is the story of a Japan that has been divided into two separate antagonistic nations due to a cataclysm. It centers around two brothers named, Mozuku and Shinonome. Shinonome has become a bit of an oddity at his school because anyone who pray to him has their wish granted. It turns out that Shinonome is a very important tengu that represents Eastern Japan. When a marriage between the tengu of the East and West seems to be the only way to stop a war between their respective countries how will this effect the brothers’ relationship? The first half is mostly comedy with a bit of drama. The last half is a flash back to a previous life that switches the formula with mostly drama with a bit of comedy. The art is nice with plenty of pretty boys being the majority of the cast. Once again like the Manzai Comics I get very light BL. There is nothing more than a little cheek kissing and a few longing glances. I can’t say that I really had any strong feelings on the story. Nothing in it was particularly objectionable nor did anything compel me to continue reading. I definitely enjoyed the comedy aspects more than the drama which I think is why it came off as so fulfilling. You can read a preview here.
Read the first book of Pluto which is coming out in VIZ’s newly revamped Signature line. The printing quality is a bit better, there are some color pages, and the book even has French folds (flaps). The story seems to pull influences from everywhere but maintains it’s ability to tell its own story. The mystery has already got me hooked! Are the deaths of these robots and humans related? No human traces at the crime scene, but robots aren’t supposed to be able to kill humans! It is a detective story so of course it gets extra bonus points from me. The only thing I found strange and maybe it is explained more later on, but the name Pluto is what they are calling the killer. In the story two characters are talking the deaths. They start going through all the names for the God of death in different cultures when they reach Pluto, they for some reason think that one is better than all the others! Uh. . . okay. I also really like the international setting of the series. Can’t wait for the next one!
Garden of Sinners: Paradox Spiral kicks up the length of the Garden of Sinners movies by being twice as long. It was interesting that we hardly see Mikiya but in his place for most of the movie is the proto-Shiro otherwise known as Tomoe Enjo. Shiki saves Tomoe from a pack of thugs and learns that he thinks he killed his family but it appears that his family is still alive. Tomoe is clearly troubled but what truly happened in Tomoe’s bizarre apartment complex? Has it been tied into everything else that has been happening to Shiki? Once again ufotable studio creates another beautiful movie. They continue to put a good amount of artistic flair to everything from the fight scenes to the conversations. The fight scene in the apartment complex balcony is worth the price of admission alone. You have to sit down and clear your mind before starting this movie more than the other four because they tell the story in a non-linear fashion. The parallels between Soren Araya and Kirei Kotomine are obviously lampshaded by the creators by them having the same seiyuu. Writing this review has totally reminded me that I forgot to ask for a release date for the first book from Del Rey when I was at New York Comic Con.
In honor of my Blade of the Immortal mini-marathon, this is the pic of the week: