Ongoing Investigations: Case #040

Picked up Bride of the Water God volume one from Dark Horse. This is one of their manhwa releases. It is the story of a girl who is married off to the God of Water to prevent the village from further hardship because of a drought. When she arrives she runs into a little boy who ignores her when she speaks to him. He is of course the Water God. There is a large cast of other Gods as well as the Water God’s attendant who girl’s name mistakes for the God when she first arrives. Both girl’s name and the Water God have sad pasts that are more than hinted at. The artwork is very nice and that is probably the strongest thing about it. The story wasn’t bad but it wasn’t especially well done either. Most of the side characters are just thrown in her and there without real reasoning. It may have held my interest if girl’s name fell in love with attendant’s name rather than the Water God, but that isn’t the case.

Color of Water flows from the first book (Color of Earth) without missing a beat. Ehwa had two potential relationships that failed to bloom but soon finds herself falling for a young wrestler. Her mother continues her relationship with the traveling calligraphist. If the theme of the first volume was discovering love then the main theme in this volume seems to be waiting for relationships to develop and dealing with long distance relationships. The closeness of Ehwa and her mother grows a little more distant. As with any teenager, Ehwa needs to develop a little more away from her mother and she begins to keep much more to herself. The frank nature of discovering your sexuality continues into this book especially when it comes to masturbation. Overall the storytelling and artwork remain top notch.

Color of Water starts to take a turn towards self-discovery both in the physical sense and the mental sense. We continue our journey with Ehwa as she feels like the only person floundering in all the new sensations of womanhood. Her friends are marrying or dallying with young men where Ehwa is still toying with the idea of what a man truly symbolizes for a woman. When she first learns of masturbation and her first experience with it are candid but honest. All the while giving her heart away as happens so frequently to a young girl. The naive quality about her is symbolic of her age but it is more symbolic of who Ehwa truly is and what is in her heart. What is a wonderful parallel to Ehwa’s growing maturity is her mother’s new found happiness that makes her seem like a young woman again. This along with the moments of bonding and recoiling between mother and daughter in the book are truly the most magnificent reflection of life. The second book in this trilogy captured me more than the first. It makes waiting for the final act a little hard.

I made some more head way into Fist of the North Star. I got up to the end of Souther’s arc. All in all I have yet to meet anyone who was deluded enough to think that there was more to FotNS formula than Kenshiro finds out about a really bad dude. Kenshiro goes looking for the big bad dude and goes through waves of his evil minions who are oppressing people like it was going out of style. Kenshiro then faces off against the big bad guy, has some difficulty, and then ultimately wins. It’s fun and cathartic. Littered in with all the serious business aspects of the show is some obvious self-aware silliness including the cafe of cross-dressing assassins and old man assassins. Toki is pretty cool and is instantly recognizable as kung-fu Jesus. In fact, there seem to be quite a few parallels to Jesus throughout FotNS. I still have not seen where all the crazy respect for Raoh comes from. He is rather powerful and bad arse enough that when he punches people they fly into other people and they explode as well. You can’t help but admire that level of wicked cool. But as a human being he is sort of a total jerk. If there was anyone to get behind it would be Kokuoh-Go because he is one awesome warhorse.

I was super excited to get the first book of CMX’s new title, Venus Capriccio. They had shown a bit of it at New York Comic Con. The story is about two childhood friends, Takami and Akira who both play piano (though Akira is the real star). Takami is super boyish, having grown up with all brothers, and Akira is a pretty boy by all standards. We follow them as their relationship starts to blossom. Both of these characters aren’t trying to change for the other which is refreshing. I liked that Akira is already madly in love with Takami, while she is just coming to understand her own feelings. The characters are fun to go on this ride with, especially Takami with her blunt attitude but sweet heart. While the overall concept I really like, the execution of it can sometimes be overly dramatic. Over the top is not bad but it seemed to be teetering on the edge when it should just throw itself completely in. Still, it was a good read that deserves a further look.

After procrastinating for no particular reason, I read Mirai Nikki: Mosaic. It is a side story series from Future Diary. Supposedly Mirai Nikki: Mosaic is about the other diary holders that are not our protagonists. Theoretically it gives us insight into the how and why all the other diary holders got their dairies and what they are fighting for. As far as I can tell, this is either people being misinformed when they write the summaries or an editorial shift in the manga. Mirai Nikki: Mosaic is actually Minene Uryuu’s Bizarre Adventure with guest appearances by other characters in the series. We do get insights into the other characters through Uryuu, but I was expecting a little more time with them. Overall Mosaic has the same level of intensity and deeply disturbing parts of its parent series. There is also a greater deal of comedy which was unexpected. It does confirm my suspicions that the author has a soft spot in his heart for Uryuu. That or her slamming body made her popular enough to get her own side story. If nothing else we get to see more Aru Akise and that is always a good thing.

This is the pic of the week just because:

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