Quest for the Missing Girl is a mature manga. Not in the sense that it has cursing, violence, or graphic sex; Missing Girl deals with topics such as missed chances in life, settling down and moving on, relationships between parents and children, and compensation dating. Even compensation dating which could easily be used for a gratuitous sex scene is discussed as a subject of serious weight and importance but is never shown. The story begins when the mountaineer Takeshi Shiga is informed that Megumi, the daughter of one of his old friends, has gone missing. Shiga soon finds himself playing the part of detective in Shibuya, which is just as unfamiliar to him as the mountains would be to most other people. As the story goes on we learn about what lead up to Megumi’s disappearance and how it relates to the lives and decisions of all the other characters involved. Except for the climax there is not much action. In fact, the climax is mostly Shiga VS inanimate object. The draw to this book is as a fascinating character study and tightly plotted one book story. It’s never going to have a huge fan base in the manga community. The story is excellent but it won’t pop for younger manga fans. It is not mature due to excess. It is mature because it’s a well told story which deals with matters that only those with life experience will care about.
I was really glad I had a chance to read Quest for the Missing Girl which is nominated for an Eisner this year. The plot of Megumi missing actually brings to the surface many underlying mysteries in the lives of the characters. The strained relationships also make for thoughtful scenes. This really gives the book a hefty amount of weight that is woven in and out of this not so complicated missing person’s case. All culminating in a daring rescue attempt that is very “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”-esque. There is something very passionate about Shiga who literally comes down from the mountains to find this girl. He isn’t a super over the top seinen hero but Shiga is definitely a manly dude who does some manly things. Jiro’s artwork is far from simple but it isn’t very stylized which compliments the story perfectly. So while on the whole it doesn’t come off as gritty it still seems gaunt at times especially with his way of shading. This book begs to be picked up and read in one swift sitting. Quest for the Missing Girl was my first encounter with manga-ka Jiro Taniguchi and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. So much so that I ordered up a few more of his books immediately.
I am simultaneously extremely happy and a little disappointed with Hatsukoi Limited. On the one hand, the humor has stayed pretty strong. However, I am a little disappointed that after the first episode there is much more dramatic tension. I really liked how the first episode was 95% comedy and 5% drama. As the series goes on the ratio drops to about 70/30. It’s not that the drama is poorly done but I like the idea of the mostly comedy show with little bursts of well done romance. This is why I really like Hayate. Still it is hardly a deal breaker as every episode has been entertaining. They usually move the stories around highlighting different characters enough that even if you don’t like someone they will quickly move onto someone else. I mostly don’t care about Kei Enomoto and Kusuda. My favorite episode so far has been about Meguru Watase and the swim club. There is nothing particularly original about Hatsukoi Limited but I think it does what it set out to do very well. It is solid shonen romance with a healthy streak of comedy. From what I understand they have modified certain plot elements from how they happen in the manga which is always good because it gives you a reason to watch. I wonder which version most people prefer?
I picked up the model kit of Gundam 00 SD at AnimeNEXT. No surprise I put it together in around 30 minutes. However, I was very impressed with the amount of articulation and poseability of this little figure. In fact, it’s got better movement than some 1/100 scale heavy grades I have! This is rather annoying but also makes me want to pick up some more of the SD versions. Sorry about the blurry photography, my camera is fighting with me and winning.
On Tuesday I participated in The Colony Drop Men of Destiny Club. We watched the first episode of Hi-Speed Jecy raw during Colony Drop’s live episode watching & chatting experiment. Hi-Speed Jecy was a perfect choice for the first show. Everyone watched the video on Nico Nico Douga while making comments on the web page. It is a fun little late-80’s/early-90’s action OAV from Studio Pierrot so you don’t really need subtitles to get the gist. The main character Jecy’s shtick seems to be his ability to run very quickly like the Flash in a futuristic setting with interplanetary travel. He has a blond sister that is his partner. He is also joined by a man with a certain choice in fashion which made everyone dub him Dracula especially with his fabulous cape. The main theme of the first episode is kidnapping. First they kidnap Dracula’s partner who we called Carmen Sandiego. This kidnapping was just a ruse so they could kidnap Jecy’s sister to lead him into an even more elaborate trap. Along the way we get some well done chase sequences that let Jecy show off his running abilities and Jecy’s and Dracula get kidnapped by a Space Butler. I was expecting Dracula to get kidnapped by himself at the end of the episode but that sadly never happened. I would be interested in watching the whole show raw and then going back and seeing how much we interpreted correctly.
Read Monkey High! volume 6. We are rounding the bend to the finish line with this series. Haruna really shows her feelings in this book and finally puts an end to the possibility of love triangle which is indeed refreshing. In the mean time, Macharu starts to wonder where their futures are headed as they start the new, and last year, of high school in completely different classes. While the entire series has had a playful and sweet feel to it, it still has the ability to approach a couple of issues with these two. Also I have a feeling they will go all the way in the final book and also perhaps say the three magic words. It has such a familiar feel to it but in a good way. Shojo romance done right! Looking forward to the last two books!
One amusing but odd looking Gundam 00 deserves another: