And so ends Kim Dong Hwa’s Color series with the Color of Heaven. The series proves itself to be a classic Shakespearean Comedy despite the fact that it is not an Elizabethan play. That means that it ends on a positive note with a wedding of a couple that has been separated. We begin with Duksam having to leave the village after the events in the last book. Now Ehwa must, like her mother, wait patiently for the man she loves to return to her. It is also her mother’s turn to support her daughter. But all is well that ends well. Ehwa resolves any lingering feelings she has for past loves before her wedding and we end with a consummation scene that is mostly symbolic but does not shy away from being tastefully graphic. Overall the series has been consistently solid. The Color trilogy has maintained its highbrow feel while still having a graceful humanity. With its relatively short but substantial length and its more mature narrative the Color series is a manhwa to show to people who might not necessarily give your standard manga a chance.
The beginning of The Color of Heaven starts very somberly as Ehwa is separated from Duksam and knows not when he will return. The first two book build up to this point of falling truly in love, so the third has a lot of quiet moments of introspection and realization. Also about half of the book involves waiting and waiting. However, that isn’t to say it is boring, much to the credit of the author, the growth between mother and daughter is subtle and beautiful. Ehwa’s mother is a woman who knows through maturity the power of longing and waiting and she imparts many important lessons on Ehwa in this final volume. In fact, much of this concluding story seems to be as much about her mother as it is about Ehwa. But perhaps even more telling is Ehwa’s ability to understand these lessons while still maintaining a hint of her naivete when it comes to the relationships between man and woman unlike her moments in the first two book. What becomes increasingly obvious through various conversations with her friend and mother is Ehwa’s ability to emotionally understand herself and her love but not to physically understand the relationships between the sexes. The finally moments of the book play out between Ehwa and Duksam while being interspersed with her mother and the picture man and also a set of neighbors. And you feel her education while not complete has finally gotten to a new plateau. The Color series has been both artistically unique and calmly enthralling and as such is a series that needs to be read and experienced.
As I wait for the web episodes to finish up Bakemonogatari, I figured I would take some time to reflect on the TV broadcast. Bakemonogatari was a flawed work that I enjoyed. Just not as much as other people on the Internet proudly shouted they did. NISIOISIN is fine as an author as long as he keeps his characters in check and not yelling at the protagonist all the time. He can come up with some interesting stories and clever word play when he wants to. One of the best parts of the series is that they don’t pussy foot around about Koyomi and Hitagi’s relationship. They give it enough time to build and then they start dating. Her lack of appearance in certain parts of the series is odd but not detrimental. They make up for this by making sure that the last episode in the TV broadcast focused almost solely on Koyomi and Hitagi. I thought the art style and direction remained consistently innovative and pleasing through out the series. I know there was a lot of complaints about some of the lack of budget near the end but the studio wisely chose to use cost saving direction over poorly drawn animation. I look forward to seeing how the web episodes finish the series. I thought the TV series ended on a high note so I wonder if the ONAs will be anticlimactic.
Even though I rarely have time to fit them in, I try to check out live action manga/anime adaptions when I get a chance. I watched the first episode of the fairly new Otomen TV series. The story revolves around a few characters that all center around Asuka, a boy who appears to be the very picture of Japanese manliness, but really loves cute things, cooking, and sewing. In the first episode he meets a girl, Ryo, who is tough and actually has the desire to protect him. In between there is the playboy Juta who figures out Asuka’s secret, a gang that want to take Asuka down a notch, and a boy who wants nothing more than to be Asuka himself. It if wasn’t obvious, this is a school comedy with a touch of romance. It was fun and over-the-top appropriately. Also, I must say the footage running during the credits is really cool!
I sprinted through the rest of GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class now that I have a PSP. The series does not have any sort of climax but it doesn’t absolutely needs one. It started out as an episodic look into the lives of art student and so it ended. The fact that the manga is still ongoing I am sure is partially responsible as well. I have to wonder why this series is not more popular with the Hidamari Sketch crowd. I have to say I liked this series much more than Hidamari because the characters in GA felt more lively. Also because when we are given the secondary cast they actually have boys in that group. The regular presence of males keeps the moe factor in check. While it will turn some people off I also liked that they went into the classwork aspects of the students in GA as well as their personal lives and goofing around. There is something unique about them just going into art theory through out the series. Miyabi Oomichi was my favorite part of the cast but I have a soft spot for well done deadpan characters.
A bunch of us finished up the Giant Robo OVA (episodes 5-7) plus the three Ginrei Specials over the weekend. There were some very wonderful and intense moments in these culminating episodes. The series does a good job of portraying things in dire straits and even when you know things won’t hold (like Robo being chained up) there is still a quality about it that makes you nervous. My major concern is the lack of motivation for Big Fire himself, I would really have liked to see more of him. Though the story proves itself to be merely an arc with its ending. Once again, the production quality is not to be understated. This was an enjoyable OVA but I don’t feel like I liked as much as the rest of the internet though truly you won’t forget Imagawa after watching it. As for the Ginrei Specials, the animation is pretty poor but the first two episodes were very funny but skip out on the last one.
A delightful little piece that captures the joy of creating art that GA tries to express: