AX Alternative Manga Vol. 1:┬áLike Ramza Beoulve we are Heroic Heretics.

hisuiconMy mother has a decent repertoire of meals she can make and not much beyond that. The problem was that my mom likes to try crazy new dishes in hopes of expanding her menu. On occasion we will get new meals everyone will enjoy but most of the time we get an inedible mess. This is the perfect analogy for the AX anthology. The main appeal of this book is that it is not a book of your standard Shonen Jump style manga. Some of the art has distinctly European and American influences, some of it looks like offbeat seinen and josei, and some of it is just plain ugly. The stories can often be extremely sexual and often throw out the idea of a conventional narrative. They push boundaries and try things no one has tried before for the better and for the worse. While this means when these comics work it can knock your socks off with how original they are it also means most of the time they are a mess.

This unique collection, the first of a presumed series, contains more than 30 very short manga approaching all subjects, genres, and art styles. More than anything AX allows its creators a large amount of freedom and encourages thinking outside the box. Anthologies like this are incredibly important to manga diversity. They showcase experimentation and go far beyond most of the manga one has access to in English. I hope to see collections like this continue to be made if only to further expand manga’s reputation and give people a place to try new things. All that being said, I didn’t like reading this nor did I think many of the stories succeeded.

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