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.

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Manga of the Month: January

Mirai Nikki by Esuno Sakae

I will state right off the bat that Mirai Nikki is not for everyone but anyone who does not mind some disturbing violence should give it a try. Also the main heroine could easily turn off many readers. I am not sure myself if I like Mirai Nikki but it is fascinating enough that I keep reading. Oh, Narutaki wanted me to mention that Mirai Nikki translated literally to English is Future Diary which he felt was rather a lame name. I can’t disagree.

Yukiteru Amano is an introverted young man. One morning he discovers that the observational diary he keeps in his cellphone now updates daily to tell him the future. And there are eleven other diary holders who have similar diaries who want to kill him. The survivor becomes the next god of time and space. Amano’s main problem is that his diary is limited to how he wrote it before the game began so it only tells him the action of others and nothing about himself. Yuno Gasai, a beautiful honor student, also turns out to be a diary holder. Her diary does nothing but tell her what happens to Amano. Because it’s her stalking diary. It turns out that Yuno is quite quite unbalanced and has a rather disturbing obsession with Amano. Amano reluctantly teams up with Yuno but wonders if his ally is worse than his enemies.

Amano trying to figure out who the other diary holders are and what the strengths and weaknesses of their diaries are is my main draw to the series. All the other diary holders seem to be as psychotic as Yuno and out to kill him. The confrontations move at a good pace so that we get a good feel of how most of the other diary holders work while not dragging on. Unless they decide to throw in some story extending plot development I am fairly sure the series will end around book 12. There is also an insanely awesome side character who I want to talk about but in doing so might ruin their sheer awesome. I know that Yuno’s insane antics which are sometimes played for laughs but mostly rightfully damn creepy are the main draw for the vocal fans of the manga. I myself can’t really fall in love with anyone that creepy but I think she fits in well with the themes of the manga and give the manga an unique feel. Try it because you just might like it.

Atashi wa Bambi by Yoko Maki

Maki Yoko is known for her fluffy shojo romances and Atashi wa Bambi is certainly that but it has another layer that makes it one of my favorite works by her. Mai starts high school with a goal, fall in love and get a boyfriend. She has changed her attitude but retains her free-spirit and isn’t a pushover. She meets best friends Sen and Yaezou, she is attracted to Sen and eventually starts pursuing him. The guys seem like opposites, Sen is dark-haired and quiet and Yaezou is light-haired and snarky. Yaezou forms an instant dislike for Mai practically coming to blows before she learns that he has also fallen for Sen. Thus their rivalry-friendship begins. And that is really where the series excels, the sweet and sad friendship that develops between these two. They love and lose but form a real bond and end with something better than they were out looking for.