Some recent manga I’ve read:
Land of the Blindfolded – I was glad that I’d read David’s review of this title, so I knew that around half of this book centers on the main story of two teens with complimentary psychic powers. There are two back-up stories, and one called “After the Festival” is great. In the main storyline Kanade can see into the future, while Arou can see the past. They strugle with having knowledge of things hidden to other people — should they intervene in others’ lives based on what might happen in the future, or take advantage of knowing the past? Based on the author’s note, it looks like Land of the Blindfolded was originally going to be a one-shot story but was extended into a full-length series. I agree with David that the story isn’t as well developed as it could be, but hopefully things will settle down further in later volumes.
I’ve read Princess Mermaid, so Hansel and Gretel (amazon) is the second work of Junko Mizuno’s that I’ve read. Gretel is a brash and aggressive girl who always seems to have her sword handy, even in the bath. Hansel is her timid and brainy brother whose natural voice is so loud he has to wear a can strapped to his face in order to muffle it. As befitting an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, food is a central plot element. Hansel and Gretel’s parents run a store, but they have a unique way of getting food supplies. They visit a garden where women shake produce out of their hair, a mine is the source for baked goods, and I’m not going to say what happens when they visit a giant talking pig! But one day a melevolent force appears, and suddenly the suppliers stop sending food to Hansel and Gretel’s parents. Everyone seems to be a bit zombie-like, and what’s up with their glowing red eyes? People begin to starve, and there are rumors flying about a wonderful place in the mountains called “Foodland.” Soon the town begins to empty out and Hansel and Gretel are left on their own to unravel the mystery. Mizuno’s cute and stylized art style combines with a surreal storyline to produce a unique fairy tale. The book comes with free stickers in the back. There’s plenty of nudity too. I wonder if that’s why so few libraries have this in their collections?
I decided to buy Madara when it was on sale for around $3.50, I usually am not a big fan of shonen manga but I figured I would give it a try. Madara grows up in a peaceful village, but every year on his birthday his mechanical limbs (called gadgets)need to be replaced. He was born with great power, but his true body was cut up and scattered among the generals of an evil emperor. To fulfill his destiny, blah blah blah, he must defeat his enemies and recover his missing body parts! Only then will he be able to lead humanity to the promised land!
Um, can you tell that I’m less than enthused about this title? One thing that amused me was all of Madara’s enemies have animal characteristics. So the main evil guy that Madara needs to kill resembles the most evil animal of all…..a bunny There’s fanservice, slapstick moments, and much fighting. I think that usually for me to like shonen manga I have to find the characters charming (Rurouni Kenshin), be intrigued by plot and the world the characters inhabit (Trigun), or it has to be about tennis (Prince of Tennis). Since Madara has none of these things, I won’t be picking up later volumes.