full metal gigolo dead boy demon art thieves

Some manga I’ve read recently:

Rules of Love (amazon) – This was on the discount 1/2 off manga shelf at my local comic shop, so I snapped it up since I wasn’t about to turn down an Erica Sakurazawa book for $5.00. Did anything ever happen with Tokyopop’s initiative to market manga to older women? I remember hearing something about how they were going to put a push behind titles like Happy Mania but I never saw any evidence of this actually happening.
Like Sakurazawa’s other works, The Rules of Love explores adult relationships. Chizu is a quiet girl who wants to find someone to love, and she meets Taku who is basically a gigolo. They move in together one summer, but will their relationship last? I think I liked Angel Nest a bit more than this book.

Saiyuki 2 & 3 (amazon) and Full Metal Alchemist 2 (amazon)

I like the way Saiyuki and Full Metal Alchemist blend action and character development. Although the storyline of Saiyuki is very familiar, learning more about the pasts of Sanzo, Goku, Sha Gojyo, and Cho Hakkai makes the adventure more interesting. Edward and Alphonse always react to the events they stumble into as alchemists with the maturity of children who are forced to take care of themselves, but every now and then, something slips and they break down. I’ve only seen the first couple DVDs of the series, and it is interesting to see how the threats facing Ed and Alphonse are introduced in the manga – the villians seem to show up earlier, and there is more of a sense of a looming threat with various unsavory characters watching the young alchemists.

Dead Boy Detectives
– I really wonder how large the audience is for the mangaized versions of Sandman characters. I don’t think the stories really stand on their own, so I’m guessing people who buy Sandman manga either are Sandman spin-off completists, or they really like Jill Thompson. I’d be surprised if someone would pick up a title like Dead Boy Detectives without knowing about Sandman, and then transiton over to the Sandman graphic novels. Although maybe this is D.C.’s intention.
Anyway, this is a cute, slight, light and fluffy story about the dead boys, who have to go undercover in a girl’s school to solve the mysterious dissapearance of a student. One question I had was if the boys are dead, how can they dress up in the girl’s clothes? I guess they are solid, even though they are dead. But if they can also control their appearance, by choosing to look scary, couldn’t they control the appearance of their clothes instead of going shopping? And why was one of the girls talking like a low rent version of Georgia Nicolson?

From Eroica With Love (amazon)
I picked up a free copy of this at ALA, and I wasn’t expecting it to be very amusing, but it turned out to be very funny. Dorian is a thief whose sense of aesthetics determines what he decides to steal, because he believes that he’s entitled to own all beautiful things. There’s a shift of characters midway through the volume, as the series starts off with a trio (Leopard, Sugar Plum, and Caesar) who are linked by ESP and attempt to foil Dorian in his designs upon priceless works of art and Caesar’s virtue. However, the main foil to Dorian is Major Klaus, an uptight German who works for Nato and only sees beauty in his tank and is horrified by Dorian’s degenerate lifestyle and sense of fashion.
This manga reminded me of madcap 60s movies like Casino Royale. Everyone seems to have their own submarine and the men are all pretty, with luxuriant flowing hair. It was entertaining, but I don’t think I’ll be buying any volumes.

Here’s a primer on Manwha. I’d add Queen’s Knight and Threads of Time to the suggested titles list.