Meru Puri (amazon)
I think I’m rapidly reaching a saturation point with all the shojo manga that I’ve been reading. After rediscovering manga and anime around 3 years ago, I’ve been a fairly uncritical consumer. I was just happy to have some fun manga to read. For the most part, that’s still true but some of the cliches and storytelling conventions are beginning to get on my nerves. I’m starting to need something more than for something to just be manga – the artist better have a knockout style (Ai Yazawa) or a fabulously twisted storyline (Hot Gimmick), or blend action elements with characters I like (Fullmetal Alchemist). I should be more discriminating about what I’m going to pick up and read. I’m getting tired of too much manga that is just “ok”, although it is just a time investment of 20 minutes or so, and I do like attempting to find new titles that I’ll like. I didn’t have much success with one of the new titles from the shojo beat line, MeruPuri.
The art is certainly pretty and competent, but doesn’t seem very distinctive to me. The plot line is fairly typical shojo fantasy fare. Airi is a high school freshman who basically lives on her own in a house with her grandparents because her parents work overseas. Everyday she rushes to school because she has bought into a school legend that if she’s never late, that will somehow translate into her being able to find a better boyfriend. She keeps a special compact-sized mirror as a good luck charm, it has been in her family for years. One day an adorable little curly-haired moppet pops out of her mirror. His name is Aram, and he’s escaping his older brother’s spells. Airi takes Aram home and feeds him a rice omlet while introducing him to the wonders of kiddie anime programs. When they wake up the next morning, it is clear that Aram wasn’t able to escape the ill effects of the spell, because he wakes up as a teenager.
Airi has to deal with the now disturbingly attractive teen with the mind of a 5 year old, random acts of magic gone wrong, troubles at school, and even more strange people popping out from the portal in her mirror. Merupuri is a cute book, but there isn’t anything about it that distinguished itself from all the other shojo with fantasy storylines that I’ve been reading recently.
Some anime & manga links:
Out of all the Del Rey manga previews, I think Sugar Sugar Rune looks adorable. I hope the witches are more tolerable characters than Shigeta from Anno’s other series Happy Maniac.
Memento has a bunch of the fall anime trailers