Manga Series

Johanna has an overview of Erica Sakurazawa’s works. I think I’ve read around 3 of the Sakurazawa volumes, I wish some of the manga companies would translate some similar works, because there’s not a whole lot of manga out there aimed at a 20something audience.

I find it amusing that in the Kanye West song “Touch the Sky”, it has the lyrics:
Yes, yes, yes, guess who’s on third
Lupe steal like Lupin the 3rd

Look at the wrap up over at Tilting at Windmills, which compares graphic novel sales at comic book shops and bookstores. I really wonder what will happen to Tokyopop when it no longer has new volumes of Fruits Basket. I just don’t see as many series coming out from them with the same level of hype and fan enthusiasm.

Some spoilers ahead, these are some of the series I’ve been reading recently:

Basara #15 – In Basara the star-crossed lovers Sarasa and Shuri have been leading double lives, falling in love while unknowingly being sworn enemies. Shuri is the Red King, and Sarasa has disguised herself as the rebel leader boy Tatara. They’ve just missed meeting each other as Red King and Tatara several times but finally in this manga they confront each other on a battlefield and they both realize that the person they love is the person they’ve sworn to destroy. Oh, the angst! Shuri has the predictable reaction of a samurai, while Sarasa almost buries her identity as Tatara. I was surprised that the character I was most worried about was Ageha, the mysterious former slave who has dedicated his life to Tatara. Sarasa is devastated that she’s in love with the tyrant whose men killed her brother. Ageha has given up so much for the rebellion that the potential loss of the destined rebel leader almost destroys him. This a climatic moment for the series, and it’ll be interesting to see how Tamura deals with the aftermath over the next 10 volumes.

Tramps Like Us #8
Some volumes of Tramps Like Us feel more like interconnected short stories, instead of a having a single main plot moving everything forward. Sumire finshes the visit in Hong Kong with her boyfriend Hatsumi. Momo meets an elderly woman in a park and learns about her life. Then, Sumire and Momo reverse roles on a bet, with an added twist of a touch of amnesia. Each of these stories ends with a little bit of character development as the characters grow and change.

Fullmetal Alchemist #5
This has a funny episode, as Ed and Alphonse travel with Winry to meet their old teacher. They a town called “The Boomtown of the Broken Down,” where the prosthetics industry has turned the place into a place where all the auto-mail engineers hang out. Hijinxs ensue when they encounter a thief girl with ultra fast automail legs. There’s also a flashback sequence that fills in some of the gaps in history right after the boys lost their mom, as they set out to learn alchemy. Fullmetal Alchemist is one of those titles that is both popular and very good. I think it is consistently enjoyable because of the way it balances character development and action.

From Far Away #5, #6, #7

I bought the first couple volumes of this series and decided that I wasn’t going to keep buying it. I did end up getting it from the library, and I’m enjoying the later volumes more than the earlier ones. Noriko is less helpless (although she still manages to get kidnapped a lot) and the relationship between her and Izark grows. All is not well for our transplanted Japanese girl and her warrior potential boyfriend, as he seems to have the regrettable habit of turning into a progressively scarier demon and she appears to be the agent that will bring about his final most horrible transformation. I still wouldn’t buy every volume of this series, but I don’t feel like my time is wasted reading it for free.

Bleach #3, #4, #5

I think I like this series because Ichigo is so cranky, and there is a great supporting cast of characters like Chad. Ichigo takes on more foes as a soul reaper, and he meets a popular TV spiritualist who might not be entirely fraudulent. In volume 5 he has a new foe and many of his friends seem to be manifesting spiritual powers of their own. I’m starting to wonder how much Ichigo’s power effects his friends. This is another action series that I’m finding entertaining. I don’t think I’ll collect all 20+ volumes, but I’ll happily read it every now and then.