It has taken some time for me to check out the series online at Sigikki, which worked in my advantage because many of them have two chapters up now. Here are my favorites:
Afterschool Charisma – This series takes place in a school filled with clones of famous people from history. Napolean seems to be in the middle of a growth spurt, Mozart is an arrogant jerk, Marie Curie wants to play the piano instead of studying radium, and Freud is a creepy teen with a pageboy haircut. The ordinary boy Shiro Kamiya attends school along with the clones. His father is in charge of the school and cloning project. Shiro innocently asks his father to help Marie with her musical ambitions, but what happens to her is not what Shiro intended. Will Shiro find out the truth behind the school? The art in Afterschool Charisma looked the most shoujoish to me out of all the Siggiki series. Sometimes it was difficult to tell apart the female characters, but the male characters were a bit more individual and had more personality. Teen clone Freud is hilarious, and I’m looking forward to future chapters of this series.
House of Five Leaves – Masanosuke is a poor masterless samurai with a personality defect. He falls apart when he attracts attention. Thus he does a poor job of acting intimidating and keeps getting fired from his bodyguard jobs. Yaichi hires him for a day’ work. Masanosuke is struck by Yaichi’s confident air. But it turns out that Yaichi is a member of the criminal group the House of Five Leaves. Will Masanosuke continue to work for kidnappers in the hopes that Yaichi’s calm demeanor will wear off on him? I enjoyed the art of this series, as Ono has a loose and fluid style of drawing which serves to highlight Masanosuke’s defeated body language and his eyes, which look hollow eyes of someone who isn’t eating very well. Most samurai stories feature a main character who is more of a traditional bad-ass type, so I thought this twist on the genre was interesting.
Bokurano: Ours – This seemed like a combination of Battle Royale and a mecha series. A group of children visiting a beach stumble across a lair filled with computers hidden in a cave. A man appears and introduces himself as Kokopelli asks if they want to play a game that involves piloting a giant robot. Everyone agrees, except for the youngest of the group, the 4th grader Kana. Kitoh’s character designs and expressions are distinct which is useful when juggling a large cast of 15 children. When the giant robot materializes in reality, all the kids are very surprised. It’ll be interesting to see if this develops as a parody or commentary on the giant robot anime genre.
Saturn Apartments – Many years in the future Earth has been evacuated and set aside from human habitation. The humans live in a large ring surrounding the earth, with different levels of apartments based on class. Mitsu has just graduated from school and is going to follow in his dead father’s footsteps as a window washer, cleaning the giant ring from the outside. His father died on the job when attempting to clean the ring around the lower levels where the poor people live. It was hard to tell if I’d really like this series based on one chapter, but I think it would definitely appeal to fans of intelligent science fiction like Planetes.
Kingyo Used Books – This series might end up being a little too low-key for me, but I thought the first chapter captured some truths about fandom and childhood hobbies. Tazawa walks into a strange used bookstore and inquires about selling his manga collection. As an adult, he thinks he doesn’t have the space for it anymore. The store clerk covers his mouth with her hands because she doesn’t want the owner in the back to hear Tazawa bad mouthing manga. Tazawa goes to a gathering of his high school friends, and becomes energizes by the memory of the manga they would share and swap together. As a librarian, I do enjoy series that focus on the power of reading. So while I wasn’t completely sold by the first chapter I very much like the idea of a manga centered around a used bookstore, and I’ll be reading the next few chapters of this series.