>> Saturday, March 12, 2011
Contest!First, something I never ever do, I'm going to do. That's right, a contest! And it's a retroactive contest. See, during my manga mania, I picked up several books that I either already had or turned out didn't work out for me, including several first in a series: Otomen, Kimi ni todoke, Ratsetsu, Bride of the Water God, and Vampire Knight. I also have volume 20 (don't ask me why) of Fruits Basket over and above the whole set and volume 1 of Night of the Beasts, which I let my manga-obsessed toddler play with so I can't vouch for the condition. I figured I'd make a drawing of all those who took the effort to make a comment throughout the whole manga mania series (including those to come) and draw names out of the hat for each commenter. Then they get to pick which book they want (first come, first serve) and I'll send it to them. Five books, five winners (6-7 winners if anyone wants to take a chance on the state of Night of the Beasts or wants Vol 20 of FB). I'll include anyone who's already commented, though you can bow out if you'd like. Most are in good enough condition for regifting if you want to do that. If no one's interested, hey, I'll donate them to the local library.
Well, I've moved down the list from things I loved and have reread repeatedly, to those that appealed to me (even if I didn't understand why) to those that turned out to be less than I'd hoped. Now, we're on to those items I just didn't like. Not, burn them in the fireplace dislike, just have no interest in reading really past the first book. Note that my interest (or lack of it) has nothing to do with a books popularity. Kimi ni todoke (From Me to You), for instance, has won prestigious manga awards and is very successful. I just don't like it.
Kimi ni Todoke (From Me To You) by Karuho Shiina
Anime? Yes Volumes of manga: 13 (7 Eng) Status: Ongoing
My rating: Didn't like it.
Age: Teenager is fine. Kinda squeaky.
Premise: Painfully shy girl looks like someone scary from a movie and is treated like a pariah. When a popular boy makes friends with her, more people start to warm up to her and find out she's really a nice person.
Why I Didn't Like It: She's too nice. No matter what horrible thing is done to her, she looks for the kindness in it (and yet is suspicious at the other times inexplicably). She shows no obvious sign of smarts, but it scholarly successful and an excellent teacher. (I found there's a distinct trend between how smart the female protagonist is and how much I liked the manga). Still, I could see this appealing to someone who knew what it was like to be painfully shy--I'm not and never have been. However, the pacing on this story is so horribly slow it was frustrating. And there's no conflict in this manga besides our heroine overcoming her shyness and the ridiculously stilted romance. That's thirteen volumes and counting, folks. The manga spent like four chapters with our romantic leads "confessing" their feelings with neither of them recognizing what the other was saying and both feeling rejected. Four chapters. I just don't have enough free time to put up with that. The artwork is also just not my style.
Night of the Beasts by Chika Shiomi
Anime? No Volumes of manga: 6
My rating: Didn't like it. Age: Older teen for violence.
Premise: High school badass girl can take out guys hustling girls, but isn't prepared for the demon possessed that are now wandering the streets, including the strange guy, also possessed, who can only be calmed in a rampage with her touch.
Why I Didn't Like It: It sounds like the kind of premise I'd like, seriously. 'Cept I didn't. The artwork is okay, too. So, why didn't I like it? I can't actually put my finger on it except I couldn't have cared less about either character and had no interest, whatsoever, in reading more. In fact, I tried to read it again today and stopped halfway, unwilling to invest another twenty minutes. Which just goes to show that, like a novel, a good idea isn't enough. I couldn't dredge up interest in either character (neither of which seemed to act in ways that made sense to me) and no humor that appealed to me, I was left bored.
Otomen by Aya Kanno
Anime? Yes Volumes of manga: 12 (9 Eng) Status: Ongoing
My rating: Didn't like it. Age: Teenager - it's squeaky clean.
Premise: Manly highschooler, who excels in martial arts, also loves to cook and sew and do many girly things. He keeps this part of him hidden until he falls for a girl.
Why I Didn't Like It: I wanted to like this. There was comic potential. I like twisting traditional roles. There's a side character who almost appeals. The premise appeals. The artwork's not bad. Our leading man even is quite attractive. Unfortunately, he had all the charm of the terminator in the first Terminator movie. No charm, no depth, no humor. He's as cleancut as Superman without the twinkle in his eye, more like Superman in a frilly apron prone to moralizing. If the girl in question had been loaded with personality, I might have pushed past it, but, sadly, she was like a standard "school friend" side character, not a romantic lead. I tried to like it. I failed.
Rasetsu by Chika Shiomi
Anime? No Volumes of manga: 8
My rating: Didn't like it. Age: Older teen, probably for violence and sexual innuendo.
Premise: Youthful hypoglocemic performs exorcisms using her spiritual skills while knowing she is doomed to become demon-fodder if she doesn't fall in love (and get loved in return) by eighteen. But no one wants her, I can't even remember why. Someone else is dragged into the ghost-busting business almost involuntarily who, I presume, is the proposed love interest.
Why I Didn't Like It: I literally could cut and paste the reason for Night of the Beasts (by the same author) in here. In fact, I will: It sounds like the kind of premise I'd like. The artwork is nice, too. So, why didn't I like it? I can't actually put my finger on it except I couldn't have cared less about either character and had no interest, whatsoever, in reading more. Which just goes to show that, like a novel, a good idea isn't enough. I couldn't dredge up interest in either character (neither of which seemed to act in ways that made sense to me) and no humor that appealed to me, I was left bored.