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Sean William Scott

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Catching up on my manga 

In furtherance of my theory that kids don't want super-heroes unless there is some kind of tie-in to other media, such as a movie or a television show, we had a few inquiries from the under-12 set regarding Green Arrow comics at the store today. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the premiere of Justice League Unlimited.


Apocalypse Meow Vol. 1 by Motofumi Kobayashi

There's a certain genre that I've heard referred to as "military porn." It's the sort of storytelling style in which plot, theme and character are all secondary to accurate portrayal of weapons and tactics. I don't think it's stretching the point too fine to say that this work fits into that category. It's not that it was a bad book, but there's not a lot of meat to it. There is a little too much attention paid to getting all the historical details right, and making sure that the weapons and uniforms are drawn accrately, and in other attempts to convince the reader that the author has spent a good deal of time getting all the tactics and behaviors right. Which is perhaps a luxury that a Japanese creator can afford. I strongly suspect that had an American undertaken a project like this what we would get instead is a lot of character's ruminating about the "meaning" of the Vietnam war. The problem is I'm just not very interested in whether or not the weapons are drawn correctly or the NVA tactics as portrayed in the book are true to history. Further the main draw of the book, for me anyway, is the weird inappropriateness of using cute little cartoon bunnies in a horrific war story. But nothing much is done with that aspect of the book. Even the author seems to suggest that the use of cute little bunnies was just an attempt to keep the book interesting to draw. Still, I only bought the book for the rabbits with guns, so I can't really fault the book for failing to deliver. It's more of a case of what I want out of a work, and what the author wants a work to be, being completely different.

Fruits Basket Vol. 4 by Natsuki Takaya

The other "cute animal" book I read was the fourth volume of Fruits Basket. It's hard to recomend this volume to anyone who hasn't read the prior three. There's little to no plot in this outing, just some background on a few of the characters, the introduction of another of the cursed family members, and the first full appearance of the semi-demonic head of the family. But it's still a charming little book. It's very much a "girly" book. All of the emphasis is on the relationships between the characters and their emotional developments. Almost no action to speak of. And the humor is very gentle, with just a hint of naughtiness here and there.

I also got my hands on the CMX Preview DC sent out to comic book stores last week. So far, nothing from this line really interests me very much. Musashi #9 has an interesting premise, with it's teen spies and espionage, with some nice art, but the preview pages didn't compel me to read more. From Eroica With Love has art the epitomizes all the cliches of shoujo style art, but that appeals to me in a twisted sort of way. And, I feel this strange obligation to support any gay-themed work that makes it into the US market-place (though that doesn't get me to buy Eerie Queerie or Gravitation...), so I will probably check out at least the first volume.


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