Okay, same as before: I got a surprise package of manga, twenty random manga for twenty bucks. Throw in ten bucks for shipping and it’s still a steal.
Here is my haul:
Thumbnail reviews of the first four books I read showed up here:
Okay, four more volumes down.
One of our friends, Lina, the spirit behind https://tinyuglyanimal.wordpress.com/ , was interested in Let Dai and Bus Gamer, so I pushed them to the top of the stack.
Let Dai is a Korean Yaoi (boys love) story. Jaehee, a nice young man with a nice young girlfriend meets gang leader Dai. Fireworks. Bloodshed. Bad stuff. Throbbing hearts beating as one.
I’ll be frank and say straight up that the boys love genre has no interest to me whatsoever. This is a brutal story, though, and it goes to places well beyond a straightforward boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy tale. Dai is not only a thug but a fellow with serious psychological problems (he cuts himself frequently, and invites Jaehee to cut him, too), and totally amoral (he refuses to stop his gang from raping Jsehee’s girlfriend). It’s a nasty story and an adult story, and if I was interested in the genre it might be worth seeing where the story went.
Bus Gamer is about three different young men who have been recruited as a team to play some sort of strange game where corporations gamble their inside information on the winners of matches between their teams. It has a strong cyberpunk feel, and if you believe in the Deep State it’s easier to accept the underlying premise.
If you accept the premise, the action is straightforward and makes sense. The three kids are different types and their contrasts make for good conflict within the stories. I wasn’t excited about the underlying metaplot, but if someone pushed volume two under my hand, I’d read it.
Okay, and the next two to float to the top were:
Pavane for a Dead Girl: Premise: Sagami grew up a poor, starving boy who was dying of smallpox when he made a deal with some supernatural entity. He receives a beautiful face (no pocks) and the ability to play the violin like an angel. All he has to do is collect soul stones from girls who fall in love with him. He has an amulet he can give to the girls that changes color to let him know when the soul is ripe, and when it is, with great regret, he kills them.
I don’t go for supernatural stuff, either. From a dramatic standpoint, I find supernatural plots too easy to resolve via ye olde deus ex machina, although this one…that the girls he kills must love him…has more potential than many. After all, one major factor in attraction to a person is knowing that the person is attracted to you, so that makes Sagami’s decisions interesting.
What I really liked about Pavane was that it was set during the Meiji era, and so the author invested a few pages in explaining what that might mean to a reader. That’s the sort of thing I find interesting: the cultural context of a story is integral to understanding the story, and the author took the time to explain that stuff.
Rumor has it that I may have commented on this idea not long ago:
But that’s my only real interest in Pavane. The Meiji era is a fascinating piece of Japanese history, and it was fun seeing a Japanese perspective on its meaning, but the actual story doesn’t do much for me.
Finally: Harukaze Bitter*Bop.
Chiyoharu runs into a stranger named Souza who has amnesia but is some kind of super being that can handle being run over by a bus without further harm. Oh, and Kaede is an undercover special female student some kind of police officer who pokes her nose into it.
I’ll be frank: I found the characters interesting. I liked Chiyoharu, Souza, and Kaede as people, and I liked the drawing style, which was very exaggerated. But no matter how many times I flip through it to recall the plot, its like, “Oh, yeah,” and when I put the book down, I forget the basic story. I know that Chiyoharu gets back with his old gang, I know there’s a whole network behind Kaede, but none of it really makes sense or is interesting.
Next up: The Stellar Six of of Gingacho
I’ve already promised Let Dai and Bus Gamer to someone else. If you want Bitter*Bop or Pavane, let me know. Burst Angel from the first group is also up for grabs For financial reasons I have to restrict my offer to give them to you for free to the US.