Mushishi – After Volume 4

I have read four manga volumes of Mushishi, and the fifth one is in the mail. My favorite story so far, in both the manga and anime, is the Sea of Brushstrokes, not only because it features the enchanting Tanyuu, but also of how well Ginko and Tanyuu fit each other. She cannot walk and may not ever travel, and he is on an unending journey and may never settle down. Once in a while one comes across a scene from a movie, a television show, an anime, a novel, or whatever medium of entertainment or art, that sears itself into memory. One such instance for me resides in this story. It was when Ginko (the very lucky man) was carrying Tanyuu on piggyback, and she sat on a boulder and Ginko next to it. The short conversation they had was so subtle, so profound, with so much meaning in so little words, and both understanding each other as if their souls were communicating. The halcyon landscape and atmosphere could be an indication of the quality of their companionship, and further adds to the poignancy of the scene. I am both in awe and envy of their match.
Although the dialogue and storyboard are essentially reproduced from the manga to the anime, when the stories are brought to motion and sound, the experience surpasses its origin. There are ten manga volumes, and the anime selected chapters from the first five. There should more than enough material left in the latter five to animate another season. With a masterpiece work of art such as Mushishi, a second season would be enthusiastically welcomed not only by me, but by nearly everyone who has seen the first season.

Published in: on September 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rozen Maiden Manga after volume 4

Mmm...dolljoints. Peac Pit's crossovers.
First it was 'Suigintou', then 'Suigintoh, now it's 'Suiguintoh'?  Why can't Tokyopop be consistent with its name?  I'd say just call it Junk, less chance of spelling errors. I can't get enough of this punch.

As I write this I am suffering from a throbbing headache, and a weak and vulnerable stomach that is perpetually on the verge of rejecting its food. Yes, I am sick. For most of today I was bedridden, taking quick sessions of naps to avoid the pain, and reading volumes three and four during moments of consciousness. I apologize if this post is more disjointed than usual.
The first season of Rozen Maiden was roughly based on the first four volumes of the manga. I say roughly because some of the manga chapters and story elements were altered and/or remixed together in the first season of the anime. Phase fourteen was the comical anecdote where Suisei stole and ate Hina’s strawberry, and Hina barricaded herself upstairs. That chapter was a very brief fifteen pages which took me less than two minutes to finish. I was a little bit surprised that the anime managed to stretch the chapter into a whole episode that amused for over twenty minutes. In these two volumes we met Sousei and Kanaria. While Kanaria was carbon copied by the anime, I noticed Sousei was more cold and callous in the manga. As you may already heard, vague “issues” arose between Peach Pit and the editorial department of Comic Birz, and as a result Rozen Maiden will end this July. As a Rozen Maiden fan, I suppose I should be saddened that Rozen Maiden is ending. For a few reasons, including a crucial one, I much prefer the anime, and thus I hope that there will be a season three that gives the anime a definitive end as well.

Published in: on May 12, 2007 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Claymore after volume 5

Claymores are also called 'silver eyed witches'. ...
This manga doesn't shy away from blood and decapitation. Claymores are easy?

In anticipation of the anime, I read through five volumes of the Claymore manga. The story wasn’t as “grand” as I first thought it would be. The series is basically about a bunch of pretty young women slaughtering monsters. They brandish claymores, and so appropriately, they themselves are called claymores. These half monster half human females exist only to kill monsters, and they dedicate themselves completely to their job. This sets the stage for human development for these claymores. In fact, a main theme in this series is that certain claymores become more than just stoic monster killing machines, and the story focuses on one such claymore. Pretty young females fighting monsters is fine (what’s not fine about that?), but I can’t quite say I like the emotional aspect of the series. Much of the claymore growth strike me as predictable and clumsy, and I was often rolling my eyes at such scenes, especially so of Raki’s dialogues (see the top right page for an example of what I mean). Maybe it’s just the Humbert Humbert in me that can’t stand it. Anyways, now I know what to expect of the anime. There will be lightly dressed young women slicing and dicing, balanced by their sentimental humanization.

Published in: on March 15, 2007 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Zombie Loan

With a title like 'Zombie Loan', there's gonna be zombies...and loans. The protagonists consists of two bishounen and a ditzy meganekko.
Hmm, she looks awfully familiar... Somewhere in some anonymous' house, there is a kidnapped woman.

On a whim I checked out one of Peach Pit’s other works, a title named Zombie Loan. In this manga there is a character called Sansu Yoshi. She has a small stature, with long likely blonde hair, wears a dress with a deep solid color, possibly red, and she carries herself with a calm and composed demeanor. Her likeliness is so strongly reminiscent of someone. Tell me dear readers, who does she remind you of? And she is not the only character in the show that is familiar. There is another girl called Yuki who looks and acts like a carbon copy of Natsuki in DearS. Even the protagonist herself, Michiru, reminds me a bit of Nori. It looks like Peach Pit recycled some of its characters from other titles in this manga.
About the manga itself. The premise goes something like this: Michiru is a ditzy, excitable, high school girl who has the ability to see dim grey to black collars around people’s necks. Appearance of such a collar meant the bearer will soon die. One day Michiru bumps into two pretty boys in her school, Chika and Shito, who have already died. They remain living because of their will to continue to live, but they have to hunt down wayward souls and undead to pay for the price of a second life. Michiru becomes involved with them in such vocation because of an initial debt and her advantageous ability. So this is a variation of people doing Death’s job. It’s a darker story, but Peach Pit’s style of super deformed scenes and childish humor lightens up the grim anecdotes and mood. I find this manga mediocre.

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mushishi Volume 1

Volume 1 cover.

Del Rey’s Mushishi manga volume one came yesterday, and I’m a happier man. What can I say, I love Mushishi. I have spoken a lot of good words about Mushishi in the ever distancing past that I’m too lazy to amalgamate and repeat now, but suffice to say, Mushishi is one of the best series I have ever experienced, not merely within the domain of anime or entertainment. When I first saw the anime I liked it so much that I knew if any mediums of Mushishi ever gets licensed, I will have to own it. When the anime ended I still wanted more of Ginko’s perpetual journey, so I read the manga English scanlations, which unfortunately were stalled in the middle of volume two. Thankfully Del Rey picked it up, and a tangible translated volume can exist in my hand.
The first volume’s five chapters are the basis for the first five episodes of the anime, although aired in a different order from the manga. The anime is greatly faithful to the manga, so faithful that the manga serves like a storyboard in the animation production process, and its frames are simply animated through in the anime. Many scenes and dialogues are completely identical. When volume two comes I will pretend for a brief moment someone else does not exist and embrace it passionately within my arms, because it contains the ever sublime Tanyuu, even if she is just arrangements of ink stains on pieces of paper. Sigh, I await for you, Tanyuu…

Published in: on February 21, 2007 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment