Given that I spent the past week pretty much fully immersed in a re-read of all 21 volumes of Saki Hiwatari’s Please Save My Earth (followed by a full three days’ discussion and editing of same), it should be no surprise that I’ve got PSME on the brain.
And so, for this week’s 3 things Thursday, I give you…
3 reasons to re-read Please Save My Earth:
1. Alice Sakaguchi – Considering the way I felt about her the first time I read the series, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am. Alice Sakaguchi kicks ass. No, seriously, she does. Is she restless & feisty, making her mark everywhere she goes? No. Does she have a quick temper? No. Does she confront her enemies with anger, telling them where to shove it? Definitely not. But she’s far from passive and definitely not dumb, accusations I might have hastily hurled at her when I first read the series. What she actually is, is thoughtful, compassionate, careful, and mature, and the only one of the kids in the series who will not let herself be controlled by the person she used to be. If you’re like me, and you originally read Alice as passive, I urge you to read the series again. I was stunned by my experience, and perhaps you will be too!
2. Humor - Though it’s easy to remember the series’ most dramatic moments, the biggest surprise waiting for me as I began my re-read was just how damn funny the Hiwatari can be. It’s a rare author who can genuinely pull off occasional remarks made to the audience (even some of the asides in Paradise Kiss make me cringe), and Hiwatari does this beautifully. I laughed out loud numerous times during the first volume, and that’s not even counting my delight over the artwork depicting Rin Kobayashi’s prowess with rhythmic gymnastics. Priceless, truly.
3. Art, art, and more art – Saki Hiwatari is a gorgeous artist, obviously influenced by the 49ers (among others), but very talented in her own right. Every panel in this series is wonderfully crafted, clear and expressive, regardless of tone. Drama, humor, romance, she draws it all, and she draws it well. This isn’t just pretty artwork, it’s powerful visual storytelling that gets better and better with each volume. It was difficult to stop scanning pages for our HU piece, because I found myself wanting to display everything, that’s how well the art in the series works for me. I found this a lot easier to appreciate on a more leisurely second read.
Yeah, I’ve got PSME on the brain, and I’m definitely proselytizing at this point, but that’s kinda what I love about manga, my friends. It makes me want to share.
So, readers… why would you re-read Please Save My Earth? Or why might you read it for the first time?