My News and Reviews
Last week was the Vampire Manga Moveable Feast. As part of my contribution, I reviewed Vampire Hunter D, Volume 1–Saiko Takaki’s manga adaptation of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s novel of the same name. I still haven’t read the original Vampire Hunter D novels, but the manga adaptation of the series is starting to grow on me. Keeping with the vampire theme, I also reviewed Hideyuki Kikuchi’s vampire novel Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, Volume 3. There are parts of Yashakiden that I really enjoy but there are just as many parts that frustrate me immensely. Since there are only two more volumes in the English release, and I’ve already come this far, I’ll probably end up finishing the series at some point. Completely unrelated to vampires, but because it’s a graphic novel I wanted to mention it here: Over at my other blog, Experiments in Reading, I’ve posted a review of Mark Siegel’s Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid on the Hudson, which I quite enjoyed.
Apocalypse Zero, Volumes 1-6 by Takayuki Yamaguchi. Unfortunately, only six of the eleven volumes of Apocalypse Zero were released in English. I can’t say that I’m surprised and I don’t expect that the license will ever be rescued–the series will appeal only to those with a strong constitution and who aren’t offended easily. It’s extremely graphic, bloody and violent. The imagery is deliberately repulsive, gloriously grotesque, and highly sexualized. Honestly, I feel a little dirty admitting that I loved Apocalypse Zero in all of its outrageousness, but I did. Yamaguchi does make use of a lot of standard tropes and cliches, but he takes them to such ridiculous, over-the-top extremes that they are almost unrecognizable.
Bunny Drop, Volumes 5-6 by Yumi Unita. With a ten year time skip, Bunny Drop has become an entirely different series. It’s not bad, but it has lost much of charm that made the first four volumes stand out. However, the character interactions are still great. The “new” Bunny Drop probably wouldn’t be a series that I would follow had I not already been invested its characters. It seems to have turned into a pretty typical high school drama. I did enjoy seeing the kids all grown up though, Rin and Kouki especially. Unfortunately, Daikichi, who has always been my favorite, has almost become a secondary character in these volumes (although, a very important one). I do still like Unita’s artwork and plan on finishing the last few volumes in the series.
The Drops of God: New World written by Tadashi Agi and illustrated by Shu Okimoto. It’s sad to say, but New World may very well be the last volume of The Drops of God to be published in English. At the request of the author, this omnibus (collecting volumes 22 and 23 of the original release) jumps ahead in the story to a point which features New World wines. As Shizuku heads to Australia and Issei heads to America in search of the seventh apostle, they both manage to get into some serious trouble. The plot might be a little ridiculous at times, but I still find The Drops of God to be entertaining and informative. Who knew the world of wine could be so dangerous?
The Flowers of Evil, Volumes 2-3 by Shuzo Oshimi. I really thought that I was through with middle school dramas, but then I started reading The Flowers of Evil. The series is exceedingly dark and ominous. I have a hard time looking away as the events unfold. I have no idea where Oshimi is going with this series and I’m almost afraid to find out. It’s intense, to say the least. The characters in The Flowers of Evil are so incredibly messed up. Even those who at first appear “normal” have some serious issues; it’s hard to tell what’s really going on in their heads. Kasuga is caught in this agonizing relationship between Saeki, the girl he idolizes, and Nakamura, the girl who torments him but from whom he can’t seem to break away.
Tonight’s Take-Out Night! by Akira Minazuki. A collection of three boys’ love stories, Tonight’s Take-Out Night is the first manga that I’ve read by Minazuki. While I enjoyed the stories, the high-contrast art style is what really caught my attention. The stories are short, so the development of the couples’ relationships has to happen fairly quickly. However, Minazuki’s characterizations are strong enough that they carry the stories fairly well. I liked the pairings and I liked their relationships which were mostly free of non-consensual elements. The first and third story are both good-natured and a little quirky. But the second story, with it’s period setting and supernatural twist, was my personal favorite.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Volumes 1-6 produced by Studio APPP. Technically, the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure anime adaptation is two series. The last six episodes were released between 1993 and 1994 while the first seven were released between 2000 and 2002. I do prefer the manga over the anime, but the OVA series is an excellent adaptation. The anime strips the story down to it’s core. The humor and the horror elements of the original tend to be downplayed; the anime focuses mostly on the action and battles. This does mean that some of my favorite moments from the manga were cut, but all of the fights that are particularly important to plot and character development are included. No matter what the medium, I love JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.