Welcome to another edition of Off the Shelf with MJ & Michelle! I’m joined, once again, by Soliloquy in Blue‘s Michelle Smith.
MICHELLE: Well, even though it feels like Tuesday, the calendar informs me that it’s Wednesday. Which can mean only one thing!
MJ: Dawn’s in trouble? No, wait… I have that wrong.
MICHELLE: Haha! You have beaten me to the Buffy reference! What is the world coming to?
MJ: No good, no good at all!
MICHELLE: Every single week, the same arrangement, we talk about a lot of books… o/~ (There. Now I have redeemed myself.)
What’s on your plate this time?
MJ: Sorry to have upset the equilibrium like that right from the start. I don’t know what I was thinking. :)
So, yes, books! Well, after last week’s focus on manga for kids, I guess I must have felt the need to remember my age (or at least feel it). It’s been all dark, broody shonen and dark, thinky josei for me this week. I’ll start with the one I feel guiltiest about, volume ten of Black Jack.
I’ve had this volume for several months (with two more in the stack still waiting–hence the guilt), but despite the fact that everybody told me it would be no big deal to just jump in anywhere, “it’s totally episodic, blah blah blah,” I was determined to work my way up from the beginning (thank you, local library system), and honestly I’m glad I did. While I can see that it would not be at all difficult to catch on to the premise from any given point, there’s really so much nuance to this series, and much of that I would have missed. Even some fairly major bits of characterization go all the way back to the first volume, like the origins of Pinoko (Black Jack’s childlike companion) for one. Something like that, though it’s not essential to the plot of this volume, is still a pretty significant factor when it comes to understanding Black Jack and his general worldview.
MICHELLE: Yeah, I like to start from the beginning whenever possible, even when it isn’t absolutely necessary. Case Closed, for example, is perfectly enjoyable if one hops right in to volume 25, like I first did, but once I realized I liked the series I went back to volume 1. (Again, thank you, local library system!) …