Keiko Yamada – CMX – 2009 – 13 volumes
I reviewed this volume for the weekly Manga Minis column at Manga Recon, so you can check out my review over there.
I always feel the need to apologize for reading this series and liking it so much. It’s not good. It’s not even the kind of not good where it’s trashy but addictive. It’s just bad. Bad gag manga. But I like the characters so much. I miss them when I don’t get to see them regularly.
Yay! It’s been so long since I’ve had a volume of this!
Now, this is a series I like a lot. It is not really “readable” in the traditional sense, though. The art is extremely cluttered, there are about 500 stupid gags for every scene, characters that aren’t necessary are called back for no reason, and the storyline has been incestuously looping back on itself for, like, five volumes now. I can’t even say I like the main couple, because both of the characters are really annoying.
I love it anyway. A lot. I don’t know why. I think I just like the idea of the King of Hell falling in love with a dead girl he brings back to life, even if the girl hates him and cries a lot.
This was actually a lot easier to read when it was coming out fast, because I think the short wait between volumes before kept me desensitized to all the stupid things that are going on here. I forgot that Prince has to constantly “pour the last of his power” into Shirayuki. I forgot that those three henchmen show up in every single scene to make a bad joke. I forgot nobody really dies, but they kind of do die every few volumes. I forgot everyone that Shirayuki went to school with is currently still hanging around for no reason. But! I can still follow the plot! That’s something in its favor, isn’t it?
This volume was actually much more serious than the last ones. All of Hell, Earth, and most of Heaven is destroyed while everyone is fighting Shirayuki’s dark side. There are some horribly cheesy scenes that go along with this, too, including one where Prince is supposedly dead. And then dead again. And then is alive for one more day. And for no reason, Shirayuki is living in France for an undisclosed amount of time with no memories of Japan, but false memories of a mother and father she lives with… yeah. Wait, was I talking about the plot? Yeah, Shirayuki’s dark side is trying to kill God on the last few pages.
But I love it anyway. I love it a lot. To the point where, even after I’m in disbelief at what the story is up to in this volume, I still have to have the next. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. There’s just something about Prince that keeps me happily coming back, I guess. I hope the releases get back on track soon.
Wow! I can’t believe I had this lying around! I didn’t realize I had another volume of this. This series isn’t very good, but I enjoy it a lot despite its messy nature. This volume was actually a vast improvement over everything else that has come before.
Remember how last time I mentioned the trial parts at the end of the volume were actually very good? This entire volume is one continuous plot that deals with Shirayuki being a witch and she and Prince trying to cure her. Prince is an adult most of the way through, and we get a time travel story towards the end of the volume back to Prince’s past, where we get to see him come of age magically and learn how his father died. It was actually a really, really good story, good enough to forgive it its sins from the past volumes. Of course, I love time travel stories, so that could just be my fondness for them speaking.
Shirayuki and Prince’s relationship still has me forgiving some niggling bad things the story does (hop around a lot with a poor sense of time, having too much going on at once, overly-extreme character reactions to a lot of things). Their relationship isn’t actually all that… well, good, but it seems pretty sincere, and a sincere couple seems to mollify me on most things. This series is definitely proof of that. To be fair, it has stopped most of its humor, which is great, because it wasn’t too good at being serious and funny at the same time, and I LOVE the serious story. I love the whole thing about Prince being the king of Hell, too, and it looks like that will finally be coming more and more into play.
The art and page layouts is still pretty chaotic, but it’s definitely getting better and better. I actually kind of like watching this series polish itself up, it’s pretty fascinating. I also like that all the lame side-characters that hung around at the school are pretty much left in the dust in the first chapter. I could actually do without having another school part ever again in this series, and I hate the gag characters that always pop up in those stories, but I think things will eventually go back there. The series is, what, 13 volumes long? I don’t think it’ll be avoiding school the rest of the time.
I’m a little sad the release schedule slowed down. It’s not nearly as bad as From Eroica With Love as far as the CMX schedules go, and it looks like I’ll get a new volume in May or so, which is fine by me. I’m really looking forward to seeing this plot resolved.
Um. This series still isn’t very good at telling a coherent story. I haven’t read it in awhile, and I had a hard time getting back into the swing of things because the first story (about Green becoming a singing sensation) read like it had panels missing in the beginning. You have to allow it this though, because otherwise you will not enjoy it at all.
Most of the volume deals with Shirayuki’s dark side, once again. This time, Heaven gets in on the action a little bit, and it’s revealed that Prince is slowly killing himself by using his remaining power to keep her dark side in check. Angels come down from heaven to monitor her, heaven plays tricks on Prince, and Shirayuki winds up having to stand trial for being a witch. The last chapter contains the trial parts, which were actually kind of good. At least for Go Go Heaven. We also get to see adult Prince again, at least for a little bit.
The story is still very jokey and full of gags while kind of maintaining this semi-serious plot and romance. It still doesn’t work, but I still kind of like it for its plot and romance despite the fact it is admittedly very bad and hasn’t improved very much over the course of five volumes. I think younger girls would enjoy this a lot more than me, though.
This series is SO BAD, but it’s still got the thin sliver of something I can appreciate hidden amid all the confusing art and terrible jokes. When I started this volume, I remember thinking that it was getting better about taking things slowly and emphasizing relationships more, but I don’t know if that was the case here… it seemed to take a step back.
To be fair, it did a good job covering the sad background of one of the demon assistants. That chapter was probably the best in this volume. What goes from a story about Shirayuki turning into a cat and being held by the demon goes into another wild rampage from… well, Kuroyuki and eventually reveals the sad backstory about how the man lived his life (it sounded vaguely like he was supposed to be a Nazi, but it didn’t come right out and say it). In addition to finding Shirayuki, Prince is also charged with sending the souls of his three demon assistants back to Heaven for good since they’ve finished their punishment in Hell. The demons are never shown as evil, even though they’ve obviously done something to be transformed into monsters and kept in Hell for so long, and a lot of the more glaring errors that appear in other chapters, like chaotic and confusing storytelling and plots that go all over the place are toned down here. The plot takes several unrelated twists and turns, but still manages to be fairly coherent and entertaining. Well, for Go Go Heaven, anyway.
One of the other stories… um. It involves octopus aliens, but only because one escapes from Hell and Shirayuki and Prince go to the octopus planet. The octopi take the form of other characters in the story, including the demon assistants, and the octopus queen takes the form of Shirayuki and tries to marry Prince and mate with him. It was really, REALLY bad. The concept, the execution, the storytelling, the characters, everything about this chapter was really, really terrible. There was a kiss at the end, and not even that saved it.
The last chapter had the former King of Hell, Prince’s grandfather, making a nuisance of himself at Obon. It was kind of bad, but begged the question “what happened to Prince’s father, then?” and foreshadowed trouble between Prince and Shirayuki. Of course.
Really, I want more romance between Shirayuki and Prince, less terrible jokes per page, and maybe some sort of power exchange again so that Prince can go back to being an adult instead of having to run around as a little kid all the time. It winds up being creepy in a lot of situations.
I meant to talk about Astro Boy today as well… but I wound up listening in disbelief, again and again, to a 20-minute drum solo on Led Zeppelin’s “How the West Was Won.” Apparently it is also on their second album, which I do not own. How unfortunate.
Anyway. That has nothing to do with Go Go Heaven, but I needed something to talk about. This manga still has a lot of flaws, but I think it’s slowly getting better about them. I actually wound up enjoying this volume quite a bit despite some really huge story flaws.
The best story in the volume was the first. Things pick up with Prince being the King of Hell, and he goes to heaven to seek God’s approval for his choice of bride. God disapproves, and Prince decides he’ll do it anyway, and gives Shirayuki an engagement ring. She can’t take it off, does anyway, then turns into a demoness of some sort. There’s a battle between she and Prince which ends in a nice romantic scene. There’s plenty of really weird and embarrassing stuff going on that I wouldn’t have written in myself (the school is turned into a levitating battleground, for one), but it’s still a really good story.
The volume is at its best when it focuses on the romance between Shirayuki and Prince, so I’m hoping the tone will shift to more of that. I could go for several more volumes like that actually, if the storytelling gets a lot better in the process.
Yay! My internet’s back! Time to post a bunch of crap I read during the week!
Go Go Heaven improved significantly from last volume. I was worried, because the tag line on the back cover said something like “Shirayuki’s life is on the line… THE FOUL LINE!” and it actually started out as a basketball tournament, but things got serious pretty quick, and the thousand gags a minute with one-shot stories did not happen in this volume. The first two-thirds was actually all one story dealing with Shirayuki’s last days and her rebellion against heaven and hell, which wound up being pretty good. I liked the ending a lot, in theory. I also still like the plot a lot, but it still suffers from what seems like… I dunno, a rookie story. The storytelling style is still extremely messy, pages are still fairly busy, and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s going on. There’s also issues with the flow of time and weird jumps from panel to panel sometimes.
There were a lot of other things I could have gone without, too. The extremely long chase scene at the end was lousy in some spots and awesome in others, the basketball tournament was a weird way to lead up to everything, and there was just many instances of things that were just frustratingly unclear. And though I liked the ending of the series, I thought the last few pages was a cop-out. The series was supposed to end there, but it looks like it kept going, which makes me worry about the quality of future volumes.
On the other hand, I like stories about judgment of souls, which is why I enjoyed the plot of this one a lot. I did like basically everything that was going on at the end here, and I even grew to like the little romance between Prince and Shirayuki. I also thought the beasts of hell that were unleashed at the end were pretty cool. There is a lot less comedy in this volume too, and things are a lot better off for it. The ending made a wonderful drama-tastic story. There was lots of good stuff going on, it was just mired in a bunch of other stuff that was not so good, and it makes it very hard to read.
The last third of the volume is a one-shot story about a girl who tries to destroy the tree-nature-god on her island. That one’s actually pretty well-done, and though it shares some of the same flaws as Go Go Heaven, it’s not a comedy and is handled a lot better than the main story. Despite some confusion, I liked that one a lot.
How did I forget to talk about this one? That’s a bit troubling. I read it last week and picked it up because of the interesting plot summary. I thought it would go down good after finishing Bride of Deimos, because they have the same plot, in spirit (not really, but I really wanted to read Bride of Deimos and this was the closest thing on my shelf that I hadn’t read). This… this was not very good.
The plot IS good. A girl dies, but is saved by the prince of hell while she is being judged. Said character is just called Prince. He gives her 40-some days to put her life back in order or something before she has to go off on a final judgement, either heaven or hell. As she was, the main character was a soulless doll, but going back, constantly accompanied by Prince and his entourage, she develops personality.
The problem is that this personality is not significant. She is one of the weakest, most uninteresting crybaby heroines EVER. This is also a comedy, so a ton of stupid jokes are flying in your face the entire time. If the humor was toned down, I think the series would be a lot better. There are some cool elements shining through, but everything from the characters to the subplots needs a LOT of work at this point.
Also, this isn’t something I usually notice either, but there’s too much going on in each page. I have a hard time going from panel to panel in some of the chaotic layouts. It’s not an issue like with Viz books where HUGE sfx retouch art will sometimes take up an entire page, there are just 500 panels per page with something confusing going on in each one. Too much!
I want to like it, though. I’ll keep reading it, because again, I like the plot enough to tolerate all the crap. I finished the book with no negative feelings, which surprised me because it was really bad and I usually wind up finishing those types of books pissed. It’s not a terribly long series, but I am curious to see what happens after the main character’s time runs out, which happens next volume.