June 19, 2007
I was really blown away. This one was so much better than the other volumes in this series I just couldn’t believe it. There are only two stories in this volume, and the second story really just seems like more of a space filler at around 20 pages, but that doesn’t matter. The main story was a fantastic romance, and probably one of the best manhwa I’ve ever read.
It’s not that original of a story… immortal vampire angsts, immortal vampire meets the love of his life and is separated, immortal vampire swears off making her immortal, but waits for her between each of her incarnations. We see three lifetimes for the woman, starting with when the two meet when the girl is only 13. But don’t worry, because they don’t declare their love until they meet again when the girl is an adult. Of course there are complications. The thing that makes it really great is the pacing and the language. Netcomics isn’t really known for their stunning translations and adaptations, and I’ll admit there were a handful of errors and tough spots to get through, but the way the pair go on about love is probably comparable to Immortal Rain. It’s really cheesy when not done right, but this series really does pull the pretty talk off.
There are tragedies along the way in the life of the woman, of course, and the two don’t really get to be together until the end. A lot of it is just the two characters talking about love, which may be too much for some… and I’ll take points away from it for that, because it is extremely long-winded. But oh, so nice. The pacing helps too, as I mentioned earlier. It does a good job of lingering for effect, then advancing the plot at a comfortable speed. It never feels like things are being rushed to fit, to finish up a storyline, or anything like that. If you take the story all in at once, you may find yourself checking your watch though… sometimes it lingers a bit too long, but I never found it unbearable or anything.
There is another story crammed in at the end, and while it, too, tells a really sweet love story, it just feels completely separate from the other. I probably would have loved it had it been in one of the other collections, though.
Skip the other three novellas in this series and go straight for this one. It’s great stuff.
April 3, 2007
I kinda like these now. I really liked 9 Faces of Love, and I kinda liked this one, too. This one had fairly entertaining stories, but the art was not so hot. These collections kinda seem like a volume of each artist’s first stories, with the possible exception of 9 Faces of Love which seemed more like a concept volume… but the theme could’ve been a coincidence, as even some of those stories are really rough.
Starry Night contains four stories, with “Toy Soldier” taking up more than its share of the volume. The stories are all really kinda fanciful, cute, and just kind of cool to read, but the art is extremely rough. This gave me trouble in the first two stories, where I couldn’t tell the characters apart in the first story, and in both stories the genders were rather unclear for awhile… though in the second story that’s kind of intentional (but weird. I thought one character was male for a long time until the main character mentioned they were female, then apparently they weren’t).
They were all kind of sweet love stories in their own way, save for “Toy Soldier.” It’s described on the back as Alice in Wonderland, but if I hadn’t read the description before starting, I probably would’ve been frustrated as random things keep happening with no explanation… a girl riding in on a gorilla and trashing the main character’s room being the first of these occurrences. The explanation in the story doesn’t come until much later, too… it was probably my least favorite, but even this one had its charm, as it existed in this land between reality and fantasy that you were never quite sure about. It was pretty cool.
My favorite was probably one story which dealt with a kind of poor soul transporter who lived in heaven that had to take one girl away before she could say anything to a boy she liked. It was sad and unfortunately the shortest in the volume, and I could’ve gone for some more development in all areas. It was probably the one I would have most liked to have seen developed into an actual series. The other two were sweet love stories, except one dealt with a typical relationship and one dealt with a bachelor who wound up finding a family for himself. Both were really cute.
I thought at first it was strange that this artist didn’t have any other manga series running at Netcomics at the moment, as I think the other three artists in this series did, but Kimjin also did Lethe, which is a really weird sci-fi series in a strange format (if I remember right, the comic store had it and it was really… long, like wide and rectangular) and also in full color. Kimjin’s art actually reminds me a lot of Haruhiko Mikimoto crossed with Mitsuru Adachi with classic shoujo thrown in. It’s not a bad style, but some of the proportions, the hair, the faces, that kind of thing bothered me a lot and it seemed really rough overall.
If you wouldn’t mind the art, the stories are actually quite interesting and entertaining. I was surprised at how much I wound up liking it in the end after my initial reaction to the art.
March 20, 2007
I know I never talk about news on here, but DAMN, Be Beautiful! The word is that Libre may just be jerks, but you know, this is unsubstantiated. I grew up in a small town, so I live for the juicy gossip. I only hope my two volumes of the Finder series didn’t get lost in the mail like I think they did. I always have this secret fear that my mail will be seized and somehow I’ll be arrested on archaic comstock laws or something like that, so hopefully that didn’t happen either.
Anyway. The second volume of this series was much, MUCH better than the first. I also liked it a lot better than any single volume of Can’t Lose You by the same author. This is 9 short stories focused on the theme of love. As you may imagine, some of them are only a few pages long, and a couple are slightly more developed. There are plenty that are mediocre, including a “Doll”-like one with a twist at the end and the one at the very end which was kind of a lame fantasy. But even these two weren’t absolutely terrible.
Some of the plots were amazing though, and I really wish something else had been done with the idea. The best one was a guy who was such a big jerk and a womanizer that somehow he had been robbed of his ability to see women. This didn’t bother him though, since he just uses them to have sex with anyway. This would lay the scene for the most awesome manga ever, except it kind of turns into this mediocre story where the only girl he can see is the girl next door, who hates him, but she can’t see him, so he hangs out in her apartment all the time… things go from there…
There’s one which is a bit yuri that is entirely in first person. There wasn’t much substance to it, but it was a cute love story, and I loved the gimmick.
Another was about a couple breaking up because they had so many little fights they finally made good on their threats, except as much as they fought they can’t stand the thought of being apart either, and neither will man up to face the other.
Another involves love at first site, then love again, and again, and again over several chance encounters through time. This one was pretty cool too, though I had trouble getting into it the first few pages.
It reads a bit like a weird anthology, but I think it’s definitely worth checking out. With nine brief stories, there’s bound to be something great in there for anyone who likes sentimental shoujo.
March 9, 2007
I’m not sure what possessed me to get these, because I’m sure I won’t really like them. While this one wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t spectacular either. There was one story that was kinda good, one story which was kinda… eh, and one story which was terrible and I couldn’t tell who any of the characters were, or even whether or not some of them were boys or girls. There was a twist at the end, I think, where you find out that one of the characters knew the teacher… wait, I just got it. Oh man, that’s pretty bad. So yeah, the third story is lousy.
The first story is where the anthology gets its title. A girl tries to collect a substantial debt from a boy who just moved out of her condo, and the boy winds up getting amnesia. Because she wants her money, and because he is a jerk, she tells him they’ve been dating the past couple months. Of course, this blows up in her face near the end, and the acutal reason for his memory loss has to do with… another, who in addition to being random, was a total mysterious hypocrite. The characters are kind of annoying, but the story is set up in such a way that it stays kind of fresh throughout, and while you know that the girl is gonna get her comeuppance at the end, getting there was pretty good. But… it wasn’t anything to write home about.
The second story was about a guy who was kind of a creep who sought out a girl who kissed him in a cafe for a bet. He went drill sargeant on her ass and started dragging her places. I have no idea what drew these two together. The main character stays kind of distant throughout too, even though she’s kind of the narrator, and the setup on this one was a little weird. I kinda liked it, but it was of a much lower quality than the first one, and the first story isn’t particularly good. And yeah, the third story sucks and is short, so I’m not even gonna go into that.
Thumbs down on this one, though maybe you’ll like it if you follow… June? She does June, which Netcomics also publishes, and OH MY GOD she also does Click, which is a series I love. I don’t know, maybe these are much earlier stories? The third story is clearly an older one since the art is also rough. I don’t know. I like Click and didn’t like this, so I don’t know where that leaves this book.