Nao Yazawa – Digital Manga Publishing – 2011 – 1+ volume
I read Wedding Peach years ago, and enjoyed it for what it was. With my only other experience in the magical girl genre at the time being Sailor Moon, a series where cute girls transformed into wedding dresses then cute outfits to fight evil, Wedding Peach was just about what I wanted to read when I was a teen. Actually… I probably wasn’t very much a teen when I finished it. Still. It was enjoyable, and it’s probably one of the better magical girl series I’ve read, but I still haven’t read very many of those (and I usually dislike them, to be fair).
And I haven’t thought about Nao Yazawa since, honestly. So I was shocked to see DMP license two of her newer works, Mizuki and Moon & Blood. Both are being issued in chapbook-style installments of 80 pages each. I believe Mizuki is digital-only for the time being, but Moon & Blood is available in print as well as on eManga. I think Mizuki is complete at two installments, and it looks like it’s about $5 total for the whole 80-page story, which is a fair price. I’m still a crotchety old lady that doesn’t like to read digital comics, so I bought the print edition of Moon & Blood.
The problem with this 70-page format is that I feel like I can’t pass judgement on what I see just yet. I’m reading less than half of a graphic novel. The plot is okay, and I like the supernatural themes, but I can’t get into the characters just yet. But is it fair to say that, when I’ve only had 70 pages to evaluate them? Not really. I kinda like the smaller format book, and I think it’s more kid-friendly (though I’d say this is more a junior high-age story than elementary school). I also like the idea of reading it as a serialization. At $3, the digital version of this is more convenient to read and just the right price for this number of pages. The print edition is more expensive, but that’s the price I pay for being a luddite.
Sayaka wakes up one morning to find tall, handsome Kai speaking with her father. Due to sudden family circumstances, Kai lives with them now, and he’s also now attending the same school and in the same class as Sayaka. This is so incredibly 90s that it makes me squeal with delight.
Kai is stoic and doesn’t get along with anyone, but Sayaka doesn’t let that stop her from chatting up a storm. She tries to get to know Kai, but he keeps pushing her away. Kai doesn’t quite understand what Sayaka sees in him, especially when she clearly has an over-protective and completely obvious boyfriend in the adoring Takeshi.
Kai isn’t a normal boy though, and if the first few pages, the pushing away, and the sleeping all the time thing didn’t tip you off, it becomes obvious by the end of the book. He may or may not be some sort of vampire, and his companion, a real-life vampire, is preying on the rest of Sayaka’s family.
The story is a little fast-moving, and the scenes cut a little too abruptly for my taste, but other than the still-to-be-developed characters, I’m liking the little bit I’ve seen so far. It’s okay at the moment, but I’m definitely planning on picking up the second installment. This is apparently Yazawa’s current series, which appears first on emanga and… is apparently being released in doujinshi format in Japan?
I think one of the most interesting things about Nao Yazawa is how friendly she is to her English-language audience. She has a huge website, with lots of descriptions of her work, set up at http://www.geocities.jp/yazawanet/index_e.htm. And all of it is in English! I just spent about a half hour going through it, and I was most interested in her comments about her doujinshi work, and a longer series that apparently ran in an anthology magazine in Germany. She seems hopeful that DMP will license it, and at this point, I kinda hope so, too.