August 13, 2012
Shige Nakamura / Gunya Mihara / Arisa Karino / Takayuki Fujimura / Hajime Taguchi / Ryo Hanada – Gen Manga Entertainment – 2011 – 12+ volumes
I’m still playing catch-up with Gen, the underground manga anthology that comes out monthly. It’s an interesting package, and worth checking out. They actually re-launched recently, so starting with issue 11, it’s a whole new ballgame. You can read these digitally for a $1.99 monthly subscription fee for the whole lot, which is super-cheap. They also recently released collected editions of some of the stories that ran in the first 10 issues, so those are worth checking out too, if you’re not into the whole serial thing. I’ll be looking at Wolf before too long, but check them out there if you are so inclined.
Kamen, Wolf, and Souls 2 hold down the fort again, much the same as they have been since issue one. Kamen enters a lengthy and very interesting fight scene in this issue, where it looks like another supernatural contender steps up that may be a match for the mystery mask. Wolf is in the middle of a boxing match, and that gets interesting as well when Okami figures out how to counter his opponent’s punches. Exciting stuff, and it looks like the story will move on to something else next issue. Souls 2 is still better than the first installment at this point, though I’m still a little confused about the situation. I get that the two main characters are living in a sort of brothel (which will dovetail nicely with my review of Sakuran today), and that the pigeon is a sort of bright spot for them. I get that the brothel is miserable. But apparently the boy has some sort of… psychic connection with the pigeon? And the pigeon’s owner enters the story from elsewhere, unconnected? Otherwise, there’s some more dwelling on the situation at hand. I’m hoping one more installment will make things more interesting here.
Sorako returns, last seen in issue 4. I like this story a lot, though it is little more than the mundane life of Sorako, who appears to be a NEET that is too lazy to get a job. But it’s easy to sympathize with her, and I’m curious to see where the story is going from here.
Alive continues, and it appears to be a series of one-shot stories about people losing, then finding value in life. It’s a little heavy-handed, and I liked the story last volume a bit better than this one, but it’s still good in its way, and I’m looking forward to more.
Again, these issues can be a little bit of a mixed bag, but they’re so different than other manga releases, and so cheap, that they’re worth taking a look at.