Family Complex

November 10, 2008

I’ve made a promise to myself to read some things that have been sitting around longer than they should.  This has been sitting on my floor since… probably March or April, it made the move to a new apartment and sat on the floor some more.  Time to read it.

I have this… thing with Mikiyo Tsuda.  I keep coming back for all her series even though I don’t particularly like the ones I’ve read.  Actually… I kind of hate at least one of the ones I read.  Part of me shrivels inside when I know I’ll probably somehow wind up buying Princess Princess Plus.  On the plus side, she does the best bonus pages of any other shoujo artist.  I usually read them before I read the actual stories.  I’m not sure what makes the 4-panel strips or bonus pages about the artist’s lives good or bad, but I really like hers.  It may have something to do with the fact she draws herself as a teddy bear, but I suspect the content may also be just fine.

I also think I keep coming back because she tends to cross he series over.  Characters from both Day of Rvolution and Family Complex appear in Princess Princess, and I suspect some will appea again in Princess Princess Plus.  I’m a sucker for crossovers.  Hardcore.  You should see my CLAMP collection.

Putting all that aside, Family Complex is actually pretty good, by far my favorite of Mikiyo Tsuda’s series.  It focuses on a family consisting of the parents, two sisters, and two brothers.  All of them are beautiful and/or cute to a fault, with the exception of the second son (the character who appeared in Princess Princess).  The stories are about how they deal with this in their day-to-day lives.  Akira’s story is, of course, about how he doesn’t fit in with his family, but a lot of the other stories are basically about not fitting in because of their appearance as well.  All but Akira’s story take place at school, and all of them are about how the family members found friends.  They all have predictably happy endings, but they strike a good balance between (lame) humor and the bits of drama that make the stories interesting.

There’s also a bonus story about how the mother and father met, of course set in school.

The bonus content in the back is actually a long, terrifying chapter about how Mikiyo Tsuda had a detached retina.  It’s actually kind of interesting, because she draws the view through her eyes so well.  Now I know what to watch out for, because I read it in a manga!  Bonus depression for Tsuda, because she wound up going to the hospital after she’d been chosen to draw the cover for the anniversary issue of the magazine she was serialized in.

So yes, I like it, and it makes me feel better about reading all of Mikiyo Tsuda’s series.  It also made me dust off the one volume of Eiki Eiki’s BL I have (seeing as how the two are friendly enough that Eiki gets mentioned in the back of all the manga I’ve read), and… well, we all know I’m going to buy those Taishi Zaou titles when they come out, since those are written under Tsuda’s BL pseudonym.

Anyway, Family Complex is a really decent shoujo-y one-shot that would go down good if you’re looking for a light, shallow read.  Perhaps I just have to be in the right mood for Mikiyo Tsuda?