Suppli 3

December 19, 2008

I had meant to link to a campaign on Manga Recon about saving the series, since it looks like volume 4 may be delayed indefinitely, but the Tokyopop difficulties from this week kind of overshadowed it.  Instead though, read this great article about cancelled series in general, and steps you can take to save them yourselves.  And remember: please, please buy Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.  I can’t stress this enough.

I feel like this was probably a gift from Tokyopop for everyone who was following Tramps Like Us when it ended earlier this year.  I didn’t quite pick up on this until after I’d read Tramps Like Us recently.  The two are very different series, but series starring working women like this are definitely few and far between in English.  Come to think of it, maybe Tramps Like Us was a gift for everyone who followed Happy Mania, too, since it it started just before the last volume of that came out.  Again, the two are nothing alike, but Shigeta is (mostly) a working woman, if not really a “professional.”

It seems to take me a minute to get myself re-acquainted with all the characters when I start into each volume of this series, which is part of the reason I love having character intros and a plot summary at the beginning of my manga volumes, something sadly lacking in most books (but present here!  on a side note, Tokyopop is my favorite for next volume previews, too).  It doesn’t take long to remember what happened at the end of the last volume: Fujii’s new beau is dating one of Fuji’s coworkers on the side.  Fujii lacks the courage to ask him directly about this, but her coworker doesn’t lack the courage to antagonize Fujii to try and get her to back off.

Amusingly, the two actually wind up working together and forging a sort of friendship and strong working relationship when they get stuck with a rather large and famous talent on what is apparently a hopeless project.  I like the work aspect of this series far better than I did in any of the other josei-like series I’ve read so far, and I like that the character can be so far into her work that she can forgive and forget any personal problems, or use work to forgive and forget personal problems, at any rate.

The volume ends on a fairly positive note all around, with things looking good for Fujii and all her friends.  This leaves a drama vacuum for next volume, which will perhaps be kicked off by the spurned girlfriend who seems to be accepting things with a good amount of class in this volume.  Hmm.

I don’t often talk about the art in series, but it is notably beautiful in this one.  Occasionally this gets in the way of the storytelling, because I have more trouble placing characters in settings here than I do in other series, but I absolutely love the compositions and the somehow… well, lyrical way everything is drawn.  One of my favorite touches was the symbol the author took to using to show when Fujii’s mind was on other things while she was doing something else, usually in the sense of multitasking things at work.

It’s quite beautiful, and I have to say I’ve grown to like it after my initial negative reaction to the first volume.  It’s far more mature than other josei series I’ve read, and I truly appreciate the realistic portrayal of Fujii’s life.  I certainly hope to see the fourth volume sometime, if not soon then eventually.  I’d hate to see Tokyopop break their tradition of really solid josei titles.

Suppli 2

June 29, 2008

I really, really want to like this series.  At this point, I really like everything that’s going on.  The secondary characters and their roles made much more sense to me in this volume, and while I still have problems with the series sense of time, the actual plot of the series, Fuji trying to balance work and love, came across much better this time.  There’s also an amazing scene in the rain near the end of the volume that totally won me over as well.  I liked this volume a lot better than the last one.

There are a lot of things about the characters that still bother me, though, and I just can’t pinpoint what it is.  Fuji sort of lacks confidence, which is what she works to improve, but at times I just want to shake her for her indecisiveness and constant reflection on what it means to be working with a relationship.  There’s some fish imagery that’s a bit overused when this discussion starts, and it never quite resolves any of the questions brought up… which again, is the point of the series, but I feel frustrated whenever it’s brought up again and again.  I don’t know.  Despite the fact I liked it much better, I still felt like I had to struggle to read it a bit.  I feel like if I wound up liking this volume more than the last though, maybe the third will answer some questions or bring more equilibrium to Fuji’s life to placate me.  It’s not likely since it looks like she’s entered into a rivalry with another woman over a man, but I’m up for some drama too, if it means giving Fuji more purpose and/or a little more life.

Unfortunately, this looks like one of the series Tokyopop is looking to possibly cancel (or at least, was one of the delayed series in Diamond Previews, and some titles have already proved to be non-cancellations from that same list).  Of the ones that I read on that list, I feel like this series deserves it the least.  I like series aimed at my age group, and I hate to see one bite the dust before it ends.  Don’t listen to me complain, read the other reviews out there praising it, because it deserves more praise than I give it.  Most of all, buy it, because that helps the most, I think.

Suppli 1

February 11, 2008

I really, really want to follow and support this kind of release.  This is a josei series about an office lady totally married to her job.  She breaks up with her boyfriend of seven years and loses herself in work to try and avoid the problem, all the while feeling self-conscious about being over 25 and not married.  I really want to like Suppli, but I just can’t.

It’s biggest problem so far is that it’s extremely messy and hard to follow.  There’s a lot of disparate text all over the page, some of which is speech, some of which is the main character’s thoughts, and some of which are the thoughts of the other characters.  Text not in speech bubbles is sometimes spoken out loud, which confused me in a lot of scenes.  I have trouble keeping some of the characters straight since the main character has a lot of coworkers (though it’s not hard to figure out and follow the three or so main coworkers that she latches on t0), and because I don’t know a lot about how a commercial is made, I can’t figure out what she’s talking about and what she’s doing at work sometimes.

I think it’s intentionally messy since the main character has a chaotic job where she pulls all-nighters and has an insane amount of work at all times, plus the fact her emotions are in a turmoil after breaking up with her boyfriend and being on the market again, so to speak.  The thoughts often weave in and out of whatever she’s working on.  There’s an almost constant drone of text, and while it is successful at showing how many different things are going on at once, it just does not work.  Not at all.

There were two possible romantic interests for the main character at the end of the first volume, and if the plot starts focusing, I have a feeling that the romance may be decent once the character settles down with one or the other of the two guys.   The main character herself is great.  She doesn’t really have a lot of self-confidence, and God knows I’d love to read more about women who favor their job over what they perceive to be their love life.  The detail given to her work life is welcome (even if it is a bit chaotic), and the wide range of frustrations, failures, and successes depicted on the job really rings true.  I just wish one thing or another was discussed at length instead of brief snippets of the 50 or so assignments she’s got at once.  It did get better about this towards the end, though.

I’ve got serious doubts, but I’m willing to see if maybe the story takes off in volume two.  Maybe all the messy stuff was just buildup to a smooth transition to a linked work and love life, which I believe is the ultimate goal.  If it succeeds, it’ll be a great series.