Archive for category Manga By Volume

Manga Review: Uzumaki

Note: the following is a review of a manga. I don’t normally get to read manga, but when I do, I review it in a method similar to my anime reviews.

Title:Uzumaki (note: Uzumaki is Japanese for “whirlpool” or “spiral”)
Creator:Junji Ito
Genre: Lovecraftian Horror
Publisher: Viz
Suggested Age: 16+ (note: Viz uses their 13+ rating, but because this manga is quite disturbing, I am using the 16+ rating)
My Rating: 9/10
Summary: The town of Kurouzu-Cho is isolated by water from the rest of the country of Japan. It is a town plagued by a “spiral curse”–a curse that can grotesquely distort those affected by it. Some are driven insane. Some are turned into snails. Some have other disturbing fates. No one in the town is spared. The story is mostly told from the POV of two high school students–Kirie Goshima and her upper-class friend Shuichi Saito, who attempt to survive the horror.
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Manga By Volume: Maison Ikkoku V. 1


Genre: Romantic Comedy

Creator: Rumiko/Takahashi

Publisher: Viz

Suggested Age: 13+

Summary: Yosuke Godai is a struggling student who lives in an apartment complex called  Maison Ikkoku with 5 other tenants: Yotsuya (a lech who clearly doesn’t know the meaning of the word privacy), Akemi (an immodest barmaid), Mrs. Ichinose (a busybody housewife), and her bratty son Kentaro.  Now there’s also the new landlady Kyoko Otonashi, who’s managed to catch his eye. What’s her story? Will Yosuke be able to win her affections?

Review: I’m betting most of you associate the name Rumiko Takahashi with Inuyasha, one of Adult Swim’s biggest hits.  But I’m betting you probably aren’t aware of her earlier titles.  Ranma 1/2 has still maintained popularity due to its wackiness, but I believe Maison Ikkoku deserves some attention.

Artwork-wise, it’s easy to tell we are early in Takahashi’s career.  The artwork is great, but it has some overdone shading in some pages. (either that, or it’s the age of the artwork) However, I still like what I see.

The characterization is great.  True some people like Mrs. Ichinose and Yotsuya seem one-dimensional, but they’re still funny characters. (I love the scene where Yotsuya barges into Yosuke’s wall with a log just to peek in on Akemi).  Yosuke has some great depth. At first, he seems like a typical loser college student, but when he becomes attracted to Kyoto, we see him in a different light. I love the scene where he meets Kyoko’s in-laws and offers to pay his respects to her late husband, even though they never met.  To me, this makes it seem as if there may be a hidden gentlemanly side to him.  All in all, I think this is a great start.

Violence: (1/10)Slapstick is all you get here.

Language: (3/10)Some mild swears, mostly from Mrs. Ichinose.

Sexuality: (5/10)Yotsuya and Godai are both lecherous, but Godai isn’t as extreme as his neighbor.

Nudity: (1/10) Yusuke has a dream sequence involving a nude Kyoko. There are also some panty shots when Kyoko plays tennis.

Religion: (1/10) In one scene, Kyoko and her in-laws pay their respects to her late husband by praying over it and lighting incense.  This is a common religious practice in Japan.

Related Media: There is also an anime version from Viz as well.

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Manga By Volume: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind V. 1

Well, it’s finally happened, readers!  I’m reviewing manga!  But I’ve decided I’m going to this this differently from most reviewers.  I’m going to review manga one volume at a time. It works better for my memory, and you’ll even see how the manga’s overall story evolves over time.

So, without further ado, here’s my review of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Vol 1.

Genre: Fantasy

Creator: Hayao Miyazaki

Publisher: Viz

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: Set in a post-apocalpytic world, this is the story of Nausicaa , princess of the Valley of the Wind. This manga provided the story for the Ghibli movie of the same name and also expands upon it.

Review: In the first volume, we are introduced to Nausicaa and her people who live peacefully in the Valley of the Wind. Nausicaa has an empathetic bond with giant insects called Ohmu.  We also meet her uncle, Lord Yupa.

However, the Valley is in the midst of chaos. The Talmakian army is in the midst of war with the Pejite army and Nausicaa’s people are caught in the middle.  Yupa tries to stop Naucaa from fighting when they fire upon her and miss, but she has too much rage.  But the Talmekian army has a trump card–they’ve unearthed a monster known as a “god warrior”, who turned the earth to cinders in under a week.

As many of you readers know, I am a huge Miyazaki fan. So, I knew that my first manga review had to be something special.  So why not, see just how different the manga is from the anime.  The artwork is very good. It’s actually similar to the anime version, albeit somewhat rougher. (it’s actually more similar to the storyboard artwork) The first volume is actually quite similar to the movie.  One major difference is that we learn more about what happened in the past. We also actually hear the Ohmu talk (in the anime, they can only communicate through telepathy, and only to Nausicaa)

Violence: 5/10

Nudity: 0/10

Sexuality: 0/10

Religion: (0/10)

Related Media: This inspired the movie of the same name.

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