3 Short Reviews: Manga

3 SHORT REVIEWS: MANGA #1

Fruits Basket – Collector’s Edition
Total Volumes: 12 volumes total
Status: Finished read

Synopsis: Fruits Basket follows the main character of Tohru Honda as she tries to graduate high school after her mother’s death. When her grandfather’s house is up for renovation, Tohru attempts to live in a tent until the three months of renovation is over, not realizing that she was camping out in the very land belonging to the most popular kid in her class, Yuki Sohma. After a landslide causes her little tent to be destroyed, Tohru ends up spending the night at the Yuki Sohma’s house where she accidentally discovers that many members of the Sohma family are possessed by the twelve animals of the zodiac plus the cat. Now with a secret no one can know about, Tohru ends up involved in ancient Sohma family politics, meeting the other members of the zodiac and attempting to break the ancient curse that binds them all together.

Review: If you are looking for a detailed, artistically pleasing manga, this might not be for you. Fruits Basket is simple. Literally. The story line is not very explained until the very end of the series, giving the reader time to explore each character’s arch. Consider this manga more of a slice of life with a hint of mystery and magic. The story is told by small slice of life moments from different characters. Every time a new character is introduced, they get their own chapter exploring who they are and what role they hold of importance. This manga is better read for being a fun and easy read. Each character develop slowly, and it is a very, very slow burn. There are very cute and sweet moments between the characters as well as very sad ones. The romance is slow and more to the side, as the manga focuses more on the family dynamic and each character’s personal struggles.

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki –
Total Volumes: 1 Volume
Status: Finished Read

Synopsis: Hana is a college student when she meets a young man and falls in love. Shortly after, she discover he is part wolf. Not a werewolf, like I first thought, but actual part wolf. Still, they get married and have two kids. However, happiness is shortly lived as Hana’s beloved husband dies in a tragic accident. Now having to raise her two young children by herself, Hana decides to move to the country where her wolf children can run without annoying the neighbors. The story picks up from there, telling of their story as they try to find their place in the world.

Review: The story is very sweet, and the art very simplistic.  There isn’t much of a plot since it is just chronologically telling the story of Ame and Yuki as they grow up being part wolf. It is a very sweet and sad read, with a very simplistic art style that added to the story. I really enjoyed how the method of shading was used to express moments of sadness and happiness. The story can be easily read in one sitting and I highly appreciate that. The only glaring problem I had was with the pacing of it. I found it to be too fast. Understandably, it covers over many years, but some things would happen that I wished we could linger more on in order to really feel the full impact of the story. However, I still found it beautiful and powerful. A manga that a recommend for a one-sit read.

Tokyo Ghoul –
Total Volumes: 14 Volumes
Status: DNF Series

Synopsis: Ken Kaneki lives in an alternate version of Tokyo, Japan where ghouls – monsters that eat human flesh – roam around like any other person. Kaneki who is shy and a literature student at the University, barely pays much attention to it since he is too busy creating the courage to ask girl of his dreams out on a date. However, after finally doing so he realizes that she is not who she is looks to be. Instead of being a shy and literature obsessed as Kaneki, Rize – the girl he is interested it – is more obsessed with eating him. When he survives her ghoul attacks, he is rushed to the hospital where in an act to save him life, ends up with some of her organs in him. Making him part-human, and part-ghoul. Now, Kaneki must learn to survive the true horrors that plague Tokyo or die of hunger.

Review: I wish I could rate this higher than I actually did. The premise sounds so interesting and so intriguing. I love story like these, where it is an altered version of the modern world. However, this fall flat to me in many ways. The art style was very dark and confusing. I found that I couldn’t really grasp certain actions done and I was left scrambling between pages trying to understand why the character was suddenly on the floor. Furthermore, it was very repetitive. The same matter was mentioned over and over again, with the same solution being offered over and over again. Though I could see why the repetition is done – considering that it is a human now having to feast on other humans – however, I felt that it slowed down the story. It also made me annoyed that I read an entire manga volume with little to no explanation. Every time there showed progress in storyline, it rewind itself and repeated the same matter from pages before.

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