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|Border (manga Kazuma Kodaka)|
|Crimson Spell (manga)||
Ayano Yamane's art in Crimson spell is fantastic. (Literally too, since this is a fantasy series.) Even if the plot happened to be crap, which thankfully it's not, I would recommend it on the art alone. The plot is your basic quest based sword and sorcery fantasy. Prince Vald, along with his magic sword, and magician Havi search for a way to remove Vald's demon curse. Since this is a yaoi, there is quite a bit of man sex, but beyond that the plot is actually quite good. I enjoyed both volumes and I hope the series is eventually continued as it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, Media Blasters looks to have discontinued their manga line and as of yet, there is no vol. 3 in sight.
I recently revisited this, along with Yamane's other series, Viewfinder. Sublime is up to volume 5 now, and their version is much nicer than the old Kitty Media books. Despite the amount of sex in the earlier chapters, Crimson Spell is alot more romancey and plot based than Finder. It is very traditional fantasy with some BL. I prefer this series so far and wish there were not so long a wait between volumes.
|Eden - It's an Endless World! (manga)||Very good||This is a big and complex sci fi tale with the main theme being a fragmented society after a virus is unleashed on the world. I've read up to volume 13, where Dark Horse has left off so far, and I still have lots of questions. The characters themselves took awhile to grow on me as well, but the series slowly revealed their back stories and motivations and I want to see what happens to them. The art is super detailed; backgrounds, characters, expressions and action scenes are well drawn and support the narrative perfectly. Needless to say, I'm going to keep reading this.|
|Embracing Love (manga)||I read all 5 volumes CPM put out and I loved it. Youka Nitta draws men in a manly way, which is a welcome break from all the girly looking boys invading yaoi and shoujo manga in general. She takes time here to actually develop some characters. They're memorable and quite recognizable. This series ran for 14 (?) volumes and I'd love to read the rest. Unfortunately, despite it's popularity, I'm not sure we'll ever see this again due to Nitta's tracing scandal.|
|Finder (manga)||Very good||
The Finder story only takes up half of this first volume; the rest is a bunch of shorts. Fortunately, this title has been picked up by DMP, so I don't have to track down those super costly out of print CPM volumes. I'm happy to be able to read more of this as the art in particular was stunning and I'm interested to find out where this story is going.
Unlike Crimson Spell, Yamane's other series, Finder is pretty much porn. It really doesn't start to develop a story until volume 4/5 or so, when Akithito starts to investigate the missing woman. The stuff with Fei Long in volumes 2/3 was pretty much an excuse for porn. Hope fully these characters are developed byond that as the series continiues. The art still continues to be beautiful and I am definitely on board for more. I can't wait until volume 8.
|Hey! Class President (manga)|
|Honey Hunt (manga)||Very good||Yura is a shy and lacking confidence, but decides to be an actress in order to gain acceptance from her mother. I really liked the charcterization here. Yura's insecurities were explained and understandable. Her trio of suitors are also well realized. Q-ta, despite all his surface kindness, has a selfish, controlling streak. Her manager, instead of being honest, is quietly manipulative behind the scenes. Of the three, only Q-ta's brother Haruka seems like he really genuinely likes Yura and have her best interests a heart. Knowing that this is a Miki Aihara manga, she'll probably end up with the most unhealthy one. Unfortunately, this has been on hiatus for years. I hope Aihara goes back to it, as I'd live to see how the love square turns out and if Yura and her parents ever reconcile.|
|In These Words (OEL manga)|
|Kimi ni Todoke - From Me to You (manga)||Very good|
|Love Pistols (manga)|
|Maiden Rose (manga)|
|Rabbit Man, Tiger Man (manga)|
|A Silent Voice (manga)|
|Skip Beat! (manga)||Excellent||
Very rarely has a series this long managed to maintain my interested, but I devoured all 33 volumes in a couple of days. Kyoko is such an interesting and well realized character that I must know what she'll do next. She starts out wanting to be a celebrity on a whim to fulfill a grudge, but genuinely come to love it and want to improve for herself. Not only that, the comedic aspect is excellent as well with great timing and well drawn expressions. I will happily keep following this series as I feel there's so much more to tell.
I recently revisited this series after watching the anime, picking back with volume 12, wher the show leaves off. I tore through it in a couple of days again. It is just a good the second time around. I only wish it were finished so I wouldn't have to wait to read the rest.
|Yotsuba&! (manga)||Masterpiece||Yotsuba&! is the funniest manga I've ever read, hands down. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with young children will easily be able to relate to the series. The art is pretty distinctive, if not really "beautiful" in the traditional sense. It's detailed and expressions and meanings are easily read through the panels. I've caught up with the English releases and fortunately Yen Press has rescued this series from the defunct ADV manga, so now I can continue reading this gem in the future. It is not to be missed.|