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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 490
Location: Serra Gaucha

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:14 am Reply with quote
Hi I am opening this thread in parallel with my anime reviews thread. I watched way more anime than manga (because, well, it's cheaper) even though I might say that the best anime/manga I ever read was a manga. So I am opening this thread to talk about the manga I have been reading. It's not very sophisticated review but just my superficial thoughts on the matter.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 490
Location: Serra Gaucha

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:57 am Reply with quote
Mayo Chiki! (2010-13)



A manga adapted from a light novel, hence, I didn't expect it to be a masterpiece but some nice light reading. It indeed was: a very nice romantic comedy manga. Though it was a bit too heavy on the erotic content and given my "advanced age" I found these elements a bit too silly. Though the silliness of it actually proved to be a source of amusement for me. It's similar to Strike Witches in that regard because I found the way fanservice was used to be quite amusing: it's as if it didn't exist but it's blatantly obvious.

I also liked the general art style and character designs, though they are now what appears to be the typical "contemporary seinen" style I actually find it to be quite good. Well, there is a reason why it became the standard. Though it was so blatantly obvious that Konoe wasn't a boy, that I was: ok, how ludicrous this can get. Anyway, it's a very entertaining manga that captured my attention until it's end. It's nothing that made me feel strong emotions, though the finale had a sbustantial emotional reward although the "epilogue" was a bit too much nonsense for me to take: ok so these girls are perfectly willing to live with this guy even though they known perfectly well that he is not interested in them.

My rating is 7/10.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 490
Location: Serra Gaucha

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:56 pm Reply with quote
Black Magic (1983)



Now for something a bit more "classy". Nothing is classier than good'ol 1980's science fiction manga from the masters such as Masamune Shirow. While Shirow hasn't written anything that I would regard as a masterpiece of the purest form several of his works are really great and the corpus of his work becomes significant in itself as more than the sum of it's parts.

Black Magic was his earliest work and here we already see the traces of the author's thematic tendencies but here is more in the style of classical science fiction with "space stuff" all over the place as well as the more traditional cyperpunk themes that he focuses on later work. The drawing style was very simple specially if you compare with something he wrote 18 years later like Ghost in the Shell 2.0. In a way it's better as it has that classy chubby look of the 1980's manga when Japan was poised to become the world's dominant economic power before the country "blew up" in the 1990's.

The manga is pretty short and consists mostly/essentially of a collection of short stories which are tied together into a single narrative. I also watched the OVA and noticed they adapted it into a much less ambitious sci fi setting: near future Earth instead of the distant past featuring an interplanetary civilization based on Venus that developed super advanced forms of artificial intelligence but that eventually collapsed and whose offspring are us.

My rating is 8/10.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 490
Location: Serra Gaucha

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:19 pm Reply with quote
Orion (1991)



Another one of Shirow's titles. This one is more fantasy focused than most of his other works. It's less sci fi though still has some elements and more fantasy. In fact, many elements of it reminded me of Dragon Ball, specially the completely over the top action sequences. Like Dragon Ball it features god like characters who fight in a way that changes the "geography" of the battlefield. There is also a lot of comedy in this particular title as it never takes itself seriously but allows itself freedom to be what it wants to be without being restricted by almost anything, including any annoying physical laws, besides basic narrative consistency. Overall a highly addictive comedy manga read that I greatly enjoyed. My rating is 7/10.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 490
Location: Serra Gaucha

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:54 pm Reply with quote
Ghost in the Shell (1990)


Continuing with Masamune Shirow's work, how could I forget GitS? One of the moves influential mangas of all time. It's also the manga that impressed me the most among the set of mangas I read from Shirow.

It is also very prescient in a way, since we are clearly moving in the direction that manga first envisioned. While certainly overestimating the speed in which cyborg technology would be developed (writing in 1990, he "guessed" that by 2030's we would have full body cyborgs, as of 2015 we are certainly still very far away from it). The concept of a fully artificial organism capable of reproduction (in a way), and evolution, is very fascinating as well.

The manga is quite different from the film, though the plot of the manga actually serves as the source material for the two GitS films directed by Oshii. though the second film modifies the original story significantly more than the first. Like the movies, it's something that I appreciated more on a intellectual level rather than in a emotional level, though the manga is emotionally closer to the characters than the film.

Also interesting is the police setting of the manga. Although it's science fiction at it's heart, the crime elements sort of bring these concepts closer at home. As the world depicted is very much like our own, but with slightly different vehicles and cyborgs. [/img]
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