RIGHT TURN ONLY!! A Day Late and A Dollar Short
by Liann Cooper, Jun 22nd 2004
Buy It Now!
Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion Volume 3
Released by Broccoli Books
Story & Art by Sakurako Gokurakuin
Broccoli Books produces, quite possibly, the sharpest-looking manga in the industry. Superb print quality, secure binding, and special mail-in dust jackets are just some of the amenities that Broccoli's manga line has to offer. With such a nicely presented line of books, you would expect the content of the package to be nothing less than excellent. The Aquarian Age franchise is definitely one of Broccoli's strongest assets and Juvenile Orion is just icing on the cake. In volume three, the fragmented memories of Mana and Tsubasa slowly begin to piece themselves together. After delving into her memories, Mana not only strengthens her connection with Kaname's past, but reaffirms the bond between her and the rest of the boys. But, when one of Mana's memories “replays” a battle between Kaname and Tsubasa, the uncomfortable question of “Friend or foe?” arises in everyone's mind. Comparatively, this volume is probably the most intriguing of the three released. It does a wonderful job of fleshing out just about every character - except for Isshin who appears to have gone on a training mission– as well as giving a little more structure to a seemingly wayward plot. A definite feast for the eyes, Juvenile Orion could be passed off as nothing more than a bishounen *glomp* fest. However, the series contains enough “X” factor that guys need not be embarrassed if they're caught looking through it.
Angel Sanctuary Volume 2
Released by Viz
Story & Art by Kaori Yuki
If you don't like controversial subject matter, it's recommended that you think twice about picking up Angel Sanctuary. Laden with talk of incest, religion, and a downright abstruse plot, Kaori Yuki has created a crazy supernatural series that will have you begging for more. Setsuna is the reincarnation of the Angel Alexiel. This in itself would be fine, except everyone either wants to reclaim him as their leader or completely annihilate him. All Setsuna wants is to be closer to his sister, Sara; and by close, I mean that kind of close. As Setsuna spirals deeper into his tormented confusion, he turns to his best friend, Kira, for support. But, those whom Setsuna thinks are his dearest friends may actually turn out to be his greatest enemies. Angel Sanctuary throws a lot of information at you all at once and that information overload can either turn you off or completely draw you in. Luckily, the series follows the latter trend and with only two volumes under its belt, the reader's interest is piqued early on. Beautiful, detailed artwork combined with an equally elaborate storyline; Viz shows their variety of titles with Angel Sanctuary.
Samurai Deeper Kyo Volume 7
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Akimine Kamijyo
Samurai Deeper Kyo's premise is simple: A sweet guy is possessed by the evil spirit of a crazed swordsman who is on the hunt for his long lost body. Take that premise and stretch it out to seven volumes (for now) and you're still at “swordsman looking for his body.” Kyo and Co.'s body hunt have lead them to seek out the Lotus Land. Of course, the group is presented with “speed bumps” and has to fight their way through. So far the series has offered no surprises – just many pages of, “I am Demon Eyes Kyo... you hid my body, prepare to die.” Granted, there have been some twists; new villains, new allies, the token “tournament” segment; the artwork isn't too shabby either, but seven volumes in and I'm still waiting for some grand aberration to surface. This series is still going after 27 volumes, so if you're trying to get the most for your dollar, this probably isn't the route you want to take. For those who are really into samurai manga, Kyo and his gang's adventures are sure to sate your appetite for a long, long time.
DNAngel Volume 2
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Yukiru Sugisaki
I'll admit that I'm a sucker for cute mascots and cheesy plots, but I'm a girl so it's allowed, right? Reading like a “meatier” version of Saint Tail, DNAngel follows the thieving mischief of Daisuke Niwa – a 14-year-old who also happens to be the infamous Phantom Thief, Dark. His arch nemesis is fellow classmate, the determined “detective” Satoshi Hiwatari. During the school's annual midwinter hike (Doesn't every school have a midwinter hike?); Daisuke's girl troubles escalate as it becomes apparent that his affections for Risa may be swaying towards her twin sister, Riku. To complicate matters, it seems Satoshi has discovered the true identy of Dark – who, coincidentally enough, also likes Riku. A prime example of a series that sits in that gray area of “cute-but-entertaining,” DNAngel emanates an aura of charm and entertainment that I just quite put my finger on. Its episodic plot and generic characters are about as simple as you can get. In fact, with the exception of Daisuke, the characters seem to exist merely to take up page space. So, is it the humor, the angst, or the insanely cute, bunny-like sidekick that is so darn appealing? Whatever it is, I know that come August I'll be checking out volume three.
Dragon Knights Volume 14
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Mineko Ohkami
Dragon Knights takes the prize for “Most Confusing Manga EVER.” After about six volumes of enigmatic backstory, the reader barely has time to breathe before being thrust into an even more convoluted plot. By volume 14, it's all you can do to keep your head above water to keep yourself from drowning in the enormous number of characters and the intricate storyline. Regardless, Dragon Knights as a whole is one of the more enjoyable series I've read. Each character is given adequate development, and such an emphasis provides balance to an equally pregnant plot. For now we'll condense the storyline into this: The demon lord Nadil is poised for resurrection and it's up to the Dragon Knights - Rath, Thatz, and Rune – to prevent it. By volume 14, we're completely submersed into the impending rebirth of Lord Nadil, and it seems that all roads lead to the kingdom of Kainaldia. Rath, Thatz, and Rune are on their way in order to rescue Cesia while their thief friend, Kitchel, battles yokai in the surrounding forest. Cesia's devoted demon companion, Zoma, sets off to the kingdom with the intention of bringing her the Wind Staff. Unless you've kept up with the series, you will have absolutely no idea what's going on by this point. If you have the time, pick up the thirteen previous volumes and try to catch up; it'll be well worth your while.
Boys over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango Volume 6
Released by Viz
Story & Art by Yoko Kamio
I can only take so much of the “angst tug-of-war” type plot, and Boys Over Flowers is nothing but. Everything Tsukushi does seem to tantalize Tsukasa. Whether it's standing up after taking a beating, becoming the victim of petty bullying, or just acting like a ditzy fool, in Tsukasa's eyes Tsukushi can do no wrong. Her dazzling assets have led Tsukasa to proclaim his love for her and what better way to say “I love you” than to take her to your family's private island. But, just as fireworks begin to ignite between the two, Rui shows up and causes Tsukushi's heart to plummet into emotional turmoil. Tsukushi's continued struggle to sort out her feelings for Tsukasa and Rui are grating to say the least. If the storyline had attractive, less irritating characters to go with it, I may be more inclined to like Boys Over Flowers. This is shoujo at the max, and as of now I'm not going to cry if I miss out on a volume or two.
Gravitation Volume 6
Released by Tokyopop
Story & Art by Maki Murakami
Bishounen...bishounen...and more bishounen - that's all there is to Gravitation. The epitome of shounen-ai, Gravitation is the tiresome story of a wannabe rocker who's in love with a famous novelist. In the land where mullets are hot and looking like a girl is desired, Shuichi's longing to be with Eiri continues. Complications arise after Eiri takes an unplanned trip out of town which causes Shuichi to become incredibly depressed. No need to worry because Hiro has come up with the perfect solution - have Tatsuha pose as Eiri until his return. I don't have a problem with shounen-ai and I don't have a problem with pretty guys, but all I ask is that I get a small fragment of plot to grab onto. Gravitation offers neither attractive men nor any semblance of plot. Its sole existance appears to be so that wispy-haired men can prance across sheets of paper so that female readers can ogle over them. A series best enjoyed in small doses, Gravitation will take more than a spoonful of sugar to help it go down.
Thanks for being patient and reading the column. Be on the lookout for a special manwha edition of Right Turn Only coming soon!
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