Friday, February 8, 2019

Me on Some Manga I've Recently Read

Hi there! I'm still trying to find a balance between the good brain days and the bad ones, as well as regaining my interest in reading the books I have waiting for me. I think I need to mix in more visual stories, more comics, graphic novels, manga, and webcomics. That being said, here are some thoughts on some manga volumes I recently picked up at the library.

Flying Witch Vols 1-4 by Chihiro Ishizuka. Flying Witch follows the story of Makoto, a novice witch who's just packed up all of her belongings, along with her cat familiar Chito, and headed off from Yokohama to rural Aomori (I looked it up, I think it's a 9 hour drive) to freeload with some cousins, including Kei, a young man who's the same age, and his younger sister Chinatsu. It was turned into an anime for the Spring 2016 season (April to June), so I knew what the story was going it. I was mostly reading this to see how it differed from the anime (not that much) and what happened after the anime ended (because it was only 12 episodes long and I don't think there'll be a second season (this happens so much)).

It's a very gentle, easy-going slice of life story. There's a vague overall theme, which is Makoto being a witch and learning how to be a better which, as she's only 15 (even if in the witch world that's a fully-fledged adult). There aren't any enemies or rivals or fights to the death; it's just a slow, countryside tale of a teenage girl and her family and friends out in a rural town. Which sometimes you want to read about. I loved the little bits of witch lore and mythology that would pop up and be so every day, at least to Makoto and over time to Kei, Chinatsu, and their parents. The Harbinger of Spring, a fairy-esque (even though they're the size of an adult human) being who brings spring across the land. A café run by witches and hidden by a glamour spell. Whales flying through the sky. The newspaper person. It's cute and charming and funny and an overall great read. The art style is nice, too. Not too complicated, overloading the page, but also not too sparse. As always, I enjoyed the characters' faces and expressions. Currently, 6 volumes have been translated and published by Vertical Comics, with the 7th out this summer (Volume 8 will be out in Japan this fall).

Behind the Scenes Vols 1-3 by Bisco Hatori. Behind the Scenes is about Ranmaru, a 1st year in college who's come to the big city after growing up surrounded by a rough and boisterous family of fisher folk. He's never felt like he fit in with them, being the quiet one who's constantly pessimistic about everything and always gets seasick on a boat. He figured going away to college, staying with some relatives, would help him find his place. But it's been two months and he's discovered that he hates crowds and doesn't know what to do with his life. Then he stumbles onto a zombie movie shoot and faints from shock. When Ranmaru wakes up, he finds himself at the mercy of the Art Squad and their president, Ryuji Goda. I wanted to give this a read because the premise sounded interested and I was curious as to what Bisco Hatori was working on as I've read one of her previous series, Ouran High School Host Club.

I rather liked the set-up and the first 3 volumes. It's looking like the series is going to be about Ranmaru, him working through his hang-ups and problems and shyness while working with the other members of the Art Squad and helping them work through their own personal problems. Because all the members of the Art Squad has their bits and secrets. Ruka's family situation, Maasa's desperate search for a boyfriend who won't be grossed out by her love of zombies and gore, Tomu's happy-go-lucky attitude and delinquent past, Izumi's easy-going nature and the crowd of girls that wait their turn to maybe date him. And Ryuji, who you don't really learn too much about in the first 3 volumes beyond how passionate he is in the work the club does, how much he pushes them to evolve and push past any issues they might have. Ranmaru is interesting, he's quiet and always panicking about something, but he's great at crafts and creating and noticing the little details that most people miss. Like cracks around a skylight, or someone's notes in their film script, or the next day's weather. He's definitely going to be someone the club will rely on. There are currently 5 volumes translated and published by Viz Media, the 6th will be out in March (in Japan, volume 7 was released last September).

I hope you enjoyed this. I'm slowly going through a list of manga that I've been waiting to appear at my local library, ones I've seen anime adaptations of or are by artist whose work I like, so there might be more posts like this in the future. :)

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