Book Review Round-Up is a feature I do randomly when I have 2 or 3 books I want to review in one post. Today is another manga round-up!
Published November 2004 by Viz Media|184 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed it from the library
Series: Wolf’s Rain Volume 1
What It’s About: In a post-apocalyptic future, wolves are supposedly extinct creatures who held some sort of mythical powers. Unknown to most human, wolves still do exist, and they walk next to them, disguising themselves as humans as their kind slowly dies out. However, some, like Kiba, are answering to their primal instinct to search out the flowers of the moon, which are supposed to someday lead them to paradise.
What I Thought: I thought Wolf’s Rain was a little weird. The story seemed interesting enough, but I also felt like I was missing something. It, apparently, is an anime, and the manga is based on it. I wonder if that’s why I have these feelings of missing something. You definitely have to take the world as it is, because you don’t really get the how’s or why’s- it just is. I really like the the story, and the art is okay. It was a little blurry, particularly at the beginning, and I’m not sure if the copy I have is just weird, or if, for whatever reason, that part is just blurry. It is kind of entertaining, and the characters did seem to have an interesting relationship, but I don’t think I’m invested in the story or characters enough to read the second volume. As a story, why they were trying to find paradise didn’t make a lot of sense to me, which is a little disappointing because I thought the story itself was a really interesting idea.
My Rating: 2 stars. It was okay for me. I thought the artwork was fine, and while the overall idea was really interesting, I found it a little confusing.
Published July 2003 by TokyoPop|176 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed it from the library
Series: Chronicles Of The Cursed Sword Volume 1
What It’s About (from the cover): In an era of warring states, warlords become kings, dynasties crumble, and heroes can rise from the most unlikely places. Rey Yan and his sister Syao Lin are orphans, raised by a wise master in ways of magic and combat. While war escalated around them, they managed to stay free of its politics and allegiances–that is until they met Jaryoon, King of Hahyun. This pacifist king is the target of assassins both mortal and inhuman, and when demons attack, he’ll need the power of Rey and his PaSa sword in order to stay alive. The last thing Rey wants to do is save the life of a politician, but the chance to slay demons to feed his cursed sword is just too great to pass up. Can these strangers with nothing in common become allies in order to stop a pact between demons and evil men that threatens their entire country?
What I Thought: Like Wolf’s Rain, I thought the overall idea of the story was interesting (but not as interesting as Wolf’s Rain) and a little confusing. I felt like I was missing something, and while the fight scenes were pretty cool, there was something about it that felt a little…lackluster? The story just didn’t catch my interest, and I felt like we didn’t get the whole story. I mean, I know it’s the first volume and all, but I feel like I learned more about the characters reading the summary than I did reading this volume. I did like the art, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to keep going.
My Rating: 2 stars. I liked the artwork, but the story was okay.
Published August 2005 by Tokypop|184 pages
Where I Got: I borrowed it from the library
Series: Bizenghast, Volume 1
What It’s About: Not every lost soul is a lost cause.
When a young girl moves to the forgotten town of Bizenghast, she uncovers a terrifying collection of lost souls that leads her to the brink of insanity. One thing becomes painfully clear: The residents of Bizenghast are just dying to come home.
A finalist in TOKYOPOP’s Rising Stars of Manga competition, Marty Legrow has crafted an unforgettable Gothic drama that will leave readers haunted long after the last page is turned.
What I Thought: I really liked Bizenghast! I recognize the title, but never picked it up until now, and I’m glad I did. There is a very gothic feel to the book, and if I had to pick what genre it falls into, I’d say it’s gothic/horror. I have a tendency to not think of manga in terms of genre, for some reason.
I did like the story, but it did randomly jump ahead to different points, and I think the pacing could have been a little slower and been fine. I also liked the artwork and it had a good balance of light and dark. I also liked the newspaper articles and telegrams before each chapter, and they gave you such a great idea of the world and what was going on. I do wish we know a little more about Dinah and why she can see the ghosts and why she’s the one who can help them, but that is something that we might learn more about that in a future volume. We do know enough about them, though, to stay interested in what will happen next.
A really good read-alike is The Dreaming by Queenie Chan, and I think anyone who likes one will like the other. It has a very similar feel to The Dreaming, and while the artwork in Bizenghast is a little lighter than the art in The Dreaming, I think the art (and story) have the potential to be at least a little more dark than what we see in this volume.
My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it, and I can’t wait to read the next volume to see what happens next!