Mini Reviews: Comics and Manga

Everything I’ve read so far in January and February 2017, because apparently I haven’t reviewed any of them yet!

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Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1, by Fumi Yoshinaga. Four stars.

What an absolutely fascinating combination of ideas at play in this book. A sort of dystopian premise with a historical setting, a matriarchal society that still has to deal with the misogyny of the patriarchal structure it replaced, a ruler questioning the cruelties arbitrarily codified in her own position of power. The attempt at medieval dialogue was a bad idea, but I would really like to see where this goes.

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Spice and Wolf, Vol. 1, by Isuna Hasekura. Two stars.

Eh. I like the setting, but the naked fox-girl is pretty gross fan service. The plot would probably fill out if I were to give it another few volumes, but I don’t know that I’ll bother.

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Black Widow, Vol. 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Most Wanted, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Four stars.

Fuckin’ yeah. Every page of this book is sheer awesome. Excellent artwork, excellent story (even if it’s getting to be a very common Widow storyline). I am a fan.

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Wandering Son, Vol. 1, by Takako Shimura. Three and a half stars.

Lovely, and I feel like there’s a lot of potential here. Shimura herself appears to be cisgender and straight, but the characters are written with a lot of sensitivity, and I’m hopeful for the rest of the series. Nitori and Takatsuki are so sweet.

Ten Count, volumes 1 and 2, by Rihito Takarai. Three and a half stars for the first book, but I didn’t even know how to rate the second one.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because the pseudo-patient/therapist relationship seemed creepy to me, but in the first book at least, it was done okay. I definitely finished feeling like I want to get volume two immediately, which is what I did when I went in to work the next day. (I’m playing it cool to hide the fact that I totally felt the flutters! Shirotani and Kurose are really cute.)

But then . . . volume two was about rape. There’s a note from the author at the end saying something about doms and subs, which is a BDSM thing, yes? Which is something I just don’t know about, but I DO know that there has to be explicit consent for it to be anything other than flat-out abuse. And there wasn’t. But it was presented all romantically, and there were particular moments that seemed to be consensual, but they did not happen up front, and the therapist-patient relationship sort of disguises the issue, but that’s not okay, because it’s rape if one person has not consented, that’s just non-negotiable, and the power dynamic could actually make it worse (although I feel like Takarai attempted to mitigate that by making Kurose younger than Shirotani, but it doesn’t really work that way). So ugh. I don’t know what I’ll do going forward.

Have any of you read the rest of the series? Anyone have advice?

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Bad Machinery, Vol. 1: The Case of the Team Spirit, by John Allison. Four stars.

The size of this book is very annoying: it is enormous and floppy and you need a music stand to read it properly or else just lie on the floor. Which is not comfortable. But it’s hilarious and I love John Allison, so after finishing I face the dilemma of whether or not I want to deal with this nonsense for another FIVE VOLUMES. It seems that the webcomic is still available online, so I might be able to finish it that way, although there is a lot of material to get through. But I do love John Allison. It might be worth it.

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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF, by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare. Three and a half stars.

I can see myself really liking this as it develops more. I love Lunella’s determined confidence in herself, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the fact that, even though she’s a genius, she’s also nine years old and there’s a lot nine-year-olds don’t know. Didn’t think anything could make Devil Dinosaur interesting to me, but their relationship is cute. And I was right in thinking Totally Awesome Hulk would be annoying; he is so. annoying.

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