I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc. And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.
From best to worst
A Silent Voice continues with Shoya and Shoko figuring each other out and dealing with more familiar faces from the past.
Shoya has mixed feelings when he re-introduces Shoko to Miyoko, the girl who left school after trying to be-friend Shoko and finding herself targeted by the bullies in return. The two hit it off and easily become friends again, even going to Karaoke together. Miyoko has learned sign language as well, influenced by her short time with Shoko and wants to make up for all the fun times they missed out on in school. She still feels a little guilty about abandoning Shoko back in middle school.
I was impressed by the way that issues are raised and Shoya's preconcieved notions about Shoko's disability are brought into question. Instead of treating Shoya as if she is different, he learns that just like any teen-aged girl she wants to have fun with friends, whether that means feeding the carp or going to karaoke, her hearing impairment doesn't stop her.
Another girl from their class comes back into the story as well, but not in a very positive way. When she realizes that Shoya has turned his life around and is trying to make up for his past behavior she's furious. Ueno has a crush on Shoya and to see him paying attention to Shoko and hanging out with an unpopular kid like Tomohiro brings out her jealousy. She goes as far as grabbing Shoko's hearing aide from her and threatening to smash it (again).
Shoya tells her to her face that he doesn't like her, but Ueno has a tough skin, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her in future volumes, here's hoping she develops into a deeper character than just a spiteful jealous rival for Shoko.
Genshiken Second Season Volume 7.
After the stressful reveal from last volume, Mada hangs around waiting for his love interests (all 4 of them) to sort it out by themselves. Kinda weird. Apparently he'd be happy with any of them and is overwhelmed by the thought that a relationship is possible. I don't know if I believe in this reality, but it was amusing I guess.
The genshiken breaks for a while as the characters head in different directions.
One funny thing in the manga is the depiction of the American otaku. Of course they'd be pictured holding the guns (and be the best at the shooting gallery) in the festival scenes. Both are blonde of course, all Americans in manga are either big chested blondes or little loli blondes. Funny, especially when most of the otaku I knew back in college Japanese classes had died hair (one even wore a horrible black bob wig that even most of the other otaku knew was in bad taste).
Fans of the original Genshiken series get to see a much more fujoshi-centric club in the Second Season and I like that the series balances it's zany side with some actually pretty great character development and discussions of gender identity/expression, sexuality and bullying, among many others.
Finally we get to Pink
What the hell was that! I'm really not sure because I passed out. Not really, but there were points where my eyes rolled so much in my head that it's a miracle I didn't cause myself to black out. By the way, that's a reference to the Awesome Snakes there. I love the Awesome Snakes.
Anyway, Pink is about this office lady by day, sex worker by night, who keeps a crocodile as a pet in her apartment.
That sounds kind of interesting doesn't it? Well, it's really just confusing and weird. Don't bother unless you're really bored and want to jump down a very bizarre rabbit hole. Like a very bizarre soap opera.
Funnily enough this is not the first pet crocodile that I've encountered in Japanese fiction. The character Anemone in one of my favorite books ever, Coin Locker Babies, also keeps a pet crocodile in an apartment that she keeps at tropical temperatures.
However, I would definitely recommend Coin Locker Babies, I couldn't say the same for Pink. I do wonder if the creator of Pink was influenced by Ryu Murakami though.
Anyway, the book is basically about this really messed up family. The step mom is seeing this younger dude (called the Manstress) who is also seeing her daughter who is sleeping with dudes for money (until they get arrested) and there is also the young half-sister who often comes to hang out with the Manstress and the Call Girl...it's just very bizarre.
Spoiler; to get back at her step-daughter the older woman has the croc turned into a suitcase.