Thursday, 15 December 2011

25 Days of Manga: December 11th - 15th

December 11th
Karneval (5+ Vols Ongoing)
Status: Reading at 2 Volumes

Impressions: I'm seriously beginning to think that the majority of my Christmas holiday is going to be spent glued to my iPad catching up on all the series I've picked up from 25 Days. Among them will most definitely be Karneval - especially since I'll get my fix of pretty guys. The central premise is simple, Nai is looking for his friend. However, surrounding this quest there seems to be quite a lot going on, all of which makes for an engaging read. The action, monsters, and intrigue all make me want to read on more so I can find out more about what Nai is, what happened to his friend, learn more about the group "Circus" that they're travelling with. I think once I learn more about the characters the rating I've given it could rise, and I'm looking forward to finding out if that's the case.

Rating: 3.5/5

December 12th
Little Busters (1+ Vols Ongoing)
Status: Dropped at 10 Chapters

Impressions: This is the first title from the 25 Days that I've actually decided to drop. After reading all the chapters available, I'm still unimpressed with this particular incarnation of the franchise. There's a reason that the other two titles in the Little Busters series are 4-koma - the sort of content just works better within the confines of four panels. At its core, this manga is about a group of friends setting up a baseball team, however the actual baseball side of things kind of gets tossed to the side in favour of random antics. Likewise there's another plot thread revolving around mysterious notes delivered to Rin via one of the stray cats, except that kind of gets dropped after three chapters and has yet to reappear. As manga goes it wasn't horrific, and it does have odd moments that can be funny, but to be honest by the time I got halfway through, it was becoming a bit of a chore to finish the rest.

Rating: 2.5/5

Bonus: Little Busters: The 4-Koma (4+ Vols ongoing)
Status: Stalled at 19 Chapters

Impressions: Having been unimpressed with Little Busters, I can't say I was hugely looking forward to picking up the original 4-Koma manga, but having already decided to fill in the entire franchise, I went ahead anyway, and you know what, I'm glad I did. While still not my absolute favourite 4-koma manga, this was certainly leaps and bounds better than it's remake. With none of the baseball aspect, Little Busters: The 4-Koma focuses entirely on the antics of the main group and their friends. Undoubtedly it's a very easy read, and great for killing a little time. It certainly made me laugh, particularly the first chapter where they're discussing possible nicknames, which ahd me in stitches at one point - two words... Golden... Sphincter. I've read all that's currently avaialable, and while I'd happily continue reading more when it's been released, I won't be rushing to read it immediately.

Rating: 3.5/5

Bonus: Little Busters EX (+ Vols Ongoing)
Status: Stalled at 3 Chapters

Impressions: Unlike the other offerings in the franchise, this manga only focuses on two of the main group and their new friend, a transfer student who is also a spy. Out of the three Little Busters titles, I'd say that EX is the funniest. With Saya (the secret agent) running aorund doing all kinds of spy-like things and then proceeding to practically give away her job every few minutes, the laughs are far more frequent. In a sense, this series reminds me a bit of Kill Me Baby except with a bumbling spy instead of a capable and deadly assassin. I've only read a few chapters so far, but I'm looking forward to reading more.

Rating: 3/5

December 13th
Vinland Saga (10+ Vols Ongoing)
Status: Reading at 3 Volumes

Impressions: Vinladn Saga has surprised me. I took a little look at the base entry on Anime-Planet, saw the cover image and noticed the revenge tag and wasn't necessarily looking forward to reading it. However, in much the same vein as Wolf Guy I've found myself thoroughly enjoying this manga. I can't even fully explain why I like it so much other than Vikings are awesome. For some reason I just find myself enjoying the brutality of it all and the gritty artwork only enhances the whole thing. I have a strong feeling that my rating for this will rise a bit once I've read more, but unfortunately I've had to put myself on a self-imposed ban on continuing any other manga (bar weekly chapters) until after 25 Days. Needless to say this will be one of the first things I pick up on December 26th and is a very high candidate for getting a proper review from me.

Rating: 4/5

December 14th
Afghanistan (Oneshot)
Status: Read

Impressions: As soon as I discovered what this was about, I immediately thought "must rec with Hetalia". It follows along the same lines with various countries being personified, but instead of being cute boys doing random funny things, it's about moe chibi girls doing random funny things. Afghanistan is a sweet, clumsy, and overall fairly pitiable little girl trying to make a living on her own and make some friends. Enter Pakistan and the others and the hi-jinks ensue. As a oneshot, it naturally isn't very long, and it's not my favourite of 4-koma manga, but it's certainly an entertaining read.

Rating: 3/5

Devil May Cry 3 (2 Vols Complete)
Status: Read

Impressions: Maybe if I were familiar with the games, I'd have enjoyed this manga more. As it was, the idea was OK, but to me the whole story seemed a bit all over the place. Whether the manga expected you to have prior knowledge of the characters, or it just didn't do a brilliant job of introducing them, I don't know, but I didn't find myself really getting into the story, nor really caring about the characters. I think what didn't really help is that it didn't end. While it's listed as complete at 2 volumes, there was supposed to be a third - unfortunately the author quit and it was never published. If you like the games, have a read, you may well find more in it than I did, but while demon-slaying and action are generally the sort of thing I like, this just didn't do it for me.

Rating: 2/5

December 15th
Oyasumi Punpun (9+ Vols Ongoing)
Status: Reading at 2 Volumes

Impressions: I had pretty much zero idea of what to expect when it came to reading Oyasumi Punpun so I was quite pleased when I found that actually I quite enjoy it. This is one of those manga that I would personally describe as being somewhat offbeat. Quite simply the story follows a schoolboy, Punpun, as he goes through life where he learns about love, sex and everything else in the world. However, Punpun is actually shown as a bird as opposed to a human boy and he's surrounded by all sorts of craziness, from his dysfunctional family amidst a domestic violence induced divorce, to the love of his life who threatens him with death if he lies to her or fais to keep a promise, oh and he's frequently visited by "God", a smiley guy with the most unhelpful advice in the universe. When you look at it, the topics covered are generally very serious but are dealt with in such a way that it can become quite humorous. For example, Punpun experiencing his first wet dream and believing that his brain was shooting out of his privates, or him becoming semi-traumatised by pictures in a medical book, is darkly hilarious. There are times when it seems a little odd, but I'm really enjoying it. It's something different from a lot of the stuff out there that you read. The character designs aren't pretty. In fact the humans are a cross between realistic and ugly, which alongside the cutesy design of Punpun and his family makes you sypathise with him more. This has become one of my quiet favourites of 25 Days so far. Looking forward to more.

Rating: 4/5

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