Manga Snippets – 6/21/2011

Here’s some brief glimpses at two titles that recently left an impression.

Nigeru Otoko

I’m crazy for manga that use as little words as possible.  It’s a true test of the mangaka’s skill to tell a story without using wordy exposition as a crutch.  It appeals to the lazy side of me too~  Nigeru Otoko is a manga that I can just sit and stare at, following the flow and changing thickness of the lines that I can’t decide are haphazard or planned and executed with precise control.  It gives me the same impression as some East Asian calligraphy (which I suck at, but can appreciate).  This makes me want to watch a video of Ono Natsume drawing, but I’ll have to settle for still frames.

If you can stop staring at the art, the story itself is quite interesting.  As I covered before, the manga deals with a local legend.  In the forest, there is a bear only children can see.  If you can escape the forest after spending one day with that bear, you can become whatever you desire.  A young woman enters the forest and learns the reality behind this fairytale.  This is one of my favorite purchases this past year–it’s just stunning.

Yuuutsuna Asa

I’ve been reviewing Yuuutsuna Asa so I can catch up to the latest chapter and this title really leaves an impression.  Yuuutsuna Asa is the whole package:  intriguing characters, well-developed story, beautiful character designs and art, incredible layouts and backgrounds that create a convincing atmosphere for the Taisho era setting.  Hidaka Shoko has a lot of artistic skill.  She reminds me of Abe Miyuki:  they both have the ability to form cohesive, detailed settings: buildings, clothing, furniture, decorations, etc. all mesh well, down to the last little detail.

If you have any inkling towards BL and are not reading this title, you should correct that.  Hell, even if you don’t, it’s still worth a shot.  Perhaps there’s some disturbing power struggles going on, but it only highlights the situation and class differences of the time.  If you can’t tell from the title (Yuuutsuna = depressing, melancholic), it’s not supposed to be a happy story.  But not all stories have to be.  Either way, I can’t help but stare at every panel Katsuragi appears in.  He’s just gorgeous.

9 responses to “Manga Snippets – 6/21/2011

  1. Hidaka Shoko just gets better and better. And sometimes I need to go back a few pages just to stare at Katsuragi ^^ same with Yuuichi from Hana wa Saku ka. She just creates the perfect stoic beauty. They are both gorgeous and have a similar air even when they are pretty different.

    • You know, I almost dismissed Hidaka Shoko at first because I didn’t like Signal. But Arashi no Ato came along and floored me. Yuuutsu and Hana wa Saku ka are great and I can’t wait to read her new series. I’m hooked. And those stoic black-haired beauties.. 😀

      • Yes, I didn’t like Signal either and it is a shame that’s the only one licensed in English. Shiranai Kao is a lot better than Signal at least, thank god she caught me with the art there or I would have ignored her for a long time :)There is another black haired beauty! and I can’t remember if that was the one with the sadistic doctor that until this day makes me feel frustrated for not having more.
        Anyways, good thing she is working now in longer and more elaborate stories. She has a special talent to make those “simple” plots more believable. Sort of slice of life? I’m sure I have seen similar ones and never taken them that seriously.

    • Hmmm…ah, I remember the sadistic guy. The bullying dentist! I loved that one. XD I’m also glad she has the opportunity to write long stories–she’s clearly capable and needs the freedom to fly! I feel the same way about her ability to take something seemingly ordinary and make it great. For me, I think it goes back to her great attention to design and details. It grips me.

  2. Actually I have barely read any of the books I ordered , because I’ve already reread all volumes of Yuuutsuna 3 times >.>…<..> Now I basically know all of it by heart, all Katsuragi’s lines xD I’ve also listened to the drama cd dozens of times already. I absolutely love that track when he and Soichirou are arguing about Akihito’s feelings, I think it was very well done. The whole drama cd was. I felt a bit skeptical about Hirakawa voicing Katsuragi, but he didn’t disappoint me, I was pleasantly surprised :O

    You didn’t like Signal? Actually manga-wise I also didn’t, but I liked Ashihara as a character. Honeslty speaking, while I was reading it, I was hoping there’d be some big plot development for him (my young naiive self -.-‘). I still bought the volume only for him though xD

    I feel as if Hidaka Shoko was kind of under a lot of pressure when she drew her first comics. I’ve read everything she has published (apart from the series Hatsukoi no Atosaki that runs in HanaOto, which is also great judging by the Chinese scans, btw). I think she’s a truly talented mangaka. Not to mention how much I love how she draws face expressions, she manages to illustrate quite a BIG variety of emotions compared to other mangaka. Well, Katsuragi’s a perfect example xD But yeah, generally speaking, it’s all in the details.

    Somehow that Nigeru Otoko page alone was able to capture even more of my interest. I got the atmosphere :3

    Oh and I completely agree about Abe Miyuki. This woman’s art changed a lot throughout the series she published, I think her art changed a lot mreo than Hidaka’s. But both are undeniably really very skilled, and I’d say… seriously talented? Not some random fluffy BL and not some random generic shoujo/supernatural.

    • lol, I feel you. I’ve neglected new books to reread 20 volumes of Silver Diamond this summer.. sometimes you just can’t let something go. :3 I’ve been wondering if I should try the drama CDs for Yuuutsu. I haven’t done drama CDs in years, but I feel like it would be a good one to listen to.

      I think my issue with Signal was that I was just “so not impressed.” His character didn’t make a huge splash with me, so it wasn’t a very memorable work. But she’s improved a lot in a short period of time. Ah, the many faces of Katsuragi 😀 His character does show off her talent for writing and displaying varied emotions.

      Nigeru Otoko is that in one word: atmosphere. I didn’t know how else to tell that other than showing it, so I’m glad it managed to come across that way itself. :3

      I spend most of my time in the shoujo and BL genres and I’ve noticed that some people are just mangaka while others are artists that draw manga. Even my untrained eye can pick up the differences. Hidaka and Abe are both great artists and writers. 😀 Abe’s transformation is pretty amazing. She’s had a long and fruitful career. I still have high expectations that she’ll keep getting better.

      • Yeah, I think Yuuutsuna Asa’s drama cd is very good. The only voice I couldn’t get used to is Amamiya’s, kinda not his character, in my opinion. But all in all, everything was really great. And the second drama cd is coming up! It’s gonna be released on September 23, I believe.

        Totally agree with the last paragraph^^ But it’s a pity good things get published only once every two months :S Speaking of which ther ewas nothing about Yuuutsuna Asa in the preview for the next issue of Chara Selection D: I hope they just ignored it, and it will be there =.=

  3. I’m so happy to know many people liking Yuuutsu na Asa. I’ve read so many yaoi with beautiful arts and dramatic expression, but this series, with its steady-slowly developing plot and minimalist characters (minimal art.minimal outfit, minimal expression, minimal hairdo! They dont even have those manga-ish gliterry eyes…. and hey even the sex scenes were minimalist too) have something that makes me really obsessed xDD I think I can’t stop rereading it over and over xDD The Japan book store is 3 hours from my town and I headed there the very same day I found this manga scanlated online (that never happened before…xD)

    I mean…. the scene and the dialogue between Katsuragi and Akihito… they’re CHOCKING. and yeah, I’m not really a fan of her previous works too! (signal, arashi no ato, etc) I do find Hana wa saku ka rather interesting though xD

    Just like the title, it’s depressing…. depressing story development, depressing for reading too much Keigo, and now depressing because no chapter is listed until september… (if it’s not listed for November as well I don’t know whose cat I should kill)

    • Mmm, yeah.. Yuuutsuna Asa is like a BL marathon that is taking its time to maintain a sustainable pace in its character and relationship development. Not burning itself out quickly like too many others do :-p Haha, I like your commitment to run out and grab it XD I know there’s a few titles I’d do that for if it was in a 3 hour drive.

      Depressing is a great way to describe it.. it’s sad to read what’s going on and sadder to deal with the polite language lol. It better show up in November ;_; I don’t want to think how far off the next tank release is… now that is depressing.

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