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