Nomad’s Super Awesome Manga Review Part The Nth: Buckaroo Banzai

By Nomad(There! Evil PURE AND SIMPLE by way of the Eighth Dimension!)Otto

I have a series of papers to write to justify my continued suckling of the public teat. They are due very soon. They require data which I have not yet fully collected/analyzed. They are very important and need to be super awesome in order that I might avoid teaching in the future. This means that my room and desk at the office have been made very clean, a great deal of boozahol has been consumed, many sci-fi/gangster  movies have been watched and a great many used book and record stores have been visited. Moreover, it means that some of the manga that’s been sitting around unread is being/has been read.  This is a review, or, rather a series of reviews. I would have more words, but they are currently being pressed into the service of SCIENCE! and my future conquest of both my own sanity and the pitiful nations of man. The pictures have been stolen by pixel elves, and I have no time or desire to travel to their kingdom to get them back. Now, Son of Jor-El: KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

I may have seen this movie a couple of times, yes.
I may have seen this movie a couple of times, yes.

Runs in: Comic Rex
Rating: 12 (+1.5 if you only read the funny bits)
How much I’ve read: 6/6 volumes (unfinished)

Story: Dude in art club carves a women out of a tree. Comes to life. Is one of the local gods. Is relatively powerless etc. You’re probably familiar with the story from the show.  My only real comment is that, like many other manga of this type, the minor characters deserve their own spin off series where they can be zany without having to deal with the lame main character.

Art: Pretty modern Moe style. It’s solid, but not particularly daring.

Ease of Reading: Fairly Easy: furigana + conversational vocab make a pretty simple read.

Other comments: Alright, so, if you’ve never read a magical girlfriend/comedy/drama series, you’ll love this manga. On the other hand, I’ve already read AMG, so there’s nothing really new here, other than the humor, which, I must note, is done remarkably well. The problem is the same as the problem with every other comedy/drama anywhere, and that’s that the balance between plot and comedy is impossible to keep, and, so, sooner or later, you end up with a drama series with an occasional funny chapter. Kannagi his this point at about volume 4. Nevertheless, the humor remains strong, so, if you’re willing to slog through the story, I’d give it a look-see.

Title: Spice and Wolf
Runs in: Dengeki Maoh
Rating: 14 (-5 if you expect fantasy to involve elves, dwarves, a prophesy, a magic sword, and epic battles)
How much I’ve read: 2/2 volumes (unfinished)

Story: Lawrance lives in a world which is more or less in the high middle ages, with the Renaissance soon to come. He’s a merchant, and makes his living trading from his cart, which wanders from town to town. After various circumstances, he and Horo, and immortal wolf-god, begin to head north, so that Horo can return home, and Lawrance can make a buck.

Art: Realistic without becoming overwhelming. I approve, even if Horo is a little on the Moe Checklist side.

Ease of Reading: Non-trivial: Especially the economics bits.

Other comments: I really like this series. Lawrance is a solid hero, walking the fine line between moronic heroism and selfish bastardy. He’s not the epic slayer of dragons. He’s not the brilliant and powerful magus. He’s a dude with a cart and a sharp mind. A kind, open-minded dude with a cart, but a human nevertheless. SaW is much better in manga form due to the reasonable explanations of economic content (well, at least from my broken japanese, it seemed solid).

Title: Full Moon
Author: Takatoshi Shiozawa
Runs in: Gangan Comics
Rating: 5 (this is awful. Not joking. No magic bonuses, unless hideous moon-pie faces are your thing)
How much I’ve read: 1/2 volumes (unfinished)

Story: Hyper-loli magic ninjas battle evil and understand the meaning of friendship or some shit. I can’t really be arsed to care.

Art: OH GOD. THE HORROR. So, aspiring artist-types out there, take note. If you decide to have a cast of bizarrely proportioned magical loli ninjas, please do not make their heads giant spheroids, upon which you throw their eyes as far apart as possible. Moreover, do not have them inhabit a world of people with normal, adult, human proportions. It makes things hella-creepy.

Ease of Reading: Easy: Furigana + simple vocab are your only friends.

Other comments: I’ve mentioned this before, but I really need people to unload shit on. I’d sell at a 90% discount if it would mean that I was able to get these things out of my room, so no-one could ever see the bad decisions I’ve made, purchasing wise. If you ask me why I bought it: it looked vaguely okama-esque from the tiny picture on amazon, and it was recommended by the same service. Amazon reccomendation service, you are not invited to my birthday party.

Title: Transistor Teaset
Author: Yoshimi Sato (if only pink robots were battled, this might be better)
Runs in:  Manga Time KR Comics
Rating: 10 (+.5 if you’re a fan of electronics shaz. +2 if you love will they/won’t they lilly-type relationships like those that BigN is fond of. +1 if the thought of a love comedy involving a clumsy maid doesn’t strike you as an overdone cliche.)
How much I’ve read: 1/1 volumes (unfinished)

Story: Midori  is an Akiba electronics nerd.  She frequents one of the few remaining electrical equipment retailers in the district, you know, like Radio Shack, except less worthless, builds various devices and generally does her thing. Then she gets a call from her childhood friend, Suzu, who moved away when she was very young. Turns out she’s in Akiba too! But she’s a maid! At a maid cafe! and she’s clumsy! But she has a heart of gold! And she’s moved in right across the way! Hijinks Ensue!

Art: Alright, so, let’s say you have a friend who wants to become a famous cartoonist. He’s decided that those manga-thingies are popular, so he wants to add some elements from that into his work. He wants you to explain what makes up the modern manga style. Show him this book.

Ease of Reading: Fairly Easy: I have a little trouble with the electronics terminology, but it’s not actually in there that much.

Other comments: This series is profoundly average unless the conditions above apply to you.

Title: Nemurubaka

Author: Ishiguro Masakzu
Runs in:  Ryu Comics
Rating: 13 (+1 if you love female indie-ish rock musicians)
How much I’ve read: 1/1 volumes (finished)

Story: Well, there’s really not a lot to the story. It’s about a girl, and her friend. They’re both broke, and live in a tiny apartment. The heroine is stuck in a dead-end job at a bookstore with an obnoxious art-snob who hits on her, while her friend is a struggling musician who seems to be unable to turn her band into anything that even smells like a career. It’s about learning when and where to compromise, and when to stand your ground. I liked it.

Art: Workmanlike. Panels aren’t filled with much details, and the character designs are relatively iconic. It’s not really what the manga is about. The only exception was the weird scene on the beach, with the bizarre monster-y-things.

Ease of Reading: Fairly Easy: No furigana, but conversational vocab, mostly.

Other comments: There are a couple of minor things that show up and are hilarious, most notably, the moe-navi.

Title: Megalomania

Author: Hiyama Daisuke
Runs in:  Gangan
Rating: 12 (+1 if you love catgirls. )
How much I’ve read: 2/4 volumes (finished)

Story: Magical detectives in a future where human/animal hybrids are a persistent underclass. It’s nothing special, story-wise

Art: If One Piece and Full Metal Alchemist had a baby, which then had a baby with that one other series which has the dude with the giant hand and the girl with the boots that ran in SJ, it’d look like this. Well, it would. If comics could procreate. But they can’t. Which is a relief, because otherwise I’d have a bigger problem with storage than I already do. And we’d live in a horrible hellscape as reality broke down around our ears, but the storage thing would be annoying too.

Ease of Reading: Easy- This is a step up from Yotsuba, but it’s on one of those medieval staircases where all the stairs are really close together.

Other comments: Meh. It’s like a paper towel. You understand what it’s for, but it’s disposable and you don’t form any sort of attachment to it.

Title: Kyo Musume

Author: Kimura Kon
Runs in:  Afternoon
Rating: 15 (-5 if you’re unwilling to wade through the INSANE STACKS OF TEXT)
How much I’ve read: 1/1 volumes (unfinished?)

Story: There’s a very large (you know something that has always weirded me out? The fact that I’m taller than most of the HUGE DUDES in manga with heights like 190 cm. Wooooo genetics!) woman named Jyo. She works in a Yakitori stand. She’s rude, violent, and basically a font of endless violence and suffering. She hangs out with a bunch of chumps who have the combined sense God gave a mayfly. She also has a boyfriend, who is tiny, quiet, shy, and polite. Together, they aren’t quite Wyld Stallions, but they do make for ynsane comedei.

Art: Bad. It’s part of the charm though. It’s like underground comics from the sixties. They’re drawn like that because they’re about REAL LIFE, well, real life of bizzare people who are endlessly neurotic and whose lives are like a train-wreck in slow motion. THIS IS THAT TRAIN-WRECK! Except not in the sixties. And with less focus on R. Crumb’s ass fetish. Seriously!

Ease of Reading: Non-trivial. The text isn’t hard, but there’s a lot of it. Scrawled between the margins. It’s full of hilarity, but you have to dig for it!

Other comments: I think this was published in 07ish, so the lack of a second volume has me curious. It’s not like the manga, you know, actually ended at the end of the volume.

(Artbook) Reiborhood: Like guns? Like Black Lagoon? Like sexy pictures of girls with guns? Whoa man, dude has you covered. If you’re not a warped violence enthusiast, there’s much less (read: nothing) here. I’m not really fit to comment more on the art etc. So, whatev.


Yeah, that's it for now

Yeah, that's it for now

1 Response to “Nomad’s Super Awesome Manga Review Part The Nth: Buckaroo Banzai”

  1. 1 Anonymous July 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I love Transistor Teaset. All conditions stated apply to me so yeah.

    Picking up Nemurubaka. Sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for the review.

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