SNK vs Capcom Chaos
Let’s get our terms straight before proceeding; manga is usually in black and white and made by Japanese artists. Thus Chi Wan Shum’s SvC Chaos isn’t really manga. However this Chinese comics combines two Japanese properties, SNK’s stable of fighters from Fatal Fury and Capcom’s Street Fighter crew. Volume one of the comic seems to set up the major story arc fights for the series, with face-offs like Kyo and Ryu, Akuma and Mr. Karate, Terry Bogard and M.Bison, and Chun Li protecting Iori. One of Capcom’s battling robots, Zero, Megaman X’s friend, even gets in on the action.
However, if there’s much beyond that, I didn’t pick up on it in the WWE style battle sequences. Fans looking for a good deal of battling, and not a lot of fluff in between will enjoy , SvC Chaos ‘s action. The art is definitely not in a manga style and looks much more like a colorful American comic. If you’re a fan of the either (or the single combined) franchises, SvC Chaos might be worth a look, but I find would a Capcom vs. SNK video game much more satisfying.
Another non-manga Chinese comic title, Hero is the comic book adoption of the Chinese film of the same name (featured previously in the pages of Animefringe). As such, very little has changed from the movie’s nationalistic Chinese narrative. However, the film’s beautiful art style is conveyed wonderfully in Shing Ma’s comic (perhaps better than in the film itself).
Zang’s film version of Hero has sublime, emotional usage of color, which Shing Ma captures beautifully, most notably in the orange/yellow forest battle scene. Indeed, one of the major criticism’s leveled against the film was that it placed style over substance. However, in comic form, narrative often takes a back seat to beautiful art. It certainly isn’t Japanese manga, but it is beautiful in it’s own right, capturing the essence of the film’s most eye catching moments. Anyone who enjoyed the films Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will get a kick out of Shing Ma’s adaptation.
Record of Lodoss War: The Lady of Pharis Book Two
By now just about everyone is familiar with the basic set up of the Lodoss; fantasy adventures set in a Dungeons and Dragons based world of dwarves, elves, and monsters. In the Lady of Pharis, a young girl, Flaus, decides to live among the monsters at Lodoss Island. Like the fantasy material it’s based on, The Lady of Pharis features an extremely convoluted plot where the pillars of good and evil conflict, with a motley crew of adventurers deciding the balance, including some friends from the other Lodoss series.
Yamada’s manga art borrows heavily from Western folk art. The results are decidedly mixed; the conception is beautiful, but the detailed, almost wood carving-like lining makes the comic look muddled and does not translate well into the black and white world of manga. However, for fans of Lodoss or anyone interested in a more mature look at swords and sorcery style adventure, the action packed The Lady of Pharis is an exciting read.
Nadesico Book Two
I’ve never been a huge fan of Asamiya’s art style and Nadeisco is no exception. His big eyed, stiffly drawn characters don’t appeal to me much and don’t jive with the character art from the animated version of Nadesico, though to be fair, his style looks best in black and white.
Nadesico, a parody of other mech anime titles, follows the crew of the Nadesico, as they go to do battle with aliens from Jupiter, who have already destroyed an Earth colony on Mars. At their disposal is hotshot pilot Akihito and his mech. If nothing else, the series is well known for its Rei Ayanami style character/parody, Ruri. In book two, the Nadesico and her crew race to Mars to confront the Jupiterian forces head on.
Fans of the anime series Space Battle Ship Nadeisco might get a kick out of this manga outing, but the definitive medium for the series is still definitely the animated show.
Mahoromatic Vol. 1
Created to fend off a horde of alien invaders threatening mankind, Mahoro is earth's ultimate weapon. She's intelligent, swift, and powerful with a deceptively sturdy frame despite her petite size.
This manga, however, is not the story of her victory over the aliens. Rather, it begins after she's already succeeded in turning away the extraterrestrial aggressors from our planet.
After fulfilling her duty, her creators give her a chance to live as a normal girl, and she chooses to apply for a job as a maid. Thus, she enters the life of the young Suguru, a lonely boy living on his own in need of some housekeeping.
The art is cute, though the story will remind you of Oh My Goddess, Hanaukyo Maid Team, Saber Marionette, Steel Angel Kurumi, and even Ai Yori Aoshi. However, if you're a sucker for the lonely-guy-gets-amazing-girl-to-live-with-him scenario (I am), then add this story to your list of things to get.
Hana-Kimi Vol. 2
Miyuki continues to hide her secret from the her all male classmates, and she hasn't figured out yet the Sano knows. This volume continues along the initial plot of getting Sano back into the highjump and Miyuki struggling to remain in the Osaka all-boys school. There's a first kiss, but no real relationships have formed yet, and they probably won't until Miyuki's secret is out.
There aren't any bonus originals in this manga, and besides the occasional sidenotes there isn't any extra material either. Overall, Hana-kimi continues to be riddled with light comedy and comprimising situations that bring our two protagonists closer to what we know is going to happen.
Eerie Queerie Vol. 2
Riddled with fan service and molestation thinly veiled as 'male bonding'. Eerie Queerie stops inches short at being a smutty Yaoi title and remains Shounen-ai (but does the slight difference in meaning really matter?) Every effort is made to give one person or another an excuse to get touchy feely with someone else, sometimes at the expense of a plausable plot, which has something to do with a priest trying to get into ghost-hasunuma's pants, and a smooch that cures the hiccups.
Eerie Queerie's artwork seems to have changed a little from the first volume, although it's possible that I've just gotten more aquainted with it. This volume comes with a full color fold out as a bonus, as well as a quick atogaki, or afterword.
Fake Vol. 7
Kiddies beware. If you thought that last six installments of Fake were a bit too risqué for you to leave where your parents might find them, make sure you've got a safe with a working lock for this one. Fake 7 is the last of the series, and is Ryo's last chance to come to terms with this feelings for his partner, so he takes it.
Most loose strings are picked up, and Ryo and Dee end up with a happy ending. The extra comic isn't the usual Bikky and Carol side story, but a bed scene that almost seems like an apology for all the sexual tension in all the previous books.
I picked up this series more for the interesting plot than anything else, and even with the sex it's still logical and pretty well written. If you've bought all the books up to volume 7, there isn't any reason why you shouldn't finish the series up. Just remember not to flip through the naughty scenes in the bookstore.