A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 10, 2012}   Comics and manga of the week (57)

7 Shakespeares, volume 1 (French) by Harold Sakuishi

  • A new series by the author of one of my favorite manga: Beck. This one is about Shakespeare as the title suggests though this first volume is more concerned with a girl named Li, a chinese immigrant in 16th century Liverpool with the gift of prophecy. A sad and beautiful story. The narrative flow reminds me of Urasawa’s Billy Bat. I can’t wait to find out how Li is related to Shakespeare.

Amulet, volume 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi

  • In volume 5 of this all-ages fantasy adventure, we learn more about the origins of the war with the elves and the sinister voice from Emily’s stone. It’s atmospheric and exciting: I can’t wait to find out more.

Black Rose Alice, volume 4 (French) by Setona Mizushiro

  • While the vampires countinue to court her, Alice finds the diary of Akiko, a young woman who lived with them decades before her. Will the new knowledge affect her choice of lover, change which of the vampires she will help reproduce? A strange and beautiful tale where vampires are plants living in symbiosis with insects and need the love of a human woman to carry on their line.

Countdown Days, volume 3 by Karakara Kemuri

  • Hanasuke is, temporarily, dead and has 3 more days to help his guardian spirit solve a string of mysterious deaths. But all of humanity may be drawn into a dark underworld before they’re down. A quirky interesting series but the plot is starting to get a bit muddled.

Crash, volume 4 (French) by Yuka Fujiwara

  • Crash’s debut song was a success, now they must work together to write a second song and prepare for a battle of the bands that might make or break their career. This lively, cheesy series about show business is not always realistic but it’s always good fun. For the moment it focuses more on the “friendship” between the boys than any kind of romance so look for love elsewhere.

Family Compo, volume 12 (French) by Tsukasa Hojo

  • A girl from Shion’s past declares her love for her not caring, she says, whether Shion is a boy or a girl. This forces Masahiro to confront his feelings for her. This is the last volume of Hojo’s cross-dressing series and I’m glad that the issue of Shion’s sex was never resolved. I do wish that Hojo had shown that love beyond gender was possible, however.

H2, volume 30 to 33 (French) by Mitsuru Adachi

  • Hiro and Hideo are both headed for the national baseball tournement at Koshien. They will finally face each other in the semi-finals. But more is at stake than a game of ball: their love for Hideo’s girlfriend Hikari is also on the line. Though Adachi’s art lacks diversity (place any of his series side by side and you will see what I mean), he perfectly captures the excitement of high school sports and the sweet passionate friendships and romance of adolescence. There’s a touch of nostalgia about all his works. Only one more volume to go. I honestly have no idea how this series will end but I look forward to finding out.

Library Wars, volume 8 by Kiiro Yumi

  • Iku is mortified to find out that Dojo was her prince all along and the team mobilizes against a molester in the library. I like how Iku’s awakening to her feelings was handled and as usual this series is a wonderful defender of access to information and against censorship. As a librarian I can’t help but love it.

Parfait Tic!, volume 21 (French) by Nagamu Nanaji

  • While Fuko is still dealing with her break up with Daiya she learns some troubling news: either Daiya or Ichi will be moving to China at the end of the school year. Though she still loves Daiya, she decides to make the most of her last days with him. This is the first Parfait Tic volume in a will that hasn’t made me sob uncontrollably. But don’t worry, volume 22 is the last one and I’m sure it will be heartbreaking.

Otomen, volume 13 by Aya Kanno

  • It’s the judo edition of Otomen! Ryo helps out a failing judo club dressed as a man and Asuka feels insecure about their relationship. A sweet, fun volume of a series that refuses gender conventions.

Skull Kickers, volume 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body by Jim Zub and Eowin Huang

  • Two mercenaries, a huge gunman and a dwarf, will take on any job no matter how gross or violent if the money is good. This doesn’t endear them to the local authorities or to the demons and undead running amok. An amusing, action-packed medieval fantasy but a little light on plot and character development. The best part: the sound effects.

Silver Diamond, volume 2 (French) by Shiho Sugiura

  • A killer is sent from the other world to take out Chigusa and all who accompany him. However, they do not count on Rakan’s power over plants nor the protectiveness that Chigusa and Narushige feel for the boy. There’s some hints of BL in the air though nothing concrete. A solid fantasy series, I’m curious to see where it is headed.

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