Luna’s Manga Reviews #2

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I love Manga’s and have been reading them for a long time but let’s be honest, as a hobby it’s an expensive one. So I’ve decided to split the series between those I think are worth saving up for & those I’d personally wouldn’t recommend.
Enjoy.

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for keeps

Title: Red River
Author: Chie Shinohara
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Volumes: 28
Series Rating: 4 Stars

Red River is about a fifteen-year-old girl named Yuri Suzuki, who is magically transported to Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia. She was summoned by Queen Nakia who means to use Yuri as a human sacrifice. Yuri’s blood is the key element needed in placing a curse upon the princes of the land so that they will perish, leaving Nakia’s son as the sole heir to the throne. As the story progress, however, Yuri not only repeatedly manages to escape Nakia’s scheming, she also becomes revered as an incarnation of the goddess Ishtar and falls in love with prince Kail.

Series Review: I was a bit hesitant about sticking this in the “for keeps” section given that at 28 books you’re looking at some serious financial output. If you can I’d recommend reading the first few books to see if you connect with Red River the same way I did.
Also, I want to add that despite the fact that I enjoyed this series I do think it would have done with losing a bit of the story, particularly towards the end. Queen Nakia is still scheming, we got it.

Having got that out of the way, let me tell you why I like this series.

Red River follows a Yuri as she gets dragged from modern Japan (via a puddle) to the Hittite Empire. This is at the time when Pharaoh Tutankhamen rules nearby Egypt. Yuri is there because the queen (Nakia) wants to use Yuri as a sacrifice for magic to make her son king. Yuri gets rescued by one of the other princes, Kail Mursili.

What follows is a lot of scheming by Queen Nakia to get Yuri back, not to mention the war’s between the Hittite Empire and their neighbours. The whole series if packed full of battles, intrigue, loss and love. At the centre Yuri grows from a school girl to an army commander.

The strengths of this story are also sometimes its weakness. Red River has a lot of characters and they keep coming back. The strength is that even those that die don’t get forgotten but have a lasting impact on Yuri and how she grows. The problem is that at some point you’re thinking; ‘who’s this again?’

I’ve read the first half of Red River multiple times and I still enjoy it.

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worthwhile investing in

Title: Death Note
Author: Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Thriller
Volumes: 12
Series Rating: volumes 1-7 = 4 Stars
………………….volumes 8-12 = 3 Stars

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Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, a death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil.

Series Review: What I like about this series is that the notebook, Death Note, is such a great discussion topic. The student at the heart of this story makes chooses one path, he says it’s for the greater good. “Bad people” begin to die and crime actually does go down. Does his plan for creating a crime-free utopia have merit? You could spend hours talking about this and I adore stories like that.

Misa-Misa_(blanc_et_noir)Death Note is incredibly intricate with many subplots. The first half of the series (which takes place over volumes 1-7) is in my opinion better than the second half. There is an cat and mouse game in the between Light and the super detective sent to catch him. Despite all the things Light does you do want to see if he can get away with this and it’s interesting to read how many turns the story takes.

Part 2 takes part a few years later and I found the story less engaging then before. The female characters in the series get reduced to mere play things for Light to manipulate.

Overall this is a series I would recommend searching out – definitely for the first 7 volumes.

 

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not worth it…

Title: MeruPeri
Author: Matsuri Hino
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Fairy-tale Fantasy
Volumes: 4
Series Rating: 2 Stars

On the way to school one morning, Airi loses her mirror – one that had been passed down to her through generations – and suddenly finds herself in a bizarre situation. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect Aram, a little boy from a magical kingdom, to have emerged from the mirror in the short time it took her to track it down!

Series Review: There is a wrongness to MeruPeri – Aram might “grow” due to his brother’s messed up spell but he’s still a little kid (he’s 7!) so after the first volume when Airi starts falling in like/love this starts getting uncomfortable.

Airi is 15 and Aram’s grown-up body is 17 and if he actually was 17  this would all be cheesy and cute. The fairy-tale aspect of a prince, a magical world and nice artwork but ARAM IS A KID! And I can’t get past that.

I’m awarding points for the artwork and the fact that the beginning of the story acknowledged the weirdness of this but then it just went wrong…

 

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bonus recommendation

Title: I Am Here! (Koko ni Iru Yo!)
Author: Ema Tōyama
Publisher: Del Rey / Kodansha Comics
Genre: Contemporary
Volumes: 2 Omnibus Editions
Series Rating: 4 Stars

Invisible to her classmates, Hikage Sumino is an eighth grader with no self-esteem. Her only friends are the visitors to her Internet blog. One day, the most popular boy in the grade suddenly talks to her. Encouraged by this twist of fate, Hikage determines to transform her life.

Series Review: Admittedly I first thought this would be a bit underwhelming but I actually really ended up loving Am Here! The story is a little predictable but the artwork is pretty and Hikage Sumino is a relatable character.

Due to an accident Hikage wasn’t there at the beginning of the school year, she’s quiet and incredibly shy so she’s become invisible to those around her. Slowly she becomes more confident, spurred on by her online friends and the friendship she begins to build with the boy from her class. The story works because Hikage is so endearing.

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2 thoughts on “Luna’s Manga Reviews #2

  1. I love the concepts of Red River. I’ll be sure to keep ot in mind when I pick up manga to read. And Deathnote is one of my long-time fav animu ever. Very thought-provoking and exciting read.

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