What I Just Read: "Another" and "Otomen" Volume 16 (Manga Reviews)

Title: Another
Story: Yukito Ayatsuji
Art: Hiro Kiyohara
US Publisher: Yen Press
ISBN: 978-0316245913

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions:

I couldn’t get passed the first few episodes of the anime because it was too slow, but in manga form I can follow it.  Wow… does nobody notice the mass psychosis? All right, I’m going to put aside the absurdity of this curse and accept and enjoy the story that’s being told.

Breakdown —

Artwork A: The color pages are gorgeous and the comic artwork is uncluttered. There is a lot of focus on faces and eyes, while having just enough background to indicate place and mood.  The characters look like middle schoolers, the adults look like adults, and there’s very little fanservice to distract from the story.  There is also nice use of screentones to create the dark atmosphere. The artwork balances well with the story — it supports the story rather than overshadowing the story.

Presentation A- : This is tome! The thickness made it difficult to read in the tub and the gym. I think it would have been better to break it into two volume omnibuses rather than packing all 4 volumes into one book. However, the book is so lovely that all is forgive.  The cover is striking.  The hot pink and contrasting purple and gray appeal to me. There are quite a few lovely color page between each volume. And then there’s the large size. I love larger size manga because my eyesight is crap and I need larger text. The translation also read smoothly and naturally.  Needless to say, at $17.99, this is an excellent bargain considering it’s four volumes ($4.50/volume!!!).

Story B: The story itself is ridiculous. While reading this, so many solutions to the “curse” crossed my mind, including the most obvious solution of everybody recognizing the mass psychosis. Curse stories usually annoy me in this sense because they become self-fulfilling prophecies. But… the curse must be forced or else there would not be a story.  The central mystery of the story doesn’t become apparent until the end. Once the revelation of how to stop the curse is made, the story becomes very paced paced and nail-biting. I like Sakakibara and Mei, the two main characters. The side characters were good too, accept for the crazy wench that goes all Lord of the Flies toward the end. I didn’t like her and I suppose that was the point of her nasty character.

Overall A-: This is an enjoyable read if you accept the curse and let the story take you into its world.  The artwork is nice and the presentation is excellent.  I encourage readers to purchase this omnibus.  At $17.99, you will get a lot of bang for your buck.

Title: Otomen Volume 16
Story and Art: Aya Kanno
US Publisher: Viz — Shojo Beat
ISBN:  978-1421554808

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Mini Review: C+
Ryo and the Otomen boys put on a play and Asuka’s mom decides to save her son from his feminine ways by ruining his life. This volume closes the Yamato arc and in general signals the series is ending soon. I was kinda “meh” about this volume, but it was a quick read, so I was okay with it. Obviously the series had run too long, so the entire volume felt like filler, with a sudden rush of plot at the end. The rushed feeling at the end is kinda weird considering that there are 2 more volumes to go!

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