Well, I haven’t been feeling motivated to write about anime, but what the hell, there’s always manga. Right now, there’s no “when is it updating?” title out there, the way Negima was for so long. (The less said about its ending, the better.) In general, I’m reading anything with the ecchi tag except for yaoi, loli, and martial arts.
The last is negotiable; I read Girls of the Wild and liked it — once the male lead started getting over his own cowardice. The girls were cute enough — and complex enough — to carry the story for several “volumes.” I put that in quotes and I’m not scoring it, because it’s actually a translated webcomic, and this is supposed to be about manga. It also has at least one villain I would be tempted use my new gun to shoot dead on the spot, if I ever met him in real life.
Ok, so let’s actually write about manga now, hm? There’s Otogi no Machi no Rena for starters. I’m going to describe this manga, and you’re going to get a really bad impression of it. “Rena, a sixteen year old cheerleader and generally “good” girl, is possessed by a lust spirit that drives her into an uncontrollable sexual frenzy in order to get her to have indiscriminate sex, after which she births a dozen or more new physical incarnations of the spirits. These start out about roach-sized but grow to resemble (albeit roughly) black house-cats — with over-sized antennae. Grown ones can also posses other women (although they’re picky), and do the same to them in turn.”
About right now, visions of some really bad hentai manga are probably going through your head, right? Well, in a word: No. It’s not even really very ecchi most of the time (not graphic, but still probably NSFW). The spirits are symbiotic; they’re quite protective of their “mother” but lack any kind of common sense, resulting in bizarre situations. OtoRena, as I call it for short, is actually a comedy-light drama about a young girl, and eventually, her chosen lover, trying to solve an utterly impossible problem. Can they keep her reputation intact, hide her secret, and fend off the boy’s father/town mayor, who engineered the whole thing and wants to use the lust demons to put his village on the map as a tourist location? Grade C
Ratman is another comedy-light drama (safe for work). In a world where superheroes are as much corporate spokesmen and PR, Shoota is just a kid with big dreams of being a hero like Shining Man. Years ago, Shining Man saved him, and gave him some advice on being a hero. But Shoota is just an ordinary kid, known as a hero-otaku in his high school. He gets powers and his chance when tricked by a cute but standoffish classmate into becoming… a villain? And worse, one of his classmates is the hyper-capable daughter of the CEO of the country’s largest commercial supergroup! The comedy begins, but over time there’s an increasingly dark undertone slowly emerging. Shining Man might have given Shoota more than just advice before he disappeared years ago… Grade: B+ dropped from A- due to over-emphasis of minor characters lately.
Nozoki Ana is the weirdest kind of love story (very NSFW). Through the wall between two college students’ apartments there exists a small crack. Kido Tatsuhiko notices Nozoki Ana next door, who tends to run around her apartment undressed… and often masturbates right across from the peephole. It’s a trap though, as she blackmails him into… a mutual peeping arrangement? At times she’s sweet, and other times she’s an absolute bitch with a smile. Which one is the real her, and what is she up to? Their lives and loves become increasingly intertwined. Nozoki is the anti-moe sexy type — the author draws really attractive, realistic looking women with different body shapes, not the generic “big tits & ass” look that most artists produce. Grade: C , but the major weakness of the story is that she’s one f**ked up bitch at times. Emphasis on the bitch.
Hero Co. Ltd returns to the “corporate hero” theme, this time with a much darker edge (moderately NSFW). People die in this one, quite bloodily. Again the protagonist is a youngster who has more ambition than power…or does he? The manga-ka isn’t very smooth with his story-telling skills, leading to a fair amount of un-eveness and confusion. Sequences often begin like there are missing pages, and I suspect there might be due to editors, given his tendency to waste panels. but he also penned the funniest chase sequence I’ve ever seen without touching any of the usual tropes. Can you imagine the recklessness of drunk superheroes trying to apprehend a chance-met criminal after a hard night’s partying? Grade: D+ due to the uneven story-telling.
Blasts From the Past (previously reviewed)
Freezing seems to have lost its way, turning into a soap opera with a whole bunch of vipers in power; treachery, fear, unethical research, and political machinations have become the focus. Worse, the author seems to have forgotten the main girl and gotten more interested in the backstory of the school council president. Meanwhile Kazuya’s relationship with Satellizer is in a holding pattern while he’s now plagued by a third girl — his cousin and fiancee! She’s willingly part of some kind of project that Dr. Aoi, their mutual grandfather, is up to behind the scenes, and it requires them to marry. Grade: F / Dropped
It’s a shame that the anime of The World God Only Knows never got to the Goddess arc, which spanned an epic 90-odd issues. Fortunately, the OVA should at least address the beginning of it. The arc finally ended a few issues ago, but now there’s the aftermath, both personal and otherwise. A loose end suggests a cover-up, and the Goddesses send Keima and Elle into the past to investigate. For the first time, he has reset options if he fails — and he’s going to need them, because he’s trapped in his 7-year-old body! Other problems will be waiting when Keima returns, because for the first time, multiple girls remember his conquests — and so do their goddesses! Has Keima obtained an unwanted harem of 3D girls and more deities than Keichi Morisato? Oh, make a note. Keima’s mother was HOT back in the day. (She’s no slouch even in the present.) Grade: C
The competition of the shrine maidens for the Dragon God’s affection in Umi no Misaki, hits a new level, as the ancient priestess decides that the girls are basically blocking each other. Goto Nagi is told he must chose one, and soon. To ensure this, the three shrine maidens will now take turns spending a night with Nagi — alone. What could easily (maybe even expectedly) be a farcical comedy situation is totally serious, as all three are determined to get in bed with him. Will they succeed in capturing Nagi’s affections, and have sex? In a word: Yes. And No. The plot takes a series of unexpected twists, as Nagi comes to realize something…he really is the reincarnation of the Dragon God. Moreover, the identity of one of the villagers turns out to be even more surprising. Worse, why is Nagi being told that choosing the wrong girl may result in his being killed by her? Grade: C+ as Nagi is just not curious enough about the island’s mysteries.