Kate Dacey-Tsuei is the Senior Manga Editor at PopCultureShock. When she isn/'t peppering her prose with gratuitous references to Robert Moses and Toshiro Mifune, she likes to read, run, and listen to Russian music. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and her dog, both of whom are very tolerant of her excessive manga-reading habit.
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May 13th, 2007 by Katherine Dacey-Tsuei Bookmark this post
Though I’m a stalwart champion of more sober, mature titles such as Times of Botchan and Blue Spring, there are times when my inner fangirl demands the comic equivalent of a Pop Rocks chaser for all that manga broccoli. I recently found myself craving just such a bit of mental junk food, so I picked up Black Sun Silver Moon (Go!Comi). My inner critic would have a field day enumerating the book’s shortcomings, from the one-note characters to the barely-there plot and dreadful “supplemental” story that’s as long (if not longer) than the volume’s three chapters. That inner fangirl, however, lapped up every page. Hot priests? Yes, please! Insanely cute undead dogs? Sign me up! Lots of unconsummated romantic tension? Sounds good to me! Slapstick and zombie-slaying? Oh my! Yes, I already hate myself for loving this manga so much—I realize that my Catholic upbringing and soft spot for dogs are contributing to my unholy enthusiasm for Black Sun Silver Moon. But against my better judgment, I’d still recommend it. Am I still blushing?
Another recent guilty pleasure is Johnny Hiro. This delightful one-shot comic has a little something for everyone: a giant lizard for monster lovers; a giant robot for manga maniacs; a wise-cracking hero who’s sure to appeal to Scott Pilgrim fans; and an extended cameo appearance by the country’s most famous mayor, Mike Bloomberg. If only building the Second Avenue subway were as easy as cleaning up after a rampaging Godzilla wannabe! Click here for a preview and more commentary from PopCultureShock’s own resident comic book geeks Brendan McGuirk and Adan Jimenez.
Since Trinity Blood went off the air, I’ve been hankering for a new series to take its place. I’d hoped that Bleach would help fill that viewing void, but I’ve found the most recent story arc a loud, tedious affair that’s a chore to watch. So imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying Blood+. On the surface, the series looks like just another exercise in vampirism with a sailor-suited schoolgirl taking on bloodsucking creatures called Chiropterans. But the creators have gone to great pains to balance the slice-and-dice scenes with a surprisingly engrossing domestic drama involving Saya’s (said schoolgirl) efforts to fit into her foster family. There’s also political intrigue involving the US military base at Okinawa, where a handful of American generals have authorized sinister genetic experiments. And did I mention the handsome assassin who assists Saya? At the slightest provocation, he’ll whip out his cello to play a bit of Bach. Or dispatch a Chiropteran. For more information on the series, click here.
FYI: These mini-reviews have previously appeared in my personal blog. Look for another installment of Great Guilty Pleasures in June!