Wednesday, June 27, 2012

51 Ways to Save Your Girlfriend and Yourself

Disaster stories always walk a fine line between being poignant and being contrived. This comes from the fact that most of the plot points can really only run on the extreme side. Since the situation and setting are all an extreme, the rest of the story and characters must follow suit. What follows is usually the deterioration of humanity and a bleek outlook on the future. While they do make the audience or reader think, they usually leave a 'been there, read that' impression.

I thought all of this while I was reading 51 Ways to Protect Her written and drawn by Furuya Usamaru. He is the man who brought us Litchi no Hikari Club and it's sequel Bokura no Hikari Club, so it is not surprising that there would be more graphic depictions of rape and murder. This manga has obvious pros and cons with using such points as rape, post traumatic stress syndrome, and survival all rolled together to create a society on the edge. I'll be looking into how they are used throughout the manga, which is only 5 volumes long.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Shaman King and Racial Stereotypes

There are days where I miss a good old fashioned shounen manga. Not the new ones that are epic in length and are only continuing because the editors want to keep the money rolling in. As great as Naruto, One Piece, Conan, and HunterXHunter are, they really need an ending. I miss the shounen that actually have a well put together plot, characters that are not purposely made to be annoying, and new ideas. I attribute a lot of these changes to the fact that publishing companies are milking their money cow to the last drop and are forcing mangaka to keep a story going even when they want to end it.

Of course, being as shounen manga is aimed at a much younger audience than I, by 15 years, the reason why I could find some of them repetitive is unsurprising. Young boys don't care about seeing anything but cool moves and friendship until they get a little older and understand that in a lot of ways, nothing really happens in those manga till the ending finally comes around. The publishing giants know how to keep them coming back.

I was really excited by Shaman King. It wasn't ridiculously clique, I genuinely liked all the characters, and different races and cultures were actually active and important parts of the narrative. Yet the more I kept reading, the more stereotypical characters of different races and cultures got. Overall the manga was enjoyable, but those stereotypes were what really struck me about the manga.