Midweek Manga Reviews: TGIF

Emma vols. 2 & 3
By: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: CMX

I’ll say it again, just like the first volume I did not think Emma was going to be my cup of English tea….hahaha, alright that was lame. Those covers, at least to me, looked like an American artist trying to imitate manga. In these two volumes Emma and the Young Master Jones go out on a tour of the historic Crystal Palace, which leads to an unexpected romantic evening together. But things are not meant to be because news of their love comes to the rest of the Jones household. Of course Eleanor is not happy to hear about this. This leads Emma to make a most drastic decision concerning her class-breaking relationship with William. Emma’s origins and her first meeting with Madame Stowner are shown in these volumes. We also see introduction of several new characters that will impact the series a little later. Emma eventually decides to leave London behind hoping to start anew elsewhere. Needless to say, these two volumes do a great job of shoving the young lovers into the reality of their forbidden love while providing a background for Emma and tons of character development. The art, as always, is beautiful and detailed with tons of work put into the historical setting. It is always a pleasure to see Emma negotiating the city when she goes on errands for her mistress. Mori uses grey tones to make the art in the book look antique. His author notes show a genuine enthusiasm for her subject, which is evident in the care and attention to detail that can be seen throughout this series. Mori went to a lot of effort to make each character, setting, and background unique and distinctive and succeeded brilliantly. Overall, it is great and well worth your time. It’s like Great Expectations only fun to read. A

Genshiken Volumes 1 and 2
Kio Shimoku
Del Rey

If you are a die hard anime/video game/manga geek (as in you would sell your mom for an original copy of Radiant Silver Gun), then you’ll appreciate all the references in Genskiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture. You don’t have to be completely fanatic to enjoy this manga about a geeky club though; I thought it was hilarious because Kanji, one of the main characters, is having a hard time allowing himself to express his true passions (such as porn fanzines) even though he is around his kind. Makoto, another new member, is oblivious to the fact that Saki (a hot, normal chick) is trying to get in his pants. She even plays Puyo Puyo with him and cosplays as a puyo in order to turn him on. Instead, he chooses to hang out with his nerdy friends and kick their butts at 2D fighting games. As the story progresses in volume two, Saki almost becomes the main character, which is cool with me. She’s got the most conflict going on.

Shimoku created a manga within a manga called Kuji-Un for the characters of this manga to read and geek out over. We find this really cool because Omar had bought these cute girl figures a while ago and now we know where they’re from! Apparently it got so popular in Japan that they created figurines of the managa within this manga! I thought the girls looked familiar…. Finally, you have to read the excerpts at the end of each chapter from the club’s fanzine – each one sounds like someone is really analyzing his favorite character from Kuji-Un, just like we do on About Heroes everyday. A

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