Mazy Kazerooni
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Atom Pocket Biography manga October 12, 2016

 EAT-MAN

            Eat-Man  • Akihito Yoshiomi

            Repetitive superhero series in a vaguely Wild Western sci-fi setting. Bolt Crank, a mercenary good guy of few words, wanders the planet performing impossible missions; he has the power to eat metal objects and later cause them to reappear, assembled from scratch, in his hand. The stories are extremely repetitive; Bolt’s powers act as a deus ex machina for every situation, as he produces guns, machinery, vehicles, boats, and so on out of his hand. At only two volumes, the English edition ends before Yoshiomo’s stiff art reaches its peak of proficiency.

 EDU-MANGA

            Atomu Poketto Jinbutukan, “Atom Pocket Biography”

            Educational manga from Tezuka Productions about the lives of historical figures, with the Astro Boy characters slotted in for kid appeal. Astro boy and his friends (looking distinctly off-model) appear in the introduction and a series of Q&A pages; otherwise, these are straightforward manga adaptations of the lives of famous people, including Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Helen Keller. The stripped-down, amateurish art and bland translation rob the stories of much of their strength, although it’s impossible to totally destroy the emotional impact of a life such as Helen Keller’s. The presence of Astro Boy is charming but, from a Western perspective, inescapably odd. The books also include text biographies and timelines, useful references for grade-schoolers writing reports. 

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The Golden Cord review October 3, 2016

CONFIDENTIAL CONFESSIONS: DEAI

            Reiko Momochi • Deai, “Phone Dating”  • Tokyopop (2006) • Kodansha (Dessert, 2003) • 2 volumes • Shôjo, Suspense, Drama • 16+ (brief language, brief violence, nudity)

            The only Confidential Confessions story more than one volume long, Deai focuses on Japan’s subculture of cell phone text-messaging dating services (deai-kei). Rika, a girl who lives with her father and stepmother, gets involved in phone dating and organizes a sort of not-quite-prostitution ring with her friends, selling their time and underwear to perverts and lonely old men. What starts almost innocuously soon goes horribly wrong, and the story takes a turn into crime and suspense. The story is hardly groundbreaking (compare to the sleazier, stupider, but more energetic Voyeurs Inc.), but the plot is decently told, and the art is generic but cute.

Akatsuki no yona manga

            Kiniro no Cord, “The Golden Cord”  • Yuki Kure • Viz (2006–ongoing) • Hakusensha (LaLa, 2003–ongoing) • 7+ volumes (ongoing) • Shôjo, Fantasy, Performance, Drama • 13+

            An adaptation of the popular dating sim game of the same name, the manga follows Kahoko Hino, an average girl who one day sees the music fairy that lives on her high school campus. The fairy gives her a magic violin and enters her in the school’s prestigious music competition, where Kahoko must learn to play her magical instrument while dealing with a veritable harem of accomplished young men. The first two volumes lack energy as the premise and characters are introduced; however, the series begins to show promise in the later volumes as characters unveil their hidden depths. The art is quite nice, with loving attention paid to the character designs of the bishônen.

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