Monday Manga: Scum’s Wish

….I was halfway through when I decided I hated it. But I finished it and hated it more.

S Wish
Rating Summary

Art: 3 – Above Average

Story: 3 – Nothing exciting

Dialogue and Development: 3 – meh

Overall: 3.5 out of 5 –  It was just okay, but I was halfway through when I decided I hated it. But I finished it and hated it more.

*Contains Minor Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events of the manga. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading.

Plot: High school student Hanabi Yasuraoka has been in love with her older childhood friend who is now her homeroom teacher Narumi Kanai. But from the look in Narumi’s eyes when he sees the new music teacher Akane Minagawa, Hanabi realizes that he is in love with Akane and not her. Hanabi meets Mugi Awaya, another student who is in love with Akane, who was his tutor when he was in middle school. Hanabi and Mugi make a pact and begin a fake relationship to satisfy each other’s loneliness from their respective unrequited loves, both sexually and emotionally. They agree to not fall in love with each other and end the relationship if their love is returned from the people they are in love with. – Wikipedia

Hate it.

A triangle of unrequited love without so much of a an inkling of caring for this series. There is growth and forgiveness and  it is not for me. It’s all about bad choices and partially dealing with those consequences.

The main character Hanabi is your self-loathing kind of highschool girl that does have a rough time. She is at one point a starry-eyed girl that is in love with her older tutor, now teacher. Her best friend Sanae is in love with her, and Hanabi at some point might feel the same. . . wait a second.

Let me just stop before I go on a long rant and try to sum up weird stuff.

Hanabi + Mugi = get into a relationship for appearances and to cure their loneliness. They both “love” other characters and the story follows them in the seeking of those. At some point they both secretly admit to the audience that they do in fact in up liking each other in some form or another. I could really careless about Mugi.

Hanabi + Narumi = Narumi is Hanabi’s childhood friend and becomes her teacher. Hanabi just seems to be looking for that father figure. It was a childhood crush that I am glad didn’t transpire.

Mugi + Akane = Akane is a new music teacher at the school and has a penchant for living only to seduce. Akane likes the thrill of seduction and the audience gets of taste of how she cures her loneliness.  Ah Mugi is a highschool kid that bangs that hot teacher. Meh.

Akane + Narumi = You see what they did here? I’m gonna leave it at that. You might feel sorry for Narumi when he confronts Akane and says (summary), ” I know you sleep around, but as long as you come home to me I can handle it. Don’t tell me anything, just come home to me, I love you.” Ack! Emotionally taxing.

Hanabi + Sanae = Sanae is in love with Hanabi. Hanabi kind feels the same, but is more on the friend level. They stop being friends as Sanae needs some space after being rejected. Near the end of the series they become friends again. And they should be.  A+ to this plot.

Side plots involve Sanae’s cousin who has feelings for her. We learn of Mugi’s first sex partner, Mei who rushed him into doing the deed. Neither of these stories fill a void, but I guess there is some background to character development for you.

Did I mention: Hated it!

Everyone at some point gets their emo moment of “Oh look at me. I’m dead in side”. Everyone is in this manga. The over arching theme is loneliness and how these people get over it. Or how they mope about it and bring others emotionally down. There is reconciliation between many of the characters, but I just couldn’t care any more. I was done halfway through. I felt sorry for no one in this book, except for Sanae.

The story was a little longer than it should have been. Everyone seems to turn out okay in the end. Hanabi makes the realization that she should be happy with herself and improve upon that.

I guess the only way to tie up this review is to grab Hanabi by the shoulders and look her dead in the eye and say: “Love yourself girl. You don’t need no man to know you are worthy. ”

Tentacle out.

 

Monday Manga: Shaolin Sisters: Vol 1

3 Sisters, 3 Bells. = 3 of 5 stars

3 Sisters
Rating Summary

Art: 3 – Average

Story: 3 – Average so far

Dialogue and Development: 3 – quick development that could have been stretched over the first two books, to give more history of the characters.

Overall: 3 out of 5

“Juline Kenga’s life changes suddenly when the school she was living at is attacked, leaving only her alive. As his final act, the kung-fu master gives her a small bell from her father, a missing powerful sorcerer. Now Juline must search for her two half sisters, each who possess their own special bells. She and her sisters must use the secret of the bells to find their father and defeat Bai Wang, a sorceress on a sacred mountain who wants the power of the bells for herself.” ~ AnimeNewsNetwork (ANN)

*Contains Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events in the first volume of the manga. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading.

Still here? Let’s move on.

While browsing the local used bookstore for their fine collection of manga, this tentacle looked to break from its romantic comedy and harem-esque manga it finds itself consistently going back to by no fault of its own. It was looking for something different to break beyond the barriers of its comfort zone and expand into the universe of martial arts action manga. Something without too much top busting and cloths ripping fan service and something slightly focused on a good story with action.

While pursuing the aisles (yes, plural, it’s great to have manga supported locally nearby), a staff member came up to inquire if this tentacle needed assistance (sure enough, it did). Commenting on this middle-aged otaku’s shirt, the staff member proceeded to ask questions of interest to help narrow down the subject matter needed for choosing the proper material to start this exploration into action and adventure.

After narrowing down the selection, she recommended an easy read with a compelling storyline to start the travels. The choice was between the two: mecha or martial arts. As a martial arts film fanatic, we chose the later and proceeded through a few title before settling on the first volume of what could be a fun series: Shaolin Sisters.

The opening scenes feature Juline Kenga, martial artist and heir to a sacred martial arts clan. She is off on excursion to a nearby spring to bathe before a morning of training. The art in this section is standard to the classic semi-heavy lines of manga illustration, taking into consideration of the properly illuminated areas to offer a bit of early fan service in the first few pages. While we don’t mind the fan service, as it is a staple in all genres, it was a bit early and one should know it is the only part here in this first chapter that is presented. Hopefully, it doesn’t make a consistent appearance in the series, but it serves the purpose of getting the reader’s attention.

Minor rant over, we move on to find Juline being found by servant of the clan that was sent to answer a summons from the master. As it is in many stories of many young masters of the martial arts, she is late for an important training. Without much delay, she readies herself and rushes back to the training hall excited to begin practice.

It is during this time of her morning dip, that the old kung-fu master and all members of the clan are under assault of one of many antagonists, King Baiwon. Baiwon looks to collect three artifacts said to hold magical powers to aid his rule of the people. When Juline arrives, she finds everyone, but a few survivors, that have been outright slaughtered off panel. Including the injured and slowly dying master who then informs Juline of her past.

The master informs Juline of her past and that her father has left her a present. A single bell that is said to be infused with magical abilities. He tells her that it is one of three bells given to each of the owner’s daughters, and that she was one of these sisters. The dying master entrusts her with the bell and the knowledge that she now must find her two sisters, who each maintain similar bells.

3 Bells
Fast pace forward…

In succession the manga moves pretty forward in her travels to find her sisters. When she gets closer to her first sister, Kaline in a nearby village, their bells ring out for each other. When Juline tells Kaline of her story, Kaline is hesitant but joins her in the quest to reunite the three bells. It fast forward even more quickly and we find the third and final sister with the last bell. When in close proximity, all three bells ring out with Juline telling her story. While Seiline, who is a pirate captain does not believe her two sisters and says they must prove their worth. The challenged has been accepted by Juline and will face the eldest sister Seiline in combat to prove her connection of a common father.

Cliff hanger ending.

This is where the first volume of Shaolin Sisters ends, just before the family duel. Is this first volume interesting enough to continue the adventure into the next book? That’s a great question this tentacle is struggling with. It has potential to take off, but the fast introduction, development of character and story does not hold its attention. What can be said is that it is a jump into the action type of story and moves at a pace readers will like for a fighting manga. It should be a quick series to finish. Volume 2 currently sits on the nightstand but hasn’t been picked up yet. Maybe this weekend. Will everyone be kung-fu fighting?

Let’s sum it all up out of 5.

Art: 3 – Standard. Good solid lines and proportions of the characters are not distracting. Nothing outlandish.

Story: 3 – It could be an interesting read, it just moves a little too quick for me.

Dialogue and Development: 3 – quick development that could have been stretched over the first two books, to give more history of the characters.

Overall: 3

Monday Manga: Fuuka Me or Fuuka Yuu

*Contains Spoilers*

Fuuka“Fuuka is a sequel to the 2004 manga Suzuka. The story follows Yuu Haruna, a loner and an avid Twitter user that made a promise with his childhood friend Koyuki Hinashi of starting a band. One night, on his way to buy dinner, he stops to take a photo to upload to Twitter. A strange high school girl named Fuuka Akitsuki accidentally bumps into him and mistakenly believes that Yuu is trying to take a photo of her panties, which causes her to smash his phone. Fuuka leaves behind a CD, which Yuu returns the following day. Appreciating Yuu’s personality, Fuuka starts a relationship with him, but this is complicated when Koyuki, now a popular idol, contacts Yuu on Twitter and invites him to attend her concert.”

~ Wikipedia

The following review is a hodgepodge of several thoughts on a review of the manga, Fuuka. TG didn’t get a chance to write this Sunday for Monday posting, till lunch on Monday. Therefore, it is an unedited stream of consciousness of being food starved. It’s a little messy.

Rating Summary

Art: 3 – Average

Story: 4 – Good

Dialogue and Development: 4 – Good

Overall: 4 out of 5

*Contains Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events in the manga in the 142 chapters currently out on Simulpub on CrunchyRoll.com manga section. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading. **Note: this only covers the Manga, not the recent season of the Anime**

Still here?

So from the above wiki entry you can see that this is going to be a common high school love triangle between Yuu, Koyuki, and Fuuka. While in some aspects this may be a little true it, it develops into a beautiful tragedy about the idea of love, fulfilling dreams (even if they don’t start out as your own), and moving forward in life.

So we start with Yuu Haruna who lives on the internet via his cell phone, with a specific focus on twitter. Yuu lives with his three sisters. Maya, who is the oldest and is the current mother of the house where they all rent. Hibiki is the second oldest sister that seems to lack cloths when on the page being condescending to Yuu. Then you have the young energy filled child Chitose, who has a touch of a serpent fang when she teases her older brother.

Let’s start with the opening scenes of the series. As you flip through the opening pages, there is our bumbling idiot (of course) the teenage boy named, Yuu consumed by his phone and playing on twitter while walking home. Within no time a young teenage female protagonist Atkitsuki Fuuka is seen leaping into the page with headphones on and music blaring. What do you know? The smack into each other with their material possessions flying everywhere. Fuuka accuses poor Yuu and being a pervert (are we surprised?) and taking an upskirt shot of the first (spoiler) heroine of the series. Of course she smashes the phone and runs off and leaving a CD behind. In his grief and embarrassment, Yuu picks it up with the intent to hopefully return it.
Yuu the pervert

Plot twist, it seems they go to the same school. This is where the intertwined friendship starts and a possible romance buds. They become friends and Fuuka helps crack Yuu’s shell of lack of social skills as the series progresses. We introduce Makoto Mikasa, Fuuka’s gay best friend, who seems to be the level head and silent logic of the group. Kazuya Nachi who wants Fuuka to join the track team and help lead them to victory (this plot never happens with good reason). He is the oldest and worrisome character of the bunk. Then we get Sara Iwami who comes off as a cold stoic female of the group and is actually a friend of Yuu’s (unknowingly) on twitter at first before meeting in real life.

So I’ve covered the beginning chapters  of character introductions and I’ll summarize the plot here. Fuuka is the lost soul who doesn’t know what she wants to do and Yuu is the fool who slowly grows into a person. Fuuka likes Yuu and he is confused in the beginning and figures they are just good friends. Yuu helps Fuuka decide what she wants to do in life and that is make music and be a singer. The group of four start a band, meet their idols who inspire them and just happen to be the most popular band in all of the past decade, the Hedgehogs.

Meanwhile the love triangle interest of Koyuki, who is a Teen Idol and a childhood friend of Yuu, makes waves in Yuu and Fuuka’s friendship to interrupt their budding relationship. Fuuka and Koyuki become friends and past secrets of love are spilled. Time goes on, all are friends, Koyuki declares her unrequited love for Yuu on a television show. Of course, Koyuki’s fans threaten Yuu and things get a bit rushed from there. So Yuu and the crew’s band are actually known and Fallen Moon, with their first concert at the student festival during the scandal. Things happen, Fallen Moon does a cool performance etc etc.

At some point the plot arc of the love triangle comes to a head, and Koyuki corners the two and asks Fuuka if she can still love Yuu while they love each other. It’s a hard blow to Fuuka and Yuu as the admit their feelings to each other and plan for it not affect the band. A cutie romance ensues and the band begins to attempt to make a name for themselves. On the eve of a big gig, Fuuka doesn’t appear. Why?
awwww

She’s hit by a freaking bus. Fuuka Akitsuki is dead.

Thoughts up to this point: Well that is the biggest freaking plot twist you do not see coming. It was shocking and angry when it happened. Thought it was the end of the manga, then you realize there are so many more chapters left.

More plot summary:  The tentacle is going to wrap this up as quickly as one can without talking the whole plot of the manga to you.

Grief becomes the theme of the story arc and how will Yuu and the rest deal with what went down. Well they decided to carry on and become the biggest band since the Hedgehogs, because that’s what Fuuka Akitsuki would want. They drop out of high school and focus on the band full time, going through the trials of tribulations of their first road tour and signing to a failing label ran by a former superstar producer.

Along the way you meet another bands like Le Bard, and the Rabbitz (which is a front for Koyuuki in disguise as she ends her idol career), along with assorted cast members as they try to make their way to the top.

So a key moment this tentacle hasn’t added yet during these stories is the entrance of Fuuka Aoi, a fellow singer who ran into Yuu as a street musician who is trying to make it big. They become friends and develop feelings for each other which is about where we leave off the current state, right before a big gig.

Lets rewind a second. During the push forward of Fallen Moon, Yuu and Aoi fates are intertwined from either the spirit of Fuuka Akitsuki or by the Hedgehogs themselves. A great stint sets up Aoi joining the band, where they change the name to Blue Wells. There is a little festival thrown by the Hedgehogs where they invite Fallen Moon and Aoi, along with other new up and coming artist to perform. The secret goal by the Hedgehogs is to see if the next great thing will show up. Little this, and little that, Fallen Moon performs a few of their songs with Aoi at a makeshift stage and draw everyone in the festival to them.

So that starts the chain of events where Fuuka Aoi and Yuu begin their love affair as they move forward as band mates. The authors treat us to a chapter where it seems Fuuka and Fuuka have met once during a summer vacation. Kind of lame, but you can see it coming. Major Spoiler: Fuuka’s dad was driving the truck that killed Fuuka.

So current state of chapter 142 is the band Blue Wells is missing Fuuka before a live gig. In the tangled web of miscommunication between her and Yuu, he rushes to find her.

Now you are mostly caught up from what this tentacle can remember of all 142 chapters.

Final Thoughts:

It’s pretty entertaining so far, and you get the classic high school love triangle serialization from the get go. That arc, in and of itself, develops over a progress story centered on Fuuka through the eyes of Yuu. Meeting friends following her dream of making music in a band with people she cares for.

Then much like the derailing of events that hit you like a bus (bad pun), the story switches the focus to angle on Yuu and the band as they progress forward with Aktsuki’s dream. But the catch is, it becomes their dream and their goals. They move forward.

While the manga does travel the length of Yuu becoming a person and growing, what isn’t covered here in this review is the break from Yuu and anyone named Fuuka. We gain character development of Mikasa and his family when he makes the choice to focus on the band and not follow in the family footsteps.

You get to see Sara grow in her social awkwardness but still maintain a life on social media that you see Yuu just drop. But Sara has always been able to put her phone down and live her life in a stoic like balance of her personality. She’s rude, crass and blunt to the point where she doesn’t know it. She’s one of my favorite characters. Even Kazuya has early growth when he decides not to focus on the track team and follow Fuuka down the path of music.

It’s these little plot points and side trips of story arc that drive the story forward. With regression for a part that is stretched a little too thin or just lame (see Fuuka meeting Fuuka chapter). I feel there is a bit of forced disconnectedness that didn’t need to be there. But so it is written, it has come to pass.

Blue Wells

Let’s sum it all up out of 5.

Art: 3 – Standard for this type of weekly manga. Nothing stands out as different from other music mangas.

Story: 4 – I have to say the story of the side arcs give this a boost from a 3 to a 4. Could be a 5 but the parts that felt forced deducted 1.

Dialogue and Development: 4 – There characters that this tentacle likes, hates, and could care less about. This tentacle is involved.

Overall: 3.6 round up to a 4