A Proper Wife by Chikae Ide
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I loved Chikae Ide’s artwork. There were so many large splash pages that are just begging to be coloured… even though this is obviously not a colouring book. Everything is so crisp and clear! Plus, I am so pleased with the constant barrage of flowery backdrops!
As for the plot, it was short, and very undeveloped compared to most other shoujo/josei manga I’ve read. But compared to other Harlequin manga, it has one of the stronger stories. It was light, fast-paced and completely ridiculous. I had a lot of fun reading it!
Thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review.
*Originally posted on GoodReads
I’ve been pretty hyped to read this after hearing so many great things about the anime; many people touting this story as a “masterpiece”.
I’m less enthused after reading it than I was expecting. It has one major flaw in my eyes and that is it is written by a yaoi author. i.e. she brings with it a lack of character development. Because most yaoi series tend to be on the shorter side (at least what has been released here) authors have to develop their characters quickly. And they can do this because they are working with stock characters. The uke and seme are the most common character types complete with defining relationship roles, personality (both private and public), and even artistic design. If you’re a regular reader of the genre, you will instantly pick out which character belongs to which static character type and can enjoy the quick-ride which is the story.
But this is not yaoi (it might have some gay characters, but that doesn’t define the genre). So, it’s quick character development isn’t enough to engender an emotional response from readers. It falls flat. And this is my primary issue with this story.
It could make a recovery though. The way the story is structured could indicate that the two male character’s will get more focus throughout the story as Kumota unveils their intentions and feelings. But other characters, like the lead female character doesn’t have much left to give. Her character has been laid bare, and her intentions/motivations clear.
But the story! The story! The story could save this for me. It is one of the most unique subjects I’ve read about. It’s about a young man recently released from prison. While he was in prison he heard the comedic storytelling (rakugo) of the legendary master Yakumo Yurakutei and decided to become his apprentice. He persuades Yakumo to take him on, and is eager to get started to learn the art of rakugo.
This is the first time I’ve read anything about rakugo. I’ve had a little exposure to it through watching Japanese television. But, this purely Japanese art-form is fascinating to me to read about.
Now all Kumota needs is to develop her characters a bit more and this will be a great manga…I’ll wait!
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
by Moto Hagio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was so fantastic! I’m not generally a fan of short stories, but these were so wonderfully created and curated. They generally follow themes of past regret or finding your place in your family. The stories varied quite a lot in form and genre, but were delivered with with a similar feel. The artwork was stunning, especially in the title comic. Those reds! Gorgeous!
I did think there were translation issues with one of the comics. But I may be interpreting the interpretation wrong.
I guess the only real problem with this title is that it is a collection. This would have been nice to read in singles. I can never allow myself that time to take a break when I’ve got a whole compilation of great stories staring at me. The best way to enjoy this would be to read a story and take some time to reflect on it.