Quick Thoughts On: A Proper Wife by Chikae Ide

A Proper WifeA 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

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Quick Thoughts On: A Girl Called Echo, volume 2 by Katherena Vermette

Red River Resistance

Red River Resistance by Katherena Vermette

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This title is an absolute must for any school library or public library in Canada. With the 150th anniversary of the Red River resistance occurring in 2019, and the major focus of the Canadian government on reconciliation, this comic couldn’t have come at a better time. I am so pleased to be finding so many new comics and graphic novels by indigenous creators, and the fact that is title focuses on Métis history is fantastic!

This title is the second in a series about a young Métis girl, Echo, who finds herself in some sort of foster care. While there she is attending high school and “experiencing” the history of the past, most notably the events surrounding the controversial and tumultuous Red River resistance.

I did read the first volume of this series, and I was very excited about this next installment. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I think my main problem is that this seems to be focusing on telling the story of the Red River resistance very quickly, but in doing so, it has forgotten to develop the characters. It also takes for granted that you have some background in this history.

Sadly, this means that the characters are little more than shells. Even the main character, Echo has less than a personality. I feel like she was beginning to be explored in the first volume, but her personality just fell flat in this one. There is so much more that could be done with this story without exaggerating or undermining the important history that is being explored. I wanted so much more!

Because of this, I feel like it’ll lose some of its audience. This comes off more as an educational work, and less as something to pick up for pleasure. However, as an educational work it is invaluable, and would do very well to be included as supplemental material in Canadian elementary and high school classrooms.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review.



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Non-Fiction Review: Pop Manga Coloring Book / Camilla d’Errico

Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful WorldPop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World

by Camilla d’Errico

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would say that I would be interested in colouring about 75% of the pictures in this colouring book. Some of the images are so stunning. The children are so beautiful or cute, and the merging with animals is often so intriguing. Most pages include a highly detailed and somewhat surreal image of a young child placed in the center of the page with large white space as the background.

There are some unfortunate illustrations that were obviously copied from pencil drawings, or draft sketches. These are either not well realized as images, or just plain difficult to colour without the ability to erase line. The only way to move past this would be to use non-conventional colouring materials like acrylic paints. Whereas coloured pencils and crayon would be the preferred materials.

Camilla d’Errico’s style is more loose and sketchy, and for some images you can tell she’s tried to use the full space by adding backgrounds. Either strawberries, or geometric shapes. These are incredibly unfortunate as the art style or materials used are in competition of what she usually does. It is nice to have something in the background to colour, but d’Errico’s style is not one to fill the page. It would have been better to just do what she does rather than try to make it more “colouring-book”-like.

But, despite the problem with her backgrounds, and some poor choices, I would still say about 75% of the book is beautiful and I would be thrilled to spend time colouring in it. In an age when “adult” colouring books are all the rage, it’s nice to see something that fits somewhere between colouring for kids and the train-wreck that is most of adult colouring books who are trying to cash in on the craze.

This would be a great title for teens, or fans of Camilla d’Errico’s comic book series.

I received a digital copy from NetGalley for an honest review.

Manga Review: Cigarette Girl / by Masahiko Matsumoto

Cigarette GirlCigarette Girl

by Masahiko Matsumoto

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took time for me to like this book. I nearly put it down. I just wasn’t sure what to make of it. But, as the stories progressed they built on each other. Not so much as they were connected (although some were), just that it took time and effort for me to get into the rhythm of Matsumoto’s writing. By the half-way point, I was completely hooked.

Matsumoto was a contemporary (And friend) to Yoshihiro Tatsumi, but unlike his contemporary his work is subtly lighthearted, and almost comical. It’s not quite the serious dramatic pictures that you get from Tatsumi’s work. There’s a richness to be found in the absolutely uneventful moments in less-than-ordinary life that he writes about. He’s not portraying the ordinary life of ordinary people, but more the people who are on the outskirts of ordinary: from geisha to modern=day door-to-door condom sales girls (apparently, that’s a thing).

I wouldn’t say the artwork is stunning, but I kind of loved it. It was subtle enough to display complicated emotions, and to distinguish between characters, and weird enough to lighten-up the mood.

The only real complaint I have about this book is its lack of “cultural commentary”. Usually in manga, especially titles with harder topics, there are footnotes on cultural specific situations, phrases, events, and reasons for translation decisions. There were several times in the comic that I knew I was missing the “cultural significance”. And, in a title as subtle as this, any additional help would have been greatly appreciated.

And, because of the obscure nature and the lack of footnotes in this comic, I would probably recommend getting into gekiga with something a bit easier (like Tatsumi’s “Black Blizzard”) before you tried this one. Certainly I think that this is a worthwhile read, but it’s not an easy first-comic. I would probably recommend this title, if you already like gekiga, alternative or art comics, or are a fan of Yoshihiro Tatsumi (there’s a nice foreword written by Tatsumi about his friend Matsumoto).

It took a while for me to get into this book, but it was absolutely worth the work. I’ve certainly never read anything like Masahiko’s, Cigarette Girl, and am definitely planning to read it again, and excited to read more by him in the future.

I received a free digital copy from Netgalley for an honest review.