Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review 002 - Chiro Star Project

Title: Chiro Star Project
Author & Illustrator: Baek Hye Kyoung
Categories: Shoujo, Comedy, Drama, Gender Bender, Romance

Basic Summary taken from Shoujo Manga Maniac:
Eun-Yo is a girl spoiled by her brothers. Sure of her beauty and her charm, she neglects all the boys who confess to her. Because there's only one in her eyes: Chan-Kyung, the top student in her school. While she has an audition for fun with a girlfriend, she meets Lee Nan, the famous singer, haughty and execrable. He will continually ensnare her... 

Definitely one of my favorites, I have a thing for Gender Benders just to let you know. The whole feel of this manga/manwha is a love-hate-then more hate relationship between Eun-Yo/Chiro and Lee Nan. It's not the usual gushy romance types that are so often in shoujo's. It's has such a tension between the two, all the time it seems. Like either of them will snap at any moment, which actually happens a lot during the story.  I assume most girls that read this unusal romance will feel a hatred or at least annoyance towards Eun-Yo. Especially at the beginning, being brought up like a princess by her three older successful brothers. But she's not that 2D of a character. She has this flame about her, that makes me want to cheer her on, even though most of the predicaments are her own fault. But she has what most people don't. The willingness to sacrifice everything.  Her family, her life, her image of a girl all to get what she wants.
Now Lee Nan on the other hand, his motives are less clear, from up to what I've read to (volume 5, chapter 25) he seems to be a complete ass, though he does have motives for his actions, namely a hefty debt. It's unsure weather he has genuine feelings for Eun-Yo (and if she for the matter has them for him) but he does seem to be obsessed with her.

Visual: 7/10 - The Koreans seem to have a habit of making their drawings look stiff and 2D. It's definitely not as bad as some others I've read, and it has it's charm about it.
Plot: 6/10 A little over used with the debt thing that causes the main character to end up working for the cruel bad boy. Still love it as classic though.
Character Development: 9.5/10 I love how everyone seems to change and experience life, learn from their mistakes, get their hearts broken. Very realistic.
Over-all: 22.5/30 - If you love drama and some Gender Bender magic, go for it.

Review 001 - Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

Title: Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler
Categories: Action, Fiction, Black Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Supernatural and Tragedy
Author and Illustrator: Yana Toboso

Basic summary: Head/Earl of the Phantomhive household, 12 year old Ciel Phantomhive makes a contract with demon Sebastian Michealis...

Now this is the type of manga I look for when I want a good paced mystery. It never gives you a dull moment, showing the darker side of 19th century England that tickles our fancy for the macabre. The whole series has this dark undertone to it, unlike most supernatural mangas I've read, which usually revolve around the Japanese mythologies and versions of classic horror stories. Instead it portrays (as best as a Japanese person who doesn't live in the UK could) actual mysteries and monsters of Western society.
I'll give an example. In chapter 9, volume 1, we come face to face with the notorious Jack the Ripper. It seems it was Madam Red and Grelle Sutcliffe who were behind it. Grelle being a demented Grim Reaper with a hard-on for death, while we see a more tragic approach to why Madam Red did it. 

Of course those are minor characters in the story. The main being child Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his demon butler, Sebastian Michealis.
Here's where the darker (if you can get any darker with this manga) part comes in.
What is fascinating about Ciel's mentality and how a child could become so corrupt is shown plainly in volumes 7-8 as he orders the death by burning of all the kidnapped and brainwashed children at the manor of Baron Kelvin. Let's not forget before that he shoots Baron in the head, with no hesitation.
And then we have Sebastian Michealis, the demon wanting to devour the Earl's soul. It gives a good example of how apathetic demons really are towards people as he without a second thought, seduced Beast and bed her with the intent to gather intel.
It seems almost all of the characters have some sort of morbid faults about them, but that's what makes them so interesting. It gives a darker look at humanity in an elegant way, while having more cheerful and out of character moments to balance it all out.

Visual: 8/10 -Noticing of course that the art improves in each volume. So it lacks a slight inconsistency, still lovely.
Plot: 8.5/10 -For the perfect pace and sharp turns it keeps up on.
Character Development: 7/10 -It shows good balance with bringing up each characters past while not having one character control the spot-light.
Over-all:  23.5/30 -Would recommend to anyone who likes a little morbidity.