Manga / Comic Review
- Apr 10, 2012 3:13 PM
Well, with my week plans dashed, I have more time for manga! I've already read it, I'm a fan, so I thought I would give my two cents on Matsuyama Takeshi's Okamirai.
What can I say? It's drawn beautifully, backgrounds are paid well attention to, traditional mediums are used so you know how much hard work is put into it. The characters are very well thought out and drawn, everything is anatomically correct. There is no grey screentone, so no panel is boring and every action is dynamic.
It's my kind of art: it's definitely Jump-esque, there are a lot of smoky battle scenes (I love the way he uses traditional Japanese art clouds in the manga). When you read the first chapter, the art is a little rough and kind of painted-looking, but it cleans up very well, and becomes very fine and very crisp. The facial expressions are hilarious, definitely the kind of thing you want to see in a battle-fantasy.
One thing in the art that was kind of a turn off for me: the layered hairstyles of the gym teacher and the agent. It looks slightly unnatural, even for a fantasy piece. A simplified hairstyle works just fine :)
You can see Matsu-san works very hard to emulate every element of Japanese manga. A sincere thanks and show of appreciation for these gestures
It certainly feels, again, very Toriyama inspired. Read right to left, Japanese named techniques, quirky actions, chibi scenes, action tone, the whole 9 yards.
So I'm certainly getting the vibe that its been poured into the typical action mold, which is actually just fine.
I just think it is all going very, very fast. By chapter 5, we have already received a rough introduction to the characters, a few battles, school scenes, and have almost climaxed an arc.
But so far, I know hardly anything about anybody. I know Jin wants to be a mangaka, but so far his personality has been left a little ambiguous. He seems headstrong, but not as much as Sonosuke (the only things we know about him being that he likes video games and ramen). We know that he is brave, but what are his extents? He's shown both scaredy-catedness and reckless bravery, so I'm left confused.
And what about Natsumi? She started off being really aloof towards Jin, which would explain his aggravted crush on her, but she has an unexplained change of heart and shows a great deal of interest in him.
Besides that, we've had dangerously little information about Raiju and the yokai, even though they are themes central to the manga. I'm sure we will learn more, but these are things that usuallyy should be addressed within the first 3 chapters.
I'm sorry, Matsu-san, I know how hard you work and I am a fan of what you do, but Jin and Raiju, the mains, are entirely forgettable. I've seen primarily action, and not enough story, which is wha readers crave. Don't get me wrong, there is a goldmine in Okamirai
So my question is: What is going on?
I really like Okamirai, and I know we will figure things out soon. But the temperature is far too warm, and fast. The solution: maybe a few stand-alone chapters where Jin and Raiju fight minor yokai, and Jin learns more about his new found powers and responsibilities. It's always good to get the reader comfortable with the material before introducing a greater antagonist or launching an arc. Also more gags :P
My grade: B+
Thank you, readers, and Matsuyama Takeshi. Pleases keep up the good work!