Wednesday 28 November 2012

Paradise Kiss vol.1

Paradise Kiss vol. 1 story & Art by Ai Yazawa
Yukari lived an average life until the day she entered Paradise Kiss. That day, her life would change forever, as she delves into the world of fashion. For Yukari, a new journey is about to unfold and along the way she meets several quirky individuals most notably bad boy George. What awaits for Yukari in the world of fashion that is Paradise Kiss?
Serialized in the Josei (women’s) comic anthology Zipper in Japan, Paradise Kiss explores Yukari’s journey through the world of fashion. The entire cast is interesting and well developed featuring memorable characters and countless memorable moments. It is a title really anyone could enjoy and relate too. The protagonist Yukari comes across as a flawed yet relatable person as do all the characters.
The title also sports a gorgeous artwork which is to be expected from Yazawa. The pacing is perfect: not a panel is wasted. The series strikes the perfect balance between gut-busting humour and coming-of-age drama.  All-in-all Paradise Kiss is an excellent title which remains with the reader well after the final page.
Rating: 10/10
Paradise Kiss is available in North America in print from Vertical.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Biomega vol. 1-6

Biomega vol. 1-6 story and art by Tsutomu Nihei
When the N5S virus, which effectively turns humans into zombies, begins to spread synthetic human Zoichi must enter an infected area. Alongside his artificial intelligence companion Fuyu, Zoichi must embark on a journey. A science fiction epic begins!
Serialized in the seinen (young men) Ultra Jump comic anthology in Japan, Biomega is filled with gorgeously elaborate artwork from beginning to end. It Is clear Nihei spent much time and effort into  creating this series. The imagery is incredible as well; this series is truly a visual spectacle. However, the series suffers in several other regards.
First the character designs often appear very similar for the human characters. This was one of several aspects which made Biomega difficult to follow. With an incredibly elaborate world filled with abstract imagery and a plot which moves so quickly there were points in Biomega that even the characters themselves expressed confusion for what was going on. I found that as the series progressed I was receiving more questions than answers. There were large expanses of time where I had zero idea what was even occurring.
In conclusion Biomega is nice to look at but suffers from being far too complicated. Admittedly, the world itself is fascinating and I sincerely hope a book is released explaining the Biomega universe. Recommended for those who enjoy science fiction but for those whose interests lie elsewhere you may want to skip this one.
Rating 7/10
Biomega is available in print and digitally from Viz Media.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Higurashi When They Cry Beyond Midnight Arc Vol. 1 & 2

Higurashi When They Cry Beyond Midnight Arc Vol. 1 & 2 Story by Ryukishi 07 Art by Mimori

Hinamizawa: a long abandoned, remote village shrouded in mystery. When Otobe awakens in a forest near he soon comes across sword-wielding Mion. Things continue spiral outward into the bizarre and it will be up to Otobe and his new companions to piece it all together.

Based on the Higurashi visual novel (text driven video games) franchise and serialized in Monthly G Fantasy. Higurashi When They Cry Beyond Midnight Arc is part of a much larger series of comics yet prior familiarity with the franchise is certainly not necessary. The work does well on its own.

The artwork is eye-pleasing as well as distinct and the story flows well. The title is impossible to put down once started being filled with constant twists and turns yet never to the point of excess. The cast is well developed. In conclusion the title is well-crafted and the perfect blend of mystery and horror.

Rating: 8/10

Higurashi When They Cry Beyond Midnight Arc is available in North America in print from Yen Press and digitally from Square Enix.