Thursday, January 20, 2011

Manga Review: Merupuri (volume 1)

It's a tradition for the anime fans in my area (and some not in my area) to get together around Christmas and, among other things, have a game of Chinese Auction/Bad Santa/Yankee Swap, ect, whatever your region of the country calls it. Since I didn't get to keep the giant Domo-kun plushie, either of the nerf shotguns, or a small stack of anime I settled with a couple volumes of manga (with the plan being that if I didn't like them I could sell them to the local used bookstore for some credit). I ended up with Speed Grapher volume 1 (just as graphic as the anime so I only skimmed it) and the first volume of Merupuri. I'd heard of this one, it's by the same manga-ka of Vampire Knight, but unlike VK this title ended up boring the heck out of me.

Meurpuri-The Marchen Prince by Matsuri Hino

Summary: Ari Hoshina has never had a boyfriend, not because she doesn't want one but because her standards for men are way too hard, something all her friends point out to her on a regular basis. So when an abnormal boy appears in her life (appears from her family's heirloom mirror and has been cursed by his half brother to grow older each time he's in the dark) maybe this is a sign that she's finally found the guy for her?

The Good: While I'm not sure if I would've liked this in high school I am sure that my friends would've loved a title like this back then. It's light-hearted, easy to follow, has cute guys, it's pretty much everything a high school girl could hope to read in a manga. These days I'd rather read something a bit better written but it strikes me as something I could easily see in the teen comic section of a library, nothing near offensive enough to worry people but still attractive to it's demographic.

The Bad: Huh, I thought this was a multi-volume series but the initial conflict has been resolved, wonder what will happen ne-wait, they didn't fix Aram's problem after all and intend to drag it out for romantic and comedic purposes in further volumes?!? And I didn't like the "Aram gets older when he's in the dark" to start with, mostly because Ari treats Aram as a child when he looks like a child (ie, she's a bit dismissive of him actually) and then when he gets older, and she is fully aware it's the same guy with the maturity of his younger self, she's pretty actively trying to hook up with him and that strikes me as a little disturbing actually. So, ick, not a huge fan of harem anime/manga anyway (and this is a reverse harem for sure) so I'm going to pass on future volumes.

The Art: The stylized eyes make this clear that Merupuri and Vampire Knight share a manga-ka but unlike VK it's rather hard to tell the male characters apart in this series (in VK the guys at least had different hairstyles/colors). I'm not really a fan of Hino's style to start with, sure it's cutesy but there's nothing beyond it or anything to really set her style apart, and in the end even the art couldn't hold my attention for very long.

In a completely unrelated note, I probably won't be able to continue following Fractale this season, lovely. I don't know yet if I'll resort to fansubs to finish watching it (yes, by taking away the legal stream they just created more pirates of the show, I think all the fans have figured out this irony) but I will give Funimation some time to try and remove every illegal copy of it on the internet first. ....yeaaahhh.

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