Saturday, October 6, 2012

Manga Review: The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko (volume one)

It took about a month but I finally found time to swing by the library near my school (it's my senior year and it seems determined to break me, hence the really late updates) and they had a few new offerings in the kids comic section, one being last week's Shay's Story and the other is this title which TokyoPop published two or three volumes of before they went out of business. Despite the fact that it seemed like a lot of people online liked the story it just didn't seem like my kind of story so I didn't put any effort into tracking it down and trying it out, until I had a copy staring me in the face and practically nothing else to read that is.

The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko by Ririko Tsujita (volume one)

Summary: For some unknown reason, Kanoko has to change school quiet often but that's fine by her since she doesn't like interacting with her classmates as she does observing them and this helps keep her more detached from them. Although, even though she claims to have no interest in making friends and doesn't view her classmates as anything more than subjects she often gets involved in their lives anyway.... 

The Good: This was actually a lot more fun than I expected, Kanoko is a very sarcastic narrator and after all of the blah shojo manga I've read over the years (especially those in a school setting) it's quite nice to see a story that mocks a lot of the character types and situations. That's not to say that it doesn't use shojo tropes as well, but the ones it uses without irony and sarcasm certainly feel less tired that the ones Kanoko mocks. 

The Bad: Despite the fact that this was fun, like I initially suspected I don't think I could read an entire series where in every chapter Kanoko goes to a new school, observes and eventually ends up involved with her classmate and then moves on. Funny enough this volume works pretty well as a standalone since the first and last chapters involve the same cast so I actually feel pretty satisfied reading just one volume.  

The Art: If someone was to pick up this book and flip through the pages they would think it was probably a regular shojo series since that's what it looks like, a regular shojo series. It's nicely drawn, despite the fact that there were tons of characters in this volume alone I didn't have any trouble telling them apart (even if there were too many at times to keep straight), and this story just wouldn't have worked as well if it didn't look like a shojo series.

Bit short but since there isn't an overarching plot to speak of and I didn't want to talk in depth about each story there isn't much more to say. So in short, it's a fun series but not one I think I would enjoy in the long run, although I'm sure plenty of other people will. Oh and I would like more snarky narrators in all kinds of fiction please! 

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