Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Manga Review: Akaku Saku Koe

You know I think I did this exact same thing last year, ran out of manga to talk about, looked at Yuki Midorikawa's (Natsume Yuujinchou) other works and then proceeded to read one of them from start to finish in an embarrassingly short amount of time. Oh well, in case people haven't figured out by now I've always been a rather voracious reader, and a fast one, so it should be no surprise that one of my favorite pastimes is to devour a large book/comic series in a pretty short amount of time, it's just that rarely I find a complete manga series that I like so I don't review them here very often (especially since I haven't figured out a better method for reviewing on-going manga, even stuff that's currently being published in the US).

Akaku Saku Koe by Yuki Midorikawa

Summary: Kokubu has a crush on a guy in another class, Karashima, and notices one day that he's going in the same direction she is and she decides to be proactive and follow him, follow him into a crime scene apparently. Karashima has an almost supernatural voice that let's him persuade and command other people and uses it to help out the police

The Good: There was a side note translated somewhere from the manga-ka which said something along the lines of "Kokubu is my favorite kind of heroine to write" and I can see why. While not physically strong or the fastest thinker she's determined and quick to improvise if needed (somebody grabs your friend? Throw a show at them, don't even think about it!) so, even if the story is never very clear WHY she developed a crush on Karashima, she's a pretty likable character (just like the leads in Natsume Yuujinchou and Hi-iro no Isu). I also liked how Karashima's secret was treated, the characters treat it almost casually, freely discussing it when other people aren't around, and that was a nice change of pace. Casual is actually a really good word to describe this series, it's not exactly slow paced or easy going and does have it's dramatic moments but still manages to feel rather laid back over all.

The Bad: It's pretty easy to see that this is Midorikawa's first work because, to be blunt about it, at least half of the stuff in here has appeared in some of her later works and has been refined since then. Kokubu's crush, while certainly cute, feels a little random especially early on, the pacing is a bit strange given all it's timeskips and how slowly the characters change, the art has it's own issues, and there never ends up being one unifying idea/plot thread/theme that ties together the entire story. Sadly these problems also appear in her later works, for me none of them were deal-breakers but they certainly do make it a bit harder to recommend. 

The Art: Yeah, this is another area where Midorikawa has improved over the years (although, don't kill me folks! but I still think that her art is a bit too basic and could be refined a bit more). In fact I can't really blame Karashima for not recognizing a lot of the criminals he's helped catch in the past, god knows I wouldn't have been able to tell a lot of them apart if they had all been lined up next to each other. Background are still kind of weak as well, basically you can tell this is her first work from the art alone, it's just not as strong as it could be.

In the end, if you really, really like Midorikawa's other works and want to read more, go for it, try this out, you'll probably like it. If you're more of a lukewarm fan, or haven't read/seen any of her work at all, look at Natsume Yuujinchou or Hotarubi no Mori E since they are stronger works. If I was to ever come across these books (in Japanese since I can't see this work ever being translated) I'd pick them up but that's because I'm a pretty big fan, otherwise I'm not going to lose much sleep over it.

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