Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Manga Review: +Anima

I started reading +Anima maybe four years ago (the stuff I read in high school has really started to blur together now since it was just so much) and I read most of the series but even the scanlation sites didn't have all the volumes. I noticed that at the local public library (the one near my school) seemed to have a lot of the volumes so over break I re-read the volumes I had (1-4), went over to the library and discovered that they did indeed have the rest of the series! So I checked them all out, trotted back to my dorm room, read them all in about two weeks and now have the urge to make plushies out of most of the characters.

+Anima by Natsumi Mukai
Summary: In this world there are people who are called +anima and who possess the ability to partially shapeshift into an animal, an ability that at one point saved each of their lives.  Corro has the +anima of a crow and is traveling around trying to find others like him to be friends with, but who wants to stick around with someone who keeps getting into so much trouble?

The Good: One thing I really liked about this series is that it manages to be both episodic yet by the third or fourth volume each volume has it's own story arc and that really helped it. Another really good thing about this series is that the +anima not being accepted by the rest of society is addressed and brought up very regularly. The fact that the manga did deal with the reality the people are scared and prejudiced really helped me connect with the characters more and made the whole series a little more believable too.

The Bad: To it's credit, the ending (last arc) of this series was foreshadowed and seeds of it were planted very early on but it still felt odd for the series to almost have such a dark ending. The series certainly had it's darker parts earlier on (each of the +anima has a tragic backstory after all) but it still felt a bit out of place to me (the actual ending felt a bit out of place to me too but really there were only two endings this story could take and neither of them would have set well with me).

The Art: My inner cosplayer approves of all the full body shots of the characters and the general character designs, the outfits strike a nice balance between having a good number of details yet not an impossible number of them (and the characters all stayed on model which is very nice). There is a bit of screentone abuse in the art but, since this is a work aimed at younger readers I don't mind as much (I know it sounds odd but it seems to me that shojo and shonen series have more screentones than senien and josei). So, cute art to go with the overall mood of the series.

I know I didn't say a lot on this series but that's because I can sum it up really easily: That was cute without being cavity inducing cute and ended up having a much better plot line than I was expecting. So I totally recommend it, I don't feel the urge to buy the books right now (probably because I'm still up in the air about the ending, plus I've read the first few volumes between half a dozen and a dozen times) but I plan on having them all, as physical books too, someday.