28 Jun, 2010

Manga Minis, 6/28/10

By: Melinda Beasi and Connie C.

In this, our final minis column ever (see our Farewell Roundtable for an announcement and some reminiscing), Melinda checks out the BL oneshot Blood Honey (BLU Manga) while Connie reviews the second volume of Madness (BLU Manga) and the fourth of 13th Boy (Yen Press).

Blood Honey

By Sakyou Yozukura
BLU, 178 pp.
Rating: M (Mature)

Yuki Akabane is a vampire, but descended so far down the line, the only family trait he retains is a thirst for blood. His job as a nurse at a blood donor clinic keeps him hooked up with occasional meals, but his intake gets jacked up immensely by an obsessive donor named Osamu Mayazumi. Mayazumi is a teacher with a bad temper that seems to be quelled by donating blood, and thanks to a fear of needles, the only nurse he’ll trust is Akabane. Frequent visits to the clinic shift to nightly dinners at Akabane’s home, and before they know it, the two are harboring feelings for each other more serious than those of donor and nurse.

Despite the fairly creepy premise, this series’ most consistent trait is that it is quite simply a lot of fun. Yozakura’s sense of humor fits her characters perfectly, particularly in the second half of the book, where she introduces Akabane’s precocious nephew, Kiri. The book is undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek, but it thankfully lacks the overblown ridiculousness of some humorous yaoi. As a bonus, there are some genuinely touching moments as well.

Yozukura’s artwork is quite expressive and frankly adorable, though her characters fall visually into the typical seme and uke roles, almost to the extreme. Thanks to that, both Akabane and his nephew look about fifteen, one of the book’s few major downsides.

Though it’s certainly not profound, Blood Honey is a fun, sexy, take on the current vampire trend.

Blood Honey is available now.

–Reviewed by Melinda Beasi

Madness, Vol. 2

By Kairi Shimotsuki
Blu, 245 pp.
Rating: M (18+)

In the concluding volume, the surviving members of Madness find out that they may have been manipulated into doing nearly everything they can recall in their lives. When their hunters are uncovered and the reason behind the Madness crew is reveaed, Izaya has to take a good, hard look at his beliefs and decide for himself how to lead his life.

This series falls into the rare category of “action yaoi,” where there’s a relatively involved plot to go along with the sex/flirting. Actually, there’s very little sex to speak of, and aside from a handful of non-con harassment scenes, there might only be one or two brief encounters between the main couple. Which means that we’re left with… the rest of the book.

The simple plot becomes convoluted when explained by the plethora of characters with different personal motivations running around after Madness. The fights also suffer from poor panel layouts and flow. Madness does get points for being something other than pure smut, and while I’m not the biggest fan of dark action yaoi, at least it isn’t an interminable string of sex scenes in the middle of a convoluted plot. It also has some pretty ridiculous dialogue, and aside from a hilarious theological discussion in the middle of a fight, there are some choice cheesy lines scattered throughout.

I think there are plenty of other series out there better than this (Yellow, for instance), but there might be a lot of fans starved for this type of story that might want to give it a try.

Volume two of Madness is available now.

–Reviewed by Connie C.

13th Boy, Vol. 4

By SangEun Lee
Yen Press, 180 pp.
Rating: Teen

Hee-So continues to look out for Sae-Bom and help her weather the teasing she receives from the other girls, causing a major split with Nam-Joo, her best friend. Teasing meant for Sae-Bom goes wrong, and Hee-So finds herself in yet another situation risking her life for the girl, only to be saved by Whie-Young. But with things getting more intense between Whie-Young and Hee-So, is Won-Jun stepping back into the picture to try for Hee-So’s affection again?

Where the other volumes introduced a lot of off-the-wall elements that made me like this series more and more, things have leveled off here as some of the relationships in the love triangle are sorted out. There’s still Hee-So’s obsession with fate, Whie-Young’s out-of-place magic, and Beatrice the talking cactus, but all that begins to work towards the noble goal of finding boyfriends and girlfriends for everyone. It’s still a lot of fun, though, and the story only gets more interesting as Hee-So and Nam-Joo begin coaching Sae-Bom on how to stand up for herself so she doesn’t get teased. Little by little, Sae-Bom begins to shake her eccentricities, and I love that her much more serious story goes right along with the silliness of Hee-So finding her destined boyfriend. We also learn a bit more about why Sae-Bom has stayed in her state of arrested development, meaning the former “playground accident” explanation isn’t nearly as inadequate as it seemed.

While nothing much new in the way of oddities gets added in this volume, the story continues to be among my favorites. It has just the right number of quirks and a pleasant mix of likable characters to make the oldest girls’ comic plot in the book very fresh and new.

Volume four of 13th Boy is available now.

–Reviewed by Connie C.

Review copies provided by the publishers.

2 Responses to "Manga Minis, 6/28/10"

1 | 13th Boy 4 « Slightly Biased Manga

July 5th, 2010 at 11:01 pm


[...] I reviewed this for the final Manga Minis column at Manga Recon, so you can check it out over there. [...]

2 | Monday Manga Links, 6/28/10 « The Manga Critic

August 30th, 2010 at 2:34 am


[...] Smith leads the Manga Recon team in a farewell roundtable discussion and posts their very last Manga Minis column, a Monday morning feature I’m going to miss. Special thanks to Michelle for inviting me to [...]