As David Goodwin has recently posted, Viz has loaded some new stuff onto its Sig Ikki site, namely Bokurano, Dorohedoro, Saturn Apartments, and I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow. Bokurano needs no introduction. Stephen Paul did some great work back in the day, translating many chapters of the series for his site Manga Screener, which has since unfortunately become inactive (along with many of its seinen-scanlating cousins, though Kotonoha appears to have experienced a slight revival). However, the other things were entirely new to me:
The least interesting first chapter of the group for me. The premise was somewhat hard for me to accept. Humans leaving Earth for a stratospheric halo after agreeing that the planet should be made into a giant nature preserve? Hmmm...that's likely. Something about "window cleaners in space" rubbed me off the wrong way too. I know utter realism is neither possible nore particularly appealing in fiction, but when something is going for a "harder," more realistic sci-fi edge, I find certain features of debatable, dubious realism to be quite distracting and jarring. Another quibbling point for me was the art style, which I found to be somewhat forgettable and nondescript. However, I realize I might be being unfairly harsh. First chapters are rather inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, and I find the class conflict to be rather interesting, so I am going to keep on reading.
Engaging beginning with some nice messy and grimey art. Magic, amnesia, and a dystopian city, of-used manga devices all appear, but Dorohedoro features some odd little things in its first chapter that separate it enough from the rest of the crowd that I'm in for the ride. The protagonist, Caiman, is a man with a reptile head who was transformed from an ordinary man. But inside him is an ordinary man who may or may not be his previous ordinary self. We first see him with some helpless dude trapped between his jaws, quite the striking introduction. The dystopian city is called The Hole, where the non-magic-wielding masses have consolidated. The magic users apparently live in a different dimension, and come to The Hole to sadistically practice their magic on the poor city commonfolk.
Bring on the next few chapters, and I'm not sure how book releases will work for these Ikki series, but if Dorohedoro stays consistently good, I'm all for buying a print edition.
I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow-
Not much to say. Pathetic, fat, jobless, single man with a disappointed elderly father and a daughter who is secretly working as an escort gets a new bearing on life when he decides to take on the unrealistic dream of becoming a mangaka at 40 years of age. Simple premise, simple art style, and simply a pleasant read. It's got my favorite opening chapter of this bunch so far and I'm eagerly looking forward to more. I'd love a print edition for this one, as well.