Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Viz Sig Ikki snapshots

"Viz Sig Ikki"
What a weird sounding phrase.

Anyway, another batch of first chapters has been uploaded in the last few days. This crop consists of Afterschool Charisma, House of Five Leaves, Kingyo Used Books, and Tokyo Flow Chart.

Afterschool Charisma-
There's some cute, clean artwork, but the concept is far too cooky for my liking. It's a take on the familiar elite, segregated high school academy formula, with the students all supposedly being clones of famous historical figures, like Napoleon, Freud, and Madam Curie, even fucking Clone Kennedy. Then there's some random "ordinary" Japanese kid named Shiro who's thrown into the mix as the protagonist. Having only read so much, I have no solid idea as to the direction in which this series is heading. As I try to look past the concept, I see traces of seriousness, with the talk about free will, destiny, and what not. Uh oh. Even if this does turn out to be a comedy though, I'm still going to have trouble swallowing this. There's just something disgraceful about associating those prominent figures that have had such a huge impact on history to these flustered high-school kids featured in the manga.

House of Five Leaves-
Another samurai/ronin story about a bodyguard who makes a contract and must protect somebody. The twist is that this time, the bodyguard is protecting a criminal outlaw and his operations. I liked how, instead of being a badass, the yojimbo in this story is a timid, modest individual who's just trying to stay afloat in tough financial times and find a job that can prevent him from starving. I was somewhat irked then when I found out that this painfully normal person has Inherent Fighting Talent. Again, I liked the atypical art with its gaunty, alien-looking characters, but overall, Five Leaves wasn't a very captivating read.

Kingyo Used Books-
The standalone episodic narratives revolve around a used manga bookstore that gets people in tune with their soul with the power of nostalgia and memory. First story is about this nondescript man who comes to the titular store, Kingyo Used Books, to get rid of his manga collection. However, at an evening middle-school reunion party, he meets all of his old buddies, who start reminiscing about manga, tear up, and get all chummy as they talk about stuff they read when they were little kids. Then in his happy drunken state, he leads the entire party to Kingyo (which is miraculously still open at that hour), where everybody temporarily forgets the pains of adulthood and employment to buy manga. Not horrible, but just too simple and sappy for my tastes, if the first chapter is any indication. Or I'm too damn cynical. I kept on waiting for a panel to pop up showing that the store had abruptly gone out of business. Is it even possible for a used book store to stay in business nowadays, much less operate on a 24/7 schedule?

Tokyo Flow Chart-
What is this mess?

Overall, a disappointing set this time around, though I suppose I've been a bit spoiled by the preceding material.

(Off-topic burst of excitement - Something by Usamaru Furuya has been licensed?!)


  1. This is pretty much my problem with creating labels based on the Japanese magazines; you end up with an awkward selection.
    Ikki basically has four titles worth a god damn, and only Children of the Sea is ongoing. (I suppose Witches is a fifth title, technically.) Bokura no and Rideback are obvious titles to bring over (have they announced Rideback?) and Kiba Kouichi's Fruits has too much pedo, despite being pretty great.
    But instead of having a blanket label that lets them bring over great titles from other seinen magazines, they've gone with Ikki, and brought over a bunch of shit that won't sell and doesn't deserve to be translated.
    Their Sunday line is getting off to a similar start, although this one is more the baffling choices their making, ignoring genuinely great stuff like Moonlight Act and A Bad Boy Drinks Tea in favor of...stuff that's really too recent for me to know anything about, I suppose. Not as easy to stay up on the new titles from abroad.
    Hell, I'd be happy to see them bring over Blizzard Axel or even that artist's dumb new thing.
    I think I've lost track of my point.
    One Piece 54 was a return to form, if not the level of astonishing the their had been running with up until the 53 abyss. Doesn't really warrant a full post, so I'm sticking it here.

  2. Indeed, Rideback has not been announced.
    Damn, thanks for clearing it up. I actually thought that "Viz Ikki" was a blanket label of sorts. I also somehow was under the newbie impression that Ikki was one of the more kick-ass magazines due to some uninformed comments I've read online.

  3. It's had it's share of interesting failures. Sexy Voice and Robo and No. 5 were also both in there early on.
    And there's a few other titles that haven't been picked up yet but do have their followers.
    But it seems weird to limit yourself to one magazine when there's so much great stuff from other lines out there.

  4. Not sure how Sexy Voice and Robo is a failure. (Incidentally, is Freesia still a mess, or has Matsumoto finally realized how to do long stories?)

    Bokurano and Children of the Sea I'll be buying from beginning to end without a doubt. What I've read of and about Dorohedoro indicates some promise, and will probably work once a volume or two is actually out.

    House of Five Leaves leaves me kind of conflicted; characters are interesting, but Ono's inability to draw a fight scene nearly ruins the first chapter. Saturn Apartments and I'll Give It My All... Tomorrow are nice enough. Didn't care for the others.

    Considering SigIkki (or however they spell it) is a "sub-label," might they apply this to other magazines in the future? (There's probably a lot of gems in Spirits that should get licensed, after all.)

  5. Sexy Voice and Robo is not a failure, but it is already out here and not part of this line.
    I forgot about Freezia, which I continue to love. I believe it is still going, but it has been a while.