published by Digital Manga
Sampling some more Digital Manga Publishing titles… quick thoughts, mostly.
IWGP: Ikebukuro West Gate Park Book 1 — This series, it’s said, is based on a TV show, and I think it would make more sense to me in that format. There’s a lot of characters without much introduction, only small bits or lines that would work better for me with an actor’s personality to put them over in three dimensions.
The characters hang out in a park, get threatened, run away… it all seemed rather pointless. The fan service panty shots in an early scene didn’t do much for me, either, and then the nudity became more explicit, with naked women being raped and strangled. Not my kind of manga.
Café Kichijouji Book 1 — Five waiters yell at each other. The first few pages made me feel as though I was attending a reunion where I didn’t know anyone. Between the in-jokes and the personalities who clearly had their own patterns of interaction, I couldn’t keep anyone straight, so I gave up.
Bambi & Her Pink Gun Book 1 — A Japanese Tank Girl, a young woman with weapon and attitude. She starts off by terrorizing a convenience store clerk, taking out her dislike of food additives and chemical pollution on him. She’s been hired to deliver a kid to some “old men”, but the kid’s father has put a 500-million-yen bounty on her head.
The pages are printed in maroon-toned ink which lightens to a rose when used for shading. The cartoony, non-typical-manga art style helps keep the violence from being overwhelming, since Bambi shoots first and doesn’t care who gets in her way. She announces her presence as “Me Bambi. Move.” or “Me Bambi. Gimme somethin’ to eat.” She’s pure instinct, inhabiting an adolescent book.
Antique Bakery Book 2 — The bakery owner and the pastry chef, Ono, went to school together, where Ono hit on the owner. He was rejected, but now they work together to make the shop successful.
The book opens with the story of the apprentice, a former boxer who’s searching for meaning, running into old girlfriends while looking for a place to live. Then it’s back to the other two, with the owner’s family history revealed, making Ono jealous, so he sets out to seduce the owner’s childhood friend. That’s the fun of this book, watching the handsome men flirt and pout in such a decadent setting.
The figures alternate between carefully drawn, barely sketched in, and exaggerated for humor’s sake, often on the same page, which left me feeling a little unbalanced as the faces shifted. The plot can be the same way, with an uneven focus. The best part of the book is when the waiter describes the desserts being served in luscious detail, especially during the Christmas chapters.
All of these titles are bigger than the usual manga digest and have slipcovers. All are priced at $12.95 each.