published by Viz
15 junior high students on a nature study trip at the beach find a cave with lots of computers. A weird man asks them to play a game where they pilot a giant robot to save the earth, but the game turns out to be real.
The premise is Captain Marvel crossed with The Last Starfighter or maybe Ender’s Game. This first chapter is all setup. It starts with a character list, which would be helpful to refer back to, but it’s difficult to do that online. A wiki page or similar “who’s who” would be a great addition to the website. The premise is intriguing, but I don’t know any more after reading the first chapter than I did after reading the paragraph description.
I’ll read more for free, just to find out if there’s any more of a twist.
I wouldn’t have read this if I wasn’t doing this rundown, because it’s about sorcerers using people for experiments and human/animal hybrids fighting back. Sounded thoroughly unpleasant. The first few pages confirmed my dislike, with dark, scratchy, detailed pages of atrocities. Pass.
I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow
If you’ve ever read any independent/alternative comics, you’ve likely come across a story about being a comic artist. Nowadays, I generally take it as a sign of a lack of imagination on the part of the writer. They don’t know what else to talk about, so they’ll write about what they know best. Unfortunately, it’s hard to bring any new insight to the topic.
The only twist here is that the protagonist, Shizuo, is a 40-year-old man who quits his job with no idea what to do next. He’s not an artist by temperament; he just flails around and settles on drawing manga, seemingly by chance. He lives with his father and teen daughter. I’m more curious about the family, but we don’t see much of their lives. Dad yells but gives up easily. Daughter has found a new job Shizuo doesn’t know about until he bumps into her in an embarrassing situation. I have no idea what happened to her mother.
It’s all very awkward, which seems to be the point, but that doesn’t make me want to read more.
Best of the bunch. People have moved from Earth, now a nature preserve, to giant apartment complexes in the sky. Things aren’t all shiny-happy future, though, as there are still plenty of class distinctions. Mitsu’s father, a window washer, has disappeared and is presumed dead, so Mitsu’s joining the guild in his place to pay back his debts.
The round head of the main character gives him a bit of a Charlie Brown look, which matches his place in life. He’s cuter that way, which helps balance the grimness of his life situation. Plenty happens in this installment, with excitement and rare moments of beauty, dropping the reader right into daily life in this future world. It even works as a story on its own, which is satisfying to the reader. Recommended, especially for fans of Planetes.