Viz Online Sigikki Manga Reviews

Today, four of the eight new Viz Signature online series went live at SIGIKKI.com. Here are some quick takes:

Bokurano: Ours

Bokurano: Ours by Mohiro Kitoh

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.

Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida

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

Ill Give It My All... Tomorrow by Shunju Aono

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.

Saturn Apartments

Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaoka

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.

15 Comments

  1. Bokurano’s first three chapters suffer from introducing all the characters at once, but after that it begins delving into the lives of each of them in turn, which is the real meat of it. And there are definitely twists.

    (I read a large chunk of it when a legit translation looked unlikely. Not being in the US, I’ll buy the trades if they print them.)

  2. I think almost all of these series would read better in print — or when there are more chapters available. It’s tough to tell much from the first only, which is why it’s great that these are free to sample!

  3. Oh heck yeah. Bokurano is twisty like a cruller. And heart-breaky. It hurts. But good. I look forward to having an official version.

  4. […] At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson reviews the first chapters on Viz’s Sigikki site. David Welsh does the same for the Shonen Sunday selections at Precocious Curmudgeon. Sesho devotes […]

  5. My impressions are almost identical to yours. I liked Saturn Apartments the best, definitely, and I didn’t even make it past the first pages of Dorohedoro; it’s just so dense and dark that it seemed headache-inducing to read.

    I’m really looking forward to next week’s debut of Afterschool Charisma.

  6. I had similar thoughts as well
    I’ve heard a lot of good things about Bokurano, so I’m looking forward to that.
    The art style and the violence in Dorohedoro are big turn-offs, though the fantasy aspect is interesting. I might give it another chapter or two.
    I’ll Give My All was actually kind of funny, but not something I see myself following.
    Saturn Apartments looks amazing! I too thought of Planetes (an adorable version of Planetes).

    I don’t really like reading manga online and only skimmed through these, so I’ll most likely just wait for the print versions of the ones I’m interested in (which from this back would be Bokurano and Saturn Apartments)

  7. […] week I covered the first four Viz Signature online series that were live at SIGIKKI.com. Today, I provide brief thoughts on the other […]

  8. […] been pretty impressed with the online manga available at SIGIKKI.com, courtesy of Viz Signature. Now I’d like to find out what you think. […]

  9. […] interesting titles previewed there. Over at Manga Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson has taken a two-part look at various titles and is running a poll on readers’ early […]

  10. Ed Sizemore

    Bokurano Ours, interesting premise, but didn’t captivate me. I’ll give it a couple more chapters before I make a final decision.

    Dorohedoro I liked the set up. Am interested to learn more about the world, but not the charaters. Worried this is going to fall flat once my interest in the set up ends.

    I’ll Give It My All…Tomorrow I liked it. It’s odd and a little creepy, but attention getting. I’m going to stick around to see how this develops.

    Saturn Apartments, this and Kingyou Used Books are tied for favorite of the new titles. Great central character and great set up. One chapter in and I’m already emotionally attached.

  11. hey. read dorehedoro. seriously, one of the best mangas ever. its an amazingly original, funny, cool, interesting story. it does take a while to get into it. i didnt like it at first. but i forced myself ’cause so many other people were talking about how awesome it was.

    and indeed, it truly is awesome.

  12. […] leaves eight original series at the site. All of the first four will be out in the first half of this year. (Unless otherwise noted, all books are $12.99, the […]

  13. […] now, you can read the book online at the SigIKKI.com site. […]

  14. […] I first tried this series, at the launch of the Sigikki site with its sample chapters, I thought it was […]

  15. […] Dorohedoro Book 1 ($5.99) […]

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