Alphabetical Index of Vertical Manga Reviews

Ayako Conversation Cursed! Plus a Review

Poor Ed. First, we tried to record a group discussion about the historical manga Ayako (by Osamu Tezuka, published by Vertical) over Super Bowl weekend, but network traffic meant that the Skype conversation kept dropping. Ed and I did some testing of alternate methods, but by the time he rescheduled with the group the week after, I was in the middle of a cold. (Call it vanity, but I refused to be recorded sounded like that, plus I spent the […]

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Chi’s Sweet Home Volumes 3 and 4

The “cute cat comic” by Konami Kanata continues with some family changes. As volume 3 starts, the big black cat introduced in volume 2 is teaching kitten Chi how to open doors on her own, not an action that’s a particularly good idea. The black cat is the source of all trouble, Chi’s inappropriate parent figure, showing how to mark territory and hunt birds and other ways to annoy people. That indicates how animal instincts don’t always match people preferences. […]

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Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 2

Thanks to a gift from fellow reviewer Ed Sizemore, even though I didn’t like the first book of Chi’s Sweet Home, I read the second by Konami Kanata. And everything I disliked about the previous volume had been fixed! This book was the “cute cat doing cute things” comic I’d come to expect from hearing others praise it. All of the out-of-place depressing “I miss my mom” stuff was gone. The overdone lisp in the cat’s internal voice had been […]

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Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 1

I suspect my expectations for Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata may have been too high. I’d heard such good things about the “cute cat comic” that I think I wanted it to be more than it is. This small volume, comfortable to hold, is surprisingly in full color, not the usual manga black-and-white. The book contains 20 eight-page chapters, each featuring a minor incident. The kitten Chi has wandered away from her mother and siblings, only to be adopted […]

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Twin Spica Volume 1

Inspired by the To Terra… Manga Moveable Feast this month, I’m looking at some more modern stories of young people in space. Twin Spica, which originally began serialization in 2001, is the story of Asumi, a plucky young girl who wants to make it into space school so she can become an astronaut. She’s got an uphill climb ahead of her — no money, her tiny size, and her lack of family support. Her mother’s dead and her father, a […]

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To Terra … Volume 1

I tried to read To Terra… once before, three years ago, just after it came out. I didn’t make it through. It was so old-fashioned in both look and story — as the copyright page notes, it was originally serialized from 1977-1980. It’s also got what I call the 2001 problem, after the movie. I am told that Keiko Takemiya was an originator, that her work here inspired so many others that what was then innovative quickly became cliché as […]

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Black Jack Volume 5

Now that I’m no longer astounded by the sheer medical craziness of this classic series about a rogue doctor, I’m reevaluating why I read these stories by Osamu Tezuka. They do, at times, bear signs of age (especially in the treatment of female characters and women’s roles; I found volume 4 particularly bad in this respect). And the stories have started making winking allusions to being comics — early in this book, characters left at the end of a long […]

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Black Jack Volume 2

I’m astounded that this second book contains even more far-out stories than Volume 1. I didn’t think there could be such a thing. The first, “Needle”, shows one of the rare occurrences when the rogue doctor Black Jack is defeated. We get a hint that this might happen on the first page, where a wise older doctor (with a huge fluffy beard) cautions the rogue to humility: Don’t underestimate the human body, or else. … When you’re trying to treat […]

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