Category Archives: manga

Review: Complex

More re-posts!  This time a review from a blog I had last year, but filled me with so much shame (don’t quite know why) I deleted everything.

Artist: Manda Ringo

# of Volumes: 4

Genre: Yaoi (18+)

Here’s an interesting question: what happens to the boys in BL after they’ve hooked up?  In most series, we never  know —  the story stops right there.  In Complex, however, we don’t get to just see the relationship, we follow the couple throughout their lives.

It’s an ambitious idea, but it works.  We see two boys grow up from being childhood friends to confused young men and to wrinkled old ones,  and all  the drama that comes with it.  Yes, there is sex, but the emphasis is placed more on the relationship than the fanservice.  It starts a bit hokey (two boys becoming more than  friends because of a pedophile teacher?  Really?), but once the boys become adults, depicts the situations the characters are in  more realistically, making it something that is believable.  From being scared of being “open” to society to nasty breakups to raising children, it shows the difficulties of being gay in society.  At the same time, the series makes sure to depict  characters as human, with no idealized exaggerations and sexualities that aren’t exactly black or white.

Overall, Complex is a gripping romantic drama that shows that  yaoi is more than capable of having depth. It’ll sadly never be published in the states, but it’s  a must read for anyone interested in the genre.

Pros: Becomes more realistic as the story progresses, tackles issues such as gay parenting, heart wrenching ending

Cons: Starts unrealistically, random shota thrown in (volume 2 chapter 7), rough art in the beginning

Toriko, a manga after my inner child

Comedic gold.

I’ve only read a chapter of it (eagerly anticipating the next issue of Shonen Jump), but I just know this is something I’ll love.

It’s a pretty standard 80’s shonen-eseque action/comedy (which automatically makes it awesome) that follows  exaggerated escapades of a gourmet hunter named Toriko and his wimpy cook-sidecook Komatsu as they fight giant animals and eat them.  I wasn’t too sold on the idea either, but from the first splash page I was hooked.

What got me first was the art.  I love it.  The clean lines, exaggeration, and just plain fun of it remind me of Toriyama’s work.  It really does look like something of the 80’s,  the characters actually have noses and Toriko’s muscles look as intense as this (I really need to read more of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure…).  This guy really can draw.  The food looks delicious and I’m incredibly jealous of his mastery of detail.  No stretches of white space or cross-hatched nightmares, which brings me to another point:  the layouts.  That kind of sounds like something stupid to praise, but with a lot of action manga you have no idea what direction to read in or even what the hell is going on in some panels, so it’s nice to see one that actually UNDERSTANDS how to be a readable comic.

The great art and layouts have a purpose to them too– to make an entertaining comic.    It’s not exactly smart, nor does it have any underlying message or sexy girls in it, and it follows the shonen “IMPOSSIBLE DREAMS AND FRIENDSHIP” mentality to a T, but does that really matter?  Stuff like this will never get for old for me, the whole point is to have fun.    Toriko reminds me a lot of Dragon Ball, back when it was just jokes and fights, which is always a good thing.  I’ll definitely be buying this when it comes out.