GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class

Ground rules with this review: It’s “GA” to me, okay? No way am I going to type that mother of a word without sounding like a fool. “Geijutsuka”. Wow, I got it. Still sound like a fool, though. This is “GA”.

Plot: And when Glasses Girl and her friends get into adventures, you’d better watch out! Oh, I’m sorry, did I start in the middle of the story? Well, GA feels that rather than introducing the girls, they just pretend we know who they are!

Even the worst of manga has introductions for their character. By no means am I suggesting that GA is worse than the soulless Qwaser Of Stigmata, or even the horrifying Eiken. But when you throw the reader into the fray, you’re saying, “I don’t care if the reader is lost. Here’s a character description page.” And guess what? I don’t retain who they are.

And boy, are these chickie-babies unmemorable. There’s the lead spacey glasses girl, the hyperactive girl (but of course), the tomboy, the awesome mystery lady, and that’s it. I say “that’s it”, because as bland as those sound, the fifth girl is labeled as “The onee-san of the group”. And that means? “The buzzkill”. JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOY.

Don’t get me wrong, Tori Koro has an even blander cast. But again, at least that had a semblance of an intro. Although, they didn’t have The Professor. For some reason, an honors student teaches the art class. Wait, I forgot since I was doing the plot gag. This whole series is about art. That fact is important, because they never shut up about it. I know the series is about art and painting and their school is for art stuff, but even I become weary of the art talk.

And that’s the worst of it. It’s trying to be both educational and silly. But it doesn’t work on either level. It comes off as unfunny most of the time. A couple of jokes hit, but they’re faaaaar and feeeeew in between. And the educational aspect?

“Oh, and regarding the art information in this manga: You shouldn’t really trust it.”

SCUM. Not only do you shove this art info in our faces, but it’s not even real? Then why not shut up? In Yakitate!! Japan it makes sense. They have battles, and they reveal their hidden techniques used to win. Sometimes it’s bull, but it’s always funny. But here, it’s no more than blowing hot air.

Oh, yeah, the Professor. She’s the mystery girl, and she’s funny. But she’s been done better in other 4koma manga like Azumanga Daioh and K-On!. In fact, K-On! and this seem to be quite similar. I don’t know which came first, but let’s put this in the knockoff. Just makes sense to me.

The colored pages are rather nice, actually. I complained in 12 Secret Colors that it had no colored scenes, but this one has plenty. It’s actually kinda nice.

My dad wanted to read this one, actually. He took a look at it before I did. Well, guess what? He was completely lost! Oh, sure, there was translation notes in there, but what good is that when you have to go back constantly to get it? It’s like when you have to explain a joke to someone. Well, that’s exactly what it is. Why would someone who needs it explained laugh?

If you’re wondering if my dad just doesn’t appreciate 4koma manga, I gave him Azumanga Daioh to settle the pain of GA. Guess what? He laughed on the very first page. Good sense of taste, that man.

The manga does have some good scenes and an occasional funny joke, but it’s not worth the yawns just to find them. Read Azumanga Daioh or K-On! instead.

Overall Opinion: Dull and full of lies. I’m sure a painting pun exists, but this manga isn’t worth the effort.

Rating: Orange. It’s orange. I think orange is weak. Nice color for fruit, though.

WAIT WAIT WAIT! “GA”? What does that stand for? “God Awful”? HA HA HA HA HA! Thanks for stopping by.

Broken Angels

Hey, gang! It’s back cover time! Listen to this gem!

“Fujiwara Sunao is a rather unusual lady. Not only does she prefer to wear her hair short and dress like a boy, but she also possesses the ability to control water!”

Let’s stop for a moment. This is not very intriguing. In fact, one might call it rather stupid. I’m used to the fact that some manga girls look boyish and some boyish look manga girls, but while others aren’t, this still shouldn’t be a selling point. Moving on.

“One might think Fujiwara would be an odd fit at her school, but strangely, she’s not.”

She is.

“Between the destructive and demented school president, the kooky and somewhat stalker-like school nurse, and the obsessed underclassman who wants to be her apprentice, Fujiwara may be the sanest person at her school–“

She’s not.

“which is a big help considering she may be asked to save it!”

She doesn’t.

Anyway, here’s “Broken Angels”.

Plot: Read the above, but less comedic-like.

The back cover is a liar, but that’s no surprise. From the description, you might think this is a poor attempt at comedy. But really, it’s a poor attempt at drama. Fujiwara, or as we’ll call her, The Water Girl, seems to try and fix other people’s lives by spouting off generic advice. It helps them, but, like a sieve, it holds no water. GET IT? WATER? YES!

It’s sad when “destructive and demented” are words used in a light-hearted manner. The school president is clearly off her rocker, and all Tokyopop could do is make sport of it. Well, maybe I should back up a bit.

Like a manga of this caliber, it begins with Water Chick being yelled at for looking like a boy by the school principal. Joy. Then she finds some dead fish. Joy. She hangs out with a friend and the school nurse, and afterwards they talk about Water Babe. Well, she’s no babe. The next day, she finds…

A dead bird. In her locker. Everyone, naturally, is disgusted, both at the corpse and that someone would dare do this to their lovely Water Fiend. Oh, did I mention all the girls are in love with her? That’s important, apparently, since they mention it in every chapter.

Water Moron does the only thing that makes sense: She picks up the bird corpse… AND KISSES IT. YEAH. EW. Look, I know it’s supposed to be like, “Goodnight, sweet prince” or something, but kids, don’t kiss dead birds, especially bloody ones. It’s nasty.

At this point, I’m uneasy. “Could it get much worse?” Well, it could certainly get less interesting. The school president meets up with her and plays her some piano, saying she wants to be a doctor because her whole family is. Water Thing doesn’t buy it. She later finds her trying to burn down the school, as well as being the culprit of the birder. Bird murder. Shorter. She gives a generic speech, and all is well, except the manga still reeks of suck.

Now, my first issue is this: I thought the school president and Water Maid’s friend I extremely briefly mentioned earlier were different people. Okay, that’s bad on me, but come on. The girl seems to have two different personalities and faces to go with them, so I think I deserve to be confused. And I didn’t discover until the last chapter that I was confused. She was with Water Beast and the nurse like a friend, so why did they act like strangers when she played her the piano? BAH.

Okay, Water Witch is… why should I even use the word “Water”? She barely needs the power. Sure, put out the fire, save a child from drowning, but really, it seems unneeded. Anyway, SUNAO is a farce. She’s boring, she acts all pretentious, and frankly, everyone’s in love with her. WHY? Because she “looks hotter than the guys”. UGH. Look, if it were an all-girls school, then I’d be down with it. I might’ve even liked it a little. But in a coed school, CHOOSE A REAL GUY. Sunao isn’t worth it. Trust me.

Later chapters have Sunao and company make a father and daughter reconcile, or some annoying girl tries to act like Sunao, but those are just unpleasant at best. Actually, the apprentice is more interesting than Sunao, if you view her as a parody of Sunao herself. The evil guy who thinks he can control others is also more interesting to read about than Sunao, since he hates her guts. Kinda a bad thing when I side with the bad guy.

One thing that drove me nuts was the translating. Not because the dialogue is awful, but because they forgot in chapter three what gender Sunao is. The lackey is like, “she’s so cool!” and then when the bad guy calls Sunao a girl, lackey’s like, “That GIRL?” Baffling. Although maybe they meant “SHOW SOME RESPECT! USE HER REAL NAME!”

Except, here’s what makes me think not: Sunao says to the lackey “Do your best.” In a thought, the lackey thinks, “Do your best, he says.” Yeah, I guess I wasn’t mistaken after all. The Manga Connoisseur, 27, Broken Angels, 2. Don’t ask.

Also, I’m pretty sure water doesn’t put out an explosion. Evil guy even says this. COME ON, GUYS.

The nurse is awful. He dresses like a girl, but they hardly talk about this. Why is it Sunao dressing like a guy is daily conversation, but the SCHOOL NURSE dressing like a girl doesn’t come up? I think that’s a pretty big deal, guys. Oh, and he’s in love with Sunao too. UGH. She has too much going on to be a good character.

This is one of the bad ones. Annoying characters, bland art, bad plots, and cliches that could make your head spin. “Broken Angels” is a proper name, at least, the “Broken” part is. Leave this manga to drown.

Overall Opinion: Sunao is the obvious focus of this title, but because no one will let her have flaws, it makes for a very unpleasant read. Don’t read it.

Rating: A Gallon of Water in a Sieve. Basically, droplets.

Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven

Happy 7/11! Don’t forget, with each review comes a free slurpee! Oh, wait, that’s only for today, since, y’know, it’s 7/11. And what better way to celebrate the day than with a manga about how the store 7/11 was formed? We don’t have such a thing, but here’s a manga about how 7/11 was formed in Japan! This is “Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven”!

You may recall, although you most certainly will not, that I reviewed another “Project X Challengers” before. That one was about the 240Z. This is actually the last in the series of three, with Cup O’ Noodles still up for review. But since today is 7/11 and not Cup O’ Noodles day (except maybe in Japan), this is what we’re doing.

Also, I must admit, you will probably hear the words bore, bored, and boring a lot. I apologize in advance.

Plot: In this boring bore of a salaryman manga, a couple of boring bores who make me bored try to revamp their business to succeed in the Japanese market. They visit America and get the idea to become like 7/11. It works. But so what?

If you haven’t guessed, this manga isn’t exactly high on interest. You’d think, “Wow, a manga about 7/11! That sounds like the peas, man!” But I just felt bored reading it. The protagonists, while their reactions are a bit over-the-top, never really get my attention as a whole. Sure, it could be fine if they spiced it up, but it’s as bland as can be. There’s only a few quirks involved, really.

First, like I said, the reactions are goofy at best. It’s like “MISTER SHIMIZU! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” “Uh… I work here?” Stuff like that, kinda. Another quirk is the phrase “quirky job history”. Seriously, they use it twice to describe two different people. And yet, only one really seems that quirky and the other’s job history to be quirky. Whatever.

I do like the stockings lady. She’s just some random woman who walks into 7/11 and says, “Oh, they sell stockings too!” I don’t know why, but I like how happy she looks to find stockings in the store. And she only appears in the one panel. It’s pretty bad when the person I like most only appears in one scene.

I said in my 240Z something like, “Hey, this is historical! How can I really criticize something that happened?” Well, past me, we can. Here’s how:

Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven is boring. I mean, really boring, as in, an entire chapter seems to exist only for Japan and America to have a back-and-forth about the price they should agree on.

OH WAIT I FORGOT THE BEST PART THE AMERICANS

The Americans are all ugly. Not cute like the Japanese businessmen. All of the Americans look like a cross between Nixon and Old Man Nixon. I guess it’s so we can sympathize with the Japanese dream team, but as an American one week after The Fourth Of July, I say feh. Way to make us look bad, Japan.

Overall Opinion: A boring manga that goes on for too long. Skip it, and pick up your slurpee from 7/11 before the day is done.

Rating: Vanilla-flavored Slurpee. I never had, but I imagine it wouldn’t taste good. If it does, Water-flavored Slurpee.

Magic Knight Rayearth

So, yeah. I just finished one of the most bizarre and somewhat disappointing endings to a manga. Here’s “Magic Knight Rayearth”.

Plot: Three girls from different schools are chosen to become the Magic Knights. This entails sucking them into the ground to a magical new world named “Cephiro” or “Cefiro” (more on that later). Over time, they learn to become friends, fight not-bad guys, and give moving speeches, like, ALL THE TIME. Oh, and Mokona is there. This is important. MOKONA IS THERE. Lemme explain.

This

is Mokona. You may remember him from later installments such as xxxHolic, but black and with a blue gem, and Tsubasa Chronicles as the original color scheme, but I didn’t read it. This is important.

So yeah, the characters. First, Hikaru. She is, undoubtedly, the creator’s’s’ pet. She even has the manga named after her, but she never really seems justifiably the best of the trio. Maybe because she’s short, but who knows? She dabbles in fire magic.

Then, Umi. Undoubtedly, my favorite. She’s smart, funny, a great character. Aggravates easily, too, which is much funnier than the other two just going with the flow. She’s also very awesome, and loves her parents more than a dog and herself. More on that later. She dabbles in water magic.

Finally, and least, Fuu. Great. Fuu… is. She has glasses. Supposedly smart. DULL AS A POST. And I like Post Cereal. Okay, she’s as dull as a Facebook post. Okay. I hear in the anime she’s more of a geek or something, but this is about manga, so too bad. She dabbles in wind magic.

Their journey: Save Cephiro and the kidnapped princess from a sexy brooding man in black. They meet people and learn to love Cephiro and its ways. But the truth behind the princess is dark. Oh well.

See, she’s the pillar, but spoilers. Anyway, as the pillar, she can’t fall in love since the pillar must only love Cephiro. Guess what, spoilers? She’s in love with the not-bad guy in black. He’s not even really evil. He just wants her badly. Oh well, too bad they both die.

Yeah, they kill sexy brooder in black and the princess demands that they kill her with their giant robots that they somehow have in that world. I told you this was a bizarre ending. But not disappointing, so hold on.

First, I have a problem with this manga. I don’t care about Cephiro like the only ten residents do. Yeah, we barely see anyone. Imagine if, say, The Neverending story only had The Childlike Empress, Atreyu, and the horse. That’s what this feels like. As bad as we’re supposed to feel for the dying world, we never see its suffering victims. No one’s upset because The Nothing took my friends right out of their hands. So why should I care? In fact, at least in the beginning we see the girls’ classmates. At least we know that the people of Earth exist. BAH.

Second, a certain scene. The girls are fighting the thing they love most. Hikaru, in typical childlike fashion, loves her dog most. Okay. Umi? Her parents. Noble. Fuu, though? HERSELF. WHAT. Yeah, she gives some speech about how she has to care for herself more than others, but it comes off as selfish anyway. Whatever.

So the ending. Turns out, part two is a whole other omnibus. The one I read was by Tokyopop. Volume two was by Dark Horse. Oh yeah, they call it “Cefiro”, unlike Tokyopop’s “Cephiro”. Then again, these are the same people who censored the word “pervert”, so I trust Dark Horse’s judgement instead.

Omnibus Two goes as such:

Plot: The trio is upset. They miss Cefiro. So they manage to return and save it once again! All your favorites, and also Mokona!

Yeah, this

is back. Great. By the way, it’s helpful in both omnibi, but it’s mostly comic relief. Except in this one. More on this as it progresses.

This time, three worlds are competing to become the pillar. There’s Chinese world, which has a pretty funny princess, Arabian world, which has a smart and likable sister there, and machine world, which is the Fuu of the three. Great.

So blah and blee, story marches on forward. No one’s the bad guy. And I like that. Why should anyone be? They all think they’re justified, and they happen to be. But no one’s the villain, which is good. Oh, a guy from machine world and Hikaru are chosen. WUNDERBAR.

But here’s the kicker. Remember this

little guy? Well, now it’s this

little GOD. It’s God. It’s God. IT’S GOD. IT’S GOD. IT’S GOD. WHY IS IT GOD.

I know sometimes God is portrayed as adorable, but MOKONA? Really? The guy’s “meow” is “Puu”. “PUU”! WHYHYHYHYHYHYHYHY. This was not the disappointing ending. Bizarre, yes. Not a disappointment.

No, what happens is that Hikaru is chosen out of her and the machine-world guy, and the world is reborn somewhat anew. They go home, come back, and the cast asks, “SAY! What should we name this world?”

Then I turn the page.

Then Hikaru asks me something like, “Hey reader! You were with us from the start! Write our world’s name below!”

I say, “Hey, Hikaru, that’s dumb.”

Hikaru tells me nothing, because this is not the music video “Take On Me” by a-ha.

This is not a children’s manga. So why give me an ending I read in a Hamtaro book? Thanks, CLAMP. Thanks a bunch.

Okay, I liked this, but CLAMP is typical weirdness in this. So take it if you will, but you may get nothing from reading it. It’s long, preachy, and repeats itself sometimes. But it is very pretty, and a few of the characters are great. So try it if you must.

Overall Opinion: Yeah, okay, it was good, but MOKONA SHOULD NOT BE GOD. Just saying.

Rating: One White Mokona out of a White and Black Pair.