The Big Adventures of Majoko

Oooooh, we’re getting close to the 200th post! And I’ve got something special planned that’s gonna rock your socks off it’s Mai the Psychic Girl. Sorry, couldn’t resist, it’s been a long time coming. Mai the Psychic Girl was, I believe, the first manga to be released in America, a fact I’ll be glad to repeat when the time for the post comes.

Now we’re doing this faux-review. It’s faux, folks, because I can’t really think about anything to say on “The Big Adventures of Majoko.” So I’ll be reviewing and filling you guys in about the haps simultaneously.

Majoko is a KIDS MANGA. You know, cute, silly, fun. That’s the first problem, because there’s a guaranteed formula already. We know that the human, Nana, who finds the witch Majoko’s book is not going to be mauled by ogres at the end of the chapter.

Nana’s fine, though. They could have made her overly shy or straightforward, but she seems more “kid-like” than the norm. I respect that. I do not, however, respect a few of these jokes.

Know what’s not a joke? THIS OCTOBER! Unlike last time, I actually have suitable horror manga in mind. Nothing is ever set in stone, but expect some works from Junji Ito, creator of my favorite horror manga, “Uzumaki”. Yeah, aside from that, only “Gyo” was released in the states, but I’m a cheater. Hellstar Remina? YES. Some of the anthology works? POSSIBLY COUNT ON IT. Maybe even a manga about his cats? Uhhhh, DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME?

Eh, the jokes in Majoko are kinda freaking hilarious. Yeah, clumsy segue. I’m surprised, because for a kid’s manga (not that kid’s = bad) it really does have some on-the-nose laughs.

Every story is Dragon Tales. You know, Emi and Max are fighting, they go to Dragon Land, and the dragons also learn a lesson about fighting. Or a hot-tubbing walrus. Again, forgiven because of target audience.

Plus, there’s really no threat. There’s a Little Mermaid story, but it was all a test. The guy stealing rainbows? He was liberating them! And stealing them. Although at the end of volume one, the girls and their magic friends wind up in… the past, I think? Or an alternate dimension, possibly. Oh, the first volume ends on a cliffhanger… but there’s five volumes in the US! Hazzoo! I might get more one day!

Not blown away with my promise of Ito? No worries! Portus is on the list as well! I keep all of my “to be reviewed” manga in the front of my bookshelf and store them in the back once completed! AND I CANNOT WAIT TO PUT PORTUS IN THE BACK. It stares at me always.

Five guesses which one it is. TIME’S UP IT’S THE RED ONE.

 Oh, and R.I.P. and Doll and Dolls and Yurara are all good Halloween manga. Chobits, not so much.We might even get to Hino Horror’s Bug Boy, a meaner version of Metamorphosis, for kids! YAY!

I should probably address the updates this year. You might have noticed a 3-2-3-2-etc. pattern with the number of reviews per month. And my reason for that is… coincidence. Originally. Once I noticed the low count, I tried to prevent it, but life got in the way. So hopefully October will ditch that and we can have a bunch of spooky reviews. Also, COMIC-CON FOR THE LAST DAY! So maybe I’ll actually finish all the manga I bought there last year before buying more.
Majoko is pretty fun, even for an older audience. Not every plot point or joke hits the nail on the head, but I can promise and assure you that your child or possible younger uncle or aunt might enjoy this.
And I hope to break the bank with October’s reviews. Can’t wait.
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Portrait of M & N

Delivery: One followup to an earlier review, A Girl in a Birdcage. This is the manga that bonus story came from, and I’m tired of looking at this on my shelf, only to realize that I still haven’t reviewed it. So what kind of series did a bonus manga about a bully who tortures his crush, making her fall in love with him? Well… “Portrait of M & N” is about a masochist and a narcissist. Oh, an a guy afraid of dogs. LET’S EXAMINE THE SCOOP OF THE MATTER, SHALL WE? That’s my new thing. Working for you? Don’t care.

Yeah, so there’s two students, a girl who likes being hurt, and a guy who likes… well, his is pretty exaggerated. He has narcissism. OHHHHHH. NOOOOOOOOU. Look, I don’t mind the fact that she has masochism, since that’s not usually a focal point in a shojo. Is this a shojo? Whatever. She’s Abe, he’s Amakusa. Amakusa wears thick glasses so he won’t stare at his beauty and scare off others. It’s weak, honestly. First, thick glasses? That often serves to magnify our shine, dear boy. Second, even if you do prevent slipping into narcissist mode with the thick glasses, there’s a bunch of other factors blocking you. You view Abe as pathetic, still think more of what others think than acting like you don’t care, and, oh yeah, the final scene of volume one.

Let’s talk about the volume as is, sans bonus story. The narrative style is poorly decided. It feels like a storybook, a fairy-tale, even though there’s no call for it. Tachibana labels herself as the author an narrator. I don’t know, would that really matter here? Plus, we’re introduced to the Abe family, complete with their ages. Oh, good! I love when manga does this. “He’s 55! This will be important later because this is on the final exam!” Basically, trim the fat unless those minor details will surely pop up.

The leads are okay. Abe, I’d say, I prefer, but only because she’s of marginally more focus. But the manga puts her in the position of being the bullied new girl, a common manga trope I hate. Oh, and this happened in the bonus story too! Both times because of a man! Here, unlike most series, it’s a bit welcome, as the masochism would not dishearten Abe, but excite her. So hey, a little depth to an old trope! Sadly, it never pops up outside of the two love interests.

OOO! O O O O O O O O! I took an art class over the summer, and I have fairly improved art skills from most of this blog’s run. FINA-LEE, I can feel justified in critiquing the art! A-HEM!

“Portrait of M & N’s art is not very good!”

Okay, serioso. Everything looks really outdated, and not in a way I’d like. More in the style of early CLAMP, or xxxHolic if it took three rides on the Six Flags Kingda Ka. Not terribly fluid, unless that fluid is ink, and either too black or too white in certain areas.

One thing I would recommend this manga for would be that you only need to buy one volume and never feel bad that you never bought the rest of the series. For one, Tokyopop crashed before 5 and 6 came out, so you’ll never have a truly “complete” set. Pop bless incompetence.

More importantly, the volume, at five chapters (or “acts” for some reason) wraps up any possible drama by the end. As I’ve been building up to, Abe found a photo of a girl in Amakusa’s wallet. On the very last page of the non-bonus manga, it’s revealed that the girl is himself, which clearly means that he isn’t trying A TALL to cure himself of his egomania. Really? Photo of yourself as a girl? Get a sardine; I hear they’re great pets.

You CAN get this, but again, I’d just go for volume 1. Like I said, this manga wraps everything up. Although they don’t officially date. No, they become each other’s “first friend” which doesn’t mean they’ll end up together. Still, if we pretend that this is a one-shot, then that’s pretty cool, like Frozen, or cosmic, like Guardians of the Galaxy. I’d recommend something else if you want a series about two people trying to hide their true natures, but I don’t think this is too harmful. Just make sure to rip out the rest of the volume after chapter five, where it says “The End”. Wait, it literally says “The End”? Good! Justification.

Revenge Of Mouflon

“What the Hell is a Mouflon?”
“It’s a type of sheep.”
“What, like a lamb?”
“Er… not even close. Mouflon are wild, untamed sheep.”
“Why do already aggressive sheep need to take revenge?”
“Well, contextually it makes sense. The passengers were viewed as sheep by the government, disposable and indistinguishable to the ‘shepherds’.”
“Wait, I’m confused. Start at the beginning.”

“Back in 2001, there was a terrorist attack on American soil, which killed a large number of New Yorkers. America, not used to this sort of thing, rose up against their attackers.”
“Wait, so the Americans are Mouflons?”
“This created a general sense of fear and uncertainty. People put off their lighter emotions in favor of the heavy ones, as they didn’t know how life could ever be normal again. Luckily technology advanced and became a great distraction.
“I know all this! Get to the manga!”

“Revenge of Mouflon was translated by Raijin Comics, the same geniuses who okayed Bomber Girl.”
“Bomber Girl… no relation to the World Trade Center bombing, is it?”
“Different kind of bomb. Raijin was a bit odd in the sense of its formatting style. They numbered each panel, since Americans were stupid and couldn’t figure out a pattern.”
“The Mouflon! Get on with the Mouflon!”
“Revenge of Mouflon focuses on comedian Sano Yohei and his experience on a hijacked flight. Yohei received attention for threatening a politician after he mentioned civilians as sheep, that their lives were of little value.”
“He wouldn’t survive in our hot-mic age.”

“The captain of the plane notices that Yohei is making the other passengers feel relaxed, thanks to his quick wit and sense of humor. To be fair, yeah! If I were there, I’d be laughing my head off! It is really strong humor!”
“The hijacking?”
“The captain shows Yohei the command center, and when Yohei exits, a man walks in and kills the pilot and co-pilot. The terrorists leave the plane with no one to fly the thing.”
“So what does this have to do with 9/11? Honestly, this feels kind of like an unrelated series of events. Someone else’s 9/11, maybe.”

“The plane seems to be a danger to the Americans, so they’re ordered to shoot if it comes near. This is based on the fear I had mentioned earlier.”
“Who?! Who would dare allow an attack on such innocent people, such kings above men? Who? WHO?”
“It’s the President, I guess a sideways version of Bush. Not everyone was happy with President Bush, and he comes off weirdly portrayed and unnamed here. He’s super toned and got some nice pecs, but he’s a lot more war-hungry than American portrayals.”
“Here, let me see an example.”

“Yeah, that really does enrage and delight me.”
“Fortunately, this manga is never one-sided. Bush is a jerk, the Prime Minister is a jerk, but the Governor understands the importance of human life. Plus, while Bush is acting on emotions and won’t listen to reason, Yohei not only convinces the passengers that he’s trustworthy, but the US Airforce as well.”
“I want that Bush in my bush.”
“You’re as hungry and two-dimensional as he is. What I love is that even though Yohei can convince an old ex-military agent and the American forces what to do, when the news reports that Yohei is flying the plane, everyone on land scrambles out of the area. I mean, how great is that?”
“So great. Those shoulders.”
“Yohei tells everyone on the flight about the encounter with the uncaring councilman, which steels their nerve to become ‘terrorists’. My favorite line is ‘I’m the Bruce Willis of the Comedy World!'”
“I can change him. Ooh, but I want him to be an untamed Mouflon!”
“Look, drop the Bush thing.”
“You can’t stop our love!”

“And I think the greatest moment in the manga is when the Governor helps Yohei and the veteran and they agree to get drinks after. OH! But then the American force helps by balancing the plane… by shooting one of the wings! Ah, and then it skates all over the freeway, towards the councilman building where all the politicians fled except for the one that Yohei attacks! AHHHHH I LOVE THIS MANGA SO MUCH!”
“So where’s volume 2?”
“Huh?”
“You love this manga so much, and volume 2 is out. has been for over a decade. Why not get it?”
“Because Raijin doesn’t exist anymore. They’re like the towers. Wonderful, if only in a representative way. And I’d hate to not know what happens after volume 2, since there’s 7 total.”
“That’s disappointing. So why do you love this volume so much?”

“Maybe because there’s nothing like it. I mean, it’s so straightforward compared to other manga. It’s like a really fun action movie. It reminds me of Airplane!, only in Japan and not even available online. What a waste.”
“I suppose all that stuff about 9/11 in this review is probably because today’s 9/11, huh?”
“Sure, it’s a gimmick, but it seems appropriate. If we don’t commemorate historical events in ways that can relate to us, then they don’t feel as meaningful.”
“So does that mean I can genetically modify my own Super Bush to commemorate 9/11?”
“If you have the resources, fine.”
“AWESOME! All around the Double-U Bush…