Every Sunday, G4 will be bringing you the finest anime/manga reviews, previews, and ephemera. Here's what's in store for you this week...
TOTO! The Wonderful Adventure by Yuko Osada: A wonderful adventure indeed. TOTO! has a lot of spirit that will make you want to run free and ride your bike as far as you can on a summer’s day.
The story is about a boy named Kakashi as he follows in his father’s footsteps in hopes of seeing the world. He befriends a girl named Dorothy and a dog whom she names Toto...she’s...traveling to Emerald....did we mention Kakashi’s name means “scarecrow?”
Oh sweet Jeebus, please don’t let this turn into more of a Wizard of Oz ripoff than it currently appears to be. As long as it doesn’t go too crazy with this line of thinking, TOTO! will be a joyful adventure that anyone with a light heart, old or young, will be able to appreciate. We can only hope.
Maid Machinegun by Aaliyah: A novel. Yes, a novel. Not a manga. We wish it was a manga because it would have been quite cute. Maid Machinegun is a diary-style story about 18 year-old Aaliyah who works as a waitress in a maid café in Tokyo’s Akihabara district.
You’ll learn stuff about Akihabara culture (we learned how to spell “Akihabara” correctly!) and how to act in a maid café which will be a great help on your next trip to Tokyo. Overall, the story is cute and can be read from start to finish on a plane ride from Chicago to Los Angeles. It’s pure fluff, but that’s not a bad thing. The characters are interesting and the writing style varies between chapters to mix things up and keep it feeling fresh.
The Reformed written by Christopher Heart, art by Anzu: “Handsome, wealthy, respected Giancarlo has lived for hundreds of years, surrounded by splendor, shrouded in darkness, and enslaved by the insatiable hunger lurking inside him.” Apparently, in all that time, nobody taught him the definition of a run-on sentence.
The Reformed is the most clichéd vampire story ever written. A good looking and rich vampire seeks to redeem himself for all the killing he’s done in his past. There’s some pretty girl who he instantly falls in love with for no apparent reason. There’s some detective on his ass who he allows to live, again for no apparent reason. It’s all been done before, and Heart offers nothing to make his vampires unique.
Despite the manga being rated at 16+, we honestly could not recommend this for anyone over 16. The pacing is too fast, the dialogue is predictable, and the stupidity of the over-the-top melodrama is enough to cause an aneurism in anyone who can read at an 8th grade level or higher.
At least the art is good. Anzu does a great job creating a “bishounen-noir” look to the piece. Sadly, it’s not enough to redeem the lack of originality in the story and writing. Give this to your tween little sister. She might enjoy it.
-- Courtney Kraft