Quick comic comments: CMX’s dead girls

I’m not what you’d call a big fan of vampire fiction, though there are certainly individual examples that I’ve enjoyed (Buffy, Fright Night, and, to my shame, The Lost Boys). What always interests me most is what bits and pieces of vampire mythos the creators will adopt or abandon to serve their narrative purposes.

That’s part of the fun of Chika Shiomi’s Canon (CMX). Shiomi has her own take on essential elements of the bloodsucking undead – the necessity of feeding, the effectiveness of religious iconography as a repellent, reversibility of turning, and so on – and her choices make sense for her storytelling ends.

Beyond the relative mechanics of vampirism on display, Canon’s titular heroine is an intriguing addition to the legion of vampires with a conscience. Sickly and sheltered in life, her traumatic conversion (which featured the death of 39… that’s 39… beloved classmates) has toughened her up without eliminating her essentially compassionate nature.

She’s on a mission to find and stop the vampire who turned her and used her class as a buffet, and she runs into various denizens of the vampire community in her quest for justice. Some share her aims, and others object to her existence on principle. (They favor vampires who are born to those who are made.) Perils come at Canon from every direction, which is always a promising starting point for a manga series.

Canon does bear a striking physical resemblance to another Shiomi heroine, Aria from Go! Comi’s Night of the Beasts. Though they look alike and both have names derived from music theory, their personalities are entirely distinct. Shiomi seems to have a knack for creating interesting and independent female protagonists.

(Review based on a preview copy provided by the publisher.)

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While writing about the offerings in a recent volume of Previews, I think I had mentioned that the premise for Keiko Yamada’s Go Go Heaven!! (CMX) – “Smitten by the newly deceased [Shirayuki], the Prince [of Hell] grants Shirayuki 49 days to relive her life and resolve any unfinished business.” – sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the manga itself doesn’t live up to the bare-bones description.

Based on the first volume, it seems as though Shirayuki’s extra lifespan will be devoted to a series of purportedly comic humiliations visited upon her by the insufferably bratty Prince and his stereotypical entourage of beautiful boys. If Shirayuki had any gumption in the face of adversity, it might be more bearable. She does have one or two transcendent moments of perfectly understandable outrage, but her reactions are mostly restricted to bafflement and weeping, neither of which generated a great deal of sympathy or even its sickly cousin, pity.

I’ve liked what I’ve browsed of Yamada’s Vs. (also from CMX), but I’ll have to pass on Go Go Heaven!!

(Review based on a preview copy provided by the publisher.)

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I’m a bit disappointed by how much I liked the first volume of Toru Fujieda’s Oyayubihime Infinity (CMX), as I really don’t relish the prospect of typing “Oyayubihime” every time I write about it. I’m also not charitably inclined towards reincarnation romance. Some might cotton to the idea of destined love spanning the centuries, but I find it a little stifling. (What’s the point of reincarnation if you keep running into the same people over and over again?)

Still, I was completely charmed by the characters in this quirky comedy. The fact that surly heroine Kanoko gives a skeptical stink-eye to destined love made me an instant fan, but her flaky, needy suitor Tsubame won me over as well. And Fujieda strongly suggests that pacts made by past-life predecessors may not entirely determine the course of their contemporary incarnations.

10 Responses to Quick comic comments: CMX’s dead girls

  1. [...] enjoys vol. 1 of Shaman Warrior. Precocious Curmudgeon David Welsh reviews three titles from CMX, Canon, Go Go Heaven!! and Oyayubihime Infinity. And there’s a weekend flurry of activity at Slightly Biased Manga, where Connie posts reviews [...]

  2. Mely says:

    Friends broke it down like this for me: “Oya-yubi-hime”: “Oya-yubi” is “Head Finger” (or “Thumb”) and “hime” is “princess.” Now the title actually makes sense. :) “Oyayubi-hime” is also the Japanese name for “Thumbelina.” I’m not sure if the specific fairy tale is going to be an issue later on; the name already makes sense without it.

  3. davidpwelsh says:

    Oh, that’s very helpful! And I’m glad they didn’t call it “Head Finger Princess Infinity,” which sounds like a different kind of manga entirely.

  4. [...] the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2007 list of good books for teenagers, while on his weblog, Welsh reviews three CMX titles featuring dead girls of one form or [...]

  5. Oyce says:

    Oyayubihime Infinity ended up charming me a great deal as well, largely because it (so far) values non-romantic relationships as much as romantic ones, and because Fujieda seems to be heading toward the “reincarnation is not destiny” direction, as you mentioned.

    I think I’ll have to check out Canon now; thanks for the heads-up!

  6. davidpwelsh says:

    That’s good to know, Oyce. The balance of platonic and romantic tends to result in manga I really enjoy. (I also love that Tsubame isn’t all that concerned about the current gender of his destined love.)

  7. Myk says:

    David, for a moment there, I gotta admit, I thought you had lost all sense of things that are good. Because, you know, the Go! Go! Heaven I just happened to read last week, was really very good. Until I actually read what you had written about the contents, which had nothing to do with the book I read. “My” Go! Go! Heaven is about 4 girls who form a band to commit suicide on stage. And, no, it´s none of that suicide club typ stories, but rather a well drawn, melancholic look at life and what makes it worth living and what doesn´t.

    So the only thing that decides if you read a good story, or a sucky story is apparently the placement of the two exclamation marks in the title…

  8. [...] If zombies were the new pirates, and princesses were the new zombies, are vampires the new princesses? Or do vampires have sufficient cultural currency that they’re exempt from the fad cycle? I have no idea, but CMX is headed to the blood bank with the release of Chika Shiomi’s Canon, the tale of a heroic teen bloodsucker looking to avenge her entire high-school class. I think it gets off to a solid start. [...]

  9. zjwcyd says:

    Hello! You have an outstanding good and well structured site.
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  10. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

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