Exes

Okay, I’ve finally gotten around to composing the list of manga series I’ve dumped after a fairly significant investment of volumes (inspired by John Jakala). Looking at them, the common thread seems to be novelty wearing off. And this doesn’t count the series where I tried a single volume and decided to give it a pass, because I’m terrified that any mention of them would lead to people swearing that things improved later and that I’m really cheating myself by not reading a little farther. Because I’m totally susceptible and would find my B&N member card and car keys and say, “D’or, okay!”

Absolute Boyfriend, by Yuu Watase (Viz – Shojo Beat): There’s just something depressing about the premise here. If the heroine had come out and said, “Listen, he’s hot, he’s devoted, and he’ll never cheat on me, you lowly human, and I don’t feel like working very hard on a relationship,” that might have been one thing. But the suggestion that there’s actually some kind of competition-fostering inner life to the robot guy is just something I don’t see.

Case Closed, by Gosho Aoyama (Viz): This is a perfectly pleasant mystery series with a cute premise and absolutely nothing in the way of forward momentum. What finally broke me was the knowledge that the series is still apparently going strong in Japan with some 60 volumes in print. I couldn’t see myself making that kind of commitment to something that was just reasonably entertaining.

Cromartie High School, by Eiji Nonaka (ADV): I’ll chalk this one up to too much of a good, weird thing. I just couldn’t quite keep up with the releases, as there was always something with an ongoing narrative that I wanted to read more. It’s funny and weird, and I’m fairly sure I might check in with the series again at some point when I need a disorienting laugh. But it doesn’t feel like something I need to “subscribe to,” per se. Am I spoiled? (On the bright side, it’s like the only opportunity I’ve ever had to link to ADV’s web site without it being in the context of not being able to find information on a series.)

Iron Wok Jan! by Shinji Saiyo (DrMaster): I’m really making a lot of you weep for my taste, aren’t I? I’m not doing it on purpose, I swear. And again, I like what I’ve read of the series. It just didn’t seem to be going anywhere, and I guess I need narrative momentum more than I thought. Like Cromartie, though, it’s always possible that I’ll pick up a couple of volumes on a rainy day when I need outrageous, over-the-top culinary action.

I’m trying to decide whether or not to count Shuri Shiozu’s Eerie Queerie (Tokyopop). It’s only four volumes long, and I made it through two of them. The first was really promising, the second was creepy in all the wrong ways, and I have no idea about the third and fourth and plan to keep it that way.

And just for bonus points and to give more people the opportunity to tell me how foolish I am for even considering such a reckless course of behavior, here are some series that are on the bubble:

Eden! It’s an Endless World, by Hiroki Endo (Dark Horse): Seriously, if I wanted to read about gangsters, prostitutes and illegal narcotics, there are approximately one billion choices out there in the world that didn’t bait-and-switch me with a thoughtful sci-fi introductory run. This is not what I was led to expect from the series, and I find myself irritated to a possibly unreasonable degree.

(Update: Myk speaks… from the FUTURE! Or in this case, Germany, where more Eden is available, and he confirms Huff’s assurance that the hookers-and-blow mini-arc comes to an end and things get back to abnormal. That’s good news, but I still think that wedging this story into a landscape where the vast majority of the population has been turned into crumbled Swarovsky figurines was a really, really bad, self-indulgent idea.)

Kindaichi Case Files, by Kanari Yozaburo and Sato Fumiya (Tokyopop): You know what could get me more invested in this series? A forward time-jump that gets Kindaichi out of high school and into a different setting with a different dynamic. He can still be a slacker, but I think moving him to a different stage of his life would revitalize things. I feel like there needs to be a sense of time passing that isn’t limited to references to previous cases.

(Still no Tokyopop links available, as 2.0 is still in limbo.)

17 Responses to Exes

  1. Lyle says:

    I’m enjoying Absolute Boyfriend in serial form but I don’t think I’d buy the collections. It’s just one of those love triangles that’s too depressing, either way a nice guy gets his heart broken when he doesn’t deserve it.

    I’m still reading Iron Wok Jan in fits and spurts… basically if I can get a bunch of ‘em cheap I do and they are quite satisfying in a 4-5 volume chunk, but I have a hard time spending $10 on a volume when there’s so little movement in each one.

  2. John Jakala says:

    And this doesn’t count the series where I tried a single volume and decided to give it a pass

    Yeah, I didn’t count one or two volume tries that didn’t take, only series that I initially enjoyed but then grew tired of. Otherwise it would have been a much longer list.

    Cromartie is one I pick up every now and then from the library, and I enjoy it in that fashion, but it’s not anything I must have right when it comes out.

    Eden just never grabbed me, and Iron Wok Jan was fun at first but intimidated me with its recipes I could never learn to cook in a million years.

  3. Huff says:

    Endo stops trying to remake “City of God” within a volume if I can recall and gets back to the meat of the series. But aside from Elijah’s development even these past few volume have been better written than the vast majority of manga out there, so I don’t really mind all that much.
    Lucky I can borrow Cromartie from a friend because its one of those series I like a lot but would inevitably fall behind on simply because of its repetitive nature. Every volume is filled with buckets of fun, but it doesn’t give me any real reason to want to run out and buy the next volume. GTO and Ranma were like this as well, so I’m glad I didn’t have to buy them.

  4. ChunHyang72 says:

    I think you’ve put your finger on why I’ve had such a hard time reviewing Eden. I really enjoyed the first 4.5 volumes, but when the series took a detour into Scarface territory, I found myself wondering if I’d suddenly wandered into a different manga altogether.

  5. gynocrat says:

    I found myself wondering if I’d suddenly wandered into a different manga altogether.

    That’s what finally killed Trigun for me. Suddenly Nightow became fascinated with Battle Galactica and SGA, and the next you think you know, we have Trigun in space. 0___0. It not only jumped the shark, it f*cked the shark and gave it herpes.

  6. […] David Welsh and Johanna Draper Carlson round out the “dropped manga series” meme. […]

  7. Simon Jones without a blog says:

    Well, I’d argue that Kindachi and Case Closed aren’t so much of a series as a bunch of mystery novels strung together. They’re something you can just pick up a couple of volumes and read without really needing to follow it.

  8. davidpwelsh says:

    Good point, Blogless Simon. The Kindaichi books are more consistent in that regard, since they’re generally self-contained except for one story that stretches out over two volumes. That happens more often with Case Closed, if I recall, but the stories are generally shorter.

  9. JennyN says:

    Right with you on EERIE QUEERIE. Rarely have I seen a series become such a complete *mess* so quickly. What puzzled me was why on earth whoever published it (Tokyopop?) picked it up in the first place, since it was short and presumably either mostly already out or actually complete by the time it was licensed in the US. And even more so, how any halfway competent Japanese editor had allowed it to degenerate into the weirdness (and I don’t mean that in a good way) it became. Maybe the mangaka was somebody’s good and great friend?

  10. JennyN says:

    Aaargh! Of course it *was* Tokyopop, as David had just informed all of us.

    ::Facepalm::

  11. davidpwelsh says:

    The weird thing about EQ… well, one of the weird things about it… was that it sort of managed to be two popular kinds of BL in one… the sensitive and character-driven stuff of the first volume, followed by the weirdly coercive, fan-service-y stuff that followed. If it was two entirely different series, no problem, because I could have avoided the pervy priests and French maid costumes and enslaved dead boys. But it all just kind of got lumped together.

  12. […] [The original post in which Mr. Welsh discusses the reasoning behind his dropping of various long running series, including Hiroki Endo´s excellent postapocalyptic fairytale Eden, from his Manga portfolio can be found here] […]

  13. Myk says:

    Well, actually I´m speaking from the office floor, where I´ve been crashing these past six days to get this insane project I´m working on done; so your post gave me a welcome excuse to take a break from making Flash – XML – Backend communication work in something resembling a seamless manner.

  14. […] is talking about the manga they’re not reading. David Welsh posts his list, Johanna adds to hers, Myk posts a longish comment at TZG 2.0, Alex Scott counts em down at […]

  15. Connie says:

    Actually, if I remember correctly (and I may not, I read it around 3-4 years ago), Eerie Queerie’s first two volumes actually made sense compared to the last two, which says something. That was one of the absolute worst series I’ve ever read.

    I like Case Closed a lot, but I also lament the fact that it’s around 60 volumes long. I don’t know if I can deal with it for that long, but for right now I still love the crap out of every volume. I do recommend volume 10 as a must-read if you liked it in the past.

    Cheeky Angel is the big stone of sin I wear around my neck. I haven’t liked that series since volume 4, but here I am with up through 19 preordered, and I hate every single volume I’ve read for the past three years. The amount of time and money I’ve wasted on it is astounding given its quality, but I have a serious need for closure, even with the worst things. I wish it wasn’t so long.

  16. Simon Jones without a blog says:

    This is the thing about Case Closed. The way it’s structured means it can be written forever and ever so on into infinity. It will churn out story after story after story, forever trapped in it’s static formula. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But it is built to be a perpetual cash cow (And, by some accounts, intentionally so) until the author retires. Or dies.

  17. Allan Smythe says:

    Check out Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka. It’s an old school manga being released for the first time in the States starting in September. There are free samples over at http://www.vertical-inc.com/blackjack. If it was your cup of tea feel free to spread the word.

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