Checking in with IKKI

You’re still reading the free manga at Viz’s SIGIKKI site, right? A lot of it’s really good, and it’s free, and that kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, so you should take advantage of it. Here’s a lightly annotated list of the series, from least liked to favorite. (I passed over Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea, as that’s already on the print schedule and I prefer reading it that way, since it’s an option. It’s unquestionably one of 2009’s best books, though.)

Tokyo Flow Chart by Eiji Miruno: Well, they’ve only posted one chapter since the site’s launch, so I guess my initial opinion stands – a neat idea that I found almost impossible to read on a computer screen, so I have no idea if it’s any good.

Bokurano: Ours by Mohiro Kitoh: There’s nothing really wrong with this series. I can’t honestly say that any of the series are bad. But I feel like I’m already reading a much better version of this kind of thing with Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys.

Dorohedoro by Q. Yahashida: It’s got nicely gory and detailed art, and the plot feels like it could go interesting and lively places, but I feel like I’ve read this before. Not necessarily a better version of it, but something really similar and at least as good, which renders Dorohedoro somewhat superfluous.

I Am a Turtle by Temari Tamura: I’m probably under-ranking this one due to the fact there’s only one chapter available, but I’m already quite taken with this four-panel look at… well… a turtle. Great art.

Kingyo Used Books by Seimu Yoshizaki: I love the richly detailed illustrations, but I already find the stories a little heavy on sentimental nostalgia. I’ve enjoyed them, but I’m having a hard time imagining reading a bunch of them in a paperback chunk. Of course, no one’s saying I have to read the collected version beginning to end in a sitting.

I’ll Give it My All… Tomorrow by Shunji Aono: These last four are tough to rank, as I like them all almost equally and for very different reasons. I like this one for its merciless but still kind of sweet mockery of its loser protagonist. American comics about losers are never merciless enough.

Afterschool Charisma by Kumiko Suekane: At some point along the road of life, you have to admit to yourself that you can enjoy something just as much for its outrageous badness as you can for its compelling artistry, and that’s the case here (I think). Suekane is either a brilliant satirist or a lucky hack with moments of lunatic inspiration. Either way, I’m having great fun with this series about dimwitted teen clones of the famous and accomplished.

Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaoka: I’ll always favor slice-of-life science fiction over the kind with lots of bombastic plot, and this is terrific so far. I love the vulnerability of the character design, the melancholy tone, and the overall concept.

House of Five Leaves by Natsume Ono: Who’d have thought? I mean, seriously? But I’m crazy about this series, largely for its alluring ambiguity. Ono is a bit of a tease in terms of where the story is actually going, and she doesn’t seem to be in any tremendous rush to reveal that, but that’s the appeal for me. It travels really well-trodden narrative territory in unexpectedly delicate ways. I think it will still be my favorite even if the two main characters never actually make out.

According to Viz’s Signature listings, there are two other Natsume Ono books in the pipeline: not simple (January 2010) and Ristorante Paradiso (March 2010).

Oh, and there’s fun stuff to be found on the site’s blog.

3 Responses to Checking in with IKKI

  1. JRBrown says:

    I’m trying to keep up with the SigIkki site; I hate it that there’s no convenient way to tell when the site updates.

    My favorite so far is House of Five Leaves; Ristorante Paradiso was already on my must-buy list before SigIkki, and HoFL is now on it too. I’m also enjoying Kingyo Used Books and I’ll Give it My All… Tomorrow, for rather different reasons. And Afterschool Charisma is fun to snark at. ;)

  2. [...] missing if you don’t read Kekkaishi and Nodame Cantabile. David Welsh has an overview of the latest manga on Viz’s IKKI site at Precocious [...]

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