Free to a good home: two by Ono

When a creative type is sufficiently prolific, he or she is bound to have highs and lows in his or her body of work. Heck, sometimes results can vary wildly when a creative type just has two major credits in his or her portfolio. Sometimes you may get Leave it to Chance and then Justice League: Cry for Justice, or Imadoki! may sit on the same resume as Absolute Boyfriend.

We ponder this uncomfortable juxtaposition of credits in this installment of “Free to a Good Home,” my intermittent manga give-away contest. Our specific subject is the prolific Natsume Ono, who currently has two works available in print and translation. And let’s just say that opinion has been divided on one of them.

That would be her family melodrama not simple (Viz). Now, I liked this book quite a bit, and so did some other folks, but critical responses have been undeniably mixed:

Leroy Derousseaux at Comic Book Bin:

“It is unfortunate that much of not simple reads like one of those somnambulant alt-comix dramas (like Alex Robinson’s Tricked).”

Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey:

“As a result, not simple reads like a medieval martyr play, a grim catalog of one saintly individual’s bodily and emotional suffering. In a phrase: not recommended.”

Tucker (The Factual Opinion) Stone:

“While it ultimately achieves a bunch of specific objectives–most of them manipulative family horror tricks–it mixes those with a terrible framing story, an unwillingness to portray its main character as anything more than a brainless victim, and a nice chunk of ineptitude when it comes to dealing with its gaping plot holes.”

On the bright side, Ono’s Ristorante Paradiso (Viz) (which I also liked) has received a somewhat gentler reception:

Deb (About.Com) Aoki:

Ristorante Paradiso has a simple story that provides a basic framework for Ono to showcase her memorable characters and allow them to interact in a way that feels natural and unhurried.”

Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey:

“Put simply, Ms. Ono, you won my heart back. I found Ristorante Paradiso an engaging story filled with complicated, true-to-life characters who I enjoyed getting to know.”

Sean (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Gaffney:

“This is nothing at all like what’s coming out in the Jump or Beat lines, and pretty much exactly what I want to see from Viz’s Signature line. Manga I had no idea I wanted, but now suddenly want to see more of.”

So here’s the drill: to enter, simply send me an e-mail mentioning two works by the same creative type, one that you liked a lot, one that disappointed you to some significant degree. You don’t need to limit yourself to the comics medium. Novels, movies, plays, TV series, songs, paintings, poems, whatever… if they hinge on the same artistic soul (say, Meryl Streep) and had decidedly mixed outcomes (say, Sophie’s Choice and She-Devil), they are fair game.

You must be 18 or older to enter. I’m perfectly willing to ship internationally, though it will be cheap and it will be slow, so I’m just warning you right now. Deadline for entries is 12 noon Eastern Standard Time Sunday, April 11, 2010, and entries should be sent to DavidPWelsh at Yahoo dot Com. The winner will be chosen at random and receive copies of not simple and Ristorante Paradiso.

Also, if you’re among the Ono early adopters and have a moment and an opinion, please cast your vote in the poll below!

3 Responses to Free to a good home: two by Ono

  1. Greg McE says:

    That’s funny, I think I’m the person who liked not simple more than Ristorante Paradiso. (Review of the latter is queued up for next week.) Which reminds me, I need to catch up on House of Five Leaves, I’m two chapters behind.

  2. Judi says:

    I have both manga so not voting besides I love anything she does”period” :D

  3. […] your favorite Tezuka character and you might win a copy of Ode to Kirihito. Also, David Welsh is giving away two Natsume Ono manga, not simple and Ristorante Paradiso, to readers who have mixed reactions to a given […]

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