Addictive properties

April 16, 2007

I spent most of Sunday tidying up my completely disordered stacks of comics, which actually required the purchase and assembly of cheap shelving units. Sensible people would use this experience as an incentive to dedicate themselves to moderation, and it might ultimately have that effect. But in the short-term, it only prompted me to bask in the crack.

Death Note Vol. 11: Maybe it’s the release frequency that causes this, but I always feel a little weary when I hand a new volume over to the cashier, as if I expect that this will be the installment where the series wears out its welcome. That weariness persists until I actually read it and become immersed in Tsugumi Ohba’s microscopically detailed plotting and Takeshi Obata’s amazing illustrations. Oddly enough, the weariness resumes shortly after I finish reading the most recent volume, and its sources are a mystery to me. Plot twist overdose, maybe?

Fruits Basket Vol. 16: I find that I’m becoming increasingly impatient with the fluffy comedy sequences in this title, and I wonder what that says about me, because my impatience is driven by a thorough addiction to Natsuki Takaya’s transcendent ability to heap misery upon her cast. I don’t care about the stupid student council and their quirky high jinks. They get in the way of the profound emotional suffering! (When I was in middle school, my class did a big project on illegal drugs, and I really didn’t understand the appeal of depressants. I do now.)

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 12: Last week, I was griping about the somewhat baffling, excessively enunciated mythology of Shakugan no Shana. Reading this volume of FMA reminded me that Hiromu Arakawa as achieved a kind of Platonic ideal of mapping out a fantasy landscape without derailing plot momentum or character development. She’s got a remarkably steady and generous hand with the elements essential to fantasy adventures, blending drama, comedy, suspense, horror and richly imaginative ideas as she propels things forward.