The Beat goes on

November 5, 2007

I thought I’d get around to putting a column together on Sunday, but roughly 13 hours in airports or on planes left me incapable of coherent thought. Things will be back on schedule next week.

To ease myself back into society, I turned to shôjo, catching up with some reading that I didn’t have time to get to before I left (and didn’t think to pack).

I strongly suspected I’d like Chica Umino’s Honey and Clover before I ever picked up an issue of Shojo Beat, and I do, but the real surprise is always Hinako Ashihara’s Sand Chronicles. It’s really so lovely and perfectly pitched, and I hope it doesn’t get lost in the wave of titles from this imprint. It’s equally effective in its portrayal of big, life-changing moments and small-but-telling ones. I hope lots of people give it a look when it comes out in digest form.

The seventh volume of Ai Yazawa’s Nana arrived somewhat belatedly at the local comic shop, and it comes as a surprise to me that something was actually missing from the previous six: Jun and her boyfriend sitting in bed and talking trash about the main characters. I didn’t realize this before, but I could read three or four volumes that consisted of nothing but snarky pillow talk between these two. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Nanas and the bands and their respective hangers-on, but it was lovely and funny to see people look at them with something resembling perspective.