This month’s mini graphic novel reviews features a bit more misses than hits unfortunately. All three were requested from Netgalley – e-copies provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All three were ones that the story called out to me and I thought I would enjoy. All three ranged from the bad to okay.
Sixteen year old Matsumoto bumps into Mizushima in a darkened classroom one day, finding the older boy bleeding. Thus begins an obsession, or “love at first sight” that continues to get more and more intense.
Admittedly I don’t often read manga, and I thought the premise of this story might be good but it felt like one eye-rolling cliché after another. It moves from insta-love to stalkery obsession to some intimate moments. At just over 150 pages, a lot of tropes happen in a relatively short graphic novel. Matsumoto is often annoying and the whole story development just felt so rushed and unbelievable. The art , though, is beautiful, however I did find it difficult to differentiate the characters at times. I felt there could have been potential for a more well-rounded story with this idea.
Allison, a freelance writer, is hired under bizarre circumstances to write the memoir of a mysterious stranger by the name of Burma. What she discovers is that Burma is a cat, and his memoir consists of stories from all his past lives that are interwoven with significant historical moments.
The premise certainly sounded a bit hokey but I was surprised at how much I actually did enjoy this story. The way that Tobin has woven Burma into so many moments in time certainly gave me a chuckle at the cleverness. You’d definitely have to suspend your disbelief as while Allison’s friend says aloud what the readers may be thinking about a talking cat, they’re all still very easily accepting of it all. The story does take a bizarre and darker turn as it nears its conclusion but overall an interesting read.
A “story” of 24 people – 12 couples – from the beginning of their relationship to the very different ends of each of them.
I thought this idea was really intriguing and clever until I started reading it and realized it was all a bit confusing. The art is simplistic, and jumps between the twelve couples with every few panels. It’s “sequential” story-telling but doesn’t quite connect or flow, so it feels like reading snippets of everyone’s life stories, one square at a time. Admittedly I skimmed the majority of it and I can’t actually remember if there was any actual text in this – I don’t think there was. While I appreciate the artistic merits of this endeavour, it just wasn’t for me unfortunately.