Saturday Morning Cartoons is a new feature created by A Thousand Lives of Frankie Lovely on her blog (check it out, she’s so great!) She told me there was a lot of interest for this to be converted into a meme and that I was free to be the first one!! YAY!! I patterned the particulars after Jackie @ Too Much of a Booknerd‘s new meme, Fierce Fangirl Friday (who is equally great – you really don’t want to miss out on these two!)
Saturday Morning Cartoons is a new meme hosted by A Thousand Lives of Frankie Lovely where we can share comics, manga, graphic novels etc. that we recently read, am currently reading and/or am looking forward to read. You are free to do this weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or simply whenever you feel like you need to share incredible drawing talent! Simply pingback to her (copy the link of any of her SMC posts and use it in your post!)
I don’t really read comics or graphic novels so I’m going to concentrate on Japanese manga… but if I ever read the other two forms I will feature them here!! Also I was wanting a reason to share manga that I love and have read and also have an excuse to obtain more to read so I’m concentrating on reviews! But do as you’d like!!
The Gentlemen’s Alliance †
Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Slice of Life
Arina Tanemura introduces her newest manga, The Gentlemen’s Alliance †. The head of the prestigious Kamiya family sells his daughter for a paltry 50 million yen to the head of the Otomiya family. Haine now attends the exclusive Imperial Academy as a bronze and accidentally is appointed to the student council where she will face the emperor of the school, Shizumasa Togu, and her childhood crush.
The Gentlemen’s Alliance #1
by Arina Tanemura
Published March 6th 2007
by VIZ Media
I heard so much about this series that I have been waiting with bated breathe for my library to FINALLY get it in!! Talk about petitions to buy manga!! So I was super excited to get this off my TBR and onto my read shelf…
Up until this year when I started reading manga again I typically rate manga 5 stars that I love and then I have another shelf I throw all other rated manga onto because they were so rare! So I was flummoxed to get to the end of this manga and just find it eh. Yeah!! I know, what in the world does eh mean?! You tell me that! I know I didn’t hate the manga…
The art was not my favorite, it’s well drawn but at first I mistook which character was which because the girls all looked alike. The frames are VERY full and lush, which is not what I want in a contemporary. A ton is going on… this is good because the story is dense… but I also had trouble understanding what some frames meant because they were kind of just stuck there without reference. This is an old style of drawing that modern mangka don’t use much anymore…
I didn’t much like the main characters Haine and Shizumasa… She was running around throwing out the love word when she doesn’t even know the kid!! I don’t mind her thinking she loves him but to tell him boldly to his face, when she has to know MANY girls are telling his this everyday? Are you dim? And Shizumasa was even more obscure with his little random tantrums and jerking back and forth… I was intrigued why he felt the way he did toward her…
The side characters were quite good!! We had Maguri the gay VP who was Shizumasa’s beard to keep the girls away… Maora the childhood friend of Maguri and obvious brains of the student council who stuck her fingers into all sorts of things not her business… The lovely Ushio who would cause any woman to doubt her sexuality!! LOVED Ushio, she was worth finishing the volume for!! And can’t forget Toya, Shizumasa’s servant and friend!! Oh, yeah and Kusame, Haine’s adopted brother who doesn’t like her to be on the student council!! There were also the heritics, which could turn into some seriously cool side characters if/when they return, especially their leader (Yukimitsu)!
The plot by comparison was bleh. It felt really random how and why things happened. It was kind of confusing how anyone got to the conclusions they did. It just all felt contrived. A lot of why I love manga is that it is visual but I still get to understand why characters are doing what they are doing – this manga obscures those reasonings, stealing a lot of enjoyment.
The chapter endings (i.e. where the twists come in) were better than the story or how we got to the twists… right now they won me over to stick with volume 2…
BOTTOM LINE: A full and diverse cast of side characters!!
The Gentlemen’s Alliance #2
by Arina Tanemura
Published June 5th 2007
by VIZ Media
This volume was what the first volume should have been… MUCH BETTER! I suspect the volume of characters means the story just takes longer to get through… Some great twists in this one!
The art was the same… well drawn, lush, too full with some confusing frames… one with a girl who suddenly appeared and I don’t remember being introduced but I really don’t know… I HATE this kind of random injection…
Turns out there is another main character that made me like this series a whole bunch more. I don’t want to ruin this volume but, yeah, the manga is now interesting and worth reading more due to this additional main character. Still disappointed in Haine and Shizumasa though I understand him a bit better and I see that a confrontation has Haine examining herself some, finally!
The side characters still wowed me! They are being developed well and utilized in the story. I loved learning about Maora. I loved what Ushio did to try to win Haine back!! Learning about Maguri’s love for Shizumasa was adorable as well as how that conversation played into the main plot!! Even Toya and Kusame had little bit scenes that were cute and showcased their part nicely!!
The relationships are what this manga is ALL about!! They are explored more in this volume and you hope that they will continue to develop in this manner!!
The plot still continued to be a stinker… random, contrived… it keeps this series at a definite 4 stars when it has the potential to be a 5 stars. The false teeth was SOOO NOT FUNNY… And I saw that plot with Ushio a mile away… at least keep it a little different… Then suddenly in the last two chapters of the volume the story took a total right turn and was like WOW!! I don’t know if these interactions will be wow from this point but the plot twists at that moment was startling and explained Shizumasa, which we needed!!
Overall the volume was a little better than the first volume… even though I rated both 4 star I felt like if the second volume hadn’t improved I would retire this series… so I’ll give volume 3-4 a shot…
BOTTOM LINE: The chapter ending twists won me over to read the next volume!!
As a writer I don’t approve of hooking your reader at the end of volume 2!! This is way too late in the story… even as a reader I am willing to give volume 3 a chance there is now the danger of the reader jumping ship at the first sign that the twists are not going to keep coming… You want people to read due to the story… if this is week there is always the danger of a discontinued reader… It is super great that I LOVE the side characters, actually this is a double or triple +++ as many readers will read a series for them!! This is so odd that there is major storycraft missteps and major storycraft wins in the same series…