starlady: Orihime in Hueco Mundo: "damned to be one of us, girl" (damned)
Andromeda Stories vols. 2 & 3. New York: Vertical Press, 2007.

I was right; I do like To Terra… better (though I'm not sure which manga is bleaker). Probably because I have an easier time dealing with the mother complex when a) the mother in question is a computer (no, I mean that literally) and b) it doesn't cross the line into actual incest. There was a lot of incest in this manga, actually, which is sort of amazing given how few characters actually get screen time. For the record, the robots and the cyborg were my collective favorite, probably because they make the most sense of anyone. Yeah. Also, I found the ending of Terra e… more comprehensible.

Apropos of [personal profile] snarp's comments on To Terra…, I'd have to say that the manga are similar in that all the agency is in the hands of men, with the already noted exception of Il, who is still my favorite character. Where the manga falls down in particular, compared with Terra e…, is how little character development it features, so that I had a hard time sympathizing with anyone. Also, the whole thing with Affle, WTH. Her (possibly delusional, in the manga's view?) prostitute foster mother made her live as a boy so that she could grow up to be a prince? What? Well, she does grow up to be a prince, but…yeah, I don't know, there's a level at which it all feels rather arbitrary.

I do really think that this had a strong influence on R.G. Veda, at least in terms of costuming.
starlady: (clover)
Takemiya Keiko. Terra e… | To Terra… vols. 2 & 3. Trans. Dawn T. Laabs. New York: Vertical, 2007. [1977-80]

I read the first volume of this classic sf epic in Japanese about two years ago, which, combined with the manga's frequent long time-jumps, made remembering exactly what was going on a bit difficult initially.

Oddly enough, I would bet money that this story ends on a way bleaker note than Andromeda Stories, but I have the feeling that in the end I'll like this one better. As soon as I actually finish Andromeda Stories, I'll report back on that.

The plot of the manga revolves around humanity, which in the far future has given over control of itself to a system of supercomputers in an attempt to a) re-terraform Earth (Terra) so as to make it eventually habitable again and b) keep humanity free of the corrupting influence of the Mu, a sub-species (?) of humanity that develops enormous psychic powers in latency, concomitant with a greatly lengthened lifespan and decreased physical strength. As part of this, humans are conceived in laboratories at the computers' direction and live segregated by age: some planets contain only children, while others are reserved for adults, and a rigorous educational process serves to separate out those who are Mu from 'normal' humans. Jomy Marcus Shin believes he's human like everyone else until he undergoes his maturity testing and finds out he's a Mu; eventually, at the behest of the Mu leader Soldier Blue, Jomy accepts his destiny as Blue's successor and leads the Mu in rebellion to the planet Nazca, where they make a temporary settlement and fall to bickering about whether to attempt to regain Terra, their promised land.

Volumes 2 and 3 cover the decision (not without cost) to abandon Nazca and press on to Terra, at the same time as the Mu and Jomy are pursued by the ruthless Terran elite soldier Keith Anyan, who like the Mu prophetess Physis was born entirely from the computers, using synthetic DNA. Keith's rise to power is shadowed by his aide Makka, a Mu who grew up too far out to be put through the educational system and whose loyalty is thus to humanity. For his part, Jomy (who by the end of volume 2 has stopped using his eyes, voice, or ears, instead communicating and perceiving the world entirely through telepathy) is aided and bedeviled by the Nazca Nine, Mu children who were born naturally on Nazca and whose powers are equaled only by Jomy's. The ending is…spectacular.

I liked this manga, though I was sort of shocked by the ending, and it's partly because Takemiya is really good at conveying emotionality, even as she keeps the plot moving at a blazing clip. The characters, and the impossible positions in which they find themselves, stay with you after you finish reading. I really want to watch the 2007 anime, too, since Wikipedia tells me the endings are slightly different. This is yet another nice Vertical release that sold horribly; if you're ever at an anime con with a Vertical booth, they will be more than happy to have you take copies off their hands.
starlady: (orihime)
Takemiya Keiko (story by Mitsuse Ryuu). Andromeda Stories vol. 1. New York: Vertical, Inc., 2007. [1982.]

In the wake of the wildly successful sci-fi classic Terra E…, Takemiya Keiko teamed up with popular SF novelist Mitsuse Ryuu to create Andromeda Stories, which tells the story of a certain planet in the Andromeda galaxy and its tribulations in the face of an insidious force of machinic invaders: the reign of Prince Ithaca and his bride Princess Lilia begins auspiciously, but by the time their son Jimsa is born, things have taken a precipitous slide.

I liked Terra E… a lot, and this manga is interesting too, even after thirty years. The art is very much of its time, but that's not necessarily a bad thing (though I do wonder why everyone looks like they walked out of concept sketches for CLAMP's R.G. Veda, i.e., classically Indian). Beyond the plot, which is actually interesting, the single most awesome thing about this story so far is Il, the surly swordswoman in vaguely Japanese (Chinese?) clothing who comes to the planet in an attempt to save it from the invaders and who has no interest in cooperating with anyone ("I'm not your friend; I'm their enemy."). She is a swordswoman! She is stoic! She appears and disappears at random and knows way more than she lets on! These are character traits that are right up my alley.

Andromeda Stories sold horribly in English, but if you're interested in classic shoujo manga, you have to read Takemiya Keiko. I have some quibbles with the translation (principally, WTF are the sound effects not translated, and secondarily, why do translators not realize that when people address someone as 王 or 王妃, a more natural translation than "King" or "Queen" is "Your Majesty"? Argh), but Vertical puts out probably the nicest English-language manga on the market, and overall it's well worth the read, and very readable.


starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

October 2017

1 23 4 567
89101112 1314
1516171819 2021


RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios