Brief thoughts on a couple of manga about sucking.



Two volumes in and I’m still involved in following the ongoing disintegration of Makoto Okazaki’s life as he adapts to the changes that his newfound vampirism have wrought in “Happiness.”  Some of these are good, as Okazaki now has a girl friend and is currently best buds with his former bully after saving that guy from his own tormentors.  This is in spite of the fact that he has yet to give into his craving for blood, which kind of stretches credibility in a story about vampirism.  It’s clear that mangaka Shuzo Oshimi is going for a slow burn as to how these changes affect her protagonist, but I’m left wishing she’d hurry things up at this point.  She does do a good job of selling the ordinariness of Okazaki’s life, which makes it all the more interesting to see the brutal violence that forces its way into it when some older bullies and a new vampire make their presence known.  That said, the thing that got me the most about this volume was Oshimi’s artistic experimentation as she demonstrates a surprising amount of creativity in

her style and layouts as she dramatizes the severity of Okazaki’s cravings on the page.  Which is all well and good, though it makes his resistance to sucking blood that much harder to believe.

 

For a more figurative take on the concept of sucking, we go now to the latest dispatch from the life of Punpun Onodera in “Goodnight Punpun.”  In my review of the last volume, I expressed disappointment with how easy it was becoming to expect the worst from the character’s life in any given situation.  Mangaka Inio Asano decides to abandon that race to the bottom as Punpun moves out of his married uncle’s apartment and pursues menial part-time work.  It’s a mundane, boring life where he doesn’t hurt or get hurt by anyone.  That changes when he meets up with Sachi a tutor and artist who eventually draws him out of his shell and into a romantic relationship with her drive to capture his creativity and create a manga.  While this is a good thing for the character, the tone of the story doesn’t give off the feeling that everything will be sunshine and roses from here on out.  Particularly since Aiko, the love of Punpun’s life, is still lurking around the edges of the story.  What’s here is still a nice diversion as Asano shows that this series doesn’t have to be relentlessly depressing to be interesting.

jason@glickscomicpicks.com


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