FLCL, vol. 1
by Gainax & Hajime Ueda
I really wanted to like this. The art by Ueda has a unique, rough style that melds a manga flavor with something resembling Jhonen Vasquez, and the premise--a boy in a slightly surreal Tokyo suburb must help an alien fight robots from destroying Earth--held promise. The problem is that the only reason I know that's the premise is because I read it on the back cover blurb. The story here is totally incomprehensible. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I like to at least have a chance at understanding what my comics are about.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)
Imadoki! Nowadays, vol. 1: Dandelion
by Yû Watase
Ah, see, now this is how you do a shojo comic. As a new scholarship student at an elite academy, bubbly Tanpopo Yamazaki only wants to make friends. And no matter how much the rich students snub her, she's goign to keep trying until they come around. Her tactic? Start a gardening club! Watase's art is in top form, with strong characters and backgrounds and dynamic yet easy-to-follow storytelling. But it's the personality of the heroine that draws you in. Compared to many mopy shojo protagonists, Tanpopo's sunny disposition and never-say-die attitude is a welcome change. While I tend to burn out on shojo series after a few volumes as they become repetitive (e.g. Kare Kano), I hope that Imadoki! will remain fresh for a while. (Note: Viz rates this 'T+' for 'older teens' though I have no idea why, as there's no reason why younger kids couldn't read and enjoy this. Perhaps things get more intense later in the series?)
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)