Sporadic Sequential
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
And The Winner For Best Blog About Manga in 2009 Goes To...

Kate Dacey, one of my all-time favorite writers about manga, is back with a new website, The Manga Critic. Kate kindly invited me to take part in a round-table discussion about good recent reads along with several of my other favorite manga bloggers. Go check out the site, and make sure to read Kate's hilariously honest bio about her origins as a manga fan and critic!

And to expand on what I said about Kekkaishi 16 on Kate's site, a good example of how creator Yellow Tanabe defies shonen expectations occurs in this volume: Tokine, the female kekkaishi, is trapped inside a mystical black box. Yoshimori, the younger, male kekkaishi who patrols the same area as Tokine, vows to rescue Tokine no matter what it takes. Just as Yoshimori is about to lose it die to worry, Tokine appears behind him. She was able to escape the trap on her own by stretching her supernatural abilities to new limits. So the stereotypical "damsel in distress" scenario wasn't used to motivate the hero; it was actually employed to show that the female protagonist was competent and capable of "powering up" when the situation demanded it. Imagine that!

This is one of the main reasons I love Yellow Tanabe's Kekkaishi. As much as I can get lost in a good, well-executed formulaic shonen series, it can still be frustrating when everything occurs in a rote, predictable pattern. By having things play out in unexpected ways (at least within the scope of shonen manga), Tanabe succeeds in keeping readers on their toes. (Another good example of this occurred last volume when a young child was abducted by the villain. Instead of just using the imperiled child as a cheap ploy to ratchet up reader anxiety, Tanabe had the young girl use her wits and abilities to outsmart the bad guy. Again, a clever subversion of genre expectations resulted in a surprisingly satisfying read.)

Labels: , ,