King City is about a slacker criminal who’s returned to his stomping grounds with a cat that is like a magical superintelligent multitool. He steals a key and then people end up dead while he reacquaints himself with his old home and his friends.
It’s not bad. There’s lots of good weirdness to the city that keeps it feeling good and cartoony. It’s kind of similar to Street Angel in its sort of gonzo approach to a weird world, but is told in a much less dense fashion.
Fullmetal Alchemist is example of another of my forays into the teen manga realm, and it’s pretty good. It’s about two brothers who are alchemists, who broke the rules and had their bodies transformed when they were trying to bring their mother back to life. Now they’re vagabonds, sort of under state employ. The stories in this volume included them busting up a religious charlatan, restoring justice to a mining town where the prices were exceedingly high and fighting a bunch of hostage-takers on a train. It’s all pretty fun steampunkish adventure, and I can see how the characters would be good to follow through umpteen volumes. I’m not as big a fan of it as Planetes, but I can see why people like it.
Book Two of Planetes by Makoto Yukimura was just as good as the first one. Hachimaki gets into the training program for the Jupiter mission and we see him train his replacement on the junk-clearing crew. We meet some of the scientists who will stop at nothing to get people out to Jupiter and some terrorists who want to stop them. It’s excellent science fiction, and I’m very glad there are a bunch more volumes to read.
Gyakushu is a manga-style story written by Dan Hipp of revenge. In a cold kingdom there was a master thief who found a valley of paradise. He was followed there and his wife was raped and eaten by the emperor’s minions and he was fed to a whale. Now he’s a masked and bandaged man out for revenge.
It’s a decent fantasy story, and there are good interactions between the masked man and a 9-year-old kid who looks a lot like his son from the flashbacks. I didn’t really like the narrator old man figure who kept on talking about the story, but it wasn’t done horribly. The black & white art carries the action, and there are a number of good striking visuals (I really like the whale thing).
I found a manga I really like! Planetes is a science fiction story about three astronauts who work on the trash detail, cleaning debris out of Earth’s orbit. Hachimaki wants to be an exploration type astronaut with his own ship some day, Yuri lost his wife on his first trip up to space and Fee is the working stiff who pilots the ship and keeps them safe.
There are five stories in this first volume and they cover a good range, from the romance of junk-collecting (complete with last second rescue) to the psychological trauma of surviving an EVA accident. The stories have enough giant-mouth screaming to still feel like a manga book, but it’s all in the service of really solid science fiction. I don’t think there are as many volumes of this at the library as Death Note (which I tried reading but it didn’t do anything for me – consider that my review) but I’m going to grab what there is and keep reading.