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Thursday, January 8, 2009

King of the Lamp, Tenshi Ja Nai and Ultimate Venus

King of the Lamp

Manga: Complete at one volume

Brief Summary: Five oneshots in one volume, with three on the same premise of a genie helping girls find love. The fourth and fifth ones have light supernatural themes building up to a romance.

Got this as I liked Ultimate Venus and I like the mangaka's drawings overall, for its clean and neat appeal. However, as mentioned below, once again the characters look exactly like her previous ones. For one of the stories, you would not be wrong to think the female protag was the one in Ultimate Venus and wonder if it was an extra/side story of sorts to that.

The first three are rather typical boy meets girl or vice versa and girl falls for him, tries to get his attention/affection. So fortunate there is a genie around the corner that is actually a womanising king that has been given the punishment of helping at least 1000 girls fulfil their love requests. Rather simple stories.

The fourth one seemed a bit different from any that I've read from her so far and it was the most interesting to me, although the ending was again predictable and came a bit too abruptly (mainly cos it's a oneshot I suppose so it couldn't be helped).

The fifth one, as I've also read on ANN, wasn't that good. I agree. It seemed a bit strange and fluffy. It was one of her earlier works.

This volume is a bit more "racy" (is that the word?) than the other series she's done (although nothing explicit). Think she was targetting a bit older readers (teens as opposed to tweens , although in this day and age...). I think I must add that a friend of mine who read this was a bit taken aback by it despite reading (and liking) Ultimate Venus. I would say it's not near smut but as mentioned, there are some intimate scenes. I must say that I wouldn't argue with my friend that we both hope it doesn't teach teenagers that it's a shame not to lose "it" and that sex equates to love, or that one needs to use sex to gain love from the man. Unfortunately, it might. And that's the worry.

My Rating:
Story: C
Art: B-

Recommended? An ok read, but nothing really out of the ordinary and each story is rather too short. A stronger linking background story (the part about the genie) would be have good for the first three stories. As it is the first three are rather disjointed and can be read in any order.

Tenshi Ja Nai

Manga: Completed at 8 Volumes.

Brief Summary: A guy pretends to be a girl and attends an all girl's school because he is in showbiz as a girl. A new student discovers his secret and...(you know where this is going)

This one is a break in the usual routine, being the opposite of the usual girl disguises as guy and gets into an all boys’ school (think Hana Kimi, Ouran High School Host Club and Girl Got Game). Instead, very strangely, it’s a boy that dresses and acts like a girl. Of course that provides the comedy and of course someone finds out early on. The whole premise thereafter becomes rather clichéd again but there are a few original twists and turns.

For one thing, I do appreciate that the girl is not so dotty, immature and ditzy as some others (really tired of the girl struggling with making chocolate for the boy – enough already, thankfully no such thing in this one). She usually has her head screwed on tight and doesn’t loose it to “love”. However, do feel she’s more like the guy in this series sometimes, as the guy is now a “girl”.

There is a bit of reverse harem as well, with at least three guys falling for the girl. There’s even a teacher-student element thrown in, together with blackmail and other side themes. There’s also a serious love rival with no big faults but I shall not give that away.

And then you must have the fangirls (I really wonder after reading all these whether Jap girls are really in any way like this - it’s really too exaggerated!). The guy, as a girl, also has a whole host of them. And fanboys too, obviously. So these cause the girl protagonist grief.

My Rating:
Story: B
Art: B-

Recommended? Interesting for the twist in concept, with many different other side stories thrown in. Not particularly wow, but readable.

Similar: All those others I mentioned above regarding the girl-boy disguises. Actually, it also reminds me of her new work, Ultimate Venus. The characters have you going deja vu!

Also someone mentioned Maria Holic was similar but there are more shojo ai overtones in that one (am not quite sure it is going to be "romance" boy girl style)

Ultimate Venus

Brief Summary: Orphaned girl gets adopted by super rich grandma.

The storyline is quite interesting, but still it is pretty much a Cinderella story where the poor girl realises she is actually a "princess" (I mean in the sense she is now super rich). There is some mystery behind the relationship between her mother and the grandmother that is still waiting to be hatched. There is also some ominous happenings when she's at school that is linked to her being the candidate to inheriting her grandma's companies (and thus wealth).

And then there are the bishi boys/men. There are two main contenders - the guy who is assigned to look after her bodyguard style and a classmate. Later there is another one but I won't give his role away. Their motivations are made a bit more clear in volumes 2 and 3, but the story is still quite slow going. Now after reading volume three, it's starting to develop into a reverse harem. :)

The girl follows the usual shojo school girl character somewhat - rather naive and ditzy, getting easily agitated. On the other hand, at least she's not too clumsy or stupid.

I must say that the characters look too similar to Tenshi Ja Nai, which was written by the same mangaka. Actually, in her extra story in vol 3, the characters look the same as the ones in the main story itself.

All in all, it sounds promising and hope the development gets better and not head down the hill of a routine shojo plot....even husband read it! ;p heeheh

My Rating:
Story: B
Art: B, the characters look alike mostly, and the drawing is clean but the scenes and characters are not very elaborately drawn or detailed. There is just enough to make the panes look pretty mostly.
Recommended? Sounds interesting so far.

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Successfully recommended to the Library

  • Skip Beat Vol. 17

Ins and outs

Would like:
Ultimate Venus Vol.5
A.I Revolution Vols 5 and upwards
Possibly Skip Beat Vol. 16 and upwards

On offer:

1. Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 4
2. Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 9
3. Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors Vol.1
4. Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 2
5. Godchild Vol. 2
6. Godchild Vol. 3
7. Dazzle Vol. 1
8. Dazzle Vol. 2
9. Dazzle Vol. 8
10. Dazzle Vol. 9
11. Special A Vol.5
12. La Corda D'Ore Vol. 6
13. Tail of the Moon Vol. 11 and 13
14. Her Majesty's Dog Vol. 11
15. Mugen Spiral Vol. 1
16. Your and my secret

Email me at mangaobsess(at)simplypeaceable.com if you are interested