These past 4 days, I’ve been searching unsuccessfully for new manga to read. I like action series with cute girls, so I looked for works in that vein, but time and again I was confronted by failures in illustrating action. Finally, I stumbled across Taboo-Tattoo by Shinjirou, an exciting new series that works to show exactly where all of the others failed.
I'll be using this fight from the first chapter as my sample.
Mori Kotarou‘s Stray Little Devil presents a rare conundrum in manga art. On one hand, Mori’s art is incredible—the level of background detail and the beauty of the world he creates are on par with the likes of Nihei Tsutomu. His character art and designs are even a step above Nihei’s, having an unrivaled crispness from panel to panel. These qualities, along with an entertaining story and intelligent writing, ought to make Stray Little Devil an instant classic, but taking a look at these pages from the first volume reveals where its perplexing trouble lies.
While reading up on Karasuma Wataru‘s Deus x Machina, I noticed people were comparing Machina to Mina Tepes from Tamaki Nozomu‘s Dance in the Vampire Bund – some even claimed that Machina’s design bordered on plagiarism (Bund=2007, Deus=2008). It’d been too long since I’d read any of Bund to comment on that, so I checked it out to see how they compare.
I wouldn’t consider Deus x Machina plagiarism at all. The obvious similarities between Machina and Mina Tepes are that both are lolis, often portrayed in sexually suggestive poses which involve twisting their bodies a lot; both have a sort of commanding presence (Machina especially); and most notably, they both wear long hair in twintails.
Machina after a shower; Deus x Machina chapter four
Karasuma Wataru‘s Deus x Machina chapter one gets little done in terms of plot, and is curiously short for a debut chapter. However, the amount that it does to create the presence of it’s lead character, Machina, is astounding. Nearly every panel in the chapter was designed to showcase how she’s perceived by those around her. For my first Manga Pages column, I’ll be tackling the imagery of this chapter.