Morning 9/22/2005

If I had to hazard a guess, Morning is aimed at a slightly older, more gender-diverse audience than any of the other manga I've mentioned so far. How can I tell? From the ads, which are for things like cell phone services, resort vacations, and luxury minivans. There's a lot less indiscriminate violence and fewer panty shots, too.

I wish I knew what was going on in the opening story, which features a gypsy boy who gets trampled by a horse, thrown in a dungeon, and grows up to look exactly like Jesus would if he had no nose. And then he's sprung from the dungeon by some sort of wizard who trains him to be the world's greatest swordsman, restores his face with magic, and helps him orchestrate a jailbreak of condemned criminals. I really want to see more of this one, if only so I can figure out what the heck's going on here.

Up next is a military story from Kaiji Kawaguchi (Eagle), which is possibly called Zipang, though that could just be an advertisement. It's hard to tell the way these magazines are laid out. This installment seems to feature a night-time raid that runs into a combat photographer, which ends badly for the unit involved. Some solid military action with nice art.

The next story seems to be a hyper-serious business manga, but it's seemingly undercut by the relative crudity of the art. Maybe it plays better when you can actually read the dialogue. And then it's The Perfect World of Kai, which seems to be a light-hearted manga about a concert violinist. Looks like fun, but there's not much going on in this installment.

Sandwiched between The Perfect World and the following story is a werid little ad for magna that can be downloaded to your Vodafone cellular phone, including some recognizable titles like 3x3 Eyes, Parasyte, and Silent Service. Neat. There's also some sort of Space Invaders pinball which I've gotta play some time.

Dunno what's going on in the next story - I'm guessing it's about high school students from the apparent age of the characters and the fact that they seem to be reading textbooks - but the art is absolutely hideous. The characters all have the same face, and their giant, wide-apart eyes and pinched noses make them look like bizarre bird people. It's not the only comic I've seen with that style, either (more about that later).

Haruka Seventeen is a very well-illustrated comic about a teenage actress, but it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. It's also hard to tell what's acting and what's real life, too, but I imagine you could figure it out with time.

Dunno what the actual title of hte next story is, but it features the subtitle "Tea for universe, tea for life." Appropriately, it's about the perfect tea ceremony which totally blows this one dude's mind. I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be funny or not, but it came off as completely over-the-top to me.

I'm actually a big fan of OL Shinkaron, which is essentially Dilbert for office ladies, but so much of the humor is dependent on characterization and dialogue that it's impossible to follow. It looks funny, though, even if one strip is apparently about a Cathy-esque struggle to cram into some tight jeans. Actually, let me take back what I said about the strips being hard to follow. One is clearly about a woman waking over and coming face to face with a one-night stand she regrets... a one-night stand with a cheesecake. Now that's funny!

Les Gouttes de Dieu is apparently a comic about wine, or possibly about art, or possible about connoiseurship in general. Think about that the next time somone tells you a strip about funny superheroes constitutes genre diversity.

There's an ad for Vagabond, which apparently blew its deadline this week. The comic after that is apparently some sort of medical romance, and the one after that is some sort of office drama (possibly the final instalment of the series). It's follwed by a comic about guys telling ghost stories around a campfire, and another four-panel gag strip.

I'm not entirely sure what's going on in Love and Truth, but it features a robot that looks like a schoolgirl, who picks up sleazbags, knocks them out with a nerve pinch when they try to molest her, and steals their money to throw karaoke parties with. And honestly, I'm a sucker for things that are completely bizarre like this.

The next story is a short gag bit about a butcher shop and rasing chickens as pets.

Aimless AEGIS is a military manga of some sort, but it's hard to be more specific since this installment is just about a bunch of wounded guys wandering around. Nessundorma appares to be a slice-of-lice strip with a mildly humorous tone. It's followed by a comic about cross-country moped riding.

The final story is the raciest thing I've seen in any of the compilations I purchased (though it's still pretty tame). A young boy gives a bosomy, seductive woman a ride on his bike, which gives him a bit of a thrill. And then he's taken aback when she's reintroduced to him the next day as his teacher. It's got a neat, off-kilter look which is amusing without being off-putting.

As with the other compilations I've discussed so far, there's nothing in Morning that really stands out as something I have to have more of, but it's got a much higher "WTF?" factor that the other compilations. And that's the sort of thing that brings you back for more, really.

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