John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Love Hina's Gonna Be a Hard Act to Follow

Sometime this weekend, right now we're guessing Saturday, laurie_robey, hantamouse, and I have in mind to check out KatsuCon, to which none of us have ever been. (At this stage, it's unknown if jamesbarrett or camstone will be along, but it's looking doubtful, and if memory serves, sirfox is out of town.)

Anyway, besides just checking out the whole con-I've-never-been-to angle, one of the things I'm going to be keeping my eye open for is a new manga series to get enthused about. You'd think, with the Borders and Barnes & Noble shelves crammed to capacity with manga, it'd be easy, but it's not. First, because I have very specific tastes in comics, and second, because I've been spoiled by Love Hina and Comic Party.

As for my specific tastes, they're a little hard to nail down. I like comedy, first of all, preferably romantic comedy, but I don't want it to be too coarse or formulaic. I also like dynamic but only slightly toony art, even when it's depicting over-the-top weirdness. Lots of manga has too little variation in line weight and all becomes just a giant mass of squiggles on the page.

I'm currently enjoying DramaCon, put out by TokyoPop, but as it only comes out when each volume is finished, it's only gotten to Vol. 3 and it's gonna be a while before the next one.

I recently picked up volume one of a series called Suzuka, which I picked up because I liked the art style and completely mis-read the back cover. For whatever reason, I thought that the main character was a girl crushing on the titular character, which I thought would make an interesting twist on what was otherwise the same old "loser crushing on someone way out of their league" formula. Turns out that not only was I wrong about it being a F/F romance [1], but it basically turns out to be pretty much a rehash of Love Hina, except with anatomically correct art and none of the charm.

Strangely, the more realistic art makes the unlikely story elements -- such as the never-ending coincidences that keep putting loser boy into an embarrassing tangle up with a nude housemate in front of the one girl he's actually interested in -- much harder to believe. Furthermore, without the charm or humor of Love Hina, the main character comes off as a spineless whiner more than a beleaguered everyman, and the antics of the resident drunken skanks who keeps harassing him are just creepy and sad.

So anyway, on to KatsuCon. Here's hoping I find something good!

-The Gneech

[1] Not the main reason I wanted to read the book, but I was looking forward to the change. There's lots of straight romantic comedy, of course, and I've read quite a bit of M/M as well; but despite its popularity as a topic of X-rated entertainment, genuine F/F romance seems to be quite rare -- and F/F romantic comedy even moreso. In fact, other than Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, which was assigned to me in college, I can't remember ever actually having seen any. It could be that I'm looking in the wrong places, I suppose.
Tags: comics, conventions
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