Sunday, October 23, 2011

Commentary: Comic Ran Twins

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

It may not be obvious from my previous commentary entries, but there are magazines that specialize in just one subject, such as fishing, golf, 4-panel gags and pachinko. I have zero interest in these kinds of stories so I'm not going to write about them. However, I'm kind of running out of magazines to sample from the convenience stores, so I figured that I might as well try one of the less-well-known ones of a particular genre.

(How to defuse a bomb, as demonstrated in Shin Kagegari (New Shadow Hunting).)

Comic Ran Twins is a sister magazine to Comic Ran, however neither seem to have English wiki entries. As might be guessed at from the cover, Twins is nothing but Edo-era samurai dramas (some comic, some serious). The cover story is Shotaro Ikenami and Takao Satou's (Golgo 13) Attacker Fujieda Baian.

Soba-ya Gen-an

It surprises me that Satou's art isn't that great this time around. He's been drawing for decades, so he should have his character designs down cold by now. Attacker Baian is kind of a simple "revenger for hire" story in this issue, where a guy dressed up as a monk and his assistant uses an acupuncture needle to kill villains. Most of the stories have average or below-average artwork, and a lot of the characters don't look that good. Two that do stand out are Soba-ya Gen-an, and Shin Kagegari. However, a "soba-ya" is just a person that sells buckwheat noodles, so Gen-an the Soba seller is kind of a light-weight story. And Shin Kagegari follows a group of overly skilled fighters who are up against formidable odds (ninjas and a guy with a bomb), and is silly in an overblown way.

There is a wide mix of stories in this magazine, and a lot of humor. It's just that I'm not a big fan of samurai manga dramas, (outside of Vagabond) and I do require that the artwork and fighting be believable. I don't recognize any of the titles here, and doubt that most other western fans would either. Monthly, 370 yen for 330 pages. No freebies. No recommendations this time.

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