Sunday, May 13, 2012

Commentary: Monthly Shonen Sirius

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

Monthly Shonen Sirius, 600 yen, 790 pages.
This is the fourth of the four magazines that I grabbed at random just to get them out of the way.  As seen from the cover, this is the one that Princess Ressurection runs in.  The wiki entry states that Sirius started in 2005, and that's its aimed at older male teens.  There really aren't any other titles likely to be recognizable to most western fans.  Genres include fantasy, school life, magic users and fighting.

The feature story is Naqua-den (The Story of Naqua).  Naqua is the spider goddess from Princess Resurrection, and she's getting her own spin-off here.  In the first chapter, a high school boy named Taro demonstrates some supernatural powers (like leaping from a roof) on his way to school, and is spotted by Naqua.  She calls him "Taromaru" and tries to recover his memories, but he just keeps trying to run away from her.  Exact same art as in Princess, and same roundabout storytelling.

Later on, we also get the latest Princess Resurrection story (the heroes get trapped in a pyramid and have to demonstrate that their conscience is lighter than a feather.  This is one of those stories that I will follow despite the low-level of the artwork and character designs.  I like Lillianne's straightforward nature and way with a chainsaw.

(Madoromi the Witch)

As for everything else, well, like with many of the magazines it's a mixed bag.  Some of the artwork is very good, but most of the stories aren't immediately compelling.  Some of the more notable ones are:

Madoromi no Onna Mahotsukai (Madoromi the Witch)
Witch wars between rivaling sisters.  A young girl is out wandering in the wild, easily wasting monsters with her magic.  She picks up an inept student-wannabe, then gets bested in a magic battle with one of her "sisters".  Before the rival can deliver the finishing blow, the student tries to protect the witch with her body.  The rival prepares to kill them both.  Decent artwork, silly gags, nasty fights.  Based on the Maoyuu Maou Yuusha novel series written by Touno Mamare.

Yozakura Quartet
I saw the TV anime for this manga last year.  It wasn't bad, but a little too superficial.  It's essentially a ghost story at the border between the human and yokai worlds, with both sides crossing the border and getting into trouble.  Decent artwork, slow-moving story.

(The Stratocracy of Altair)

Shoukoku no Altair (The Stratocracy of Altair)
One of the unusual features of Sirius is that several of the stories are prefaced by a "History of" page, describing the story so far, plus certain main characters.  Altair is one of these.  Weird character designs, kind of sub-par artwork.  A medieval-period fantasy about a kingdom facing an approaching war, and the "pasha" trying to avert it.

Kataribe List
This one is on Manga Fox.  The artwork is light and airy, and the characters are attractive.  Kind of childish in execution, though.  List is a young girl that carries certain antiques.  It's more of a fantasy tale than anything else, and the main character walks around in a pikachu outfit, holding a talking umbrella.

Sacred Seven
There's a TV anime for this title as well.  Basically a Power Rangers/Ultraman ripoff.  Decent artwork.  The story in this chapter is just the two main characters walking around and talking.

(Celestial Clothes)

Celestial Clothes
A young shinto priest gets involved in a war between humans and the gods.  Heavier, rougher line work, and a strong Norse feel to the backgrounds and clothing designs.  Some reader service.

Kind of a Gunslinger Girls, with young children wearing weapon prosthetics and working for the Australian government to cut down on crime.  Decent artwork and character designs, very wicked weapons (the monomolecular wire that one girl has attached to her fingertips is very nasty).

No freebies. However, like many magazines, there are drawings for prizes (artwork, cameras or a PS3) if you send in the survey card.

Sirius is aimed at a college-level male audience, so there are a few erotic scenes and some implied sex. It's somewhere between a PG-17 and R rating.  Be forewarned.


Dates for 5/14 to 5/21:

Birthdays (8):
David Byrne, 5/14/1952
George Lucas, 5/14/1944
George (SF editor) Scithers, 5/14/1929
Dennis Hopper, 5/17/1936
Fred Saberhagen, 5/18/1930
Joey Ramone, 5/19/1951
Raymond Burr, 5/21/1917
Al Franken, 5/21/1951

Died (8):
H. Rider Haggard, 5/14/1925
Sammy Davis Jr., 5/16/1990
Andy Kaufman, 5/16/1984
Frank Gorshin, 5/17/2005
Harmon Killebrew, 5/17/2011
Daws Butler, 5/18/1988
James M. ("Crown of Stars") Tiptree Jr., 5/19/1987
Gilda Radner, 5/20/1989

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