Sunday, June 3, 2012

Commentary: Comp Ace

Sometimes it's hard to tell who the target audience is for certain magazines.  While the bookstores do group them separately, it still looks like the girl's magazines are in with the boy's.  Since I only want to comment on shonen and seinen titles, and given that these things are running close to $10 USD an issue, I'd really prefer to buy only those publications that have something I'm interested in.  Which brings us to:

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

Comp (Canpu) Ace, 680 yen, 830 pages.
According to the wiki entry, Comp Ace started out in 2005 as a special edition of Comptiq.  In 2007, it became independent of Comptiq, went monthly, and started focusing on bishojo (pretty girl) games, and manga based on those games.  So, while the cover looks like it's for a shojo market, it isn't.

Two of the most famous manga that used to run here are Lucky Star and Melty Blood.

(Hai, Anata no Yome Desu (Yes, I'm Your Bride). School fight with calligraphy brushes)

Taken as a whole, the artwork is pretty much average.  Nothing that really sticks out as extremely well-drawn or well-written.  There are a few good titles, and a few that aren't that great, but nothing really bad, either.  The primary themes are fantasy and school life, but the common thread is that over half of the stories feel like they've been taken from "girl-get" games (with some silly 4-panel gags interspersed within).  There are a number of panty shots, but little actual nudity, and no overt sex.  CA attempts to be erotic, which would get it a PG-17 rating in the US, if not an R. A good 50-60 pages are dedicated to advertising, and promoting movies like Thermae Romae.

(Oda Nobunaga no Yabou)

Several of the manga here have already been animated, or are based on existing games, including:

Strike Witches
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
Aiyoku no Eustia
Oda Nobunaga no Yabou
Queen's Blade Rebellion
Cardfight! Vanguard

(Lens Drops (This one just started.  On chapter 2 here.  Photography club seems to include a girl that can take fortune-telling photos.))

Worth mentioning:

Aka Pro, based on the character designs from Lucky Star.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, (AKA: Archenemy and Hero)
Ebiten, anime coming out in July.
Vocaloid in Wonderland (yon-koma gag strips featuring the Vocaloid characters)

(Queen's Blade Rebellion)

There are a couple of freebies in this issue.  First are a pair of luggage tag-style cellphone straps, which are made from a soft, pliable plastic and look pretty good.  Plus, there's a 2' x 3' color poster with 2 Fate/Zero girls on one side, and a Fate/Kaleid Liner girl on the other.  You can see the one side of the poster on the cover of the magazine above.

(Cardfight! Vanguard. Yugi-Oh TCG rip-off.)

Summary: Fantasy, action and school life gets turned into girl-get games, and then manga-tized.  Decent artwork and light, fluffy stories.  Recommended if you like Strike Witches or Lucky Star.

(Freebie keitai straps)

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