Sunday, July 15, 2012

Commentary: Monthly Comic Gene

There are few magazines with no real redeeming features.  It does happen (as in the case of Young Jump), but it's rare.  Monthly Comic Gene is one of those cases.  Having launched in June, 2011, according to Anime News Network, it's still too new for anyone to have put together a wiki page on it.  In fact, there's little written on it in English at all.  I don't know if this is because it's still too new to be on anyone's radar, or if none of the titles have really taken off yet.  It's not that expensive, compared to magazines of similar size, so it isn't price that's holding people back.

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

Monthly Comic Gene, 490 yen, 700 pages.
The best way to describe Gene is with the word "average".  There's nothing really good or really bad, both artistically or storywise.  Which may be the problem.  Nothing stands out.  Even looking at the cover, ignoring the bright colors, the character designs and poses are simply bland.  The one title that seems to have any pull at all is Brave10 S, which is a sequel to Brave 10.  Personally, I've never heard of it before.

(Utahen.  Ed-era 4-koma gag comic.)

The cover story is Kagerou Disk. a new series starting up in this issue.  The story is slow to pick up, and seems to be about a kid writing music on his computer at home.  A sprite or fairy of some sort lives in the computer, and causes more problems than she solves in writing the music.  The kid is forced into going outside for the day, and carries the sprite on his smartphone.  They go to a department store, where he encounters at least one unusual figure.  The chapter ends with terrorists breaking into the building.  The artwork's not bad, but the character designs are too cartoony. There are two freebies in this issue, one of which is a CD with a track of sample "music" from the manga.  The track is about 3 minutes long, and is mainly noise music that doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind as to what it wants to sound like.  Very erratic, jarring sounds.  I don't mind noise, but this track appears to suffer from too many editors.

(Lucky Dog Blast.)

LOTS of 4-koma manga, interspersed in with the other titles.  Nothing that really looks promising to me.  Genres include Edo-era drama, horror, fantasy, combat, monsters and vampires.

(Brave 10 S.)

Regarding Brave 10 S - it is a very nicely drawn costume drama set around the Warring States period, with highly stylized versions of various buff warlords and their minions fighting each other with weapons that didn't exist at the time, in clothing that still doesn't exist now.  Visually impressive, but rather silly.

(Seishun Gakuen Return!.(Youth Academy Returns!)  The freebie insert manga.)

Summary: Inexpensive monthly phonebook with nothing that really stands out.  The second freebie is an 8 page mini-comic insert of a title that also failed to grip me.  My recommendation is to come back to this magazine in another year and see if it's gotten any better.

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