Saturday, September 8, 2012

Commentary: Comic Blade

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

Monthly Comic Blade, 580 yen, 924 pages.
Blade has been around since 2002, making it kind of "the old man on the block" of modern manga magazines.  The wiki entry lists well over one hundred titles, complete as well as on-going.  That's pretty good, compared to the entries of some of the more established magazines.  On the other hand, I don't recognize most of the names.  Probably the titles western readers know are:

Elemental Gelade
Peace Maker Kurogane
Tales of Symphonia
The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

This one is also a seinen publication, aimed at younger adult males, around college age. Unlike most seinen magazines, though, there's not as much reader service or overt sex. Again, the character designs range from "very good" to "pretty bad". Art styles are also all over the map, but they do tend to the "cute" side.  Genres include fantasy, SF, high tech robots, school life, sports and horror.

Ongoing titles that you may know are:

Hitogatana, by Onigunso
Corpse Party: Another Child
Mother Keeper
Eleven Soul

Titles worth paying attention to:

Baggataway, Iroha Kohinata. This is a moderately well-drawn story with average character designs and action sequences. What makes it stand out is that it's one of the few, if not the only, sports manga to be dedicated to Lacrosse.

Sengoku Youko, by Satoshi Mizukami. I wrote a short review of this one a few months back.  It's by the creator of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer.  A demon and her human partner try to stop the violence in the world by beating people up.  Marginal character designs, but some funny scenes.

Sumikko no Sora-san (subtitled Petite Philosophie), by Tenkanoka. Baka Updates describes Sumikko as the story of a boy who returns home after failing to make his dreams come true. His life gets complicated when a neighbor child decides that he is god. In this particular chapter, the child just has simple daily adventures while pondering philosophical issues. Very light, clean lines and cute characters make this one rather endearing.


Robotics;Notes, based on the video game of the same name.  Looks like the TV anime is also coming out in October.

(B.B Girls)

B.B Girls, by Kumichou. A group of school girls play basketball.  Average artwork and character designs. Notable only for the fact that few manga show girls playing basketball.

(Cycling Club)

Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club, by Noriyuki Matsumoto. With a title like this, you kind of know what the story is about.  Only on chapter two so there's not been much time for plot development. Decent artwork, average character designs.

(Mortal Metal Shibagane)

Mortal Metal Shibagane. More giant robot combat.

There's one freebie this time - a Robotics;Notes clear file.  A little small, but the artwork is good (a sample image of one side of the clear file is shown in the lower corner of the magazine cover.

Summary: Strictly from a price-to-page basis, Blade is a good bargain.  It's a huge magazine and has lots of stories.  On the whole, though, I'm really only interested in Sketchbook, which I find entertaining due to the wordplay and cute designs; and Sengoku Youko. I might be interested in following Robotics;Notes and Sumikko no Sora-san if I have the time. Otherwise, there's not much here for me.

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